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Demons of the Deep
Feb 12th, 2011 at 4:48am
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Demons of the Deep

A UFO/Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea crossover story
Written by Matthew R. White
© January 27, 2010
Based on the Characters and series created by Gerry Anderson and the series created by Irwin Allen

Historians Note: This story takes place about three weeks after Love Never Fails.

“Con, sonar, new contact, designate sierra six-five.”

At the plotting table, Major Gay Ellis picked up the mic, “Con aye, what do you have Jeff?”

“Distant submerged contact ma’am, range twenty five thousand yards, bearing three-five-zero true, I’ll have course and speed in a moment.”

Gay brought up the contact information on the automated plotting table. The new system displayed all the information about a contact giving the sub’s commanding officer the latest course, speed, depth, and bearing of any contact. Or target, thought Gay, as she watched the information being displayed.

Major Ellis was excited about her new posting, even though she knew it was only temporary. Colonel Carlin had tapped her to replace Matt Hewett three weeks ago when he was wounded in a UFO incident. It was an unexpected bonus as she was going to be a plank owner on two SHADO submarines, something no one else had done.

She had spoke with her best friend as soon as she found out and although Ginny’s husband was upset about losing the opportunity to take out the new boat, Virginia was very happy to have him home.

Ironically, Matt and Ginny received a call from Kathy Crawford two weeks ago asking for a second opinion concerning an object she had spotted while doing an astrophotography session. It was a fast mover and she could not find it catalogued anywhere. Matt had the object analyzed by the New York tracking station and it was found to be previously unrecorded Near Earth Object. Kathy had discovered an asteroid.

The celebration was short lived when they found that it was on a collision course and Straker brought all of the tracking resources to bear on the wayward object. The asteroid turned out to be small enough that most of it would burn up in the atmosphere and the surviving piece would land in the western Pacific far away from any land mass. The object had hit two hours ago a few hundred miles northeast of their current position. The new sub had a test depth of fifteen thousand feet and it had a good chance of being able to photograph and recover a chunk of the meteorite so Ed had ordered them to investigate the impact zone.

“Con, sonar, sierra six-five, course one-eight-zero, speed twenty knots.”

“Do you have a classification yet?”

“No ma’am, it sounds like a spinner, but the plant noise is all wrong. It’s definitely not one of ours.”

“Very well, helm, come to course two-six-zero, make turns for ten knots.”

The ship’s XO Captain Brad Connors stepped beside his CO, “What do you think skipper?”

“I want to sail a baseline course and try to firm up the range figure.” Ellis pointed to the electronic chart as she continued, “The current plot has him on the other side of the trench, but I suspect he is heading into it.”

“I wonder if this thing followed that asteroid in?” the XO pondered out loud.

Gay looked over at him, “You could be right.”

She looked at the time, it was midnight in London. “Radio, con. Dispatch a message to HQ, advising them of our position and situation.”

“Radio, aye.”

Gay sat back down as she contemplated her mission. The shakedown cruise of SHADO’s newest submarine, Scorpion had proceeded without any difficulties so far. The sub was the first of its kind, a fast attack platform, designed to combat UFOs in the Earth’s vast oceans. The rear section of the sub bore a resemblance to Skydiver, sporting the twin rudder and twin engine configuration, but the similarities ended there. The new ship was twice the length of Skydiver five and more streamlined. It was armed to the teeth with rocket propelled torpedoes and it was the first sub to carry the new standoff ASW weapons, the Sealance missile, housed in twelve vertical launch tubes. In addition, Scorpion carried six variable yield nuclear tipped hypersonic missiles. These were the same weapons carried by Skydiver 3 and her own ship, Skydiver 5.

The rocket propelled torpedo concept was discovered by accident when Colonel Hewett, then still a Captain, used Sky 3’s hypersonic missiles in a last ditch effort to destroy a closing UFO. His unorthodox method had saved both his ship and a nearby Russian sub. Ed Straker immediately ordered the research section to develop idea into a new weapon system.

“XO let’s get the weapons warmed up,” said Ellis.

“Yes ma’am. Fire control, rig tubes one and two fully ready.”

“Aye sir.”

“Con, sonar, I have new range figures on sierra six-five. I show him at ninety five hundred yards. Speed is twenty five knots.”

“Do you have a classification yet?” asked Ellis.

“This is a new one ma’am.”

“How many UFO patterns do we have in the computer?”

“Four, ma’am,” replied the sonar op.

“Very well, let’s designate this one a type five, and get a recording on him.”

“Already running ma’am.”

“Okay Brad, I want to start closing the distance, helm all ahead one third, come to course three-four-five.”

The deck tilted slightly as the sub banked to the right and the drum of the engines increased slightly. This submarine was by far the quietest and fastest in the SHADO fleet. She had a top speed of ninety knots and was as quiet at thirty knots as Skydiver 5 was at ten.

“I have a firing solution,” said the fire control technician.

“Very well, flood tubes; prepare to open the outer doors. Firing point procedures,” said Gay.

They had closed to within seven thousand yards when the UFO abruptly turned and fired an energy beam at the sub.
Inside the sub, all of the displays went dark and the lights faded to black. The control room was bathed in an eerie glow from the emergency lights.

“Reactor room, con, what the hell is going on back there?” Ellis barked.

“Complete power failure skipper. We’re running on just the batteries.”

“Most of the main systems have failed,” reported the XO. “We have minimal life support.”

“Alright,” said Gay. “Blow tanks, emergency surface.”

“Ballast control is out,” reported the diving officer. “Propulsion is out, we’re going down.

“Sonar, do we still have contact with that UFO?”

“Negative ma’am, he dove into the trench right after he hit us.”

“What’s the sounding?”

“Ten thousand feet, keel to bottom, ma’am.”

Ellis knew that they were perilously close to the drop off point of the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the ocean, almost seven miles down. Scorpion could only dive to about three. She walked to the front of the control room and pulled the release for the disaster buoy, hoping that it would not be her last act.
« Last Edit: Oct 15th, 2011 at 1:17am by SHADO Librarian »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #1 - Feb 12th, 2011 at 5:05am
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Chapter 1:
In the control center of the New York tracking center, Colonel Matt Hewett was watching the replay of the asteroid impact. It was just after seven in the evening and Matt was working late.

The asteroid had broken up into several smaller fragments late into re-entry. Most of the pieces had stayed at roughly the same speed and trajectory, but one of the fragments, the one that had separated early seemed like it had slowed much quicker than the others. To Matt, this seemed very odd.

“Major Richardson has HQ made any noises about this event?” he asked.

Matt’s XO shook his head, “Nothing, sir. Of course the Commander and his wife aren’t in and Colonel Foster is in Melbourne this week. That leaves Colonel Blake running the show.”

Matt knew that Ed and Jen had taken a few days off as he and Ginny received a call last night from an excited Jen. She and Ed were expecting and their baby was due sometime in July.

“Is there something I should know about Colonel Blake?” Matt asked.

“No sir. I meant nothing derogatory, it’s just that Colonel Blake is a field man. Tracking is not his strong suit,” replied Richardson.

“I see.”

Matt knew that the tracking data had nothing concrete, but his inner voice was telling him something was not quite right.

“Did all of the fragments land in the same area?” he asked.

“The piece that broke off early landed a few miles short. The rest of the object splashed down within a one mile radius. Are you going to raise an alarm on this?”

Colonel Hewett shook his head. “Not without something more concrete. I do want it noted in the report, Ed or Paul may want to verify the numbers with the other stations.” Besides, Major Ellis is in the general area with my new submarine, Matt thought to himself with a chuckle.

Matt was genuinely pleased that Gay had got the assignment, as Gin and he had recommended her to Colonel Carlin. He was still disappointed that he missed out on the chance to command Scorpion’s sea trials, but six weeks at sea, away from his wife would have been hard on both of them. Maybe this was for the best.

“Colonel Hewett,” said the communications officer, interrupting Matt’s thoughts.

“What is it Lieutenant Zaria?”

“Message from HQ sir,” said the young woman. “They’ve just issued a SubSmash alert sir. The western Pacific…it’s Scorpion.”

Matt felt his stomach flip, “Anything else?” he asked curtly.

“An Albatross sea rescue has just left Guam. They should be on station within the hour.”

“Very well, thank you Lieutenant. Major Richardson, take over. I’ll be in my office.”

“Yes sir.”

Gay Ellis was Virginia’s closest friend and Matt didn’t want her to hear this news from anyone but him.

Straker arrived at HQ around one in the morning, his now pregnant wife in tow.

“Jen, you didn’t have to come in with me,” he said, chiding her gently as they descended in the office lift.

“Gay is a friend of mine Ed, I need to be here. I’ll be alright.”

Straker nodded as he considered his actions. His wife was a very independent woman, and she would not react well to being overprotected.

The doors opened and the couple made their way to the control room with haste. As they walked in, Colonel Blake met them on the upper platform.

“Sea Rescue six has reached the disaster buoy. They’re downloading the electronic logs and are forwarding them as we speak. Here is the latest positional report.”

“Were they able to make contact with the crew?” asked Straker.

Blake shook his head, “Negative sir, the cable was automatically disconnected when it ran out. That means they are deeper than ten thousand feet. They tried the Gertrude but to no avail.”

“Show me where they are,” said Ed.

The three of them walked to the electronic chart table and Blake punched up the 3D topographical display. A red X appeared near the top showing where the buoy was when it broached the surface and a green X marked its current position. Below these symbols was a representation of the sea floor. A dotted line and a red circle marked the area below the red X. Part of the circle extended over the drop off.

“We think she went down somewhere within the confines of this area,” said Blake referring to the circle. “If she sunk directly under the buoy, she’s in twelve thousand feet of water. But a few hundred yards north is the drop off point. It’s almost a sheer cliff Commander. It’s four miles, straight down.” Blake’s last statement had a punctuation of finality to it.

Ed knew that if the sub went over that cliff there would be no chance of rescue. At somewhere around sixteen thousand feet, the submarine would succumb to the immense pressure, imploding under the weight of thousands of tons of water.

“As soon as the logs are received have them sent to my office,” ordered the Commander. “Contact Colonel Foster and have him put to sea with the DSRV. I want a conference call set up with Foster, Lake, Hewett and Admiral Harriman Nelson. The Admiral can be reached at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research in Santa Barbara.

Ed knew that the DSRV would not be enough to conduct a rescue of this size, and there was only one other submarine in the world that could dive as deep as Scorpion. And that submarine was the Seaview.

Admiral Harriman Nelson, founder of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research, and the chief designer of the Seaview, listened in silence as Commander Edward Straker of SHADO, briefed him and the others about the situation concerning Scorpion. As one of the members of the Skydiver design team, as well as being the sole designer of the fusion reactor used in Scorpion, Nelson had known about the existence of SHADO since the beginning.

Nelson was particularly concerned that the power source he designed might contain a flaw in the reactor control system. In its last major refit, six months earlier, Seaview had been outfitted with the new reactor, becoming the only submarine in the world to be equipped with both fission and fusion reactors. With the ability to extract hydrogen and oxygen from the surrounding water, both Seaview and Scorpion could remain at sea indefinitely, limited only by the amount of food stores they could carry.

“According to the ship’s log,” Straker was saying, “the ship suddenly lost all electrical power as they were tracking an unknown contact. The batteries apparently did not have enough power to restart the fusion reactor and they were unable to blow tanks, due to the loss of power to the control systems. By the time they were able to re-route power the external pressure was too great.”

“And using the pumps would use too much energy,” Nelson finished. “Assuming that they are on the bottom and still intact, that would give them just under two weeks of life support. Have we heard from Scorpion since the buoy was recovered?”

“No Admiral,” answered Paul Foster. “I personally spoke with the pilot of the first rescue plane that arrived at the search area and they were unable to establish contact, either by underwater telephone or Utronic link.”

“The emitters could have been damaged when they hit bottom,” said Colonel Hewett. “The SOSUS sensors in the Pacific didn’t record an implosion. If she sunk where we believe she did, that would put her in about twelve thousand feet of water.”

“But how could they have just lost all power,” Ginny asked rhetorically. “The batteries should have had enough energy to restart the reactor with more than enough power to spare.”

“Maybe whatever caused the reactor to shut down drained the batteries as well.” Ed added. “Major Ellis may not have wanted to risk using all her battery power on a restart attempt, instead trusting us to find her and mount a rescue mission.”

“One thing is certain,” said Nelson. “We won’t find out until we get out there. I’ve ordered Commander Morton to Santa Barbara with the Flying Sub. He should be here in a few hours.”

