THE SUBMARINE Although, strictly speaking, not a character, Seaview is
definitely a strong motivating force in the series. It is a huge,
radically designed nuclear submarine which carries a complement of twelve
officers and one hundred twenty-five men. Its most distinctive feature
is a fantastic glass nose which makes the forward lounge an ideal place from
which to view the awesome wonders of the undersea world. It is this
great glass nose which give the ship its distinctive look of a “Submarine of
Tomorrow.” But even more important, although less immediately apparent,
are its other features…its missile room with its arsenal of nuclear warhead
rockets…its mini-sub which permits two men scouting trips below the operating
range of the deepest diver…its escape hatch which permits individual frogmen
to explore ocean bottoms…its rows of efficient computers which can perform
all the magic of the new machine brains…and its amazing ability to dive
deeper and move faster than any ship ever designed. These are a few of
the characteristics making Seaview the world’s most efficient device for
scientific research, exploration and defense.
Seaview is not a regular Navy ship. It is privately owned by the
Nelson Institute of Marine Research…an organization of scientists with headquarters
at Santa Barbara, California. Its crew members are civilian employees,
although nearly all of them are former naval submariners.
ADMIRAL HARRIMAN NELSON, U.S.N. (Ret.) – the head of the Nelson
Institute of Marine Research in Santa Barbara. A brilliant
engineer-scientist of mature middle age, he resigned his position as Dean of
the Department of Science at Annapolis to form the Research Institute which
bears his name.
His imaginative and creative mind conceived the design for Seaview and his
driving, forceful personality made it possible to bring the dream to reality.
Even to those who know him best, it came as a distinct surprise when this
dedicated and gifted officer gave up his Naval career to devote the rest of
this life to science. But only a handful of people know that Nelson’s
retirement was in name only. Actually he and his Institute of Marine
Research serve as a powerful and secret intelligence force, ranging the world
under cover of scientific research on missions of vital importance to the
security of their country.
COMMANDER LEE CRANE – young, virile captain of the submarine. An
outstanding athlete at Annapolis, he was graduated with honors and served
with distinction in the submarine service before being detached from the Navy
and assigned, as a civilian, to the command of Seaview.
He has tremendous respect – amounting almost to awe – for Admiral
Nelson. The two men act as perfect complements and hold each other in
mutual high esteem.
Crane is equally respected by his men. He has a rule, amounting almost
to a fetish, of never ordering a man to tackle a dangerous assignment that he
would not risk doing himself. And his skill as an athlete, together
with his natural resourcefulness, make almost any job seem possible to him.
Needless to say, Crane’s qualities make him enormously attractive to
women. The attraction is mutual. The fact that he as not yet
married presents an almost irresistible challenge to every unattached female
who crosses his path…and there are many.
LIEUTENANT CHIP MORTON -- the efficient Executive Officer of the
submarine. Several years younger than Crane, Chip had originally set
his heart on going to West Point and becoming a general but when the only available
appointment was for Annapolis, he snapped it up.
During his four years at the Academy and later on in his service in the Navy
he took much good-natured ribbing about his “Army” background but he lets
nothing stand in the way of becoming the best Naval officer possible.
It was Nelson – remembering him from his midshipman days – who persuaded Chip
to resign this commission and accept a post at the Institute of Marine
Research. Neither man has ever regretted the decision.
CHIEF PETTY OFFICER CURLEY JONES – a jolly yet rugged old time Navy
man who occasionally forgets that he is no longer a part of the Fleet.
Curley is from New England where, as a youngster he made a name for himself
as a professional wrestler before quitting high school in his senior year to
enlist in the Navy.
He served in the submarine fleet through hitch after hitch and was indignant
when he was told at last that it was time for him to retire. He had
served for years under Admiral Nelson and when the dreaded retirement became
final he was overjoyed to accept the job Nelson offered him.
But Nelson’s motives in hiring Curley were not altogether altruistic.
The man’s perennial good humor, his sympathetic understanding of any and all
problems, his salty language and his earthy comments are a vital contribution
to the morals of the ship.
OTHER CREWMEN – There are, of course, many other distinct
personalities serving aboard Seaview. Their characters – which will
emerge as the series grows – prove to be as divers and interesting as any
cross section of picked men with highly developed skills. As time
passes, individual conflicts will arise naturally from the tension-packed
situations in which they become involved.
DR. GAMMA – This shadowy figure is the adversary who opposes the men
of the Seaview in many of the stories which unfold as the series
progresses. “A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” Gamma is
an individual of awesome power and unlimited ambition. Even his name is
unknown – “Dr. Gamma,” of course being merely a nickname.
But his power is all too well known in the secret councils of every
government in the world. He seems to have at his command a veritable
corps of skilled scientific brains…an elaborate network of secret agents…a
seemingly endless arsenal of weapons…and a body of fanatically devoted
followers – men and women who have pledged their lives to the furtherance of
Gamma’s ultimate gold is world domination. He seeks it through the
spread of disorder and dissension…through the promotion of disaster and death
and the undermining of civil authority.
Gamma has many secret bases concealed in remote sections throughout the
world. From time to time some of them are detected and destroyed but
others take their place. If he has a single central headquarters
anywhere, it has never been discovered.
PROFESSOR “X” – most feared of all Gamma’s lieutenants, this shadowy
individual is even more elusive than Gamma himself. He has been called
“the man of a thousand faces,” and “the chameleon” and both names fit him
well. A master of disguise and a consummate actor, he has managed to
assume the identity of an individual so well that the man’s friends and even
his relatives are deceived.
This ability to pass himself off as almost any individual he selects, makes
Professor “X” the most feared of adversaries.