By Jenn Scheuermann

The mission had started out straightforward enough, they were to locate and retrieve the warhead of a nuclear missile that had fallen off the deck of a carrier during a storm. Simple and straightforward, those words were music to the ears of the Captain of the SSRN Seaview, Commander Lee Crane. Sure, the shore leave that he had been planning for the past two weeks was being delayed, but when the US Navy called, they had responded.

Now, one week later, the warhead wasn't where it was supposed to be, they were having power surges in the electrical systems and sonar was getting intermittent contact on another sub. Whatever happened to simple? sighed Crane inwardly.

"Skipper." Crane's thoughts were broken by urgent voice of Seaman Kowalski. "Sonar contact again, sir. Same as before."


"Two thousand yards to port."

Crane walked to sonar station and picked up the extra pair of headphones that were kept there. He listened, it was that same sub all right.

Lt. Commander Chip Morton, the exec, came up beside Crane. "Same as before, Lee?"

"The same." He put down the headphones, "I'm getting awfully tired of playing tag with them, Chip." Reaching behind him, he grabbed the mike off the periscope stand, "This is the Captain. All hands rig for silent running. Repeat, rig for silent running."

Morton looked to the helm officer, "All stop."

"Aye, sir. All stop."

"What are they doing now, Kowalski?"

"Same as us, sir. Just drifting."

"What do you think, Skipper?"

Crane picked up the headphones again and motioned for Morton to wait for a minute. "They're hanging there off our port quarter." He put the headphones down and turned to Morton, "What I think, Chip, is that we need to give our friends a wake up call."

"The Seaview Special, sir?"

Crane nodded and with a grin Morton went over to the helmsman. The Special was a little invention of Crane's designed to shake up a sub that was following them. They didn't use it that often, so Morton was looking forward to this time. "On the Captain's order, we're going to flank speed. I want you to be ready to make a full 180 degree turn two seconds after that. Then, wait a full ten seconds and make a hard left rudder and stay on that heading until otherwise ordered. Got it?"

"Aye, sir."

Crane walked over to Sharkey, "Engine Room ready?"

"Yes, sir. We're ready."

"Good, hang on. Ready, Mr. Morton?"

"Aye, sir. All compartments notified and ready on your order."

"Let's do it." Crane nodded to Sharkey who gave the order to Engineering.

The Seaview fairly leapt out of her dead stop and spun into the turn. Just as it looked like a collision with the other sub was eminent, she turned hard and sped away, leaving the other sub rolling behind. It was a graceful maneuver to watch from the outside. On the inside of the Seaview, though, it wasn't as graceful. The sudden speed combined with the turn sent any man who wasn't hanging on crashing into something or someone.

Morton looked around as he picked himself up off the control room deck, "Anyone hurt?"

A chorus of "No, sir's" answered him.

"It worked again, Lee. Nice trick." There was no answer. Morton looked and saw Crane lying crumpled by the stairs. He ran around the plot table and to Crane's side. "Patterson, get some corpsman up here."

"Aye, sir."

Crane opened his eyes with a groan and tried to sit up. "Easy, Lee, you took a nasty spill. Help's coming."

Crane shook off Morton's hand and sat up, leaning against the stairs. The room spun around him and the darkness closed in again.


"I tell you, Doc, I'm fine. Just a bump on the head."

"That bump, as you call it, had you unconscious for a good fifteen minutes. I want you to stay here."

Crane shook his head and slid off the exam table in Sickbay, "I can't Doc. We're in the middle of a vital mission and the last thing this ship needs is her captain confined to Sickbay."

Seeing the protest rising in Jamison, he hurried on, "You said there was no concussion, right? Then it's a bump on the head."

He buttoned his shirt, "If I get dizzy or have problems, I'll come back here,ok?"

"All right, Captain. But I don't like it."

Crane grinned, "You never it like, Doc. I'm used to that." He walked out the door and up to the Control Room.

He spotted Morton by the computer, "What's the damage report, Mr. Morton?"

"Glad to see that you're ok, sir." Morton went to the plot table and picked up a clipboard. "Damage control says no structural damage and Sickbay reports only minor injuries to the crew, that's including you. I got us back on course."