“Good,” said Ed. “Colonel Lake, Colonel Hewett, the two of you will fly to Santa Barbara on Seagull X-ray and meet with the Admiral. From there, you will accompany him back to Seaview. In the meantime, Colonel Foster will continue to the search area with the DSRV. Paul, when you arrive on station begin a bottom survey of the projected point of impact. You will rendezvous with Seaview in two days. Although you will be overall senior for SHADO, I would suggest that you defer to the Admiral’s judgment for the duration of this mission.”

“I agree sir, I’m well aware of the Admiral’s expertise. Foster out.”

“Virginia, you and Matt get moving too. I want you in Santa Barbara as soon as possible. Seagull X-ray will be waiting for you.”

“Yes sir,” they said in unison.

Once the three SHADO colonels hung up, Ed asked his old friend, “What do you think their chances are Harry?”

“Providing they didn’t slip off the cliff, I expect to find the crew of Scorpion alive and well. That hull is just as stout as Seaview and as you well know Ed, she had been written off more than once.”

“I’m getting too old for this.”

Nelson chuckled, being Ed’s senior by almost ten years. “Just imagine how you’ll feel when you get to be my age.”

Matt pulled into the parking lot next to the SHADAIR terminal at John F. Kennedy International just before nine in the evening. He knew that his wife had just landed and was waiting inside the terminal along with their daughter and his mother. He parked the vehicle and grabbed his briefcase.

As he walked into the terminal he heard the unmistakable voice of Sara Hewett calling him.


Matt scooped his daughter up and kissed her.

“You’re getting too heavy for this,” he said to her as he set her back down.

“Mom, thanks for staying over on short notice, Gin and I appreciate it,” Matt said his mother as he handed her the keys.

“Anything I can do to help,” she said presently.

Matt took his wife in his arms and asked her quietly, “Are you okay?”

Virginia nodded, but he could see the deep concern for her best friend break through the façade that she was trying to maintain.

“Our bags are already on the plane. Captain Johnson is just waiting for us,” she said.

“We had better get moving then.” Matt turned to his mother, “Mom, you might want to take the Merritt Parkway instead of I-95. I sat in construction traffic for over an hour this morning.”

“I’m going to head up I-684 to I-84, it’s much faster and it avoids the back roads. Well you kids had better get moving, you don’t want to miss your flight.”

Virginia gave him an unreadable look as they said their goodbyes and the couple walked through the terminal to the gate.

“Kids?” asked Ginny, a grin on her face.

Matt laughed, “That’s Mom.”

The SHADAIR SST had been granted priority clearance, and they were in the air in less than fifteen minutes. Matt and Ginny were the only ones on the flight and she allowed her concern to surface.

“Matt I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this if Gay’s gone…”

He took her in his arms to comfort both of them, “We’ll get through it together Gin. Don’t give up hope yet.”

Virginia smiled wanly and she changed the subject. “I think I packed everything you needed,” she said.

“Speaking of that, we should change into our khakis before we get to Santa Barbara. Ed called me just before I left New York Center and told me that only the Admiral knows the true nature of our mission. Captain Crane, and Commander Morton, will be briefed when we are all aboard Seaview.”

“I’m sure that decision will still raise a few eyebrows, especially with my Brit accent,” she said with a wry grin.

“They can speculate all they want,” said Matt. “The Admiral will brief the crew once we are close to the search area.”

“God Matt, I hope they’re alright.”

“Me too, honey.”

Ginny paused a moment before continuing, “By the way Matt, I need to tell you something. I know the Admiral, personally.”

“He was one of the principle designers of Skydiver, wasn’t he?” he asked, assuming that is how she knew Nelson.

“Yes, but I met him before I even knew about SHADO, in fact I was still in college,” she said.

Matt raised an eyebrow, “Oh, well do tell,” he said with a grin.

“I had just finished my masters degree, and was working on my doctorate when Professor Reinhardt, my physics instructor asked me to give a guest lecture during a science convention, hosted by the school. The convention was being attended by some of the brightest scientists on the planet. Being asked to speak at this event was considered a privilege and quite frankly, I was terrified. The topic that the Professor asked me to speak on was the detection of faster than light particles.”

“Somehow I can’t picture you terrified of anything. I’m sure you did just fine, Gin. So let me guess, Admiral Nelson was in attendance at this conference?”

“Yes he was,” she said. “When my lecture was over, the Admiral made a point to find me and congratulate me on what he described as a very well delivered theory. It was surreal, I mean here I am, a twenty one year old graduate student, discussing higher physics with one of the world’s leading scientific minds.”

She paused a few seconds before continuing, “A few years later, when I was working for Westbrook Electronics, I saw him again. The company was manufacturing some of the systems that were slated to be installed in Seaview and Nelson was meeting with the company brass. At the time I was being bounced around on various projects, fixing problems while others took the credit. I didn’t mind at first, after all I was part of a team. But after a while it started to grate on my nerves.”

Matt nodded, having seen chauvinism in full force in his civilian career. “I can understand how you must have felt.”

“Anyway, when the Admiral saw me and abruptly ended his discussion with the CEO and walked over to talk with me. I’m surprised that I didn’t get fired, as the look on the boss’s face was telling. Admiral Nelson asked me to have lunch with him and I said yes without even thinking about it.”

Virginia was blushing now and Matt had to stifle a grin.

“I take it you were smitten with the Admiral,” he said.

The color in her cheeks deepened more as she drew a sigh.

“Matt, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t find him attractive, and I’m reasonably sure that he saw right through me. I always did have a weakness for a man in uniform. When we arrived at the restaurant, the Admiral became all business. Westbrook Electronics had been awarded a military contract to develop an FTL radar system. Nelson had insisted that I be appointed as chief designer on the project. It was the break that my career needed. My work on the Utronic system eventually landed me at SHADO.”

“It sounds to me like the Admiral was quite impressed with your lecture. I only know him by reputation and the fact that he staked his standing with the scientific community on your sponsorship speaks highly of him, and of you,” said Matt.

“It’s an act of kindness that I never forgot and I’ve tried to live by that example of altruism. I haven’t seen him since that day, although we still keep in contact for professional and scientific reasons. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to ramble, but I didn’t want you to be caught by surprise, by our shared history.”

“Thanks,” he said as he held her in his arms. Matt wondered, not for the first time, what he had done to deserve someone so selfless.
« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2011 at 4:06am by Matt »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #2 - Feb 12th, 2011 at 5:18am
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Chapter 2:
The UNSS Triton sailed toward the Marianas Islands at full speed.  Disguised as a UN oceanographic research vessel, she was in reality the support ship for the SHADO DSRV. Triton was one of five ships and DSVs that had been developed under Project Poseidon. In addition to finding and destroying alien installations hidden in the ocean’s depth this DSRV had been specially outfitted to serve as a rescue sub.

Inside the sub, Colonel Paul Foster was getting a refresher course on the operational procedures from Captain Joe Franklin. It had been a few years since Paul had been in a DSV and he didn’t want to embark on a mission unprepared.

Foster listened carefully as Franklin went over the sub’s systems, stopping him in places when he wasn’t sure about a certain procedure. This sub was somewhat more complex than its sisters and he knew that there would be no room for mistakes.

“How deep have you been with this one Joe?” he asked.

“Last year we took her down the bottom of the Cayman Trough. That’s over twenty five thousand feet down. You’d be surprised how much life is down there Colonel. I’ve always wanted to take her to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, but not under these circumstances,” Franklin said.

“You don’t think they have any chance?”

“Colonel, if they slipped off that cliff and went to the bottom, all we will find is a debris field.”

Colonel Foster pondered that sobering thought. Gay and Mark were good friends of his. He had called Bradley earlier that day, finding him an emotional wreck. Mark had asked a favor of him, he wanted to know the truth, one way or the other.

While the two men were talking the Triton’s radio operator poked his head trough the hatch, “Message from Melbourne Station, sir.”

“Thanks lieutenant,” said Franklin as he took the message form.

“This isn’t good,” he said as he read the message. “That tropical cyclone in the Solomon’s has been upgraded to a category three. We’re going to have to sail around it.”

“What will that do to our arrival time,” asked Paul, already sure he knew the answer.

Franklin looked at the chart as he answered, “We’re going to have to sail around the southernmost part of the chain.”

“That’s about want I figured, that means the Seaview will beat us to the rendezvous by at least two days.”

“That’s about right,” agreed Franklin.

“I’d better let the Commander know there’s been a change in plans.”

Paul climbed out of the DSRV and walked across the deck of the ship on his way to the bridge. Without the rescue sub there would be no way to evacuate the crew of Scorpion as it was too deep for a scuba diver to survive. Assuming that anyone is still alive, he thought.

Aboard Seaview, Captain Lee Crane stood on the bridge of the submarine as it left Pearl Harbor. The ship had just completed six months worth of sea trials after the two year refit. His crew was somewhat disappointed to have their much awaited shore leave, on the Hawaiian Islands cut short, but the crewmen of Seaview were professionals and the complaints were almost nonexistent when they were told they were undertaking a rescue mission.

On the exterior, the hull had been transformed, having a slightly wider beam and more of an albacore shape. The bow still sported the manta ray fins and the observation ports, reverting back to the eight window design that the sub had when she was laid down. The berth for the Flying Sub, still resided in the nose.

Internally the submarine had been changed significantly, as the control room was moved back to its original position underneath the sail. Completely redesigned it would be a test bed for the newest sub in the US Navy, the Seawolf. A sailor who had served on Seaview would be at home in the control room of a Seawolf class sub.

The one additional workstation was for the Nelson Supercomputer, which took up one whole compartment just aft of the control room. This floating computing marvel had the power of a Cray-4 and used only a fraction of the electrical power required by the machine it was based on. The workstation took up the rear third of the starboard bulkhead with the flashing squares of the status control display.

The Captain surveyed the ocean as his friend, and Chief of the Boat, Francis Ethelbert Sharkey climbed up to the bridge.

“Message for you Captain,” the Chief said as he handed Crane the form.

Lee Crane read the message; it stated that Commander Morton had arrived in Santa Barbara to pickup Admiral Nelson and his guests. They would be returning to Seaview by 08:00Z.

“Do you think we’ll be out long, skipper?”

“I don’t know much more than you do Chief. I guess we’ll find out once the Admiral arrives. Sorry that your honeymoon was cut short. How did Dawn take it?”

Chief Sharkey smiled, “You know her skipper, she’s a good woman. She knows when we are called out, on short notice, it’s important.”

Dawn Meyers had been employed as a supply clerk at the Nelson Institute and Sharkey had known her for years and when the Director of Procurement had retired, Meyers was promoted.  With the Chief in port, while Seaview was undergoing a refit, the two off them started spending a lot of time together. They were close friends at first, but the relationship bloomed into romance just before Seaview put back to sea. The couple became engaged when the ship pulled into Pearl for resupply, three months into the shakedown cruise.

“Chief, I’ll need you to prepare quarters for the two officers that the Admiral is bringing on board,” said Crane as he handed the Chief a note.

Sharkey looked at the paper noticing the names, “Sir, we only have one extra cabin, I assume you will want to give it to Colonel Lake, and have Colonel Hewett bunk with Commander Morton?”

“I’m sorry Chief, Colonel Hewett and Colonel Lake are married.”

“Oh, that’s somewhat unusual, isn’t it?”

Crane smiled, “They belong to an unusual branch of the military, that’s all I can say.”

“Aye sir.”

As the Chief went below, Crane picked up the mic, “Control, bridge, sounding?”

“Sounding, one-four-zero fathoms sir.”

“Very well, prepare to dive. Lookouts clear the bridge.”

Captain Crane replaced the mic and sealed the control panel as the two men posted to lookout duty went below. Crane descended into the tube, closing the hatch above him. He climbed down the ladder into the control room that had now become a flurry of activity as the crew prepared the submarine for submergence. The hatch that separated the access tube above him closed and he looked at the status panel as the remaining hatches around the ship were sealed.

“Rigged for dive sir,” reported Lieutenant Commander Robert Curtis, the ship’s navigator.

“Take her down, make your depth one-five zero feet.”

“Take her down, aye, aye sir. Flood negative, five degree down bubble, Chief of the watch on the 1MC, dive, dive, dive.”

The diving klaxon sounded as the crew carried out their orders. As the water filled her ballast tanks, the slender form of Seaview slipped beneath the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Admiral Nelson was finishing paperwork when his intercom buzzed, “Yes Connie?”

“Colonel Lake and Colonel Hewett are here to see you Admiral.”

“Oh, thank you, show them right in.”

As Nelson got up from his chair, the office door opened and his secretary ushered his guests in. He had not seen Lake since 1972 when she was still in her late twenties. He was more than surprised to see how little she had aged; in fact her beauty had only been accentuated with the passage of time.

