(With compliments to Captain Seamus O’Hara Nelson )
Linda A. Delaney
Shade; ghost, apparition, specter
(Time and place; the North Atlantic waters, shortly after the sighting of a square-rigger and the subsequent mysterious events on the SSRN Seaview, in The Haunted Submarine.)
Lee Crane took careful note of the activities in the Control Room of his ‘Lady’ the SSRN Seaview. The boat, suffering damage during this last trip out, was heading toward port at half speed. The chief of the boat, Francis Sharkey had expressed concerns about the compartments near the reactor room, after the boat had taken several hits from the old fashioned cannonballs fired at them from the square rigger. She had also taken a pounding from something that had resembled depth charges. Careful inspection of the inner hull in the suspect area showed a distinct weakening of the seals and joints, in the after quarter of the boat. Sharkey wasn’t a happy man.
Captain Crane was disturbed. His boat was suffering. She had damage
but the Admiral
The Admiral had withheld information and had shut him out, effectively dismissing Crane's concerns and inquiries. Nelson was almost a stranger to himself, cold, aloof and uncaring. Something was wrong, and Lee's anger continued to build as Nelson pushed him further and further away. What the hell was it?
Nelson sat at his desk in the dark of his cabin. He knew what the problem was. He knew very well.
What it was, was Seamus O’Hara Nelson, or the ghost of Himself as the shade would refer to himself. At the very least, Harriman Nelson was just now beginning to realize what a scoundrel Himself was. The information from Boston about his ancestor had shaken him to the core. He had no idea that the man the family had descended from could have been so totally amoral and in addition, so totally unconcerned about his own lack of morality. He had been a slaver… nothing more, nothing less. He had participated in the Triangle trade, selling unfortunate human beings and profiting enormously from it. The family had known and hidden it well, so well, in fact that the current generation had no idea of where the family’s wealth had really come from. The Triangle Trade… that was the source, not Tea as the family perpetrated. Nelson’s concern spread beyond his own reputation and he worried about his sister, Edith, and what this information would do to her.
Edie, his little sister, foolishly prided herself on her family’s reputation and the family’s inheritance. She was kind and caring and generous in spite of her foolish pride and was involved in many charitable organizations. Edie loved the life she led. Her friends were also suitably impressed with her family connections. Information like this would, literally, kill Edie. It would follow that if his own life had been a fraud, how would this make Edie feel about her own very busy and committed life. He shook off that thought and turned his focus back to himself. Edie could wait, as this was very private information. No one would find out, unless he, Harriman Nelson wanted them to and that included his friends and fellow officers here on the boat. If Lee or Chip knew this, how would they feel about him… about all that he had built and claimed he stood for. How would they look at him now? No, this was something that he was going to have to keep to himself… very much to himself… and he was tired…so very tired…
"Mr. Morton! Mr. Morton! "Sharkey called on the intercom. " This is the Reactor Room! We have a problem, sir!"
"Go ahead, Chief - What’s wrong?"
"Sir, that problem with the bulkhead… We found it in the tween hull and it's going to breech unless we can fix it fast!"
"Very well, Chief. Start emergency shut down procedure, switch to battery power and shut down all but essential services. I’ll send a damage control party to you ASAP." Double-clicking the mike, "Damage Control, report to the Reactor Room. The inner bulkhead is in danger of a breech." He turned to the helm… "Up bubble on all planes! Surface!!! Surface!!!" Clicking the mike again, "Engine Room! Give me all the power that you can on the emergency generators. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use the main power circuits. There’s a problem in the Reactor Room!" Clicking again, " All Hands, dog all watertight hatches! Brace for emergency surface! All hands to emergency stations!"
Lee Crane sprinted down the spiral gangway quickly, making the Plot Table in three swift strides. "Status?"
"Problem in the Reactor Room, Skipper. Looks like a weakened bulkhead, from an external leak that we didn’t see on the initial exterior check. It must’ve been real small. Problem is that it’s in ‘tween hull in the Reactor Room and the bulkhead is about to breech. The DC team is on the way, we’re starting emergency shutdown of the Reactor, surfacing on auxiliary power. I want to try and surface and check out the hull. That’s if the bulkhead can stand the strain of the surfacing and the continued water pressure."
" …and if not, I’d say we’re in for a rocky ride."
"At the very least! Lee, what about the O.O.M.? "
"If he isn’t here, he obviously isn’t concerned."
Chip laid a hand on the Captain’s arm, "Lee… aren’t you being a little rough on him? I mean…after all…"
He didn’t get a chance to finish as the boat suddenly lurched starboard then port at a horrendous angle. Morton was smashed against the far side; Crane was flung all the way to the helm control. Men lay sprawled and bleeding from the battering.
In the Reactor Room, the DC crew had tried desperately to release the pressure on the bulkhead before it ruptured, but they were unable to and the water burst through the bulkhead with such force it sent the men flying across the compartment. Once the water reached waist level, the force slowed long enough for the men to get on their feet and out of the Compartment before it flooded Once in the corridor, the last men out dogged the hatch and collapsed against the bulkheads,. Within minutes help arrived.
Sharkey pulled the mike from the wall, "Sharkey to the Control Room…" He waited for the reply. When none came, he repeated, "Sharkey to the Control Room, Mr. Morton… come in please…"
He turned to Chief McNulty. "You take over here, I’m goin’ down to the Control Room!…" He started to move, muttering to himself, " They ain’t answerin’ and that ain’t good!!"
"Sure, Sharkey, " ‘Mac’ replied… No one here seems to be hurt, so we’ll see if we can get back in there and get to sealing the leak till we make the surface and can work on the outer hull. I just hope there's no more damage. We sure hit bottom hard."" Sharkey nodded and continued down the corridor at a rapid pace. Passing two crewmen leaving the stores locker, he ordered, "Come with me! If we’ve got trouble in the Con, we’re gonna need all the hands we get. Let’s get moving!"
In the swirling mist that was his dream, Harriman Nelson found his way to the end of the fog and to the brightening light. He could smell the sea, the mother of all, the fine harpy whose song he had answered decades ago. It refreshed his soul and soothed the pain, until he heard a familiar laugh and turned, as the mist cleared and he found himself on the deck of a sailing ship, finding himself facing Seamus O’Hara Nelson, Himself.
Seamus was standing, legs spread and arms akimbo and he was laughing. Laughing hard. "Well, Laddie, it seems that I may be gettin’ me wish after all. I cain’t kill ya, but the cannon balls I shot at ya may have done more good damage than I was thinkin’ they did! Ha!"