Crane rubbed the back of his head, "I guess I wasn't hanging on as tight as I thought." He clapped Chip on the shoulder, "Continue on our course, all ahead standard. Then go check out the Missile Room damage, I heard a crewman in Sickbay saying it was bad down there."

"Aye aye, sir."

Chief Sharkey shook his head as he walked around the normally spotless Missile Room. That last maneuver had sent men and equipment flying around. None of his men had been hurt but he wished that he could say the same for some of the equipment. Pieces and parts were still strewn around as the men checked things out and put them back together. I hope the Skipper doesn't decide to pay a visit down here, thought Sharkey. He'd blow his stack at this mess. Footsteps sounded behind him and as he turned he saw that his prayers were not quite answered.

Morton left the Control Room per Crane's orders and went below to the Missile Room. As he walked in, he looked around for the Chief but was stopped by the mess.

Sharkey hurried up to him, "Mr. Morton, what can I do for you, sir?"

Morton waved at the mess, "What is this, Chief?"

"That, sir...well...that is what we are straightening up now. Some of the gear got kinda messed up when it hit the deck. We're fixing it."

"You better hurry it up, Chief. If the Skipper came down her and saw this..." He let the sentence trail off.

"Yes, sir. I had the same thought." He turned to his men, "Ok, you guys. You heard the Exec, get this cleaned up on the double."

"Anything special that you need, sir?"

"No. Captain Crane sent me to make sure everything was ok down here. A crewman in Sickbay made it sound like the place was destroyed."

"After we get this cleaned up, everything will be status quo, sir. Is the Skipper ok?" Sharkey had heard that Crane had been hurt.

"He's fine, Chief and back in the Control Room. As long as you have everything taken care of down here, I'm heading topside." Sharkey nodded and Morton turned and left.

Crane was heading out of the Control Room as Morton was coming back in. He motioned for Morton to follow him and continued down the corridor. "We had another power surge while you were below, Chip. Damage control is tracking it, and they think it originated in the Circuitry room."

The two officers arrived at the circuitry room and went in. The smell of fried wiring was in the air and two technicians were busy at the panels. Crane went up to one of them, "Find anything, Brooks?"

"No cause for the surge, sir. It messed things up real good, but not in any major systems and we can have it fixed within the hour."

"So you still don't know what is causing these surges, then?" asked Morton.

"No, sir. We hope to track it better with the next one, but.."

He was cut off as sparks jumped from one panel to another with a crackling sound and Patterson's voice sounded over the intercom, "Skipper. Another power surge, sir. It went right across the boards."

Crane crossed the room and picked up the mike, "Did you get a fix on it this time?"

"No, sir. Sorry, sir. They're happening too quickly for the computer to track."

"Very well. Crane out." He double clicked the mike, "Crane to Missile Room."

"Missile Room, aye."

"Chief, report to the circuitry room, now."

"Aye, sir. On my way."

They waited in silence for Sharkey to arrive. Crane looked around at the panels and felt his frustration mount. Power surges such as these were completely unprecedented. They had to track down the cause before they destroyed a vital system like sonar or life support.

Sharkey paused at the entrance to the Circuitry Room before going in and looked around. Crane and Morton stood together against the wall, neither one looking happy. He walked over to Crane, "You wanted me, sir?"

Crane nodded, "Yes. I want you to get a team together and track down the cause of these surges. Check every piece of wiring on this ship and then go back and check again. I want these surges stopped."

"Yes, sir. I'll report to you as soon as we've found something."

Crane and Morton left there and went back topside. They found Lt. O'Brian and the rest of the night crew there. Crane looked at his watch with surprise. "I didn't realize it was that late already."

"Yes it is, sir. Orders?"

"Keep following the search pattern that I laid out. Have sonar keep a close watch for that sub that's been shadowing us.

The Chief and his team are tracking down the power surges, I want to be notified immediately if he finds anything, if the sub shows up, or if you find what we are searching for."

"Aye, aye sir."

Crane and Morton exited the Control Room together and went to their respective quarters. Crane closed the door behind him and leaned against it. He allowed himself to feel the headache and bruises from the fall for the first time. The funny thing was he didn't remember letting go of the plot table. He just remembered seeing Morton suddenly move away, then voices and then he woke up in Sickbay. He pushed himself off the door and towards his desk and the paperwork that awaited him.