“Virginia, it’s been a long time,” said the Admiral, as he warmly greeted her. “How are you?”

“Hello Harry, I’m well, thank you. May I introduce my husband, Colonel Matthew Hewett.”

The Admiral greeted Matt as warmly as he had his wife, “How do you do Colonel?”

“It’s truly an honor, sir.”

Nelson quickly turned to his secretary, “Connie, would you have Commander Morton join us please? And see to having my guest’s bags put on the Flying Sub.”

“Right away, Admiral.”

Nelson turned back to the pair, “Please have a seat. Can I get you something to drink, coffee, tea, something stronger?”

“Coffee would be fine,” said Ginny.

Nelson looked to Matt questioningly, “Colonel?”

“Yes, coffee is fine, thank you Admiral.”

Nelson brought a serving set complete with cups and set it down on the table. As they poured the coffee, a knock was heard followed by the office door being opened.

“Chip, come on in. Colonel Lake, Colonel Hewett, Commander Chip Morton,” said Nelson, making a quick introduction. “Commander Morton is Seaview’s XO.”

When the introductions were finished, the Admiral began, “I received a call from Commander Straker, just before you arrived. The Triton has been delayed due to weather. Seaview will most likely arrive at least two days before your DSRV can get there.”

“I’m worried about the air supply on Scorpion, sir,” said Matt. “With no power they will only have about seventy two hours of air to breathe. The DSRV has the ability to attach an umbilical to the downed sub, providing air, power, and communications. In addition it can dive much deeper than any other sub. Without the DSRV’s mechanical arm to attach the lifeline, or evacuate the crew, all we can do is sit there and watch them suffocate.”

“We may have a solution for that,” interjected the Admiral. “Care to explain Chip?”

“One of the projects that we have undertaken, here at the Nelson Institute, is a new type of diving suit,” began Morton. “It involves the use of a liquid breathing system that utilizes perfluorocarbon molecules. It has an oxygen gas solubility of sixty-six milliliters per one hundred milliliters. The delivery of oxygen is better than normal air. We have done several test dives to over seven thousand feet.”

“What Chip means by, we, is he,” added Nelson. “Commander Morton has conducted the entire series of test dives, on the new system. We are reasonably sure that we will be able to work at fifteen thousand feet for short periods of time. Chip’s last test dive had him at seven thousand one hundred forty two feet, for over an hour.”

“You don’t have any trouble adjusting to the outside pressure?” asked Ginny.

“You do have to equalize slowly, if you egress from a submarine, at depth. But it’s much faster than compressing or decompressing. Our figures indicate that it would take about twenty minutes at ten thousand feet.”

Nelson had to suppress a grin, knowing that the two colonels were intimately familiar with the liquid breathing concept. Commander Morton was due for a shock, once he found out the true source of the research.

“Well we had better get moving. Seaview has left Pearl, and we will rendezvous with her at sea around 08:00Z.”

It was almost morning at HQ and Ed was still awake. As he rummaged through a stack of paperwork, in an effort to remain distracted, the doors opened and his wife walked into the office. She gave him an unreadable look as she leaned against the wall with her arms crossed. That’s it. I’m in for it now.

“Hi there,” he said kindly, trying to head off the attack that he knew was coming.

“Never mind that, when are you going to get some sleep? You’ve been up for over twenty four hours now,” she said.

The tone of her voice told him that she was not going to let this go. In fact, he knew that she was right, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave.

“Jen, I should be here when word comes through,” he said quietly.

“We can stay in our quarters. John Grey has just come in and I brought him up to speed as to the situation with Scorpion and the rescue effort,” she softened bit as she continued, “Ed there is nothing you can do right now, and you need to be sharp when Seaview arrives on station. That’s two days from now.”

“Alright, you win. I’ll be there in a little bit.”

Jen knew that ploy and she wasn’t falling for it.

“No… now.”

“Jen I just want to…”

“Ed Straker, you will come with me to our quarters right now, or I will have Doctor Jackson relieve you of duty.”

“You wouldn’t?”

“Try me.”

Ed had gotten to know how to read his wife quite well and he could see that she wasn’t bluffing.

“You would,” he said.

“Damn straight I would,” she said as she pressed the button to open the office doors.

Doctor Jackson quietly spoke as he walked into the office, “Commander.”

Straker threw his hands up in surrender, “Alright, I’ll go.”

“Commander, both you and your wife, are to take no less than twelve hours of R and R. I will of course call you if something urgent develops.”

Straker simply nodded in resignation.

“Come on, let’s go,” said Jen as she led him out of the office, firmly attached to his arm. As they walked through the control room he saw Jackson conferring with Grey. No doubt he was making it clear that the Commander and his wife were not to be disturbed.

“Jen I’m not going to be able to sleep right now.”

She looked up at him with a wry grin, “Trust me, when I’m done with you, you’ll sleep.”

The Flying Sub soared over the central Pacific Ocean carrying its four passengers. Inside, Matt Hewett marveled at the engineering that went into the areosub. Like his wife he, had dozed a bit during the trip and he looked over to her seeing that she was still asleep. She looked peaceful, her ash blonde hair draped over the black leather of her flight jacket. Gin always did look good in leather, he thought.

“How far out are we Admiral,” he asked.

Nelson turned to face him, “We should rendezvous with Seaview in about an hour. In fact we’ll be over her position in about forty five minutes. We will dive a few miles ahead of her and rendezvous underwater.”

Matt knew that it took a while to slow down, especially at seventy five knots. The maneuver made sense as Seaview would be able to resume its speed run as soon as the Flying Sub was docked.

“Once you and Virginia are settled in we can meet with Captain Crane and Commander Morton to discuss the mission.”

Nelson spun his seat back to face the viewport and started on the approach checklist. Matt found himself wanting a chance to fly this craft.

“If you’re nice, maybe the Admiral will let you fly right seat on the way back,” a voice said quietly to him.

“How long have you been awake?” he asked his wife.

“Long enough to see you drooling on the controls,” she answered. “How far out are we?”

“Less than an hour, in fact we’ll overfly Seaview in about forty minutes. As much as I’d like to fly this, I’d relish a chance to con Seaview.”

“Careful what you wish for…you might get it,” she chided him gently.
« Last Edit: Feb 14th, 2011 at 3:57am by Matt »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #3 - Feb 12th, 2011 at 5:25am
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Chapter 3:
Virginia had to admit that being able to see out of the viewports made traveling underwater much more bearable. Although not claustrophobic like her boss, she still disliked being on a submarine. She had pulled duty on Skydiver twice in all her time at SHADO, a one month training stint and a few years ago when the aliens tried to destroy that ship with nerve gas aboard. Unlike her best friend, or her husband, life on a submarine was not for her.

She looked over at him briefly as they approached Seaview and prepared to dock. As submarines went Seaview was a work of art, Ginny thought to herself. Its slender lines and finned bow were made for the deep.

“Water, water everywhere…” she said quietly.

“Nor any drop to drink,” responded her husband.

Ginny turned her attention back to Matt, “I didn’t know that you knew that poem, Matt.”

“The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner was required reading in eight grade lit class. It was one of my favorites.”

“What was your favorite verse?” she asked, now keenly interested.

“Farewell, farewell, but this I tell, To thee thou Wedding-Guest! He prayeth well, who loveth well, Both man and bird, and beast. He prayeth best, who loveth best, All things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all.”

From the pilot’s seat the Admiral chimed in, “The Mariner, whose eye is bright, Whose beard with age is hoar, Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest, Turned from the bridegroom’s door. He went like one that hath been stunned, And is a sense forlorn; A sadder and wiser man, He rose the morrow morn.”

“Well now I’m impressed by both of you,” said Ginny as she clapped. “Bravo.”

“The Rhyme was always one of my favorites as well,” said Nelson. “So tell me Matt, did you ever memorize the whole thing?”

“I did try Admiral, I think I managed to get about two thirds of it down when I was in school. Did you, sir?”

“I did, a long time ago. Do you remember this one, Sail forth, steer for the deep waters only. Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me…”

“For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all. Passage to India, those were my favorite lines,” added Matt.

Virginia smiled at her husband, having just learned something new about him.

Up front the Admiral had maneuvered underneath the bow section of Seaview and the Flying Sub was being drawn into the hanger. Underneath the areosub the bay doors closed and the compartment was drained.

While Nelson Powered down the sub Chip Morton rose from his seat and dropped the ladder between Matt and Virginia. He climbed up to open the hatch.

Virginia and her husband stood to climb the ladder and he said to her quietly, “You go up first honey.”

She nodded and gingerly climbed the ladder, all the while thinking the khaki skirt might not have been the best choice of attire. At least my husband is protecting my modesty, she thought.

At the top of the ladder, Chip Morton extended his hand to help her up, “Thank you Commander Morton.”

To her it seemed strange to be calling someone else “Commander” as his rank was the equivalent of a Lieutenant Colonel in SHADO. But the Navy did things differently. Virginia turned to look out the bow and she was awe struck by the ocean vista that the observation nose allowed.

“I told you that Seaview was different,” said Matt as he stood beside her.

“It’s beautiful,” she said.

Behind them, two of Seaview’s crew descended the spiral stairway followed by a tall dark haired man. Virginia assumed this was the Captain.

“Lee, I would like you to meet Colonel Virginia Lake, and her husband, Colonel Matthew Hewett,” said Nelson, introducing the pair.

Crane shook hands with both of them, “How do you do? I’m Lee Crane, welcome aboard Seaview. The crewmen will take your bags to your quarters and once you’re settled in we can meet in the Admiral’s quarters.”

“That will be fine Captain,” she said.

The two crewmembers now carrying the bags started up the circular stairway and Virginia followed them. She quickly looked back at her husband as they ascended the stairway.

The Seaview turned out to be much roomier that Ginny had thought it would be. Although they were narrow the corridors were clean and devoid of piping and other obstructions.

The couple came to a small cabin just two doors down from the Admiral’s quarters. The red suited crewman opened the door and the two men set their bags down inside. He handed the keys to Matt and said, “Colonel, if you, or your wife, need anything, please let one of us know.”

“Thank you crewman…”

“Kowalski, sir.”

“Thank you, Kowalski.”

The two men departed and Ginny looked at the beds, bunk beds, narrow bunk beds, she thought.

“Well this is going to be interesting,” she said pointing at the bunks.

“This is a submarine, not a yacht,” said Matt amused by his wife’s quandary.

“You had better be prepared to push over; I’m not sleeping alone for a week.”

“We could do that, or, we could do this,” Matt said as he pulled a lever on the top bunk and pulled it out from the wall and lowering it next to the other bunk, effectively making a full size bed.

“How did you…”

Matt smiled at her as he pointed to the instructions on the cabin door.

“Smartass,” she said as she kissed him.

“I tell you Patterson, that’s what this ship needs, more officers that look like her. Did you see those beautiful eyes?”

“Kowalski, you have a one track mind. She’s married, and quite happily from the looks of it. Besides, nothing would get done on this ship. I tell you dames and submarines don’t mix.”

“Other countries are doing it, putting women on submarines. The US is behind the times. I heard that the sub we are supposed to be looking for is being commanded by a woman.”

“Maybe that’s why it sunk,” said Patterson. “I just think it’s bad luck to have a woman on board. It seems like every time we pick up a woman, we end up in the soup.”

Patterson was the most superstitious member of the crew by far, but even in the modern age, many sailors clung to the tall tales and jinxes of the past.

“Come on Patterson, you don’t really believe that do you?”

“Yeah I do. Don’t you remember that incident a few years ago? What was her name…Cara Steele? Her husband had been turned into that huge sea creature, a victim of his own experiment,” said Patterson.

“I remember that,” said Kowalski. “The creature almost destroyed the ship. But still, that was just one incident Pat. We’ve had several lady scientists on board since then and the missions have been almost boring.”

Patterson looked unconvinced and his next objection confirmed his feelings, “What about the incident that landed us in dry dock for two years. Doctor Rafferty’s assistant Tara, she planted a bomb in the Flying Sub berth. It just about blew the bow off the ship. Why do you think the Admiral decided to move the control room back under the sail in the refit?”

“That’s the problem; you were sweet on her, if I remember correctly. You felt betrayed.”

He knew that Kowalski was right. The truth was that Patterson had been quite smitten with the young scientific aid and because of that, he had let his guard down. The explosion had cost the life of two close friends.

Admiral Nelson had cleared him of any wrong doing as Tara Rogers had been cleared by the State Department and they had no reason to suspect her of sabotage. But that finding did little to assuage his guilt.

In the control room at HQ, Colonel John Grey watched the tracking readout of the NEO that had just been picked up by the system.