"I don’t understand …."
"Yer boat's on the bottom, laddie." he laughed. "Ye’ve sprung a leak. Aye, a bad leak and yer men are a bit addled. Yer captain and first officer are hurt along with some of the rest of 'em. Bad hurt....so I will have ya take me place after all, little chance ye'll be leaving the craft alive."
"Goddamn you, Seamus Nelson!!! Damn you to hell!!"
"Laddie, Laddie" Seamus laughed, "…Hell, why I'm already there!!! There's not a thing ye can do ta make it any worse that it already is!! Not a thing…" He grew serious… "Go now! Go on… away with ye… I'll be back ta see ya soon… real soon, Laddie!!" and he laughed and laughed.
Harriman Nelson twisted on the rack, sweating hard and then he snapped awake. His cabin was dark but for the red emergency light and he was off the bunk and out the door of the cabin before he thought twice about it. Seamus O'Hara's words were ringing in his ears… 'Yer Captain and your first officer are hurt!"
He increased his pace, turning into the companionway that led to the gangway to the Control Room. He descended rapidly and found utter chaos at the base of the steps.
Bodies and equipment in the control room lay about in the eerie red glow. At that moment, Sharkey's team raced into the room and began to assist the groaning men. Nelson found Crane sprawled under the helm control. Crane had a cut running along the hairline and his arm was bent at a strange angle. Gently, Nelson moved him onto his back and after calling his name several times and not getting a response, pulled the nearest mike from its holder and called for help from Sick Bay. Then he turned to the next man on the floor, the helmsman and then the planesman. He was able to revive the men and they set about helping their shipmates.
"Admiral!" Sharkey called him, "Sir, over here, please!"
He moved to the COB, who was kneeling next to the Exec. Morton was consciousness, but in significant pain. Nelson placed a reassuring hand on his arm. "Easy, Chip. Help is on the way. Doc will be here soon."
"Admiral," Morton protested, "I'm… all right. Just… bruised my… shoulder, …sir. Lee…the men?"
Nelson hesitated briefly, "Jamie's on his way, Chip."
With that, Jamison came into the room, followed by his corpsmen and several others. He saw Nelson move his head toward the helm control and he moved quickly to the Captain. He knelt down, doing an immediate check of vitals. Carefully wiping the blood from the cut on Crane’s hairline, he moved Lee’s arm to an easier position, He signaled to Kowalski, who had been hovering over the injured Captain and murmured, "Stay here until a stretcher comes. Then get the Skipper down to Sick Bay. Tell Frank to get the X-rays started and see what we need to do for the Captain."
"Aye, sir. … Doc, the Skipper, he will be okay, won’t he?"
"We’ll see, Kowalski…we’ll just have to see." He nodded and then rose to go to Chip. Sharkey and Nelson moved aside to let the medic examine the man on the deck. Jamison smiled a doctor’s smile and asked, "Well, Chip… what did you do to yourself this time?"
"Just …a ….bruise… that’s all, Jamie…" he gasped.
"Why don’t you breathe as deeply as you can and I’ll tell you what’s wrong, Commander."
Chip grunted with pain, as even a shallow breath caused the shoulder bones to shift and hurt.
"Just as I thought. The shoulder is more than bruised." He ran his hand lightly over the injured shoulder, "Actually, from the give in it, it’s at the very least dislocated …" He looked at Nelson and Sharkey, speaking to them over Chip’s head. For that, Morton cast him as angry a look as he could muster over the pain. "Let’s get him up and let me see if I can stabilize it. We all know that the Exec isn’t leaving here for a while…"
Chip grunted, "You got that one right, Will. This Exec isn’t going anywhere for the time being. There’s too much to be done to get this boat off the bottom, however deep we may or may not be."
Both men helped to ease Chip to a sitting position, beads of perspiration forming on his forehead with the effort. Jamison removed the Exec's tie and opened his shirt, feeling the point where the bone had dislodged. Chip gasped and Jamison quickly finished his exam. He reached into the black bag next to him and pulled an ace bandage from the bag. Undoing the rest of the Exec's shirt, slitting the side with his scissors, he proceeded to wrap the shoulder and bound the arm to his chest to prevent any further damage. He reached again into the bag and pulled out a needle and a bottle of medication. He filled the syringe and then after checking it, stuck it into Morton's bicep. In a few minutes, some of the tension in Chip's face relaxed. "That's better Jamie."
"Well, you know as well as I do that it's only temporary. As soon as you can, come down to Sick Bay and we'll do this right."
"Yeah, Doc… when we get to the surface and I can let O'Brien take the Con. Right now, he's down in the belly of the boat, trying to get the Dive Planes to work manually." He moved and grunted. "Somebody, help me get on my feet, will you… we need to get things moving. We have to get this boat off the bottom, otherwise, we'll never be able to fix the problem!"
Nelson and Jamison helped him up and Sharkey began to hover in the background. Leaning on the Plot Table, Chip began to firmly and authoritatively issue orders to the crew. Jamison looked at him one more time and then stated, "To the Sick Bay as soon as possible."
In between orders, he growled, "Yeah, Doc… will do…!" He tugged at the awkwardly buttoned shirt, uncomfortable with the open side, loose shirttails and lack of tie, not to mention the fact that the shirt was only buttoned about a third of the way. He was uncomfortable, but not in pain and at least his head was clear. That he thought he looked ridiculous was a given, but how he looked wasn't the issue. How he worked and what he did was what was important.
Leaning on the Plot Table, Chip began to firmly and authoritatively issue orders to the crew. Jamison looked at him one more time and then repeated, "To the Sick Bay as soon as possible…"
In between orders, he answered, "I’ll get to you as soon as we get off the bottom!" He turned, and using the mike, began to collect and assimilate information from all parts of the boat. Jamison gave him a parting glance and nodding to Nelson, left the Control Room. Nelson headed toward the aft part of the boat, making the Reactor Room his objective, to see where and what was needed to get the boat moving again. He was worried, about Lee, the men and the boat… and that devil, Seamus Nelson, what else would he do this time…
Will Jamison entered a Sick Bay that was abuzz with activity. Corpsmen and trained volunteers were working with the men who were on the gurneys, on the floor and sitting and lying on the racks. A quick glance around the room told him what he wanted to know, that there were bumps, bruises and assorted dings, but not too many serious problems. Not too many.