One hour later Crane put his pen down and his head in his hands. He opened his desk drawer, took out a bottle of aspirin and swallowed two. He stood up and went to the head to get ready for bed.


O'Brian looked up from the chart he was studying and saw Crane descending the stairs into the Control Room. "Captain Crane. Is something wrong, sir?"

Crane came the rest of the way down and over to the plot table, "No." He glanced down at the charts and the around the Control Room.

O'Brian just stood there. He wanted to know what Crane was doing there but he wasn't about to question the captain.

After a silence that seemed to stretch forever, Crane finally spoke, "Anything new to report?"

"No,sir. I would have called you if there was."

"Are we still on course?"

"Of course, sir. Unless you have different orders?"

"No. Carry on." Crane left the Control Room the way he came, leaving a very confused O'Brian behind. He watched the stairs for a few minutes and then decided that perhaps the Captain wasn't quite awake yet. That was to be expected considering his shift didn't start for hours.

Crane left the Control Room and paused at the top of the stairs. He couldn't sleep, yet he couldn't think of a plausible excuse to be someplace on the ship. Not that he needed an excuse, but he didn't like hanging over his crew's shoulders. He finally decided to head for the lounge. Maybe there would be a movie playing.


"Captain. Captain Crane, sir. Wake up."

Crane stirred at the voice and light touch on his shoulder. He opened his eyes to find Patterson kneeling in front of him. Blinking a few times he stood and stretched, "What time is it?"

Patterson consulted his watch, "0630, sir. I heard the snow on the TV and came in to turn it off and thought I'd better wake you."

"Thanks. I'll see you in the Control Room."

Crane walked out of the lounge and towards the officer's mess. Entering, he motioned for his officer's to stay seated and headed towards the coffee pot. Getting a cup, he turned and walked out, almost colliding with Morton. He got his coffee out of the way just in time, "We seem to be making a habit of this, Chip."

"It seems that way, sir." he moved aside to let Crane pass then went and sat down beside Sparks. "That was strange. The Skipper rarely comes in here."

"I guess he was close. Scuttlebutt has it that he fell asleep in the lounge last night."

Morton frowned, "Don't spread rumors like that."

"It's not a rumor, sir." Sparks caught Morton's warning glare and shut up fast. "Aye, sir. Not another word."

Crane sipped his coffee while staring out the clear nose of the Seaview. He couldn't believe that he had fallen asleep in the lounge. That movie must have been really bad, but for the life of him, he couldn't remember what it was. Oh well, it would give the crew something to talk about. He wondered how long it would take Chip to ask him about it. The noise of shift change drew his attention and he glanced at the reflection's in the glass.

Finishing his coffee, he met Morton at the plot table, "Lee you're not on watch for a couple of hours yet. Go get some sleep."

"I'm always on duty, Chip. Besides, I want to find that warhead before our friend out there tries something else." He looked at Morton, " You're not on watch yet, either."

"No, sir, but I thought I'd try and help track down the power surges. The more hands the better."

"Fine. First, change our course. Come to heading 153, all ahead full." He caught Morton's questioning glance. "I want to try an idea that I got last night."

"Aye sir." Morton relayed Crane's order then headed down to meet the repair teams.

The shift passed without problems from the ship or otherwise. Sharkey had reported that he was fairly certain they had tracked down the cause of the surges and it looked as though the sub following them had given up.

"Commander Morton! Sonar contact, sir. One thousand yards ahead."

Morton was at Patterson's side in a matter of seconds, "What kind of contact?"

"I'm not sure, sir. It's doesn't profile like another sub. It's rather small and not moving."

"Anything on the magnometer?"

"Yes, sir. Definite metal contact."

Morton called Crane over, "Think it's our warhead, Skipper?"

After checking the readings, Crane nodded his agreement, "I do. But look where it is, that trench is too small for Seaview to get into safely. All stop. Prepare the Flying Sub for launch."

Morton relayed the orders and within minutes, the Flying Sub, or FS1, was ready to go. He made a final check, "Sonar, anything on your scope?"

"No, sir. Boards clear."

"Keep a close watch on it."

"Aye, sir."