Over the radio link, he said to Lieutenant Colonel Barry, “Nina, can you re-verify your figures?”

“I’ve done that John, three times. This object is going to impact less than a mile from the area that the last one did.”

“That’s impossible,” said Grey.

On the monitor, Nina shook her head, “Not impossible, but highly improbable. I agree John; the odds against this are astronomical.”

Scorpion reported contact with what they believed was a UFO just before they went down. I’m going to order Sky 1 into the target area.”

“Are you going to wake the Commander?” she asked.

Grey shook his head, “We have at least four hours before the object re-enters the atmosphere. Ed had been up for over twenty four hours. I’m going to let him sleep for now. I can wake him if the situation changes.”

“Understood, Moonbase out.”

John Grey stood up from the command console and stepped down to the communications post. Seated at the console, Major Keith Ford looked up at Grey.

“See if you can raise Seaview Keith. I need to speak to either Colonel Hewett or Admiral Nelson. Put the system on point to point scramble and pipe it into the Commander’s office.”

“Right away, sir,” replied Ford.

The order seemed simple enough but executing it was much more complicated than it sounded. Due to security concerns, the communications officer on Seaview knew nothing about the existence of SHADO. Ford needed to use a third party to call the research sub and establish a comm link. Fortunately both Straker and Henderson had anticipated the need to communicate with both civilian and military forces outside of SHADO. A worldwide net of communication stations had been organized to pass information to the international military forces.

Each of the stations was under the guise of a military post owned by the respective governments. The crews that operated them however, were not only members of their respective military forces; they were also fully fledged members of SHADO. In this way the full strength of the planet’s military might was placed at the disposal of the organization.

In many cases these communications stations also doubled as tracking centers, such was the case with the station at Pearl Harbor. In a few minutes, Pearl Station had made contact with Seaview and the point to point encrypted call had been established between the submarine and HQ. To protect security, no one but the people on either end of the call could decrypt the two way transmission.

In the Admiral’s cabin, Colonel Hewett had just finished briefing Captain Crane and Commander Morton as to the true nature of the mission. To his credit, Crane seemed unsurprised to learn of the scope of SHADO. He was more shocked to learn of the Admiral’s deep involvement in the formation of the clandestine operation.

“So Scorpion is not a research sub?” asked the Captain.

“No, not by any stretch of the imagination, Lee,” said Matt. “With the exception of the US Navy boomers, this ship is probably the most heavily armed submarine in existence. She carries more firepower than three Seawolf class subs. In addition, she is armed with six variable yield nuclear tip missiles.”

“My God,” said Commander Morton. “What kind of failsafe system do you have, and who can authorize the release of nuclear weapons?”

“The Utronic communications system supports a real-time failsafe system that is tied to SHADO HQ. Only three people in the organization can open the failsafe system, Commander Straker, Colonel Foster, and General Henderson. The procedures on the sub are the same as you will find on any US or British sub. Five officers have to all agree that a launch order is genuine.”

Morton visibly relaxed and Matt understood his reaction as the thought of one person having the ability to launch a nuke inside the atmosphere was indeed a troubling concept.

The intercom chimed and the Admiral reached across the desk to answer it, “Nelson.”

“I have a secure call coming in from Pearl Station for you and Colonel Hewett, sir.”

“Thanks Sparks, pipe it into my cabin please.”

Nelson pressed another switch and the video monitor built into the bulkhead came to life. On the screen appeared the image of John Grey.

“John, what’s going on?” asked Matt.

“Have you briefed the senior staff of Seaview yet?”

“Virginia and I just finished, you can speak freely.”

“Matt, we’re tracking another NEO. I’ll give you one guess where it’s heading.”

“The Marianas?”

“That’s correct, it’s a bit of a coincidence, wouldn’t you think?”

Matt looked at his wife as she chimed in, “The odds of that happening again are next to impossible, there has to be something else going on here.”

“I agree. We have almost four hours before the object hits the atmosphere so I’m ordering Skydiver 1 into the area. Pete Carlin will reencounter the object as it approaches the water. If it turns out to be a UFO, Carlin will get it.”

Carlin was one of SHADO’s top sky-jet pilots and it was ironic that the other top pilot was in command of Scorpion.

“Has the Commander been notified?” asked Matt.

“He’s on a sleep period right now; I’ll wake him before the object crosses low orbit. I need to bring Colonel Foster up to speed as well. I’ll be in touch if anything changes. Grey out.”

“Matt, you’ve fought these things underwater,” said Nelson. “In your opinion, does Seaview have the ability to engage the enemy in combat with a reasonable degree of success?”

“I believe so Admiral. Seaview carries the same weapons as Scorpion, just not as many. The sonar suite is basically the same design so we should be able to detect them as well as any SHADO sub. The only disadvantage I see is that the crew doesn’t know what they are up against. At some point in time we are going to have to bring at least the control room and sonar staff up to speed.”

Nelson turned to the Captain, “Lee, I want you to familiarize Colonel Hewett with Seaview’s operation and bring him into the conning rotation.” Virginia gave Matt an unreadable look as the Admiral continued, “Between the three of you,” Nelson said to Crane, Morton, and Hewett, “I want you to come up with a battle plan for engagement. While I don’t want to engage them unless needed I also don’t want to be caught unprepared.”

“Colonel Lake, what kind of problems can we expect to run into when we try to back-feed the power system on Scorpion?” asked Crane.

“A lot is going to depend on the condition of the power system on Scorpion. If the batteries have fallen below twenty five percent of capacity, we are going to have to feed the fusion reactor directly. The power levels are going to have to be very closely monitored. An overload will cause an explosion on both ships and I’m not sure the hull could stand the strain this close to test depth.”

“Virginia, you and I will have to monitor the reactor power levels,” said the Admiral. “If we cannot establish contact with the crew, Commander Morton will have to go aboard to assess the situation. If that happens, he’ll need to have one of you with him, and that means using the liquid breathing gear.”

Matt swallowed hard, knowing that duty was going to fall to him. Noticing his reaction, Chip Morton grinned at him.

“It’s not as bad as it looks Colonel,” said Morton. “Once you get over the initial panic, it just feels different. The breathing fluid doesn’t have the burning sensation you would feel if you were drowning in water, but it’s much more work to breathe.”

“Yeah, so say you,” said Matt, not at all thrilled with the prospect. “But we really don’t have much choice do we?”

“At this juncture, our options are limited,” agreed the Admiral. “Chip, why don’t you take Colonel Hewett down to the missile room, and show him the equipment. The two of you can plan a training dive tomorrow morning. Virginia, I’d like to go over some of these power figures with you later. We can work in the observation nose.”

“That will be fine, Harry,” she said.

“If there is nothing else, let’s get to work.”

The meeting broke up and the two SHADO Colonels made their way to the wardroom having not eaten since leaving Santa Barbara.

“I told you to be careful what you wished for,” said Virginia, chiding him gently.

“I don’t mind conning Seaview, but breathing like an alien is not my idea of fun.”

“Better you than me, I don’t think I could do it.”

Matt considered that silently thinking, I don’t know that I can do it either.
« Last Edit: Feb 23rd, 2011 at 4:53am by Matt »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #4 - Mar 2nd, 2011 at 3:24am
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Chapter 4:

The liquid breathing system looked more like a spacesuit from the Apollo era than underwater breathing apparatus. In the missile room of Seaview, Matt Hewett listened carefully as Chip Morton explained the operation of the system.

“When the valve is cracked open and the suit fills with the breathing fluid, the occupant will go through a brief period of panic,” Morton was saying, “It’s perfectly normal and the more often you don the suit, the less pronounced the effect becomes. After a dozen or so dives, this becomes second nature.”

“I’ve got to be honest Chip,” Matt said. “I’m not looking forward to this. When I was a kid, I fell out of the family boat during a fishing trip and ended up breathing in some water. I still remember that, it hurt like hell.”

“The breathing fluid doesn’t burn like water does so the panic effect is purely psychological. It takes more effort to breathe as you will see. Tomorrow morning I’ll take you on a quick training dive. In addition to the suit, we’ll go over the escape trunk procedures as well. If we could afford to stop for a while, I’d take you on an open water dive.”

Matt shook his head, “As much as I’d like that, we can’t afford to stop. We’ll just have to make due.”

“You may want to ask your wife to be here in the morning. Having someone that you trust talking to you makes it easier to get through the initial panic,” said Chip.

“The question is, will she ever let me live it down,” said Matt jokingly.

“She’s one of those, huh.”

“Yeah, she is, but so am I, it works both ways. If the shoe were on the other foot I’d be the one doing the teasing.”

“It sounds like the two of you have an interesting relationship,” said Morton.

“It’s never ever been boring.”

The view in the observation nose was breathtaking, or so Ginny was thinking as she studied the power system used in Scorpion. She was getting frustrated as there was no known reason or process that could have caused such a system wide power failure.

The sound of footsteps coming down the circular stairway drew her attention from the viewports.

“Hello Virginia,” said Nelson as he descended to the landing. “Having any luck?”

“I’m afraid not Harry,” she said. “There isn’t any reason I can find that would explain the sudden power loss. I’m beginning to think that this wasn’t an equipment failure. What worries me is Seaview is powered by the same power system. If this power failure was the result of a new alien weapon, this ship could suffer the same fate as Scorpion.”

“You’re forgetting one thing,” said the Admiral. “In addition to the new fusion reactor, Seaview is also equipped with its original fission reactor. It’s method of generating electricity and providing propulsion is fundamentally different than the fusion system.”

“In that case Harry, I’d plan on bringing the fission system up to full power before we enter the search area.”

“I agree, our normal operations would have the fission reactor running at ten percent power, so the reactor is already at critical mass. Bringing it up to full power will only take a few minutes.”

Virginia turned her attention back to the viewports. At the speed and depth that the submarine was operating at, the marine life was not evident except for plankton and shrimp. But Ginny felt more at ease here than anywhere else on the ship.

“You never get bored with it do you?” she asked.

“Never, I could spend the rest of my life up here,” said Nelson. He suddenly changed to subject. “How long have you and Colonel Hewett been married?”

“We were married seven years in August, it still seems like yesterday.”

“You waited a long time,” the Admiral observed.

“Not really, Matt is my second husband,” she said. “I met my first husband in college and we were married soon after I started work on the Utronic project. I was putting in sixteen hours a day, flying all over the country. The marriage didn’t last.”

Virginia did not go into the details. Even though she had known the Admiral for years, the subject of her first marriage was a topic she seldom discussed.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m not, as it turned out, it was for the best. Matt and I have a great relationship and a beautiful six year old daughter. I’m surprised that you never married Harry.”

“I’ve had a mistress for years,” he said as he looked out the viewports.

“The sea?”

Nelson nodded as he gazed into the vast openness of the Pacific Ocean. The sea had been his life from the time he had enlisted in the US Navy, up to the formation of the Nelson Institute.

“She’s a jealous mistress, Virginia.”

Yeah, just like SHADO, she thought.

The PA system crackled to life, “Colonel Lake to acknowledge.”

“Allow me,” said the Admiral as he reached for the intercom station.

Virginia watched carefully as Nelson turned the selector to answer the call.

“This is Nelson. She’s right here Colonel Hewett.”

The Admiral handed her the mic as Matt started speaking, “Thank you, Admiral. Gin, I just finished reviewing the liquid breathing gear with Commander Morton and I’m going to be taking the third watch in about six hours. I’m on my way back to our cabin to get some shuteye.”

“Alright, I’m almost finished here. I’ll be up in a few minutes.”

Ginny hung the mic back on the wall and looked back at the Admiral, “I’m going to get some sleep as well, if I can. I never sleep well on a submarine.”

“Why is that?” he asked.

“I’ve never felt comfortable on a sub, even in training, but a few years ago, I was assigned to Skydiver to oversee the search for a UFO that was shot down by a British warship in the Atlantic. We took the submarine down as deep as we could, trying to establish sonar contact with the wreckage. When we were one hundred fathoms below maximum safe depth, we ran into trouble. I ordered the Captain to level the ship but we had a problem with the propulsion system. The ship descended another hundred fathoms before we were able to arrest the dive. I’ve never told anyone except my husband, but that incident scared the living hell out of me. When Ed ordered me back out a few days later, it took every ounce of courage I had.”

The Admiral chucked, “If it’s any consolation, the specifications on Skydiver are very conservative. You could have taken her down to almost nine hundred fathoms before there was any real danger. The forward plates will buckle slightly but they will hold. Trust me, the specs for Seaview are every bit as conservative.”

Ginny smiled, “Thank you Harry, I’ll keep that in mind. Good night.”

“Sleep well Virginia.”

“Sky 1 to SHADO control, I’m in the target area now.”