He saw John Warner working with a man, taking stitches in the patient’s forehead and saw two others with arms wrapped in bandages. To his relief, he saw very little blood and fewer bandages than he expected. As he entered the ‘inner sanctum’, the center room of the Bay, he saw Frank Lerner wheeling the x-ray machine into its place and saw Lee Crane, still unconscious, on the center gurney. The Captain had been stripped of his uniform and was covered to the waist by a white sheet. His left arm was wrapped in an air cast and a long white bandage covered his hairline from the center of his forehead to behind his left ear. On his chest were monitor pads attached to various machines and an IV hung, attached to a hep-lock in his arm. An oxygen cannula was hooked to his face
As Frank Lerner pushed the X-ray machine back into place, he said softly, "Doc, the Skipper’s skull series are on the disk on your desk…"
Jamison nodded and moved to the gurney.. He checked the chart and the vital signs, made a few notes and carried the chart to his desk. He placed the disk in the drive and pulled up Lee’s X-rays, studying them carefully. He made a series of notes on the chart and then rose to go back to the Captain’s gurney. He took his penlight and shone it in one and then the other eye, looking for a reaction. He noted what he saw, then did some further tests and made more notes on the chart. When he went back to his office, he motioned to Frank and waited as the corpsman came to his desk.
"He hit his head on the base of the Helm Control. He’s got all the indications for the beginning of a hematoma on the left side of his head, behind his ear. There’s evidence of a small tear in the Dura and some clouding in that area of the X-Ray. I need to get a CAT scan, ASAP. And that means a hospital. "
"We’re still on the bottom, Doc. How do we get him out of here? The flying sub can't launch without some kind of clearance under the bow."
"Right now, I don’t know. We’ll have to talk to the Admiral on this one…"
"Not Mr. Morton?"
"No! Chip’s got his own problems. As soon as we reach the surface, we’ve got to get him in here. He’s got a dislocated shoulder. He’s gonna need another shot of the painkiller…" He looked at his watch, "In about two hours. And I don’t want to be late with it."
"Gotcha, Doc. I’ll set the timer in the meds locker. That’ll let remind us. In the meantime, what about the Skipper?"
"I’m going to start him on an anti-coagulant and hope for the best for the time being… there isn’t much else I can do and unless it increases in size, I’d like to take a non-invasive route until I get a second opinion."
"Once Sparks gets the radio going, you can at least send the pictures to the Institute."
"Yep. Or better yet, I’ll send ‘em to Santa Barbara General, to Nick Clemente. He’s the best on the West Coast with subdural hematomas. He’s also got the connections to hospitals in the East."
"Do you want me to get the meds?"
"Yes, the Heparin, 5,000 units into the IV right away," he consulted the chart in front of him, "and I want to get that up to a dosage of about 30,000 to 40,000 units in the next 24 hours, just in case we can’t transport him within that time frame, and we need to keep someone at his side all the time."
"Watch for changes?"
"Yep…" Jamison stood and moved to the side of the gurney, once again checking on the machines and also doing his own, admittedly old-fashioned hands on check. Satisfied, he moved to the racks on the side bulkhead, checking on the occupants one at a time. Frank took the Heparin from the med locker and prepared the dosage, inserting it into Crane’s IV line, after Jamison had checked it. Finishing up his other duties, he pulled a stool to Crane’s bedside, pulled out a medical journal and settled into his watch at his Captain’s side. Jamison looked around the now peaceful Sick Bay and went to his desk, hoping that the boat would soon be off the bottom and he could get the XO in for treatment and the Skipper on his way to the nearest and best Hospital he could get him to.
When he reached the Reactor Room, Nelson first checked at the Observation window on the status of the flooding. The companionway had been pumped clear and was relatively dry. The water in the now sealed Reactor Room was about chest deep and craning his head, saw the tear in the bulkhead. It was a large tear, ruptured outward on the starboard side of the Reactor Room. The water was leaking in, no longer rushing thru the hole and his mind began to both assess the damage and devise solutions.
Obviously the pressure in the Reactor Room had equalized. If it had not, the water would still be pouring in. Therefore, he wouldn’t risk undogging the hatch to go in. No, any entry would have to be made in another way. The air ducts were out of the question, too small in this area and they had an automatic lock-down device that sealed them if there was any problem in the room… so in effect, the room was sealed for the time being and nothing else could be done until they were on the surface. Accepting the facts for what they were now, he moved to the mike on the wall and picked it up.
"Nelson to the Control Room… Chip?"
Morton’s voice was rough with pain… "Aye, sir."
"Chip, let’s get some men to auxiliary control and at the same time send some men to the ballast tanks. If we can pump them out and raise the boat, then we can get into the Reactor Room and get the hull damage repaired on the surface."
"Aye, sir," Morton replied. "I’ll send Sharkey and a crew to the auxiliary control and Kowalski and a crew to the tanks… Any word on Lee, sir?"
"No, Chip…nothing from Jamie…. How are you holding up?"
Chip’s answer was accompanied by a grunt, "I’m …fine, sir…I’ll report to Jamie once we are on the surface…and the boat is being repaired. It’s nothing,… Admiral. I’ll be fine."
Nelson’s response was a similar grunt, "Of course, Mr. Morton, of course. I’m going to my cabin to do some work for the temporary hull repair. Let me know when you’re ready to surface."
"Aye, sir." The mike clicked off and Nelson clicked into Sick Bay.
"No change, Admiral… I’ve started Lee on Heparin, to stop the clot from forming… he’s still deeply unconscious."
"Just venting, Will….just venting…I’ll be in my cabin…."
"…if there’s any change. I know, sir. I’ll inform you."
"Thanks…" Nelson hung the mike on the wall and made his way to his cabin. In the eerie red glow of the emergency lights, Nelson reflected on his boat, his Institute, his men, his life… He had built his life on one premise….be honest in all that he did. His ancestor’s blatant dishonesty and the family’s apparently successful efforts to cover it up was a soul-shattering revelation. What would his men, his friends now think of him…He shook his head… His personal demons had to be put aside… the boat was in trouble… men, including Chip and Lee, were hurt…. He had to get a grip on himself…. He had to! He arrived at his cabin, threw open the door and automatically reached for the desk light. A soft rolling laugh met his attempt.