Morton walked with Crane to the FS1 hatch, "What made you decide to look on this course?"

"A hunch, Chip. Last night I got to thinking that if the carrier dropped it in these waters, currents might have picked it up. If so, then this was a possible site.

"Good hunch."

Crane grinned and disappeared into FS1. Morton shut the hatch and headed back to watch over sonar.

"Flying Sub to Seaview. Prepare for launch."

"Ready to launch on your order."

Crane made a final systems check, "Launch."

The Flying Sub slid gracefully out of her berth in the base of the Seaview's nose and into the water. Crane piloted her the thousand yards towards the trench.

"Sharkey to Control Room."

"This is Morton, what is it Chief?"

"We aren't as close to the problem as I thought, sir. It's going to take some more time."

"Keep working on it. I'll let the Skipper know when he comes back aboard."

"Aye, sir."

Moron hung up the mike and sighed to himself. If it's not one thing, it's another around here. Lee's not as mad as I would have expected him to be. Either that, or he's hiding it well. Morton made a mental note to prepare for an explosion from Crane if things didn't get back to normal real soon.

"FS1 to Seaview."

Morton picked the mike off the periscope island, "We read you, FS1."

"I'm entering the channel to retrieve our prize."

"Aye, sir."

"Anything on sonar that I should know about?"

Patterson shook his head at Morton's glance, "Board is still clear, Skipper."

"Very well. Flying Sub out."

Crane entered the channel and found the warhead right where it was supposed to be. It was a narrow fit even for the Flying Sub, and he was glad that he had decided to leave Seaview where she was. Crane extended the mechanical arms and began to clear the sediment and rocks that had settled over the warhead. Once done, he picked it up and drew it inside the sub.

"Seaview to FS1"

Crane keyed his mike, "FS1. Go ahead Seaview."

"How's it coming,sir?"

"I'm securing the package now and preparing to exit."


Slowly, very slowly, Crane turned FS1 around. He could almost see the fins on either side scraping the rock walls. When she was finally all the way around, he breathed a sigh of relief and took her out.

"Mr. Morton! Sonar contact,sir. Bearing 145. It's that sub."

"I thought the board was clear."

"It was, sir. I swear."

"Seaview to Crane. Captain, we've got company."

Crane swore under his breath, "How close?"

Before Morton could answer, Patterson took care of it for him, "Torpedo's in the water. Heading for the Flying Sub, sir."

"Lee, torpedo's! Get out of there!"

The men in the control room watched as the blip that was the flying sub veered sharply in evasive maneuvers that weren't enough. The one torpedo hit the cavern wall while the other found it's mark.

The stunned silence was broken by Patterson's warning, "Two more torpedo's, sir. Coming at us."

"Sound General Quarters. Helm, hard left rudder. Ahead flank."

As the alert siren sounded, men were jolted to full attention and scrambled to their battle stations. The torpedos passed to starboard, barely missing. "Missile room. Load tubes one thru four and prepare to fire."

"Aye, sir. Loaded and ready to fire."

"Do we have a lock?"

"Yes, sir."

"Fire one and two!"

Patterson clamped his hands over his headphones to hear more clearly, "Direct hit on one sir, but they're still coming. Ninety degrees relitive to starboard." he listened again, "More torpedos, sir."

Morton thought fast and made a decision, "Dive! Dive!"

The Seaview moved down and the torpedos smashed into the rock face of the canyon, sending large amounts of rock down on top of the Seaview. The ship rocked and the crew was tossed about like rag dolls.

Morton grabbed the periscope island and hung on for dear life. "Missile room. Reload and fire!"

"Tubes one and three are jammed, sir."

"Fire two and four."

"Aye, sir." Sharkey's hand hit the fire control buttons and the torpedos rocketed out from the sub.

The following sub tried to avoid this volley, but couldn't. They found their mark.

Patterson heard all this at sonar, "Sub's destroyed, sir."

Morton nodded, "Helm, get us back to the Flying Sub, as fast as you can. Damage control, I want a report as soon as you can. Missile Room, get some divers ready to go to the Flying Sub as soon as we get there."

With the immediate crises averted, word about Crane spread quickly thru the ship. Standing in Control, Morton was more aware of this than anyone, and of his own concern for his friend. "Damage Control to Control Room."

