I had hoped to sleep in,
and now that the blasted super computer was gone and Seaview was all snug dockside, I’d been sure I’d be able
to relax after supper with Harry and return to my apartment, no doubt to clear out a lot of the ‘lab experiments’
bound to be growing in the fridge. It probably would behoove me to hire some
kind of housekeeping service. But me being me, instilled with ONI for the need
for security, and my habit of sometimes brining work home from the office, well, not a good idea.
Chip had a service, and
always went home to a freshly vacuumed, cleaned (and freshly stocked)fridge, not to mention plants that were happily watered
and quickly turning his apartment into a jungle.
Anyway, as I pondered
these things in my mind after I’d brushed my teeth and gotten under the sheets, the Z’s I’d been so planning
on were elusive. I tried counting sheep knowing that would never work, so I tired
counting the number of lights on the onboard computer, suddenly realizing just why I couldn’t sleep. And what I needed
to do about it.
But it wasn’t until after 0600 that I finally found myself I the arms of Morpheus. Until 0700 that was, when my bedside phone began to ring.
I’d gotten spoiled by that phone. It not only had Caller ID, it had an answering machine, but instead of waiting a few
more minutes in my still sleepy bliss for whoever it was to say something , apparently
they gave up. So I simply snuggled back down into my pillows and decided to ignore the fact that somebody had wanted to get
I had an answering service,
so if they deemed a message was really scary, like an overdue bill, I’d
given them the option of calling me using the speaker phone setting.
NIMR was another thing.
I’d arranged that ringtone as Seaview’s klaxton.
And so with nothing further to interrupt, I snuffled back against
the soft flannel pillowcase that my Mother had insisted on sending me for last
“Mr. Crane? Mr.
Crane?” a woman’s voice suddenly invaded the beginnings of a pleasant
dream of mermaids (sexy ones at that) and root beer floats. (One day I really must ask Doc why dreams can be so weird and
It was difficult to stay asleep. “Yeah?” I managed.
emergency. Seaview. A Chip Morton. He
said, and I quote, to get your butt down to the boat ASAP. Apparently he tried to call you but your answering machine mail
box was full, and got routed to us.”
“How should I know?
He just said…”
“Yeah..get my butt
down there. Thanks.”
“Oh, and Mr. Crane?
Your payment is overdue.”
“Uh, sorry. It’ll
be in the mail today.”
“Very good. Goodbye.”
In my hurry to find something
to wear , (I’d emptied my duffle into the washer last night and hadn’t bothered to wait for it to cycle for the
dryer) I stumbled over my shoes, banged my knee against the coffee table and
grabbed my ancient academy sweats which were always lying around for when I went out for my morning runs. I suppose these
too, could have used a wash but it was an emergency so the niceties of good hygiene were second place. I didn’t even
bother trying to find any socks for my equally disreputable sneakers. As for
showering and shaving, well, it wasn’t the first time I’d returned to NIMR a bit scruffy.
I must have broken the
speed record driving, and no doubt earned myself some tickets through the new ‘no right turn on red until coming to
a complete stop first’ rules. Things sure used to be a lot simpler.
Finally, waved through
the front gate I roared down to the dock barely remembering to put the emergency brakes on, as I practically leapt from the
car and raced up the gangplank. The Security Deck Watch didn’t seem to mind that I didn’t even salute the colors
or request permission to board, so it must be a dilly of an emergency I thought.
“Chip? Chip?” I
yelled as I jumped to the deck, ignoring the last few rungs, remembering too late my banged up knee. “What’s wrong?”
I asked, as my head swirled in pain.
“About time you got here!"
“Well, excuse me!
Damnit, what’s wrong?” I panted.
on the fritz.”
“I said, there’s
something wrong with the computer!”
The flashing lights were comfortingly
normal, as I entered a couple of codes to run a preliminary diagnostic test.
“I’ve already done
that,” Chip said, irritated, handing me his own printout.
Chip rolled his eyes heavenward.
“Oh it seems normal, but it isn’t.”
talking, you idiot! You specifically installed a voice over program that was supposed help me reconfigure
Radar and Sonar while most of our men are on shore leave, and now, now,
it’s not working! Well? Aren't you going to do something?”
see…I uninstalled that program.”
“I felt guilty about
making you work with Elmer Fudd or that sexpot’s voice, so I came
down last night and uninstalled it.”
“You enjoy tormenting
me, don't you," Morton said dangerously. "It’ll take me twice as long now and….”
“Mr. Morton," I
said in my best command voice, which wasn't easy in stained and smelly sweats, "did you bother to check the duty schedule
“I checked it last night."
"It um..got changed. Last
minute details, you know. Go ahead, take your time,” I leaned against
the ladder, my arms crossed as my XO found the clipboard under a stack of service manuals he must have tossed on top absently, and
ran his finger down to 1300.
really think I’d really make you recalibrate things without a little extra help, do you? I know I didn’t schedule
either of us until afternoon, but since we’re both here already…”
“Have you had something
to eat?” Chip said after a moment, taking in my unkempt appearance.
“Why is everyone always
so concerned about my tummy?” I asked, exasperated.
guess it’s just a…’mom’ kind of thing…kind of miss her…”
“Actually, I could
use some coffee…and I kind of miss her too…and all those little terms
“You do?” Chip stared at me, his mouth agape, “who’d have thought it.”
“But only in private.”
want to reinstall things? Even with both of us working, a voice would help."
without Abby’s help.”
“McGee might be able to
reinstall them. Even some of those super computer components ,if you know what I mean," he added with a smirk.
I grinned, as I pulled out the radar console and opened its access hatch.
I’m not sure just
when Harry arrived, with plates of scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, and a huge carafe of coffee. I suppose the deck watch had
been concerned about Morton and I fooling around below in Seaview’s innards and inquired if the crew needed
to be recalled for the emergency.
Harry hadn't said
anything, and I sure knew better than to ask, especially when my reinstalled
‘mom’ said, “Lee, sweetie, don’t forget to eat your breakfast.”