"Ahh, Laddie, are ye fergettin ye’ve no lights on this craft o’ yourn. All yer havin’ is this here, what didja man call it, emergency lighting?" Seamus Nelson held his hands on his hips, laughing long and hard. He reached for his snuff box and then looked at his descendent… "I’m thinkin’ I left me snuff box here the last time I paid ya a visit, lad. Have ye been seein’ it?"
Staring at the shade of his ancestor, Nelson moved to his desk and opened one of the drawers. He reached in and pulled out the small silver box, lavishly engraved… He extended his hand to the spirit and watched as he took the box and opened it.
Looking in, Seamus smiled. "Yer not likin’ snuff, are ye lad? Too bad. As I’ve told yer before, clears the head…Right well!" He took two pinches of the black powder and inhaled deeply, followed by a powerful sneeze. He laughed again. "Ahhh…that was indeed good. Cleared me mind, lad, cleared me mind." He paused and turned the snuff box over in his hands, a wistful look coming over his face for a brief moment. " This was a gift, ya know, Laddie, a gift from me Maggie…shortly before she passed over. She was a foine woman, me Maggie…a foine one. " He looked at it closely once more and then placed it on Nelson’s desk. "If yer likin’ me box so, I’ll be givin’ it back ta ya. Seems that I canna convince ye to come ta me side, at least this time. Yer boat is bein’ repaired, an’ ye’ll be afloat afore long… I’ll be on me way again… but Laddie, I’ll be back… I’ll keep returnin’ ‘til ye or one o’ yourn agree ta take me place. I’ll not let yer family rest ‘til I’ve a way out o’ this place."
"You old blackguard! I know that you can’t leave the sea, for that’s where you’re cursed to remain because of the souls that you took! And you know it’s only me or my sister and Edie will never be near enough to you for you to even make the offer, nor would she take it if she was!"
"Ahh, Laddie, Laddie, you canna know all the future ye may be havin’ in store fer ya. That’s the beauty of yer life…yer the future is unknown. But I ken be assurin’ ya, I will be back. ‘Tisn’t the end of Seamus O’Hara Nelson that ye’ve seen… Ta’ fer now, Laddie… we’ll be meetin’ again." and the shade shimmered and disappeared. Nelson shook his head and looked up as the overhead lights came on. He reached for the intercom on his desk.
The Exec’s voice sounded harsh, raspy and tightly controlled. "The emergency generator is activated, Sir. We have lights and air. The auxiliary control is up and running. Kowalski reports that the hand pumps are engaged and we should be the emptying the tanks and making our way to the surface in the next twenty minutes." He paused, taking a deep breath, "Since we weren’t that deep …to begin with, …we won’t… take that long to surface, once… we begin… to move…" Nelson heard the mike drop and heard muttered voices and several curses loudly released. The mike was picked up, "Admiral, this is O’Brien, sir. The XO just keeled over we’re sending for Doc."
"Bob, just send for the corpsmen. Get Mr. Morton to Sick Bay and I’ll be
"Aye, sir!" The reply, however, fell on an empty cabin, as Nelson was already on his way to the Control Room.
Nelson charged down the spiral gangway into the Control Room as two Corpsmen were carrying an unconscious Chip Morton through the aft hatch, towards Sick Bay. A concerned Bob O’Brien stood at the Plot Table, checking the men on duty, quietly reminding them to return their concentration to their stations. Nelson came to a halt next to the Second. "All stations at the ready?"
"Aye sir, we’re on the ascent. We should broach the surface at 1750," He
glanced at his watch, "Slow and steady, 13 minutes, sir."
"Good. I’m going to Sick Bay. Call me there when we broach."
Nelson clapped a hand on O’Brien’s shoulder. "He’ll be alright, son. They both will."
O’Brien managed a slight grin, "Yessir!" Nelson nodded, leaving the Control Room through the same hatch that they had carried Morton through.
Moments later, he entered a very busy Sick Bay. Jamison had finished the job that he started in the Control Room and had what remained of Morton’s shirt it pieces on the floor. The X-ray machine was again being wheeled back to its place and Jamison was setting a hep-lock in Chip’s good arm to begin an IV. The injured arm and shoulder lay bare, as Jamison examined the tissue, seeing the bruising and noting the deep level of unconsciousness in the Exec.
"He’ll be okay, Harry. His body just did what his stubborn, pig-headed mind wouldn’t. It stopped keeping him awake. It shut him down and put him out better than I even could." Will flashed a smile at his Commanding Officer. "Sometimes, Mother Nature knows better than these boys, Harry. Much better."
"Once we surface, what options do you want to have for them?"
"Right now, I want to finish with Chip. Lee’s condition is the same. We’re monitoring him. Since I have him on a heparin drip to prevent that possible hematoma, we have to make sure, if we move him, that the weather conditions are stable the entire route of the flight."
"Mmhunh. As soon as we see what is going on with the boat, I’ll have Sparks radio New London for weather conditions. We’ll be pulling into the sub base for repairs. We’re about a day out, as I see it. Bob can see to the temporary repairs and bring her in. I’ll fly the FS1 myself, if the weather conditions are good. Otherwise, we’ll have to wait til we make port."
"I’d rather not wait, if I don’t have to, but I’m not going to take any chances either. Right now, the both of them are stable. That’s all that I can ask for."
"I imagine stable is better than unstable and right now, well, you are the doctor."
Jamison nodded and his eyes went to the man on the second gurney that had been added to the room. "Sometimes I wonder how they managed to survive so long without me?" He grinned at Nelson. "Whenever I complain about this job, Harry, remind me how much I love it, will you?"
Nelson nodded, "You’ve got a deal, Will." Turning to leave, "I’ll be in the Control Room, you’ll…"
"Let you know if there’s any change I need to know about…Yes, I will. You’ll be the first to know…"
Lee Crane found the murky dark the hardest thing to fight his way out of. It seemed to surround and engulf him, holding him prisoner. Somewhere in the background he heard laughter. Loud, raucous laughter that sounded so familiar. It was as if someone was laughing at his efforts to wake. The familiarity of the laugh bothered him. Then again, there were a lot of things that had bothered him lately. Especially the Admiral. He had shut him out of the information from Boston. He had withheld the information about the square rigger and it had sent the boat to the bottom. The laughter sounded like his. That was it! Nelson! Nelson was laughing at him! Damn! He had to give him hell…who did he think he was?
Jamison looked up at the loud cry from the Captain’s gurney.
"Nelson!" Lee called out.
He jumped up and was at Crane’s side in seconds, instantly aware that the cry was from a still unconscious Captain. He placed a hand on Crane’s shoulder, hoping the touch of warmth against skin would draw Crane out.
