A Marine has been accused of treason but claims
to have been brainwashed. The prosecution doesn’t buy it. Lee, of course,
having had first-hand knowledge of such things requested JAG to include him as a material witness as to the legitimacy of
brainwashing. Bad memories, those. If anyone hurts Lee again I won’t be responsible, friend or foe.
The People’s Republic had kidnapped Lee, held him for three days, torturing him psychologically and physically with electroshock, in effect brainwashing him in order to thwart a new weapon we were going to place in some
deep trenches. Mighty weapons that once placed could very easily insure that
no power would even want to tangle with us.
Lee started to sabotage things, which he did
pretty successfully, but the kicker was when he was ordered to kill me. Later Forrester, whose aim was fast and true to maim
not kill him, told me Lee’s
hand was shaking so hard there was a good chance that Crane’s aim wouldn’t have come close to it’s mark.
And Lee is normally a crack shot.
It was heartbreaking to question Lee in Sickbay,
his befuddled mind spilling out that he was a ‘sworn agent’, as incongruous it could be. A real agent would rather
have died than spill the beans. He looked so vulnerable, so helpless on that gurney, while he spoke those words by rote, fighting
his conditioning with what was left of American loyalty. Confused and hurting, Lee was increasingly agitated and Doc made
us stop questioning him.
There was another ‘sworn agent’
aboard too, who nearly blasted the view ports with a special explosive that not even Seaview’s high tensile strength
plastic could resist. Fortunately we broached surface just in time. Parker was wounded by
a bullet as well. He too, had been kidnapped and conditioned separately from Crane.
I filed a full report to the SecNav and Lee
and Parker spent the next few weeks undergoing psychological examinations to determine if they were no longer ‘under
the influence,’ so to speak.
While that was happening, Doc asked me how
Lee got a slight bruise on his cheekbone. I had to admit we’d had words early in the mission, and I’d slapped
him. But considering the circumstances, I don’t think Doc’s all that upset with me.
In retrospect, I should have realized something
was seriously wrong with Lee since so many things were going wrong on the cruise, and removed him from command for the duration
of the mission, but still, what good would that have done? He’d still have followed his captor’s orders.
He still broods at times how he very nearly
succeeded in betraying his country, brainwashed or not, and also that he was responsible for Evan’s near death when his sabotaged PDR shorted out. Evans is fine, and suffered no lasting effects, but Lee,
being Lee, well, he sometimes still hurts from it. As for the damage to Seaview, even at the hand of another man, he thinks
he should have been able to stop it somehow.
The shrinks said he wasn’t quite over
it, but I countered that if he didn’t have these occasional feelings of guilt we should be more worried.
And so Lee will be offering testimony as to
how brainwashing affected him, and that there’s a very real possibility that the Marine’s excuse is justified.
We’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, the staff and crew are stuck with my little moods and I even heard Angie complaining to Curley that she wished Captain
Crane could be if only to ‘beard the old bear in his den,’ that’s how good he is at it.