Santa Barbara, California
Thanks for the offer of Capt. Grant, but another man has accepted my offer to captain Seaview permanently. I wasn't sure he'd accept, you know how our Navy hot-shots can be. What can Seaview possibly offer to an 'action man'? While he realizes we do a fair amount of government work, Seaview is a research vessel, and carting an old coot like me around, the 'boss' to boot, and one who happens to be an 'admiral', well, it's bound to feel a bit like a step down for him.
I have it from the President, that Crane was up for his fourth stripe 2 years ago but turned it down for a little more 'experience'…and now, well….that fourth stripe is doubtful to ever come his way, Reserve Status or not.
Still a bit opinionated, Crane actually snuck aboard in the middle of the night to 'test' security, he said! Well, as I explained, he didn't get very far! He gave me a huge grin at that so he's not all Navy like a hard nosed grump like you! Elevation to command status a few years ago hasn't turned him into a conceited commander like some I could mention, but we won't open that can of worms again…it's my call who commands Seaview, and John was a good man…I can't really believe he's gone. To think that Washington had wanted Cdr. Nobel instead…that egocentric excuse for a submarine officer…he's commanding a desk now, did you know, got into a bit of trouble with the finance office, it seems…well, I digress.
Crane's already accepted the fact that Seaview is not a Navy boat and while there was some friction aboard at first , mostly from his crew, they'd follow him anywhere now. Now that they see where his loyalties lie. With them.
Risked his own life for one of their shipmates, as well as our guest. Indeed, he even managed to keep Seaview safe from an enemy attack and numerous sinking ice 'cube's well. Remind me to tell you about how it feels to be pummeled by a breaking icefloe.
Kowalski has been asking me about Crane's non-abbreviated service record. I couldn't reveal too much. Hell, so much has been classified by ONI that even I don't know. Had a stint with them, it seems. But I do know he was and is a good officer, has a gut instinct and cool nerves that serves him well in matters of extreme importance, and I'm very glad to have him aboard.
When I requested the President to let me have him permanently, they thought I was crazy. He was the Navy's top sub-commander, but, and I quote, " Lee Crane is a pain in the a.." you get the idea.
Been on the carpet for mild insubordination and 'untried' maneuvers a number of times and I gather the Navy is torn between Seaview getting their best captain and sheer relief to get rid of him!
He can be a handful, as I well know. He certainly kept us all on our toes aboard Nautilus! You remember me telling you about the exotic dancer he snuck aboard for the Chief's party? But in spite of his occasional 'hijinks' Crane's a good man., and Seaview knows it too.
I think. John would be proud.
It's not that easy for Morton. While Chip agrees with me that he's not quite up to command ability I demand, he may be a tad jealous of Lee. Not that Chip lets on. So, maybe it's just my imagination.
We ll, Jiggs, I have an office waiting for me. We've just made dock and the world is safe for mankind again.
I t won't be for long, the way Lee drives that sports car of his! You should see it! Bright red convertible….a real eye catcher, or is that 'girl-catcher'? Oh to be young and wild again!
Harry PS. Yes, I will try for the class reunion this Memorial Day, just make sure I don't have to squeeze into my dress whites…I've put on a few pounds to my doctor's despair…but then, so have you!
Santa Barbara, California
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, another day, another dime. Boy did we earn it this time! I'm beat! Seems we had to save the world again, and without the captain. Well, without Phillips, anyway. Sure will miss him.
His replacement is Commander Lee Crane. Yep, the same first classman (senior)Brigade Commander that you met when you visited me there when I was a 3rd classman..or 'soggy sophomore' as Aunt Louise would say.
Crane was sprouting stripes when he was a mere lowly plebe,all of 17, and rumor has it, turned down his fourth a couple of years ago for 'lack of experience'. Hah! Probably wants to get in good with the brass. Well, maybe not, but I guess maybe I'm a bit jealous.
The guy's really got guts, brains, and has certainly earned his 'dolphins',and I can handle all that; but do all the Institute girls have to go 'gah-gah' over him as soon as he sets foot on the dock?
He's still scrawny, but it looks like 'Casanova Crane' is going to have a great time here as well as everywhere else he's been...no sleaze, at least I don't think so, but he sure can reel 'em in!
In fact, he's asked me into going along with him apartment hunting before he has to drive to Diego to close up affairs there. No pun intended, but it wouldn't surprise me. Maybe some of the Casanova charm will rub off on me and I can take out the spares of the gaggle of girls he seems to accumulate wherever he goes.
But what really irks me, is that he's a nice guy! It would be a whole lot easier if he were a twerp,then I wouldn't feel guilty for disliking him a little. I try not to dislike him, but I can't help it, he has everything and I feel like a fifth wheel.
The whole crew kept chattering about 'the skipper this', or 'the skipper' that,and 'man,did you see what the skipper did!'' Except maybe Ski.
Crane punched him out when he snuck aboard as a 'surprise security inspection'; and while Ski understands why he got hit,and that it was a reflex, he really misses Phillips.
Hell, doesn't anyone but Ski and me remember Capt. Phillips anymore? I'm getting tired about all this talk about our gallant new skipper. Even from the Old Man!
Whoa. I'm beginning to sound angry. And I shouldn't be. Crane saved our hides, after all, so we do owe him . Well, maybe not, it goes with the job, saving the world,our necks; the captaincy of Seaview…
I'm really glad the Old Man didn't draft me like he did Crane. I'm a good XO, but I'm no captain for Seaview. Not yet anyway.