"Lee…" he called gently, "Lee…"
"Admiral!! Why?! Why?!" he cried out again.
Stronger and more commanding, "Lee! Lee, it’s Jamie…What’s wrong, Lee?"
"He didn’t tell me… Why? Why?" With those words, Crane’s eyes flashed open…Hazel eyes searched, questioningly…slow realization crept across his face, "Jamie? What? … How did I…?"
"Easy now, Skipper. Let me go back over what I know and then you can ask the questions. As you can easily see, this is Sick Bay, your favorite place on the boat." He smiled at the Captain as he checked vitals and kept talking. "You hit your head on the base of the helm control, when we did a rock and roll and the boat hit bottom. You also landed on your arm and it’s broken. You’ve a head trauma, you’ve been unconscious for the last four hours and I’m not happy with what I see on the x-rays. You’re on a heparin drip for what could be a hematoma forming. You have 11 stitches in that thick head of yours. There looks to be a tear in the dura, behind your ear. For now and your immediate future, you re are not moving from that gurney until we get to port and get you to a CAT scan to see what’s going on inside your head. I don’t mean your mind, I know you are already trying to plot your way out of here. It’s that hard head of yours I’m worried about. Any thing else I didn’t mention can’t be important to you right now."
Crane waved a hand groggily, "The boat… I need to talk to Chip."
In a slightly more gentle tone, Jamison said "Not possible, Lee. He’s here, keeping you company, at least in the physical sense and he’s out for the count. He dislocated his shoulder in the incident, but wouldn’t leave the Con to anyone else. He passed out a few minutes ago. I know he won’t wake up for a while. His body isn’t going to let him."
Lee looked glum… "Who’s got the Con, the Admiral?"
"Actually, ‘your boat’ is in Bobby’s competent hands, with the Admiral looking on of course."
"Call the Admiral? Yes, but you have to rest ‘til he gets here…and you’re not getting up, out, or having me remove anything. Not that there’s a whole lot you could do in your present state anyway. I don’t want you in anything but a horizontal position until I know more of what’s going on in your head."
"Don’t worry, Will…Head hurts too much to get up and move around." He shifted slightly, "Think I’ll sleep for a bit… tired, real … tired"
Jamison nodded, knowing that the meds that he had Crane on, as well as his injuries made the Captain need sleep and he stood as Crane drifted off to sleep. Once sure that the Captain was resting comfortably, he went to his desk and called the Control Room.
"Sick Bay to Admiral Nelson…"
"Nelson here, what is it, Jamie?"
"Admiral, the Skipper just came around. He wants to know the status of the boat and he is asking for you… He’s asleep now. I told him I’d wake him when you got down here."
"Okay, Will. I’ll be down as soon as we surface. Nelson out."
Nelson turned to look at the Control Room crew. Knowing their dedication to the Senior officers and the boat, he cleared his throat. With the quiet assurance that comes with experience and command, he said simply, " The Skipper just woke up. He wants to know the status of the boat. I think that means he’s going to be okay." He smiled as some of the tension went out of the crew and they returned to their work with an imperceptible difference that only an eye like Nelson’s would be aware of.
There was, if one were to give it a name, an air of relief. Relief that the Skipper would be okay. The concern for Morton was still there, but they all knew that the XO would be all right. They went about their tasks with more surety than before and when they broke the surface, the rapid activity assured Nelson that the crew was continuing to do their jobs even better than before, if that was possible.
He watched as Bob O’Brien quietly gave orders to open hatches, get the Damage Control teams on the deck and into the water and generally prepare to do whatever they needed to get the boat to port as quickly and safely as possible. Nelson nodded to the Second and left the Room by way of the spiral gangway to Sick Bay.
He entered Sick Bay, eyes searching for Jamison, seeing him standing to one side of the cabin, at the side of a gurney. He saw Lerner at the racks on the port side checking each of the men in them in turn. John Warner was on the other side of the cabin, checking the men in those racks.
Jamison turned and looked at the hatch where Nelson was standing and gestured him in. The Admiral swiftly covered the space between him and the doctor. Jamison bent towards the man on the gurney, then to Nelson.
"Admiral, the Skipper’s been waiting for you… If either of you need anything, I’ll be in my office." He patted Lee on the shoulder, and moved off. Nelson slid into the spot he had vacated, leaning over the rails.
Tentatively, "Lee?… How are you feeling?"
Crane’s eyes were heavy, but he had a great deal he wanted to say to Nelson and he hoped he could stay awake and aware long enough to say them all. Of course, being flat on his back wasn’t going to help the impact of what he wanted to say.
He cleared his throat… "Jamie says I have to wait to get out of here until we reach port. Something’s going on in my head, he tells me…" Lee touched at his bandaged forehead with the hand that was in a cast. "Eleven stitches. Chip probably wanted to kill me for messing up the deck!"
"He had his own issues at the time. I don’t think he even noticed." He laid a
hand on Crane’s shoulder. "Will said you wanted to talk to me…"
Lee forced his eyes to open wider. "I want to know why? The message, from Boston… Why did you hold information from me that could have prevented…this…Chip.. the boat… the men…Why?"
"It wouldn’t have made a difference, Lee. Believe me."
"If it wouldn’t have made a difference, why were you so secretive about it… what could be so bad that you wouldn’t want to share it?" His voice softened, "If not with the Captain of the boat, then at least with a friend." Then Crane’s voice began filling with more and more anger as he spoke. "All the things that were going on with the boat… the appearance and attack by the square rigger…all of it’s related to the information in that message you got, wasn’t it? And then, you decide that it’s all over and you go and lock yourself in your cabin! Ignoring everything that’s going on!"
In his anger, the Captain forgot the doctor’s admonition to remain lying down and he started to sit up. He clutched at his head, crying out in pain and fell backward onto the gurney. "Oh God!"
"Lee!" Nelson grabbed at his arm.
Jamison jumped up and charged the bedside. "What?!"
Lee lay holding his head, softy groaning in pain, while Nelson, looking stricken, replied, "We were…he was… angry with me… he forgot that you told him to lie still…not to move… he tried to sit…up!"
Jamison eased the Admiral away from the gurney and began talking quietly to the Captain… In a few minutes, he turned to Nelson. "I think that Lee’s had enough for a while, Harry. Why not come back in a few hours. You both will have calmed down by then. I ‘m going to give him something to help him sleep for a while. I’ll call you, unless you get word that we can take the FS1 to New London."
