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Admiral Harriman Nelson

USN (Ret.)


Admiral Harriman Nelson, 5'6'', with steel blue eyes and auburn hair.  He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the only son of a well-known and wealthy family of Irish descent, William Patrick and Elizabeth Bridget Nelson.  His father had been an important banker and their fortune was supposed to have been made by an ancestor, Captain Shamus O'Hara Nelson.  The family legend stated that Captain Nelson made his fortune in the tea trade, but it was later discovered that he was really a pirate and slave trader. 


Though from a privileged family, Harriman Nelson was raised very strictly.  When he was nearly fifteen years old, his sister Edith was born.  Harry's dream was to join the Navy and, against his father's wishes and with special permission, he entered the Naval Academy at 16.  When their parents passed away suddenly at the end of his third year, he became Edith's legal guardian.


While at the Academy, he studied Marine Biology (eventually earning a Doctorate in that subject) as well as Nuclear Engineering, which led to him into the submarine command track.  Upon graduation, he entered the Submarine School at Groton, Connecticut and started to work his way through the various stages of rank.  Norfolk Naval Base, home of NATO and the Atlantic Fleet, was his first duty posting after Groton.  During this time, he started work on his advanced degrees in Marine Biology and Marine Engineering through the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  After his first submarine posting during the beginning of the Vietnam War, he returned to the Academy for the first of several rotational teaching assignments, often guest lecturing at several local colleges and universities.  It was during one of these assignments that he came in contact with two students in his Marine Biology class with whom he would have a life long friendship, Lee Crane and Chip Morton.  Later on, his first submarine command was the nuclear sub, Nautilus, during her last tour just before decommissioning.  It was during this time that he put into motion the plans for the creation of a new and very different submarine to be used in undersea research.


One of his junior officers aboard the Nautilus was a young lieutenant, Lee Crane, a former student, who would, many years later, become the captain of the Seaview, Nelson's submarine.  During these years, Nelson also started to work for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) as an agent.  After the Nautilus was decommissioned, Nelson returned to Annapolis as a teacher at the Academy.  


He was promoted first to rear Admiral (one-star), then eventually to Vice Admiral (three-star) a short time before he retired in order to devote more time to scientific research and the building of his dream, the Seaview, as well as a state-of-the-art facility to sustain the many and varied disciplines needed to study the world’s oceans and their ever changing problems.  The Nelson Institute of Marine Research (NIMR) was then begun under the sponsorship of the Federal Bureau of Marine Exploration (FBME).  His first submarine was a large, nuclear sub with a radical new design, the SSRN Seaview.  At the ‘request’ of the government, the boat carried both conventional and experimental nuclear weapons, unheard of at the time for a research vessel.  Its most visible difference, besides its’ length and width, were her large, transparent, bow view ports, made from Herculite, a tensile hull material with great resistance to pressure that was invented both by Nelson and NIMR scientists.  In addition, the hull design and composite construction materials allowed Seaview to handle depths virtually unparalleled by any ‘normal’ submarine attached to any navy in the world.


The first Captain of the Seaview was a good friend and excellent officer, John Phillips, and for his Executive Officer, he brought in Lt. Commander Chip Morton.  Although basically a civilian ship, Seaview was considered to be pseudo-Navy Reserve and could be activated by the US government as a secret and powerful weapon.  All Seaview's crew were ex-Navy and most were in Reserve status.  Prior to her Maiden Voyage, a terrorist group killed Captain Phillips, causing Nelson ask the Navy for a replacement (which he promptly received), bringing Commander Lee Crane aboard as her new captain.


About a year after Seaview was launched, Harriman Nelson began the construction of the Polidor, a submarine with different characteristics than Seaview.  Unfortunately, the Polidor sank and exploded, due to nerve gas planted aboard by a saboteur.  Its destruction distressed Nelson and led him to call for an overhaul of Seaview.  As a result, the newly refitted and reconstructed Seaview was larger then the original and included a new, multi-faceted vehicle powered by a small nuclear engine, the Flying Sub.  The small submarine was housed in a bay under the bow and had the capability of flying at an air speed of Mach Two.  Seaview later underwent several refits during her lifetime, thereby constantly being updated with current and cutting edge technology.


Because he was instrumental in helping to save the life of the President of the United States during a medical emergency, Nelson was promoted to the rank of full Admiral (4 stars).  Nelson was also awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in Biology, becoming the first American Naval personnel to win such an award.  His fame grew over the years, until he was known around the world as an outstanding Marine Biologist and Marine Engineer as well as an expert in military history and tactics.  He was also known to despise the limelight and notoriety; however, he knew how to use his influence when necessary.


Harry remained unmarried until late in life, partly by choice and partly by unfortunate circumstance.  One of his few serious loves was a student by the name of Ellen Thomas, whom he met at the University of Maryland while teaching on a sabbatical.  She later became the wife of a well-known cetacean biologist, Dr. Walter Bryce, (also one of Nelson’s former students) who was later killed by a giant whale that was the subject of an experiment gone awry.  Another woman, Katherine Campbell, a fellow marine biologist, was killed a few weeks prior to their marriage by enemy agents in retaliation for not turning over the plans of the revolutionary design of the reactor/engine design of the Seaview.


Several years later, he met and employed Captain Karen L. Davis, USN, who developed and headed a Deep Water Diving (DWD) Team for the Institute that was based aboard Seaview.  Roughly three years later, after numerous attempts by several people, particularly Caitlin Davis, to get them together, they married in a large, formal military wedding at the Mission Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California.  Their only child, Sean Pearce Nelson, was born almost two years after the marriage.  His stepdaughter, Caitlin, went on to marry Captain Lee Crane, captain of the Seaview, years later.


He helped develop an underwater acoustical mine called the ‘Grey Ghost.’  Several sabotaged ‘Ghost’ mines were involved in the downing of the USS Monterey and Nelson had to help disarm the devices with the aid of the DWD team.  In the process, he had to undergo a crash course in how to operate the complicated diving equipment.


Some of his other inventions include an ultrasonic gun, a homing device that zeros in on an individual’s heartbeat, a mist cutter radar device that was used on the FS-1, a parabolic reflector, the X4 detector panel, as well as perfecting the Herculite compound used aboard Seaview and the Flying Submarines.


He remained in active control of the Institute until the age of 75.  At that time, he attempted to retire.  Nelson turned over day-to-day operations of the Institute to Admiral Lee Crane.  After roughly one month, he switched to semi-retired status, opting to concentrate on acquisition of scientific projects for the NIMR.


Harriman Nelson is a lover of good music, good food, good coffee, and, of course, bourbon, but he prefers scotch. (Glen Livet)


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