"This is Morton."

"Minor damage to the hull, sir. The generator sustained some damage, though and the engines are damaged."

"How bad?"

"The generator should stay working with no problems, but the emergency generator is on and will tie in if it fails. I can give you quarter speed on the engines right now. I'm not sure how long full repairs will take."

"Get on it. We need to get back to the Flying Sub. Morton out."

They slowly made their way back to FS1 in silence. What they saw when they got there made Morton's heart sink. The little ship was barely visible under the rocks covering her. Then again, if the rocks were there first, they may have afforded some protection against the torpedo. Morton took a deep breath and picked up the mike.

"Missile Room. Are those divers ready?"

"This is Sharkey, sir. We're ready on your order."

"We, Chief?"

"Yes, sir. I'm going too.

"Fine. Go."

"Morton to Sickbay."

"Sickbay. If you're looking for Dr. Jamison, sir. He's gone to the Missile Room already."

Morton took a quick glance around the Control Room and them exited. He made his way down to the Missile Room as quickly as possible without running.

Sharkey and his team approached the Flying Sub. She was lying on her right side with rocks surrounding her.

"All right, men. Let's get these rocks off, on the double."

"Mr. Morton, are you getting this?"

"Every word, Chief. Keep that line open."

"Will do, sir."

The dive team worked to pull the rocks off FS1. It was slow go as the rocks were quite large and they had to use pry bars on some of them. Sharkey didn't like this, they weren't going quick enough for him. Please Skipper, hold on a little longer. We're on our way. Just hold on.

"Chief." It was Kowalski, "I've got access to the escape hatch."

Sharkey swam to Kowalski's side. "Ok, everyone ready? Mr. Morton, we're going in as soon as we force the escape hatch."

The hatch opened slowly and Sharkey was the first inside. It was pitch black, the only light came from sparks arcing from broken panels. As Kowalski and Rogers moved in behind him, Sharkey pushed back his hood and mask and turned on his flashlight. It was even worse in the sudden illumination. The interior of the craft was trashed. He shown the flashlight around and found Crane lying on the floor near the bunk. He was bleeding freely from a deep gash on his forehead and his uniform was soaked with blood in places.

He dropped beside Crane and felt for a pulse. For one heart-stopping minute, he couldn't find one. Then there it was, weak, but there. Sharkey breathed a sigh of relief.

"He's still alive."

On the Seaview, Morton let out the breath he didn't know he had been holding, "How badly injured does he look?"

"I don't know, sir. He has a head injury and it looks like he caught pieces of the panels when they exploded. We'll be bringing him back as soon as we can."


I should have brought Seaview closer. That was the main thought running around Morton's mind as he awaited word on Crane. Sharkey and the dive team had said it was a miracle that the Flying Sub hadn't been destroyed. By all rights, it should have been in pieces after the torpedo hit. His reverie was broken by a sudden flickering of the lights and then darkness until the emergency generator kicked in. He got up to contact the Control Room and was pitched off his feet by a sudden rocking of the deck. He scrambled to his feet and grabbed the mike off the wall, "Control Room, report."

"This is O'Brian. We've lost the main generator, sir. The backups kicked in but we lost trim for a minute due to the situation in engineering."

"Can we hold it now?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Keep me informed. I'll be up as soon as I can."

Morton replaced the mike and walked back towards the exam area of Sickbay. He stuck his head in the door and saw a corpsman standing there. He went in fully and up to the corpsman, "How is Captain Crane?"

The corpsman jumped slightly, "I don't know sir. Dr. Jamison is examining him now. Let me get him for you."

The corpsman disappeared and a minute later Dr. Jamison came out from behind a curtain.

"Well?" demanded Morton.

"He's a lot better than he should be. The lacerations where the shrapnel caught him are very deep. He lost a lot of blood from them. Surprisingly, the head injury wasn't as bad as it looked. All he should have from that is a nasty headache."

"Can I see him?"

"Not yet. He's regained consciousness and is sleeping now.

I'll call you when he wakes up again."

"Keep me posted."

"Will do, sir."

Morton left Sickbay and went down to the Missile Room. They

were just bringing the Flying Sub and her cargo aboard. He spotted Sharkey and walked up to him. "Was the cargo damaged, Chief?"