In the control room, at HQ, the Commander watched both the meteor and Sky 1 on the radar display. He flipped up the mic to speak to Colonel Carlin.

“Peter do you have visual contact?”

“Yes sir, this one is breaking up into small pieces. I’m rolling the cameras now.”

Carlin had been ordered to capture the breakup and impact of the object. If a UFO had tried to slip in with the meteor, the film should reveal its presence.

“I don’t see anything but the meteor debris, Commander. Unless we find something on the film, this is becoming a snipe hunt.”

“I’d rather hunt snipe a hundred times than let one UFO get through, Colonel. Loiter in the area as long as fuel permits then re-dock with your diver section. I want that film transmitted to HQ as soon as it’s processed.”

“Understood sir, Carlin out.”

Straker hadn’t realized how tired he was until he had laid down. He had fallen asleep in less than ten minutes. Knowing that there was little that he could do now, he decided to return to his quarters and bank sleep while he could.

“John, I’m going back to bed. Call me if the film turns up anything.”

“Don’t worry Ed, get some sleep. I’ll call you if anything comes up.”

On Seaview, Matt Hewett had been through his first test dive with the underwater breathing gear. The sheer panic of breathing liquid for the first time was everything that Chip Morton told him it would be. He was thankful to have his wife with him to help keep his wits about him. Judging by the look in her eyes, the experience had been just as traumatic for her, as it was for him. The second time was much easier, although clearing his lungs and nose of the breathing fluid was not much fun.

Matt and Virginia had fallen into the shipboard routine with relative ease. While Matt stood watch in the control room, Virginia would work on her power system figures, either in the observation nose, or the computer workstation in the control room. Early in the morning, on the third day of the voyage, Hewett was coaching the two sonar techs, Patterson and Riley on the underwater signatures of UFOs that SHADO had managed to record.

“As you gentlemen can see, and hear, the sound is nothing like any underwater craft, that you have ever heard,” Matt said, as he brought up one of the craft on the screen.

Riley shook his head as he listened to the sound in the headphones, “What is that melodic sound Colonel Hewett?”

“That’s the power system,” he said as he pointed it out on the waterfall display.

“It sounds like Fur Elise, sir.”

“That’s what my wife said the first time she heard it. She’s well versed in that genre of music.”

“Oh God, don’t tell him that, sir,” said Chief Sharkey, who had poked his head in the sonar room. “That stuff hurts my ears.”

“Don’t let Colonel Lake hear you say that. Classical music is one of her loves in life,” said Matt.

“Stu Riley here, is a classical music buff, sir, but for me, I like my classic rock, Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Kansas,” said the Chief.

“Colonel, I keep trying to tell him that most rock music was derived from the masters, but he’s not buying it,” said Riley.

“He’s not kidding Chief. Many of the riffs in rock music have their origin in the classics. There are only twelve notes and they can only be put together so many ways. So, are you a musician Riley?” asked Matt.

“Yes sir, I play the violin. I’d love to discuss music with Colonel Lake.”

“Did I hear my name mentioned?” asked Virginia as she strode into the room.

“Busted,” said Matt. “We were talking about music. Riley here is a classical violinist and he…”

The sonar alarm started signaling and Riley quickly silenced the alarm and brought up the waterfall display.

“Con, sonar, new contact, designate sierra seven-two.”

Matt picked up the extra set of headphones and listened intently to the water. Although it was faint, he could make out the distinct sounds of the alien craft.

“Classify this one as a type two, hostile,” he said as he quickly left the sonar suite.

“I have the con,” said Matt as he stepped up to the plotting table.

“Colonel Hewett has the con.”

“Slow to five knots, come to course one-nine zero.”

“Slow to five knots, coming to course one-nine-zero. Aye, aye sir.”

Matt picked up the mic and dialed up the 1MC, “General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations. Captain Crane to control.”

“Sonar, con. Tell me about the contact Riley.”

“Contact sierra seven-two, bearing three-zero-zero true, heading three-two-four, best range twenty five thousand yards, speed ten knots, reducing.”

Matt looked to his left as his wife came up beside him. He could see his own worry reflected in her eyes.

A minute later Chief Sharkey stepped to Matt’s right, “Battle stations are manned and ready sir.”

“Very well, thank you Chief.”

“What do we have, Colonel?” asked the Captain as he rushed into the control room.

“One sonar contact, skipper, it’s a type two alien spacecraft,” said Matt as he filled the Captain in on the tactical situation. “I’ve ordered a perpendicular course to firm up the range figures. Battle stations are manned and ready, sir.”

Crane looked down at the electronic plotting table as he considered the situation. The target was still over four nautical miles away. Under normal circumstances this would be plenty of time to react and plan an attack. But having seen the film from Skydiver 3’s encounter with this type of craft, Crane wanted to take no chances.

“Recommendations, Colonel Hewett?”

“This type of craft will require two torpedoes, or one Sealance missile to destroy it. I suspect that it’s much closer than what sonar is telling us. That means a torpedo attack. One thing Captain, if it disappears from the screen, get nervous. When it reappears it will be in knife fighting range.”

“I remember the film,” said Crane as he reached for the mic. “Fire control, con. Rig tubes one and two fully ready.”

“Rig tubes one and two fully ready, aye, aye sir.”

When Chip Morton came into the control room the tension was already thick enough to cut with a knife. While Crane brought his XO up to date, Matt spoke quietly with his wife. “I don’t like it Gin, at the speed that we were traveling they have to know we’re here. Why aren’t they moving?”

“We could have been in their baffles,” she offered.

“But why did they slow down as soon as we did? I’m missing something here”


“I don’t think we’re that lucky…”

“Con, sonar, picking up weapons fire from sierra seven-two.”

“Con, aye. How firm is the range figure?”

“Eighty percent, sir.”

“Close enough,” said Crane. “Right full rudder, all ahead one third. Come to course three-zero-zero.”

“Right full rudder, ahead one third, coming to course three-zero-zero, aye, aye sir.”

“Con, radio, receiving a distress call, sir. It’s a surface ship reporting that they’re under attack.”

“Con, aye. Maintain radio silence for now, but keep monitoring, Sparks.”

“Aye, sir.”

“That’s why they slowed down,” Matt said to Virginia. “They’re attacking that surface ship, they may not know we’re here. Captain, I recommend a speed run. Best speed without losing sonar contact.”

“I agree,” said Crane. “All ahead full. Sonar, keep a sharp lookout. Sing out if you lose contact.”

“Aye, aye sir,” came the replies.

The speed run would turn out to be a very long four minutes.
« Last Edit: Mar 21st, 2011 at 3:33pm by Matt »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #5 - Mar 7th, 2011 at 5:22am
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Chapter 5:

“Quick honey, get your life jacket on,” Rebecca Howard said to her seven year old daughter, Julie.

The young family of three had been awakened by the sound of an explosion aboard the ocean liner SS Sunfish. The ship was on fire, the entire stern was engulfed in flame. She was listing almost thirty degrees to port and she was down by the bow.

“Come on. The ship is going to turn over,” said Charles Howard, a ten year Navy veteran. “We’ve got to get out of here, now.”

Howard quickly ushered his wife and daughter into the hallway and towards the bow of the ship. Their cabin was on the starboard side and the stairway topside was just up the hall. Howard knew that his family’s survival depended on him getting them off the ship before she capsized.

A second explosion rocked the ship and the vessel split apart amidships, opening a rift in the hallway between Howard and his wife. He lost sight of her as she was thrown back towards the stern.


A third explosion threw him against the bulkhead and the sight of his daughter being tossed into the air formed his last perception.

On Seaview, Stu Riley saw the contact instantaneously reverse course. Its speed increased at an alarming rate.

“Con, sonar. Sierra seven-two has changed course, now heading one-two-five, speed forty knots and increasing, range seven thousand yards closing fast.”

“Con, fire control, I have a solution sir.”

“Con aye. Helm, slow to one third, fire control, flood tubes and open the outer doors, firing point procedures,” ordered the Captain.

The din of the rushing water along the hull subsided as the submarine slowed.

“Con, fire control, tubes flooded, outer doors open, we’re ready to shoot.”

“Con, sonar, contact lost.”

“All stop quick quiet,” ordered Crane.

Matt looked at the Captain and pointed down to the chart, “This is where I think he’ll reappear.”

The spot that Matt had indicated, on the chart, was less than one thousand yards from Seaview’s position.

“Are you sure about this Matt?”

“It’s the same maneuver that they pulled on us seven years ago. He’ll shoot as soon as he reappears.”

“Fire control, this is the Captain. Don’t wait for my order, as soon as you reacquire the target, snapshot one and two.”

“Aye, aye sir.”

“All hands, this is the Captain, brace for impact!”

Matt joined his wife next to the periscope platform and said to her quietly, “Hang on sweetheart. When that thing hits us it will kick like a mule.”

“Con, sonar, contact reestablished, range six hundred yards, dead ahead!”

“Fire control match bearings and shoot,” ordered Crane.

The two torpedoes were leaving the tubes as he finished speaking. As they cleared Seaview, the alien craft fired its particle weapon at the submarine causing it to rock hard to its port side.

In the control room, sparks of electricity danced on the equipment and several pieces caught fire. As the submarine gyrated from the impact several crewmen, including the Captain lost their footing and were tossed into equipment panels and each other. Lee Crane was thrown against the helmsman’s seat. He collapsed on the deck near the plotting table.

When the sub settled Commander Morton struggled to his feet and grabbed the mic, “Damage control, report.”

“We’ve got flooding aft of frame forty, and a fire in the circuitry room, propulsion is out, both reactors are down.”

“Very well, sonar, con, report on the contact.”

“Sierra seven-two is moving away rapidly, speed, forty five knots, range, eight hundred yards.”

“Con, fire control, torpedoes have acquired and are homing.”

While Morton was stabilizing the ship Matt Hewett knelt down at Captain Crane’s side. Lee was unconscious and had a nasty gash in his forehead.

“Gin, Grab me the first aid kit, and get the corpsman up here.”

Virginia grabbed the med kit from the bulkhead and tossed it to her husband and picked up the mic.

“Sick bay, this is Colonel Lake. I need a corpsman up here right away. Captain Crane has been injured.”

“On our way, Colonel.”

As Matt applied pressure to the wound, Ginny knelt beside him, “This is going to need stitches and he’s probably going to end up with a concussion.”

Virginia reached over and placed her hand on the bandage.

“I’ve got it Matt. Commander Morton might need your help. I’ll see to the Captain.”

Matt nodded and stood up. He walked around the plotting table and spoke to Morton.

“How bad is it, Chip.”

“The reactors are both down, and we have no propulsion. We’re just holding trim…”

“Con, sonar. Torpedo impact, sounds of breakup noises, target has been destroyed.”

“Very well, any other contacts?”

“Negative sir, sonar is clear.”

Morton reached up and switched the PA to another section, “Radio, con. Do we still have contact with the surface ship, Sparks?”

“Negative sir. We lost contact just before we were attacked. I don’t have anything on the scope at all.”

“That UFO probably sunk them just before hitting us. There may be survivors on the surface,” said Matt.

“We’ve got to surface to make repairs anyway,” replied Morton. “Chief, how are the diving and ballast controls?”

“The number four trim pump is out, everything else is operational.”

“Very well, let’s do a short blow on the main ballast tanks, just enough to get positive buoyancy.”

“Aye sir.”

“Matt, how’s the Captain?”

“He’s got a pretty deep cut on his forehead. Gin is looking after him and the corpsman is on his way up. He’s going to have one hell of a headache when he comes to. I’m surprised that the Admiral isn’t here,” said Matt.

“He was working in the lab. He might be back with the damage control party. I need to get back there anyway and survey the hull damage. Can you take over here?”

“Sure Chip.”

“Thanks,” Morton quietly said. He turned to Sharkey, “Chief of the watch, Colonel Hewett has the con.”

“Aye sir, Colonel Hewett has the con.”

As Commander Morton made his way aft, the corpsman and the ship’s doctor entered the control room. The doctor knelt beside Virginia, and performed a quick exam on the Captain.

“Let me have a look at the wound, Colonel.”

Ginny removed the four by four allowing the doctor to inspect the cut. He grabbed a butterfly bandage from the med kit to temporally close the injury.

“Yeah, he’s going to be out for a while,” he said. “Okay Brian, let’s get him to sick bay.

Virginia stood aside to allow the two men to lift Crane and carry him towards the hatch.

“Con, engine room.”

Matt recognized Nelson’s voice and answered, “Con aye, go ahead Admiral.”

“Colonel, you should have enough power to maneuver now. No more that fifteen knots. We’re running on batteries.”

