(with compliments to Enterprise)
Linda A. Delaney
(This tale follows the Episode, the Magnus Beam. When the episode ended, an injured Lee Crane was on the ‘front porch’ of the boat, with Nelson, Luanna, Amadi, and Patterson. We were never told what kind of care Lee later received, so here is my version of it.)
Chip squirmed in the seat next to the rack. For what seemed like the hundredth time, at least since the Seaview Captain’s first cruise, he was sitting in Sick Bay, keeping watch. His skipper, Lee Crane, was once again in a rack recovering. Chip sighed and shook his head. It wasn’t as if Lee sought to wind up here. In reality, he hated the confinement of Sick Bay. Chip never could figure out why, but it was almost a pathological aversion. And it had nothing to do Jamison. Lee and Will Jamison were good friends. It had to do with being in Sick Bay itself.
He sighed again, and reached over, touching Crane lightly on the shoulder. The Captain of the Seaview didn’t stir. Chip looked more closely at Lee’s face, taking in the black and blues that had risen in the place of the blows that Lee had received in the beating at the hands of General Gamal’s thugs. He’d come back from the mission after having saved the boat and the men and aided in the destruction of the Magnus Beam. He’d received a commendation from the new government and attended the ceremony at the President’s request. Afterwards, he came back to the boat and promptly collapsed. Doctor Will Jamison, Seaview’s Chief Medical Officer, had him in Sick Bay in a blink of an eye and had contended that the biggest reason for the collapse was pure exhaustion. Plain and simple exhaustion. With a number of contusions and abrasions that he had also been the recipient of, discounting the bruised ribs and the internal bruising that Jamison had ‘discovered’ over Crane’s protests, the Skipper had earned yet another round in Sick Bay.
Surprisingly, once Jamie had ceased poking and probing, Lee had acquiesced almost immediately, and voluntarily climbed into a rack, promptly falling into a deep sleep, that the doctor helped along with the setting in of a hep-lock and IV line, and an added sedative. And if Jamie had his way, Lee Crane would sleep for the next 48 hours.
Chip knew all this and still insisted on keeping watch with his friend. Lee and Chip had been roommates at the Academy, and besides the two young men becoming fast friends, the Morton family had adopted Lee Crane. Clarry Morton had taken the young man as one of her own when Chip had explained to his mom Lee’s lack of family. Consequently, every time the young men had enough leave to go home (which was few and far between), Lee went with Chip to the Morton’s. Helen Crane had, at that time, still not reconciled herself to Lee’s choice of career and rarely had contact with him.
Chip sighed again, rising and going to the pot of coffee that John and Frank always had hot when one or more of the Senior Staff was ‘in residence’. He poured a cup of the hot, black liquid, inhaling deeply of the rich aroma. He picked up a pile of papers, determined at least to make some headway with his reports as he kept watch with Lee. He knew that the Captain’s condition wasn’t serious, yet he also knew that Lee had some kind of sixth sense or radar that let him know that someone was there with him, to keep ‘watch’. And he knew that Lee would recover more quickly if someone was with him.
Chip pulled one of the hospital tables to the bedside, situated the chair next to it, put the papers on top of it, and then settled in to do some work while he waited.
As the hours passed, he became aware of how smoothly Sick Bay operated under Jamison’s scrutiny. There was very little upset in routine when someone reported in with an injury or illness. John and Frank, and their two assistants, saw to the men with efficiency and ease, rarely bothering Jamison with the problems. During the course of his watch, Chip saw two sprained fingers, a twisted knee and a sick man with a virus. Chip was pleased to watch how the facility ran so efficiently.
Having been in Lee’s position more often than he himself wanted to remember, and having sat watch with Lee, also more times than he could count, he had never really observed the activities in the Sickbay with such scrutiny. All the other times that he had sat in this chair, Lee or the Admiral, or both, had been in circumstances that were much more urgent, and his attention had been riveted on the man or men in the rack. This time, he had the ‘luxury’ as it were to watch Sick Bay in operation at night. Unlike standard boats, there was no need for a ‘Sick Call’ time in the course of a day, for unlike other boats, the Seaview had her own, large, fully equipped Sick Bay, not a corner of the crew’s mess set aside for temporary use. Lucky for this boat, and her senior staff in particular.
Chip shuddered to think of what would have happened to Lee, the Admiral, or even to himself if they hadn’t had the facilities that they did on this boat. Fortunately, more than one time it had saved their lives. Chip had never really taken the time to observe the smooth efficiency of Jamison’s ‘lair’, and yet, he knew, from experience, that the medic ran a tight operation.