Distraught he stammered, " I…I’ll get on it right away. One way or another,
we’ll get the both of them to a the Naval hospital at the base as soon as we
He turned and went to his cabin quickly, stumbling through the door. He sat hard at his desk, lighting a cigarette and hitting the button on his intercom. "Sparks?"
"Weather between here and the New London sub base?"
"Stormy, sir. Weather upstairs is very unsettled. We’re in for some rough seas until we reach port and the news higher up isn’t good either. Thunderheads to 30,000 feet. Right now, Mr. O’Brien’s trying to get the repairs done so we can get to periscope depth and make our way to port. Satellite information estimates are that the front will be here within 90 minutes. Seas are 10 to 15 feet above normal, with higher swells and the squall line is pretty intense."
"Damn! Very well, Sparks. Pass the weather report on to Doc and tell him that we’ll have to put a hold on getting the Captain and Mr. Morton to the hospital. I’m going up to see what’s going on topside."
"Aye, sir." The radioman threw several switches and began to talk softly into his mike, as Nelson left the Radio Shack, climbing the gangway to the Flying Bridge.
Standing on the Bridge, Nelson looked down at the deck, at the bustle of activity of the men on the deck and in the water. Welding torches were sending sparks above the waterline and great surges of bubbling steam below. He watched as a piece of steel was lowered over the side, many hands holding it in place with blue and red suits moving rapidly about. He was so engrossed in the activity that he started when a low voice called his name.
"Admiral?" Lt. Bob O’Brien stood behind him, waiting for his attention.
"Yes, Bob?" He nearly growled at the young officer, but he caught himself.
"What is it?"
"As you can see, sir, the plate is in place. We should be finished welding it to the hull in about twenty minutes. Then we can pump out the reactor room and seal the tear in there. Sparks tells me that there is a storm front approaching, but I think we’ll be okay by the time it gets here. I estimate we’ll be able to submerge in about 45 minutes and get underway. If we don’t push her to flank speed, she should make port safely."
"Do you have an ETA for New London?"
"0940, sir. That’s with the boat at half speed. That’s what Sharkey and
Gates, the chief engineer, think is the max she can sail at… How are the Skipper
and Exec, sir? If we need, we’ll push her to her limits and above…"
"No, Bob. The last thing any of us want is to put the boat and the men at risk. Half speed it is. Lee and Chip are stable. Jamie would like them at the Hospital, but he’s decided that his Sick Bay is as good as any other place for them right now." He smiled at the younger man, clapping him on the shoulder, "They’re stable. And Jamie is monitoring them. He’ll let us know if we need to increase her speed." He ran a hand affectionately along the coaming of the bridge. "I’ll be down in the Sick Bay if you need me. And I’ll be sure to give the Captain and Mr. Morton your regards." He smiled again, "You’re doing a fine job, as usual, Mr. O’Brien."
"Thank you, sir." Nelson took the two steps to the hatch, quickly descending to the bridge, then to the Control Room. He nodded at the Junior standing watch at the Plot Table and moved quickly to the bottom of the Spiral gangway, taking the steps rapidly, intending to stop at his cabin, before heading for Sick Bay.
He opened the cabin door, intending to have a fast cigarette, change his shirt and head to Jamison’s office. As he closed the door and reached for his cigarettes, he heard rolling laughter from the rear of his cabin. Seamus Nelson stepped out of the shadows, a shimmering, unsteady sight.
"I thought you’d left!"
"Well, mayhap that’s what I was wantin’ ya ta think…" the shade moved closer to Nelson, "Ya see, it’s a little like this… There I was thinkin’ of ya and yer foine boat. I was thinkin’ that here ya are, an’ I can’t convince ya ta trade places with me. I don’t know why. It’s not a bad place, Laddie… I’m havin’ a foine time, but ya see, I’m missin’ me Maggie…Now you, well ya haven’t a woman, nor a wench aboard, and I’m thinkin’ that there’s not much ye’d be missin’ then. So I looked at yer life agin an’ well, Laddie… maybe you ought to talk to yer Captain before he thinks ye've gone daft… Since yer not plannin’ ta come over, and ya intend ta be here on yer boat fer a while, I’m thinkin’ that ye’d better take some advice from yer ever-lovin’ ancestor. Ye’d best be tellin’ the boy all about me. Fer if ya don’t, ye’ll lose him from this fine boat of yourn’… an’ I’m thinkin’ that you don’t want to do that. From what I’ve seen, he is a fine Captain. Take me advice, Laddie… Let Seamus O’Hara Nelson, Himself, give some advice that ye’ll be takin’ stubborn and pig-headed as ya may be… Consider it a gift, Laddie…from one sailor to another… we’ll be meetin’ agin’. Of that I’m sure. And you and yourn will know the likes of me fair well… Fair sailin’, Laddie."
And with that, the shade merely faded into the bulkhead. Harriman Nelson sagged into his desk chair. The old devil was right. He had to tell Lee the whole sordid tale, and hope against hope that he would understand. Lee and Chip and Jamie as well all had to know what had been driving him these last days…
He felt the boat shudder slightly and then the uneven hum of the emergency generators slowly established itself in the feel of the deck. He nodded. Bob had done a good job, once again. O’Brien and the crew had successfully finished the repairs and they were underway again. He checked his watch, noting the hour and calculating the time to New London.
Hitting the intercom button, he spoke quietly into the speaker, "Will?"
"We’re underway and should make port in less than 16 hours. Have Sparks make all the arrangements you need when we dock. Since the weather prohibits flying, we’re going to have to have ambulances waiting for them."
"Aye, sir. They’re both sleeping, Harry. Take your time."
"Thanks, Will. I’ll do that."
He sat at the desk, fingering the snuff box that Seamus Nelson had left behind. It was a pretty bit of 19th century silver. The initials of S.O’H.N. were intertwined with M.M.O’R. The script was light and delicate, the rest of the design, rolling waves around the side, and a four-masted schooner at high sail on the bottom. It was a beautiful piece of sliver-smithing, and a small part of Nelson was pleased that his ancestor had left it for him. He fingered it carefully again, then slid it into his pocket, wondering what kind of a man Seamus O’Hara Nelson had been. He rose, feeling as if a weight had been lifted and opted to shower quickly before he headed to Sick Bay. ‘Coming clean’ about Seamus O’Hara Nelson would be a good thing for all concerned.