“Aye sir, Commander Morton is checking on the damage amidships.”

“I’ll meet him there after I check the circuitry room. Is Captain Crane with you?”

“Negative sir. Captain Crane was injured in the attack. They’re taking him down to sickbay now.”

There was a brief pause before the Admiral answered that reminded Matt of his own Commander.

“Understood, Nelson out.”

Matt looked at his wife and spoke in confidence to her before he gave his next order. “How is he?”

“The doctor thinks he has a concussion, Lee is going to be off his feet for a while. Do you think we’ll still be able to go after Scorpion with the ship in this condition?”

“That depends on how badly the hull has been damaged. If it’s a pipe fitting, we should be able to repair it out here and continue. But if the hull itself has been compromised, we’ll never be able to reach her depth.”

Matt knew that this wasn’t what she wanted to hear, also knowing that she already knew the answer to her own question. She wanted reassurance that he couldn’t give her and he could see her façade of good spirits beginning to crack.

“We’re just going to have to take it one at a time, honey. Don’t give up hope yet,” he said. He took her hand and squeezed it and she smiled wanly.

Hewett turned his attention back to this business at hand.

“Helm, make turns for five knots, five degree up bubble, make your depth sixty-five feet and come to course three-zero-zero.”

The crew responded to the orders and Seaview slowly made its way to the surface.

The UNSS Triton was being tossed on the rough seas as her Captain skirted the outer bands of the tropical cyclone, attempting to shave a day off their journey. On the bridge Paul Foster watched the ship as it fought on a head sea. Half the crew was seasick and Paul was grateful to be a test pilot as it made him largely immune to motion sickness.

Foster turned and poked his head in the radio shack, “Any word from Seaview?”

“Negative sir. We lost contact with her about half an hour ago, just after we received the distress call from the SS Sunfish.”

“Let me know right away if you raise them.”

“Aye, Colonel.”

Paul walked back over to the plotting table where Captain Franklin was updating the ship’s position.

“If you keep pacing Colonel, you’re going to wear a hole in my deck,” said Franklin. “Gay is a good friend isn’t she?”

“Yeah, her and her husband. I’ve known them a long time.”

Franklin looked down at the chart, “If it’s any consolation, we shaved almost a day off of our trip. I place us in the target area in about fifteen to twenty hours, depending on the headwinds. I think we are through the worst of it. Why don’t you get some rack time? I’ll call you if we hear anything.”

“All right Joe. I’ll see you in a few hours.”

On board Seaview, Chip Morton inspected the section of the hull that the damage control team was shoring up with timbers. As he had suspected the flooding had been caused by a hull penetration fitting that had blown loose. The flooding had been contained to a storage compartment and the leak had subsided to a small stream.

“Okay, tighten up that collar on the damaged pipe then seal this compartment until we surface,” ordered Morton.

“Aye, aye sir.”

Morton stepped out of the compartment just as Admiral Nelson was coming down the passageway.

“How bad is it Chip?”

“It could have been worse Admiral. I ordered the bulkhead shored as a precaution but I think most of the damage was the through hull fitting. Once we’re on the surface and we can inspect the outer hull, I’ll have a better idea then. How bad is the damage in the circuitry room?”

“Long range underwater communications is out, as well as some of the secondary systems. The fire was contained to one equipment rack. I’ve got a team of technicians replacing the damaged modules now. I’m going to the reactor compartment to see how long before we’ll have full power. Then I’m going to sick bay to check on Lee.”

“I’m going back to the control room as soon as I get dried up,” said Morton. He was soaked to the skin.

“All right, I’ll be up shortly.

In the control room Matt Hewett watched, as the digital depth gauge approached one hundred feet.

“Up periscope,” he ordered.

Matt stepped up onto the platform as the scope was being raised and lowered the handles as the scope reached its raised position. He quickly scanned three hundred and sixty degrees looking for shadows on the surface of the water. He switched on the night vision as it was still dark out. The control room had been rigged for red, so his night vision was intact.

“All clear,” he said, letting the diving officer know that it was safe to continue the assent.

As Seaview leveled off at sixty five feet the top of the periscope broached, giving Matt his first view of the surface. As he scanned around the compass rose, he spotted fire and wreckage a few hundred yards away.

“Mark this bearing.”

Matt picked up the mic, “Radio con. Sparks, what do we have on the ship that put out that distress call?”

“It was the SS Sunfish sir. The ship index identifies it as a small capacity ocean liner. It has a crew of three hundred fifty and six hundred passengers.”

Damn, almost a thousand lives, thought Matt.

“Very well, thank you. Diving officer, surface the ship.”

“Surface the ship, aye, aye sir.”

“Lookouts, lay forward to the control room, on the double,” Matt ordered.

Matt looked down at Ginny, who was standing next to the periscope platform, “Well, here is your chance to get some fresh air.”

“Yeah, how does it look Matt?”

“Here, take a look.”

Virginia stepped onto the platform and looked through the periscope, “My God Matt, there’s nothing but wreckage. I don’t see any survivors.”

“We’re still quite a ways from the wreck, but if she went down fast…” his voice trailed off.

“On the surface and holding sir,” reported the diving officer.

“Very well, right standard rudder, all ahead slow, come to course three-two-zero. Chief Sharkey, would you oversee the sea detail?”

“Aye, sir.”

As Seaview changed course the lookouts stepped up to climb the ladder to the bridge.

“You might want to step back for a minute Gin,” said Matt.

A bucket full of water spilled down the hatchway onto the platform as the upper hatch was opened. Matt grabbed a pair of jackets from the locker in the bulkhead and handed one to his wife. Quickly he climbed the ladder to the bridge again thankful for his years as a volunteer firefighter.

On the bridge he grabbed his binoculars and surveyed the surface of the ocean, all the while praying that someone had survived this carnage. The scene was silent except for the drone of Seaview’s engines and the roar of the fire. A minute later Ginny joined him on the bridge.

“Commander Morton is on his way up,” she said. “Matt, if this turns out to be a confirmed UFO incident, it will be the largest loss of life since the Gediz, Turkey earthquake in 1970. Ed suspected that an alien device similar to the one we found on the outskirts of London a few years ago was responsible for that quake.”

“You know Gin, I don’t understand this. What purpose does it serve them to kill without reason? Harvesting organs, I can understand that. I don’t like it, but at least it makes sense. Here we have a case where almost a thousand people have lost their lives for nothing. Why?”

“What if they are protecting something, we’ve found alien installations on the ocean floor in the past. Or maybe there was someone on that ship who is or will be important at some point in the future.”

“Temporal warfare, it gives me a headache just to think about it. Could they build and operate one of those installations at the bottom of the Challenger Deep?”

“We have found them as deep as ten thousand feet. I don’t see why…”

“Colonel Hewett, look,” called one of the lookouts. “Off the starboard bow, I think there’s someone alive out there.”
« Last Edit: Mar 16th, 2011 at 7:39pm by Matt »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #6 - Mar 14th, 2011 at 4:13am
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Chapter 6:

Matt trained his binoculars on the spot that the lookouts had pointed and spotted a person moving on the water. His heart froze when he realized what he was seeing.

“My God, it’s a child!” He grabbed the mic and shouted, “Right full rudder, give me all the speed you can muster. Steady on course three-four-zero. Rescue team; lay forward to the sail hatch. Move it!”

“Matt let me…”

He handed the binoculars to his wife and called over the side to Sharkey.

“Chief, break out the life raft. We’ve got a child in the water!”

“Aye, sir.”

On the deck the Chief turned to his men, “All right what are you guys standing around for? Rosa, Kowalski, you heard the Colonel, move it!”

“Aye, aye Chief.”

Sharkey reached into the sail and grabbed a life ring. The child was alongside the ship but still about fifty yards away. The Chief could see that he or she was having trouble staying afloat. He kicked off his shoes and dove in the water.

“Man overboard, emergency stop!” ordered Matt.

Next to him Virginia was still looking through the glasses, “It’s a little girl, Matt, she’s drowning!”

Chip Morton joined them on the bridge.

“Survivor?” asked Morton.

“Yeah,” said Matt. “Looks like the only one. Sharkey is swimming out to her now.”

The intercom crackled to life, “Bridge, radio.”

“Go ahead Sparks,” answered Morton.

“Message from Triton sir, they are through the worst of the storm and expect to be on station in about fourteen hours.”

“Understood, acknowledge the message and advise them of our situation. Bridge out.”

“Chief Sharkey has her,” said Ginny as she continued watching the rescue unfold.

The men on the deck finish inflating the raft and two of them began paddling out to retrieve the little girl and her rescuer. A few minutes later the life raft reached the pair and they were pulled to safety.


Hewett turned to his wife seeing the unspoken question in her eyes. He nodded knowingly and Virginia climbed down from the bridge.

“What was that about?” asked Morton.

“Moral support,” said Matt. “That little girl is going to be scared to death, and being surrounded by a bunch of men isn’t going to help. Gin is going down to meet them in sickbay. The girl is less likely to panic with Virginia being there.”

“Good idea,” said a bemused Morton.

Colonel Hewett continued to scan the debris field in the hope of finding more survivors. The sun was just beginning to crest the horizon and the daylight would help the search.

“Matt, I’m going to check on the damage to the outer hull, we should be able to get underway in a couple of hours if the damage is minor.”

“All right. I’ll continue sailing north by northwest, which should cover most of the debris field.”

As Morton climbed down the ladder, Hewett was distracted by the starting of Seaview’s diesel generator. As if on cue, the intercom crackled to life.

“Bridge, reactor room.”

“Go ahead Admiral.”

“Colonel, I’ve ordered the generator started to top off the batteries and give us some additional speed. You should be able to make twenty knots if needed. We’ll have the reactors restarted in about an hour.”

“Thank you Admiral. Chip is checking on the external damage, and we’ve found one survivor, so far. Judging by the size of the wreckage, I‘d say it was a miracle to find anyone alive,” Matt said pensively.

He switched the intercom back to the control room, “Control room, bridge. Make turns for ten knots and continue on course three-four-zero.”

Placing his binoculars back to his eyes, he continued to survey the aftermath of mindless violence.

Virginia met the rescue party in the passageway outside of sickbay. The unconscious young girl was being carried on a stretcher by two of the men who quickly moved her onto the exam table. While the doctor made a preliminary exam, Ginny spoke to Sharkey.

“Chief, how long has she been out?”

“Not long Colonel. She was conscious when they hauled her into the raft. Quite frankly I think she’s just exhausted.”

“Did she give her name?” she asked.

“Yes ma’am, her name is Julie,” he paused for a moment. “Colonel Lake, would you let me know how she makes out?”

“I will Chief, thanks,” said Ginny.

Chief Sharkey and the two crewmen exited sickbay, closing the door as they departed. Virginia watched as the doctor continued his exam.

“Nothing broken, but I think she took in some water, nothing serious. All in all, I think she’ll be okay. Colonel, if you look behind you, that cabinet has some towels as well as a change of clothes.”

Virginia was surprised.

“You have something that will fit her?”

“One of Seaview’s principle missions is search and rescue. We have to be prepared for any contingency. She might be out for some time, Colonel. Between the stress of the trauma, and the fact that she was probably sleeping when the attack occured. Do you want me to call you when she regains consciousness?”

Virginia shook her head, “No, I’m going to stay for a while. I’d like to be here when she wakes up. How is Captain Crane?”

The doctor was checking the Captain’s vital signs and did not answer immediately. When he finished recording the readings on the chart, he turned to Lake.

“Sorry Colonel, to answer your question, his condition is unchanged. In a way I’m glad that he is unconscious. Being so will keep him in bed.”

“Being a difficult patient seems to be a common trait amongst commanding officers, wouldn’t you agree?” Ginny asked derisively.

“Unfortunately, for all ship's physicians, that is a true statement.

Matt Hewett was still searching the debris field when Admiral Nelson joined him on the bridge.

“I understand that we picked up a survivor, Colonel. A little girl I’m told.”

“Yes sir, judging from the size of the pieces, it’s a miracle that anyone survived. I mean…well, see for yourself Admiral. There isn’t a piece of debris out there bigger than my fist,” said Matt allowing some of his frustration to show.

“It’s never easy Matt,” the Admiral said in a fatherly tone.

Matt remembered the pure anger he felt the first time that he had seen aliens slaughter innocents, now over seven years ago. Since then, he had seen more than his share of death and devastation that had been caused by these unwelcome visitors from another world. He had been married only six weeks when SHADO had suffered a massive attack that had claimed the lives of thirty people. That incident had almost cost the life of his wife and then unborn child.