Sharkey quickly straightened up, "Not at all Mr. Morton. The Skipper had it tightly secured. is the Skipper, sir?"

"Doc says he'll be fine after a few days rest. Get the cargo secured and then check on the repairs in Engineering. I want to head for Pearl Harbor as soon as possible."

"Aye aye, sir."


Crane opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling for a minute. What am I doing in Sickbay? With a start, the memory of the torpedos came back to him. He closed his eyes for a second and breathed a quick prayer of thanks. Opening them again, he saw Dr. Jamison looking down at him.

"How are you feeling, Captain?"

"Fine, Doc. Just fine. Did they get my cargo aboard?"

"They did, Skipper and it's safely stored away. We'll be heading back to Pearl Harbor as soon as the repairs to the engines are completed."

"Pearl? What engine repairs? How long have I been out for?"

"You've been sleeping for almost 28 hours, Captain. You lost a lot of blood and you needed it."

"Twenty-eight hours? I have to get topside, Doc." With that, Crane swung his legs over the side and sat up.

"Just where do you think you're going, Captain? You are in no condition to leave Sickbay."

"Don't baby me, Doc. I feel fine."

"You may feel fine, but are still quite weak. I want you to stay here for another day or two."

"Not a chance, Doc. I need to get status reports and I need to talk with ComSubPac and inform them of our status."

"Mr. Morton can do all that."

Crane slid off the bunk and tested his legs. He did feel weak, but it was nothing he couldn't overcome. The headache was the worst of it. "No, he can't. Only I have the identifying radio codes. I have to get topside." He flashed his trademark grin at Jamison, "I promise to come back if I pass out someplace."

Jamison sighed, arguing with his stubborn Captain over his health was next to impossible. He nodded and Crane was out the door. "Take it easy, Captain." he called after him.

After showering and getting a clean uniform, Crane walked up to the Control Room. "Status report, Mr. Morton."

Morton jumped slightly and spun around, "Lee. Doc said you wouldn't be out for another day or so."

"We reached a compromise. What's our situation?"

Reaching for his clipboard, Morton couldn't help but wonder what that "compromise" was. Speaking aloud he said, "Repairs to the engines will be completed in a few hours. The cause of the power surges was traced to a loose wire in an electrical panel outside the crews quarters and has since been repaired. The damage to the hull was minimal and is repaired."

Crane took the clipboard from Morton and flipped thru the pages. "What happened, Chip? The last I remember, I was veering to avoid torpedos."

Morton filled him in. "The damage to the Flying Sub is extreme. It's nothing short of a miracle that she held together."

Crane nodded and resumed reading the clipboard, "Are repair teams on it?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good." He picked up a mike, "Crane to Engineering."

"Engineering, this is Sharkey."

"How long until your repairs are completed?"

"Another two hours, sir."

"Cut it in half, Chief. I want two-thirds speed in an hour."

Grateful that Crane couldn't see him, Sharkey grimaced. Trust in the Skipper to ask the impossible. "I'll do my best, sir."

"Notify me as soon as you are ready. Crane out."

He crossed the room to the radio shack, "Sparks, I need to make a call to Admiral Nelson at ComSubPac. Get me a secure satellite link and send it to my cabin."

"Aye, sir."

Crane left and went down to his cabin. He slid into his chair behind the desk and picked up a stack of reports. "Radio Shack to Captain Crane."

"Crane here."

"I have your link, sir. The operator is asking for your code, sir."

"Thank you Sparks." He listened for the click that would tell him the line was clear, when he heard it he spoke again, "This is Captain Lee Crane aboard the SSRN Seaview. Ident code is one-one-alpha-tango-four-eight-two."

"Identity confirmed, Captain. Admiral Nelson is waiting to talk with you."

Nelson's voice, urgent with stress, came on the line, "Lee. Did you get the package?

"Yes, sir. We will be heading back to Pearl in an hour or so."

Crane heard a jumble of voices as Nelson relayed this information. His voice came back on much more relaxed. "Any problems getting it, Lee?"

Crane's thoughts flashed back over the events of the past week and he smiled to himself, "No problems at all, Admiral. It was just another routine mission."

The End