Less than a half hour later, Admiral Nelson entered Sick Bay. The lights in the main bay were darkened and he could see the gurney, where Lee had been, was empty. As he looked around, he saw that Crane had been settled in a rack on the port side of the room, in a rack at a right angle to Morton’s. Centered between the two racks was a chair, with a hospital tray next to it, holding a steaming mug of coffee. He smiled to himself at Will’s thorough knowledge of his personality. The Doctor knew that he would be sitting vigil with ‘the boys’ now that the boat was on her way home and the men safe. He moved to the chair, appreciating the rich aroma of the fresh brewed coffee. He sat, taking the mug in two hands and settling in. He sipped from the mug, studying the sleeping forms of the two younger men. In sleep, their features looked younger than their year, although a scan of each of their bodies would show far too many scars for their ages. He grew saddened, thinking of the times that one or both had risked life and limb to save the boat, a man, or even himself. In one part of his mind, he felt it shouldn’t be so. In the other part, he was grateful for the depth of dedication each man had to the Institute and all that was related to it. He was also grateful for the depth of the friendship that the three of them shared. He could only hope that once he explained his actions, they would understand. He needed the both of them as part of his team. It was perfect for the boat and the men. The three of them worked well together. He had to hope he hadn’t ruined it by not telling Lee and Chip about Seamus. He sighed and settled deeper into the chair, slowly sipping the coffee, keeping watch…
Several hours later, Lee began to stir. He moved slowly in the rack, seeking a comfortable place. Unfortunately for him, there was none to be found and he opened his eyes to see a pair of steel blue ones staring at him.
"How’re you feeling?"
"Mmmm, well, the headache isn’t as bad as it was."
"That’s good. Jamie will be glad to hear that … It’s my fault… that you and Chip are here… all my fault. I wanted to talk to you, the both of you…"
"And you will, just as soon as I check his vitals. Chip’s awake, too, so you’ll have the audience that you want." As Jamison checked Crane out, Nelson turned to Morton’s rack. The Exec’s blue eyes were open and he was taking all that he could see and feel. Nelson reached out to him, laying his hand on Chip’s good arm. With a slight smile, he offered, "Looks like you really wanted to come in and join Lee."
"Humph! Not really, sir. Not at all. In fact, if Frank will get me my trousers…"
Jamison stood next to the rack, moving his head to send Nelson back to Crane’s side. Jamie raised a hand, leaning over Chip, his hand on the rack above, "…you were saying, Commander?"
"I was telling the Admiral that I didn’t need to be here. I need my pants, and I’ll be out of your hair." He started to rise, to be held down by Jamison’s other hand. "Not on your life, as I also told your cohort in crime over there. You’re in here for the duration. That shoulder needs to be kept still and not move around at all. Bobby has the Con, we’ll be in New London in about 16 hours. The repairs are made and you aren’t moving from that rack until we dock. Then you and Mr. Crane, here, are going to be transported to the hospital, at which point we’ll be able to determine what indeed you both need in terms of further treatment!"
"Guess he told you!" came the soft comment from the opposite bunk.
"Humph! We’ll see!" Chip paused, "Jamie, can I at least get a few more pillows, so I can at least see my fellow prisoner?"
Grinning, Jamison signaled Frank Lerner to bring several pillow to Morton’s rack and within minutes, had him sitting back against a pile of pillows, his injured shoulder bound, the arm tightly bound to his chest. His comfort level was somewhat better than before he had collapsed, but his humor was not. He was angry with himself for collapsing and as angry with himself for getting injured to begin with. Like Lee Crane, he hated being in Sick Bay and hated even more the idea that he was trapped here until the boat docked. He was already planning to get out with out going to a Hospital. Jamison looked at Morton and knew what he was thinking and nodded. He would circumvent any of the man’s plans… Any of them.
Jamison cleared his throat, "Well, Admiral, it looks like the Captain and Mr. Morton are ready to give you their full and undivided attention. I’ll be in my office if you need me." The doctor turned on heel and left. The three men were left with an awkward moment, Nelson standing by Crane’s rack.
He moved to the chair, and pulled it closer to the bunks, so that he could see both men, and speak easily to them. Finally, he took a deep breath and began.
"Chip, I told Lee when he woke up that the reason the both of you are here is my fault, and my fault alone. Call it foolish pride or stubbornness, or just plain embarrassment. All the same, it’s my fault."
Morton replied, "I don’t follow you, sir."
"If I hadn’t been so concerned about my family and my family’s good name, your injuries wouldn’t have happened!"
"All right, Admiral," Lee said quietly, although a tone of exasperation in his voice was quite clear. "What has your family and your family’s name got to do with that four-masted schooner, cannon balls and strange goings on here on the boat."
"It has everything to do with it. The ship that you saw, the one that damaged us, belonged to my most famous, or infamous ancestor, Seamus O’Hara Nelson. It was his ship that fired on us."
"Admiral," Chip said warily, "He’s been dead for over 150 years."
"That’s the point, Chip…Lee… He wants me to take his place in the plane that he is trapped in."
"Wants you to take his place? I don’t understand."
Nelson sighed heavily. "My famous ancestor, the one who made the family fortune in the tea trade was a fraud and a liar. He was a slaver. He bought and sold human beings. The proud name of Nelson is built on money made from human pain and suffering. He was a fraud...the family is a fraud…. I’m a fraud!"
The room was heavy with silence until Lee Crane spoke. "No, sir, you’re not."
"How can you say that, Lee? I’m the descendent of a slaver. My family knew, and covered it up. The fine name of Nelson is nothing more than a name that should be stepped on and ground into the dirt, with all the other refuse. And the old fraud came to me and wanted me to take his place in the other life… to sail the seas in his place."
Chip shook his head. "He came to you?"
Nelson nodded. "Yes. Those sounds, that Sharkey and the men heard, they were him…laughing…laughing at all of us. He wanted me to serve out the rest of his sentence. The one that he has because he was a slaver, and a non-repentant one at that."
Chip shook his head again. "And he wanted you to take his place, but how…?"
"I had to die, but he couldn’t kill me, so he wanted to take down the boat and let us all die, without him doing the killing directly. And I had to agree to take his place." Nelson looked at his hands…"He spun quite a tale… said the two of us would sail the seas in his ship… sailing, fighting, wenching…" Nelson’s face turned slightly pink.