Thanksgiving was only a few weeks away, and Hewett thought of the young girl in Seaview’s sickbay who would most likely be spending it without her parents. There is a reason and a purpose for everything that is allowed to happen, he thought. Yes, he still believed that.

“No sir, it’s not,” he paused. “Not by any stretch of the imagination.”

Matt picked up the mic, “Control, bridge. Come left to course two-five-zero. Steady as she goes.”

“I spoke to the Doc,” continued Nelson. “Lee is going to be off his feet for at least a day. I appreciate you helping out Commander Morton.”

“It’s actually an honor, sir,” said Matt. “Virginia thinks I’m having the time of my life, but truth be told, I’d rather both of us, be back home with our daughter, safe and sound. We are lucky to be alive, Admiral.”

Nelson glanced at him with a bemused expression on his face.

“You don’t strike me as someone who scares easy, Colonel.”

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any fear about what we are up against. But most of it is for my daughter, and my wife.”

“Fear can be a powerful ally,” said the Admiral. “When it’s controlled it can keep us sharp, and focused.” Nelson paused a moment before changing the subject. “I ordered Sparks to run the cruise ship's manifest so we can get an ID on the little girl. I’m assuming that she was traveling with both her parents.”

Matt nodded, “I was thinking the same thing, that’s why…”

“Bridge, reactor room. Fission reactor is back online. Ready to commence restart of fusion reactor.”

Hewett picked up the mic, “Very well, standby.” He looked to the Admiral, who nodded his consent.

“Commence restart of fusion reactor,” ordered Hewett.

“Aye, aye sir.”

He switched the intercom to the engine compartment.

“Engine room, bridge. Secure the diesel.”

“Secure the diesel, aye, aye sir.”

Matt turned back to the Admiral, “Sir, once we get down to Scorpion, we are going to have to operate outside the SUBSAFE envelope, in order to hold station."

SUBSAFE was a set of rules, procedures and design changes that were established by the US Navy after the tragic loss of the USS Thresher during sea trials. When a submarine passed a certain depth the crew would rig for deep submergence. This procedure made the ship ten thousand pounds light requiring forward motion to keep the submarine at depth. If the ship lost propulsion, its positive buoyancy would bring it to the surface. Operating outside the safe envelope was something that no submariner took lightly.

“I’ve been giving that some thought. Seaview of course has a broader operating envelope than most other submarines, but you are correct. At twelve thousand feet, she would normally be rigged for deep submergence. This ship does however have a safety system no other submarine is equipped with. As part of her refit, Seaview was outfitted with a mechanical ballast system. Under normal operation these weights are locked in place. If we are going to operate in deep water either hovering or at slow speed, we’ll activate the system. If we lose power, the relays will open dropping the ballast fore and aft and the ship will surface, even with the tanks flooded.”

“Just like a bathyscaphe,” said Matt. “It works on an electromagnetic principle.”

“Exactly. And just like a bathyscaphe, once you drop weights, you are committed to the surface. Seaview would have to dry dock before it could submerge again.”

“Admiral, I am truly impressed. A brilliant idea sir.”

The young girl woke up screaming as she bolted up in bed.

“Mommy, Daddy…” she yelled as she took in her surroundings. The girl had dark brown hair that was somewhat of a mess from the water.

Virginia took the young girl in her arms saying, “It’s okay sweetheart. You’re safe.”

Ginny expected her to fight, but instead she held on for dear life as she sobbed softly. After several minutes the girl released her and looked up at her with searching hazel eyes. Virginia braced herself for the question that she knew was coming.

“Where is Mommy and Daddy?”

She decided that being honest, to a point, would be the best course of action as it was almost certain that her parents did not survive.

“We don’t know where they are right now, honey. We found you in the water and we’ve been looking for them. Maybe you can help us by answering some questions. Do you think you can do that?”

She nodded, so Ginny reached over to the desk and picked up a notepad. She turned to face the girl.

“Okay, let’s start with your name.”

“Julie…Julie Howard.”

“Hi Julie, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Colonel Lake,” she said pleasantly, hoping to win the girl’s confidence.

“I thought you were a captain,” she said, pointing to the birds on Ginny’s collar.

“And why did you think that?” Virginia asked curiously.

“My Daddy works on submarines. His captain comes to visit us. He gave me a pair of bird pins, but I think they are gone now,” she said in a sad voice.

“Well we can’t have that, now can we?”

Virginia removed her rank insignia and pinned them on Julie’s collar, “There how’s that?”

“Thank you, but what about you?”

“Don’t worry, Julie. I have a spare set in my cabin, now let’s see. What is your father’s name?” she asked as she jotted notes on the pad.

“Charlie Howard, my mother’s name is Rebecca.”

“Where do you live?”

“Honolulu,” said Julie. “We were on our way back when…”

The diving klaxon sounded, causing Julie to jump. It was followed by the announcement on the 1MC.

“Dive, dive, dive.”

Ginny recognized her husband’s voice and realized that the repairs had been finished and search had been suspended.

“Excuse me a moment, Julie,” Ginny said as she stood and walked over to the intercom station on the bulkhead.

“Control room, this is sickbay.”

“Control room, go ahead Gin.”

“Matt, when you are free, can you come down here? I need to talk with you.”

“Okay, give me about five minutes to brief Commander Morton, and I’ll be down. Control room out.”

Virginia hung the mic back up and sat back down next to the bunk, which Julie occupied, just as the deck started tilting.

“Colonel Lake, what’s happening?”

“It’s okay honey, we’re on a submarine, just like your father works on,” said Ginny.

Julie seemed to consider that, “Was that the Captain that you were talking to?”

“No,” said Virginia, with a chuckle. “Although I think sometimes he would like to be. That was my husband.”

“What did he call you? Gin?” the young girl asked curiously.

“Yeah, it’s short for Virginia. It’s sort of a pet name and my husband is the only one who calls me that.”

“It’s a pretty name.”

“Why thank you,” Ginny said warmly. “I’ll tell you what, now that you’ve been promoted to Captain, why don’t you call me Gin.”

Julie’s eyes lit up for a moment, before they seemed to fade, “Mom says that it’s disrespectful to call an adult by their first name.”

“You’re mother is right, but I’m giving you permission, after all, you and I are the only two girls on the boat, and we have to stick together. I know, how about Aunt Gin?”

“I’ve never had an aunt before.”

“Your mother and father, didn’t have any brothers or sisters?” asked Ginny.

“No,” she said sadly. “My grandparents all died a few years ago, the only family I have is Mommy and Daddy.”

“Well you have an aunt now,” said Virginia.

“All right, Aunt Gin.”

The little girl reached for Virginia and hugged her.

“You know, Matt and I have a daughter about your age and...”

She was distracted when Lee Crane started to sit up and immediately dropped back to his bunk, apparently due to dizziness.

“I don’t think you are going anywhere for a while Captain Crane,” said Virginia. “The cut on your head took three stitches to close and you have a mild concussion.”

“How’s the ship?” asked Crane.

“We had some damage amidships, a thru-hull fitting I’m told. A few burnt out electrical systems, and both reactors scrammed. The damage has been repaired, full power has been restored, and we are underway. Matt is on his way down here now, I’ll let him fill you in on the rest of the details.”

“Thank you Colonel, who’s our guest?”

“Captain Crane, meet Julie Howard.”

“Hello Julie.”

“Hi,” she said giving him a salute.

Crane smiled and retuned the salute, “We need to get you signed up.”
« Last Edit: Mar 25th, 2011 at 2:06pm by Matt »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #7 - Mar 19th, 2011 at 11:17pm
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Chapter 7:

When Matt arrived at the door to Seaview’s sickbay his wife was waiting outside for him.

“I take it that you didn’t find any more survivors,” she began.

“Unfortunately not,” he said, clearly frustrated with himself. “But the search hasn’t been abandoned. The US Navy had a pair of destroyers in the area and they are going to continue where we left off.”

Matt handed her a sheet of paper, “This is the information that Sparks was able to dig up about Julie Howard.”

“Julie told me most of this,” Virginia said, as she quickly scanned the report. “Her father is a naval lieutenant? That explains a lot.”

“How’s she doing?”

“Well, when she woke up, she cried in my arms for about ten minutes. As hard as that was it probably will help in the long run,” she said, her voice cracking at the end.

Matt brushed a tear from her cheek as she fought to keep her composure.

“Sorry,” she said. “Do you think there is any hope of finding her parents alive? She doesn’t have any living relatives.”

“Right now I think hope is all we have. But sooner or later we’re going to have to tell her the truth. Damn, where’s Doug Jackson when you need him?”

“With his bedside manner?” asked Virginia, with a chuckle.

“You still underestimate the good doctor, but it’s his psychological expertise that I need right now. You saw how he handled that group of children that lost their parents last year.”

“Yeah, I forgot about that. I never would have pictured him being that tender,” she conceded.

“My father taught me a long time ago that you never judge a book by its cover. But getting back to Julie, if it were me, I’d want to know. But I’m not a seven year old. You’ve talked to her Gin, what are your thoughts.”

“Julie is a very bright young lady; she’s mature for her age, at least at the same level as Sara is.”

“What does Doctor Jamison have to say? As the ship’s Chief Medical Officer, he must have some experience in psychology.” asked Matt.

“Probably not child psychology,” she paused. “Matt, what would you want for Sara?”

“I’d want her to know the truth.”

“So would I. I think we owe it to Julie to be honest with her. By the way, you’ve just became an uncle, I hope you don’t mind,” she said with a mischievous grin.

“Good, I’ve always felt like an old man when the neighbor’s kids call me Mr. Hewett.”

“I knew there was a reason that I married you. Come on, I’ll introduce you to Julie.”

Julie Howard had taken the news much better than Matt had thought she would. While she did cry when she learned that her parents were presumed lost, she didn’t withdraw into herself. Matt found that fact very encouraging.

He had brought Captain Crane up to speed on Seaview’s condition and the status of the mission. And he helped convince the stubborn captain that he needed to stay off his feet. Crane’s unwillingness to be a patient reminded him of both Ed Straker and, to some extent, himself. Matt hated hospitals and only grudgingly tolerated doctors. Surprisingly he was one of the few people in SHADO that could tolerate Doug Jackson, having befriended him soon after he and Ginny had met. But Jackson was a man of duty, something he had spotted the day they met. Not to mention that Jackson had helped save his life just last month.

Julie Howard had taken to Ginny, refusing to leave her side. Gin had taken her to the observation nose and the young lady was awestruck with the view. She also seemed to have taken a special liking to Chief Sharkey. Probably hero worship, thought Matt, as it was Sharkey who had saved her life.

The ship had just passed five thousand feet and was less than twenty miles from the site that Scorpion was presumed to be. Matt thought about his friends on the submarine, he had gotten to know them quite well while the sub was being fitted out. Gay’s executive officer, Brad Connors, had served as Skydiver Three’s XO when Matt had assumed command of the submarine after the death of Captain Patterson. Although the relationship between the two men had been strained at first, by the end of the mission they had developed a mutual respect for each other. At Hewett’s recommendation, Connors had been promoted to Captain and received command of Skydiver Three, opposite Mark Bradley.

Matt had asked him to be his XO for the sea trials of the new SHADO sub, a posting that he gladly took even though it was temporary. The two men had become good friends over the years and Matt was just as worried about him, as he was about Gay.

“Passing six thousand feet sir,” reported the helmsman.

“Very well,” said Morton. “Rig for deep submergence.”

“Rig for deep submergence, aye, aye sir.”

Matt joined Chip Morton at the plotting table as the sound of the trim pumps reverberated through the hull. They would be on station in less than an hour.

The image of Admiral Nelson and Colonel Hewett appeared on the wall monitor in Ed’s SHADO office.

“How bad was the damage to Seaview Harry?” asked Straker.

“We were lucky Ed. It could have been much worse. If not for the films, and Colonel Hewett’s guidance, it would have been. We are about fifteen minutes from Scorpion’s position. Our utronic sensors are picking up an unusual energy field in the general vicinity. The beam can’t seem to penetrate the barrier.”

“If that is the case, we may lose communications when you enter the field. Any thoughts Colonel?”

“My biggest concern is power loss, Commander. Fortunately, Admiral Nelson has a contingency plan, but it comes with a cost. If the system trips, the result will be that Seaview is stranded on the surface. It’s a risk we’ll have to take,” said Matt.

“Are you ready to do your imitation of an alien?” asked the Commander, lightening the mood somewhat.

“I’ve been on a couple of test dives with Commander Morton. I’m about as ready as I’m going to be. You should try this sometime, sir.”

“I think I’ll just be satisfied with reading your report,” said Straker.

From behind him Jen asked, “Matt, how’s Ginny holding up?”