He looked around, then back at Lee Crane, musing again at the circumstances that had brought the both of them here at this time. He reflected back to the Missile Room when the Magnus Beam had ‘engaged’. When everything metal had flown to the sides of the boat and everything else had stopped. The hatches had ‘locked down’, trapping all of the men wherever they were, and keeping them in a state of anxiety until Amadi had informed them what was happening. It was at that time that he wanted, personally, to kill the man on the spot. Nelson himself had charged at the man as the lights had literally gone out, and only that had kept the traitorous colonel safe.
In retrospect, Chip still itched to throttle the man, his secret desires made even stronger when he had seen Lee on his return from the mission. Ever the one to dismiss his injuries, Crane had sloughed off the beating, allowing Luana to baby him a bit in the Nose…‘for her sake’, he told Chip later…because she felt so badly about what had happened. Lee had also managed to evade Jamison, busting his own orders about seeing the ‘Doc’ when anyone returned to the boat after an assignment. His excuse was simple. He had too many reports, too much to do, and at the insistence of the President of the United States, he had to get ready for the reception at the new President’s State Building. Lee was decidedly uncomfortable in the position of ‘Hero of the State’, but he was ordered to go and he always followed orders.
Chip remembered how very tired Lee looked as he left the boat, and how totally ridiculous he looked in dress blues, with his face as blue, and black in places as the uniform he wore. Chip also noticed how he winced as he moved, and several times, unobtrusively, had stood close, as Lee wavered during the long ceremony in the sun. Chip could also see the grateful look on his friend’s face as he climbed, with difficulty, into the waiting car and sunk back into the seat, closing his eyes and letting out a deep sigh.
Climbing in next to him, Chip had smiled, and quietly eased next to him. Touching his arm, he had asked, “You okay?”
Crane had mumbled a weak affirmative, and, if possible, sunk deeper into the leather seat.
“We’ll be back at the boat
Crane had mumbled, “Ummm…be good to be home…”
“Yep… well, you can put away all the cloak and dagger for a while…”
Nelson, riding in the front seat, had turned and watched and listened to the exchange, passing a look to Morton that told him that, regardless of the Captain’s protests, Sick Bay loomed in Lee’s future.
It all had become a moot point when the Captain of the boat had made his way down the ladder into the Control Room, took two steps towards the Plot Table, and promptly collapsed. Kowalski’s quick response had prevented Lee from hitting his head on the deck by a fraction of an inch, and Jamison’s corpsmen had responded rapidly, transporting Crane to Sick Bay in mere minutes.
Chip looked up as Frank Lerner came to the bedside.
“Just checking the Skipper’s vitals, sir. The Doc wants us to check on him every two hours, just because he is the Skipper…” The Corpsman smiled and the Exec smiled back.
“Understood. Recalcitrant patients need extra care…right, Frank?”
The corpsman slightly
grinned at the senior officer, “Yes, sir. And we all know how the Skipper
feels about being here.” He looked at Morton, and added, “In fact, we
know how all the Senior Staff feels about being here.”
Morton nodded, a faint smile appearing through the concern, “Well, I know I, for one, will be at least a little less difficult from now on. Sitting here with the Captain, I’ve come to a finer appreciation of the work that’s done here, Frank. A much finer appreciation.”
“Aye, sir, Mr. Morton.” And then there was what could pass for a slight chuckle. “But begging your pardon, I’ll believe it when I see it, sir.” He stood, looking at the information he had recorded about Lee. “The Skipper’s doing fine, sir. All his vitals are right on the mark. I think Doc will allow him up and about when he wakes up.”
“Sounds good, Frank, but I’m still staying….at least ‘til he wakes up…”
“Aye, sir. I’ll tell Doc.” He moved towards Jamison’s office, and Chip went back to his paperwork, frequently looking up and watching his friend.
Sometime in the early hours of the Alpha watch, the Captain of the Seaview began to wake up. He ached all over. He didn’t remember much, but the sounds and smells, as he became more and more aware, told him he was still in Sick Bay. He moved slightly, and heard papers rustling nearby. He opened one eye, and saw the blurry image of a blond head bent over the table at the bedside. He opened his other eye, and clearly saw the figure of his Exec deep in paperwork. Waiting a few seconds, he cleared his throat, and waited for a response.
The blond head jerked up and stared. A smile slowly spread across the Exec’s face. “Greetings, Captain! Glad that you have returned to the land of the living!”