The younger men stifled grins at what that implied. The Admiral cleared his throat. "I told him I wasn’t interested, so he decided to try and convince me. Several times." He reached in his pocket, "He left me this, told me to get accustomed to using snuff, because he’d be back. He told me that he’d have me or one of mine to take his place eventually… I would imagine he doesn’t know too much after all…since it’s just Edie and me." He showed them the ornate silver snuff box.
He sighed…and then looked at the men, first Crane and then Morton, the steely blue eyes boring into theirs, "I’m sorry… I jeopardized you both, the men, the boat… everything to protect an old man’s pride. I never should have let him get to me like he did. But I did. I let family take precedence over what I knew was right." He paused, looking carefully at Chip and Lee, knowing they are the closest friends he has, as well as the best command crew that any ship or boat could have. "I think we have some rebuilding to do, if we’re going to get things back to the way they should be. Some serious rebuilding…I never should have shut you out, Lee. I should have told you, and Chip what was going on. Forgive me, if you can."
The silence in the small space was once again heavy, as the younger men digested what the older man had shared with them. Finally, Lee began, "I guess I can understand how you’re feeling. Someone that was important to you and your family, finding out that they weren’t what you thought they were…" Lee shifted his position in the rack so that he could look directly at the Admiral without lifting his head. He didn’t want to let Nelson or Jamison know that the headache was still bad. "But the bottom line is that you should have told me. The boat was in trouble, we were being shelled, dammit! And you wouldn’t tell me a thing! Something that when I signed on t his boat, you promised you wouldn’t do. You told me that I was the Captain, and that you would never interfere with the boat, and the running of the boat. That’s just what you did, Admiral. You held information from me that could have prevented the damage to the boat!"
"And would you have believed me if I told you that it was a ghost, and a ghost ship that was shelling us? Or would you have locked me up in the brig until you could send me to Oceanview?"
Chip added, "Maybe you should have just tried telling us, sir. At least we would have known what was wrong… and ghost or no ghost, we could would have had an idea of what was going on."
"In hindsight, you’re both right. Absolutely right." He sobered more than he was. "Can you, both of you, forgive me for this. I don’t know how to say anything except that I’m sorry. And to promise that it will never happen again."
Chip caught Lee’s eye and couldn’t mistake the amused gleam that he saw there. He knew that the simple talk, the openness of the Admiral with them had healed the wounds that Lee had allowed to fester. He also knew that the Admiral was, still, deeply disturbed by his family’s duplicity regarding Seamus O’Hara Nelson. That was a matter that Nelson would have to resolve himself. For now, the relationship was repaired, and most likely would heal, given the right amount of time and effort. He looked at Lee and winked and the both of them said, "Yes, sir. Until the next time…"
Nelson first looked startled, then relieved, and a slow grin spread across his face. He laughed, a low rumbling laugh that grew into a louder, warmer, richer one, one that was quickly joined in by the men on the racks, the laughter relieving the tension that had existed between them.
In a few minutes, laughter spent, the men in the racks rested. Nelson went to Jamison, who after a few words, went in to check his patients, darkening the lights of the bay as he returned to his desk. The two older men had a few more words and Nelson left the office.
Some twenty hours later, Nelson was sitting on his front porch. The boat was berthed in New London, arranging repairs and waiting for word on the Captain and Exec. He looked up as he heard footsteps on the spiral gangway that led to Officer’s Country and ‘A’ deck. Will Jamison came down the steps, cover under his arm. He stepped onto the deck, moving right to Nelson. Gazing out the Herculite plate at the bright sun on the water, he nodded at his friend and boss, "Never get tired of sitting here, do you, Harry? Seems to me that this place is a tonic for you, whatever the circumstances."
"I do my best thinking here, Will, you know that … it’s probably the only place that I really consider ‘mine’. It’s what makes ‘her’ who and what she is." He continued to gaze out the ports, not looking at the medic, "So, how are the ‘boys’ and when can I see them?"
Jamison unbuttoned his khaki jacket, sliding it off, draping it on one of the cushioned chairs. He sat heavily in the chair facing Nelson. "Well, do you want the good news… or the good news?"
"Just tell me about them…good news, bad news…whatever it is…"
"Okay, then here goes…the good news is that Chip will be back at work, on light duty within the week… he really just needs the time to recover from the trauma. The shoulder will heal in time, and it will make him, ummm, less than pleasant at times, because it’ll be uncomfortable… but he will be fine in the long run… in several weeks."
Nelson shook his head, knowing that an uncomfortable Morton led to lots of extra work getting done on the boat… "And Lee? What about him?"
"Well, the good news is that the hematoma never formed, although he did have a slight tear in the dura. He’s going to stay flat for at least two weeks and I’m continuing the heparin therapy for a week, although the dosage will be lowered. After that, he’ll be able to move around a bit, maybe we can get him back to Santa Barbara in about three weeks. How long is the boat going to be tied up here?"
"Humpf! Sharkey’s been in conference with the boat works and they’ve
determined she’ll be here about a month. There’s a lot of basic work to do and
my COB’s taking the opportunity to ensure that a lot of extras are taken care of
as well." Jamison nodded again. Nelson glanced over at his boat’s CMO. "So it looks like Lee and Chip will be
aboard when we leave here."
"That’s what it looks like now. In fact, Chip’ll probably be able to help oversee the repair work… that’s good light duty and nothing too taxing!"
"Unless he comes up against one of Sharkey’s ‘projects’!"
"Humpf!" Nelson took out a cigarette. "When can I go and see them?"
"Sometime this afternoon, Harry. I saw to it that they will be sleeping until sometime around 1600. You should try and get some sleep yourself… and cut down on those things too, will you? Or I’ll have the three of you where I want you , and none of you want to be!"
He rose and moved toward the Control Room. "Me, I’m heading to my quarters for a good stiff cup of coffee and the paper work on all of this. I’ll be heading to the Hospital around 1500 if you want a lift…" he looked at Nelson, "get some sleep will you?"
Nelson nodded, "Sure, Will, I just have some things to finish here…"
Jamison moved away and Nelson took out the papers that he had gotten from Boston. The true history of Seamus O’Hara Nelson. The man was a rogue and a scoundrel. He was amoral, unethical, and all of the things that Harriman Nelson was not. He hated the man and the very fact that he was even related to him. Still the shade did have a certain charm… He dug into his pocket, pulling out the snuffbox. He turned it over several times in his hand, hearing the unearthly voice… "We’ll be meetin’ again, Laddie… We’ve unfinished business, you an’ I… Aye…we’ll be meetin’ again."
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