Well, I'm off to the races, at least I think it 'll be like, riding in Lee's car. In his Italian convertible,no less, and a bright 'corvette' red one at that! From the window in my office I see Angie, Katie, Deb. and Cindy all hovering over him and that car…you know, I just may like this little outing, in spite of everything..all for now,
Santa Barbara, California
You're not going to believe this, but here I am aboard Seaview.That's right, Seaview!
I was drafted away from Seaox as a pinch-hitter. Capt. Phillips had been murdered just when Seaview was desperately needed for a special assignment.
Believe me, it wasn't easy; the mission, or 'filling' in for someone Seaview's crew deeply admired. If she had been in another century, I'm sure her crew would have made me walk the plank!
Well, they had cause, but I still think her security is lacking. I gave her the old 'surprise' test, and actually got aboard! All the way into the control room! Was I ever pissed!
I'm afraid I punched one of the men smack in the jaw, sheer reflex, I assure you. But that's not the best way to earn your crew's respect, is it?
While I explained my actions to the men, I could feel the resentment throughout the boat, and the Old Man himself stopped just short of chewing me out…the old 'glare and grin ' sufficed. Nelson is one admiral who doesn't have to yell to get his point across.
Seaview is NOT a 'Navy' boat even if she does put in some super deluxe action for the govt. in a pinch. And I understand that her crew is comprised of hand picked men of superior capabilities and technical expertise.
It will take some getting used to being a 'civilian' captain, as well as one holding Special Reserve and my old ONI Status at the same time…so now I'm a 'weekend wonder' and an 'undercover captain ', all at the same time!
Forgive the red ink, but it's all I could find in Phillip's desk and I want to get this out before I drive back to Seaox and San Diego to sort things out. I'll really miss Seaox. But she's in good hands so it's farewell and bon'voyage.
Chip Morton is here, you remember him, don't you? Well, he's XO and had a great time helping me find an apartment. Not exactly,in the finding of one, but he certainly enjoyed sitting 'co-pilot with me in my new car and practically gloated as the lady cop decided to let me off with a warning.
I was only 10mph over the limit, you know how easy that is to do .Well, after we were on our way again, he turned to me grinned and said, "Casanova Crane lives still"!
Am I ever going to be free of that title just because of a few wild oats and rumors.
Anyway, Chip seems to believe that I can 'charm 'my way out of anything, so I said nothing…it doesn't hurt to have a little 'expertise' and perhaps I can….the officer was a matronly cop, and I used my 'puppy' dog' look when she was about to write the ticket. I guess it does work, sometimes.
I plan a memorial service this Sunday for Phillips. What on earth can I say. The men loved this guy. I can never replace him. Hell, I won't even try to. I can never fill his shoes, just the job.
And it's going to be rough at first, I know. While some of the men have 'forgiven' my unusual entrance, they haven't forgotten it. As for the old girl herself, well, I'd swab her deck a hundred times just to be aboard her. Nelson is often sequestered away in his precious laboratories working on this or that, I understand, and I have to get used to the idea of mission /institute boredom along with excitement.
Well, time has a way of running out. Take care. I'll write again soon,
Stinkey's Bar & and Grill
We did it again! Mission accomplished. We're home and having' a swell time at Stinkey's.
Ignore the napkin this is written on. Ski's slugging' down more beer than he can handle, Malone's already moving in on the dames, Clark is bellyaching about us having such a great time after Phillip's memorial, but it's just to take our minds off it all .
The new skipper gave a pretty good eulogy, especially for a guy he never knew. And he said, really moved like, that he'd never even try to replace the man we knew as John Phillips, just his position, and he'd be glad just to be able to do half as good a job. Stuff like that. Man,it was almost Kleenex time.I think this new skipper'll be okay. But even so, I'm gonna miss the old guy.
Well, this napkin don't have much more room, so see ya guys next time I get a chance.
Santa Barbara, California
Lt. Cdr. Chip morton
Dear Mom and Dad,
We got a bit of extra leave, surprise, surprise, and I was hoping you might enjoy a visit from Lee and I. When he heard about your special 'Morton' muffins and Aunt louise's homemade preserves, he practically drooled.
He doesn't get anything like your special 'care' packages, and snitched one of your brownies when I wasn't looking. You should have seen the look on his face. Sheer heaven.
Well, he's got a nice efficency apartment and it's main attribute is that it's about 10 minutes away by car, or a decent hike by foot. Which it's going to be for awhile.
It was only a fender bender, and it wasn't his fault. I was there. But, it's going to be in the shop and he actually patted it goodby ! I can just imagine what he'll treat Seaview like! He goes down to the dock a lot and just looks at her with a stupid leer on his face. Smitten!
We had a really great time driving around town, and I found I just couldn't dislike him anymore. So Rev. Morton was right. Blind anger is a dangerous thing, and was I ever blind. Crane is fast becoming a friend.
I'm really proud he's got class and took the time to eulogise John so well. Believe me, it was difficult to hold back the tears.
Well, warm up the oven and prepare for an invasion of two very wild and hungry sailors! Don't worry, he didn't take me to any strip joint. I took him! For all his 'morals', he sure seemed to enjoy it!
It wasn't one of those XXXplaces. You know how the Admiral dissaproves of those.Just a tintilating glimpse or two of , uh, well, it was all in good taste, well, reasonably.
Will call you tonite to set time and days…of course, I'm sending this letter express…so you should have the news by tomarrow.
All my love,