“That’s not a nice way to say hello…. You’d think that you’d say ‘Hi, Chip!’ or ‘How are you, Chip?’ not, ‘How long?’”
“Alright! Hi, Chip!… How long?”
Morton was grinning and ready to give his long time friend a hard time. “How long what, Captain? How long is the trip home, how much longer do I have left on my watch, how long is it until the next leave…?’
“Dammit, Chip!” came a low growl, “How long have I been here? I remember coming down the ladder in the Control Room, and then nothing after that.”
Chip pushed the table of papers aside and pulled the chair next to the rack. “Well…about 36 hours this time, Lee. Jamie said that you collapsed from exhaustion. You don’t remember him examining you after you ‘collapsed’?”
“Uh-uh. Why? What did I do or say?” the look of alarm on Crane’s face told the Exec volumes of what the Captain thought he might have said.
“Nothing, Lee, really…nothing. I wish I’d had it on record, tho. It was the first time that I know of that Jamie said, ‘Bed, Captain!’ and without a protest, the captain actually went to bed. It was an unusual sight, to say the least….no fights, arguments or disagreements, you just plain and simple went to bed…”
Crane threw an arm over his head, “I must’ve been out of my mind. The beating, I guess….”
Morton saw the smile
beginning to creep across the Captain’s face. “Must’ve been. Wish
you’d’ve seen the look on Jamie’s face… It was absolutely priceless….” And he
laughed aloud. “Would’ve been worth it for you to see…”
”Well, maybe it’s a good thing I don’t remember… wouldn’t want to put in a repeat performance of it.”
Jamison had heard the talk and had come into the Sick Bay from his office. “Hello, Captain… how are you feeling? And let’s forgo the ‘I’m fine,’ routine, Lee. Tell me the truth.”
Moving about on the rack, he tugged lightly on the IV line. “Okay, I ache all over. I think that I spent a lot of time on the floor, in a cell, and there were a number of beatings. Okay, I’m uncomfortable, not fine.”
“Good, good, Lee, that’s a start. Now, the next question… are you going to behave yourself or does this sedative,” he held a needle above the IV line, “Go into this line and put you back to sleep.” Jamison grinned widely, teeth gleaming, in what Morton would only describe as an evil grin.
Not having much of a choice at the moment, the Captain responded with “I’ll be good, Will. I promise.”
Jamison lowered the needle and looked at Morton, “Well, now…I do have witnesses, so your goose is, for the time being, glued to that rack for the next 24. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll let you out and assign you to your cabin. And then I’ll make Frank your personal ‘aide-de-camp’ for the following 48. Is that understood? If not…if you decide to try and bust orders…the sedative will be used and you will remain in La-La land until we reach home.”
Reluctantly, Crane agreed, more than willing to rest for a while longer, but not willing to risk the doctor’s ire, and the threat of the sedative.
“Good.” He turned to Morton,
“And you, Mr. Morton, you’ve been here for 20 of the last 28.
You are out of here, to finish your watch, under my orders, and then to
quarters for at least six hours. Say good night to the Captain and get out of
Morton understood all too well the inference of Jamie’s veiled threat. He gathered up his papers and pulled them into a somewhat disorderly pile, as an amused Lee Crane looked on.
Quietly, Lee asked, “How is it that you’re listening to the owner of this torture chamber all of a sudden?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you… and I will, once we’re both back on duty together. In the meantime, Skipper, rest and listen to the ‘sawbones’. We’ve got a lot to be thankful for here…more than you know…much more than you’ll ever know!” He grinned at Crane and at Jamison, and then left, nodding to Frank as he passed him.
Jamison turned his full attention to Crane. “Well, Captain, for whatever reason, your Exec has found the error of his ways and now it’s your turn. I meant what I said, Lee. Sleep and rest…and I just may let you sit up and have dinner…Maybe!!” He straightened the IV line, fussed at the blankets, and turned to leave.
Lee reached for his arm and asked, “No serious damage, Will?”
The Seaview’s CMO looked down at his patient. “Hmmmm, nothing that a good rest won’t cure. Those aches and pains will eventually go away quickly if you lie there and rest. So, Captain…don’t even think about getting up…or out…”
“Don’t worry, Jamie…I did promise…”
Jamison smiled, and walked back to his office. As Crane burrowed into the covers, he murmured, “At least for now…”
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea tm ©, 20th Century Fox, and the Irwin Allen Foundation and its related companies, all rights reserved. Any reproduction, duplication, or distribution in any form is expressly prohibited. This web site, its operators and any content contained on this site relating to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea tm © are not authorized by Fox.