“You know her. She’s a fighter, she’s holding her own. Besides, she’s been busy with the young girl we picked up. I think that has helped to distract her somewhat.”

“Speaking of Julie Howard, do we have any security issues concerning her?” asked the Commander.

“She was asleep when the ship was attacked, the only thing she remembers is her parent’s pulling her out of bed and getting her life jacket on. That…and the explosions after. Ed, it was a miracle that anyone survived. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Straker could see that Matt was frustrated as hell. It was a feeling that he shared. The loss of the SS Sunfish with almost all hands, weighed heavily on his heart. Ed was relieved to hear that Julie Howard was not going to be a security risk. The amnesia drug was known to have unpredictable affects on small children.

“How is Captain Crane?” asked Ed.

“Lee Crane has been blessed with an incredibly hard head,” said Nelson. “He suffered a minor concussion and a laceration on his forehead, but I suspect that he will make a full recovery.”

“That is good news,” said Straker. “I have Skydiver 1 in the general area and Skydiver 2 is only a few hours away. They'll give you cover should the aliens break through our outer defenses. Good luck gentlemen.”

When Seaview signed off Ed looked up at Jen.

“Matt is worried,” she said, “and not just about Scorpion.”

“You noticed that too,” said Ed. “I think there is more going on here than meets the eye. Has tracking picked up anymore wayward meteors?”

“Nothing since the sighting they had three days ago. Ed, that has to be more than a coincidence.”

“I agree. Contact Moonbase and have Colonel Barry step up her alert readiness. If another coincidence shows up, we are going to destroy it.

In the control room of Seaview, Virginia watched the image on the nose camera, looking for visual evidence of the energy field that had been detected by the Utronic sensors. It seemed to cover the opening to the trench, including the area where Scorpion was believed to be resting. The sub was approaching ninety five hundred feet and was about to penetrate the barrier.

“Activate the emergency surface system,” ordered Commander Morton, who was at the con.

“Activate emergency surface system, aye, aye sir.”

“Radio, con. Sparks, any word on the Gertrude?”

“Negative sir, we should be well within range.”

“Very well, keep trying.”

Virginia felt her heart sink as she had hoped that they would be able to make contact on the underwater telephone or UQC, affectionately known as the Gertrude. The fact that they still had not made contact, did not bode well for the crew of Scorpion.

“Penny for your thoughts?” said Matt as he stepped beside her.

“I expected to hear something by now,” she said. “Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.”

“We don’t know anything yet, Gin. We still have quite a bit of area to search…”

“I know Matt, I’m just frustrated.”

“Where’s Julie?”

“She’s in our cabin, sleeping. The little lady was tuckered out and…”

“Sonar, con. Passing through the barrier.”

Virginia suddenly started feeling very dizzy and started to collapse, when her husband caught her before she fell to the deck.

“Gin!” he cried as he sat her down on the periscope pedestal.

In the control room three men that were standing watch dropped to the deck including the helmsman. Very quickly Commander Morton grabbed the wheel to keep the ship on course.

“Here, take the helm,” he said to the fire control technician.

The dizziness passed quickly, although Ginny still felt very tired.

“I’m all right now Matt. Can you help me stand up?

As her husband helped her to her feet she heard the reports coming in from all over the ship of crewmen that had passed out as they penetrated the barrier.

“Con, reactor room, we need help down here. Crewman Casey has lost it!”

The sounds of men yelling and a struggle could be heard in the background. As Virginia took all of this in she felt an overwhelming feeling of dread come over her. It was a fear that she had not felt in years.

“Master at arms, lay aft to reactor room, on the double,” Chip Morton ordered.

“Con, reactor room. We’re getting a power fall off on the fusion reactor. So far the fission reactor is automatically compensating, but the power loss is fairly steep.”

“Very well. Notify me if we start losing power on the fission reactor.”

Virginia was able to stand on her own now but the feeling of dread was getting stronger by the minute. She was again distracted by a ruckus in the sonar suite. Crewman Patterson was being held by three men as he started screaming, “It’s all her fault, she’s going to get us all killed! She’s bad luck! Get her off the ship!”

“Stay here Virginia,” her husband said as she watched him get into the foray in an attempt to subdue the troubled crew member.

“Master at arms, when you’re finished aft, come to the control room,” ordered Morton. He turned to Virginia, “Are you all right Colonel?”

Virginia forced herself to smile but she was fighting waves of terror, “I’ll be okay in a minute Commander. Thank you.”

Morton already had his hands full and she did not want to be a liability to the mission. Ginny had not felt this much fear since she and Commander Straker were caught in the Timelash effect almost ten years ago. But then she knew what she was up against and the two of them had managed to support each other and overcome it. The trepidation she felt now had no source; it was simply an illogical sense of dread that threatened to consume her.

A few minutes later the master at arms arrived in the control room and Patterson, who was still protesting loudly, was taken into custody and removed from the ship’s nerve center.

When Matt had returned to the plotting table, she pulled him aside.

“Matt, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I’m frightened…no, make that terrified.”

He took her hands and she could see the shock in his eyes, “My God, Virginia, you’re trembling. How long have you felt this way?”

“It started right after I got dizzy. Mild at first, but it’s getting worse. Matt I haven’t felt this scared in years, and there is no reason for it.”

“It must be something in this energy field. Maybe that’s why…”

“Con, radio. Picking up a distress signal on the Utronic band…it’s Scorpion!”

“Con aye, give me a bearing Sparks.”

“Signal bearing zero-one-zero true, estimated range, twelve hundred yards.”

“Helm, come to course zero-one-zero, slow to one third.”

“Course zero-one-zero, slow to one third, aye, aye, sir.”

Virginia felt her fear abate slightly with the news that Scorpion was intact. That and her husband’s steadying presence.

She looked at Admiral Nelson as he walked into the control room, noticing that he was unsteady on his feet. Distracting herself from the feelings she was fighting, she made her way to where he had sat down.

“Harry, are you all right?”

“I think so,” said Nelson. “I was working in the observation nose when I passed out. I seem to be okay now…”

“Con, sickbay,” interrupted the intercom.

“Go ahead Doc,” answered Morton.

“Commander, this sudden dizziness seems to have affected almost two thirds of the crew. I’ve had to sedate six crew members so far. The rest are complaining of everything from continued dizziness, mild irritability to what could be described as an all out panic attack. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

While Morton conferred with sickbay, Ginny continued her conversation with the Admiral.

“That’s how I’m feeling right now. Waves of irrational fear,” she said.

“And this all started when we entered the barrier. It has to be more than a coincidence,” he said.

“I agree,” said Virginia. “How is it affecting you Harry?”

“Other than the dizziness, I’m just feeling an incredible feeling of loneliness,” said Nelson. He paused for a moment. “Virginia, I never told you when we first met, but I did find you very attractive back then, but now twenty years later, well, time has only accentuated your beauty.”

It wasn’t so much what he said as the way he said it that gave her pause. Nelson had never given her any reason to think that he thought of her as anything other than a colleague. But his eyes were telling a different story and that worried her. So he’s been affected too, she thought.

“How are you feeling Gin?” asked Matt.

She did not hear him approach and she was startled.

“My, aren’t we jumpy,” he said. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

“Yeah,” she said as she pulled him aside so they could speak privately. “We have a problem Matt. The Admiral just said something to me that he would never say normally.”

She could see the confusion in his eyes and she went on, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was trying to…”

“Con, sonar, bottom contact. Two hundred yards, dead ahead.”

“Activate the nose camera, and searchlights,” ordered Morton.

On the screen, the image of Scorpion appeared in the center, gradually growing larger as Seaview approached.

The SHADO submarine was resting on the bottom, with a slight list to her starboard side. As best as Virginia could tell, the hull seemed to show no signs of damage. But there was no sign of life, no running lights, and the only indication of power on board was the automated Utronic signal.

“Radio, con. Sparks, pipe me into the UQC.”

“Aye sir, you’re on.”

Scorpion, Scorpion, this is Seaview, over.”

Morton repeated the call three more times before looking over at Hewett.

“I guess you and I are going for a swim,” he said to Matt.

“So it would seem,” he replied before turning to his wife. “Gin, you will be able to control the power feed from the auxiliary power control, in the missile room. Once, Chip and I are aboard, we’ll establish voice contact, via the communications cable. We’ll make a quick survey of the sub, assess casualties, and determine if Scorpion can be brought to the surface under her own power.”

Virginia nodded. Although Matt had spoken clinically, she knew that the task before him laid just as heavy as it did to her.

“All stop. Commence hovering,” ordered Morton.

“I’ll take the con, Chip,” said the Admiral. “The three of you had better get to the missile room.

“Aye, sir. Chief of the watch, Admiral Nelson has the con.”

Virginia followed her husband and Commander Morton as they left the control room. She glanced back and saw the Admiral watching them, no, watching her leave. His sudden change in demeanor only added to her unease.
« Last Edit: Mar 26th, 2011 at 4:37pm by Matt »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #8 - Mar 27th, 2011 at 4:11am
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Chapter 8:

“Matt I’m telling you, something is very wrong with him,” Ginny said, now getting frustrated. “The Harriman Nelson I know would have never said what this one just said to me.”

Hewett had never seen his wife like this and he found it to be unnerving.

“Come on Virginia, so he told you that you were beautiful. I agree with him…”

“Matt, it’s not what he said, but the way he looked at me when he said it,” she interrupted, now clearly agitated. “You don’t believe me do you?”

Her voice was raised with the last sentence and he knew that she was really upset about this. This conversation was beginning to remind him of the one they had on the plane, all those years ago. They both made a promise afterwards that they would never again allow that kind of rift to come between them.

“Gin, honey, of course I believe you,” he said, forcing himself to stay calm. “But you just told me before we left the control room that you were battling waves of irrational fear. I just want to be sure before I do anything that might even temporarily tarnish the Admiral’s reputation.”

“I wouldn’t want that either,” she said in a calmer voice. “Harry Nelson is a very good friend, but right now, he’s not himself. Matt I need you to trust me, please.”

Matt Hewett felt torn, but he had made a decision seven years ago, a commitment to the woman standing next to him.

“I’ll speak to Commander Morton. He’ll know how to handle this.”

When Gin and Matt walked into the missile room, Chip Morton had already donned his liquid breathing gear.

“I was beginning to think that you weren’t coming Matt,” said Morton.

“I couldn’t find a place to hide,” he retorted jokingly.

The two SHADO colonels approached Morton and spoke confidentially about their concerns over the Admiral. When they had finished, Matt found Chip’s response unexpected.

“It won’t be the first time that something like this has happened on board. I’ll have Chief Sharkey keep an eye on him. He may be an enlisted man, but Sharkey can con this boat as well as either one of us,” said Morton.

While Morton spoke with Sharkey, Virginia helped Matt get suited up.

“Once more unto the breech, dear friends,” said Matt, in a rueful voice.

“Matt…when you get on board…tell Gay…tell her…”

“I will,” he said knowing what she was trying to say. “Love you, see you when I get back.”

“Count on it. Be careful okay?”

Matt gave her a thumbs-up and kissed her gently. He looked into her eyes for what seemed like forever before she helped him with his helmet.

Matt prepared himself mentally for the ordeal he was about to endure. He had decided to try to just breathe normally once the breathing fluid filled the helmet. As the mask filled he kept his focus on his wife’s beautiful blue-grey eyes, hoping that he would not show the same amount of panic he did last time.

Commander Morton had been right; the second time was easier, although Matt still felt a certain degree of panic as his body adjusted to the idea of breathing liquid.

“Matt are you all right?” asked his wife over the comm link.

He entered A-OK into his keypad and gave her another thumbs-up. Morton and Hewett stepped into the escape trunk and sealed the hatch behind them.

When the hatch was closed, Virginia activated the automatic sequence that would fill the chamber and slowly equalize the pressure with the outside.

“I love you Matt,” she said over the comm link.

She chuckled at his typed response.

Twenty minutes later the top hatch slid open and the two divers from Seaview exited the submarine. Matt Hewett had been trained in diving procedures during his Skydiver orientation but this was a whole new concept. Where is Paul Foster when you need him, he thought. Foster was a recreational diver as well as doing it as part of his training. Paul would love this.

The two men swam around the hull of the Seaview until they came to an open set of doors. Inside were the power and communications umbilical cords they would plug into Scorpion. With any luck they would be able to get the sub underway on its own power. As Chip Morton untied the free end of the umbilical, Matt typed to his wife asking her to slowly start the winch to pay out the cable. A few seconds later the winch started to slowly pay out the cable and the two men swam down to the stricken SHADO sub.

Once they reached Scorpion, Morton and Hewett wrestled the cable into position. While Chip signaled to stop the cable payout, Matt punched in the access codes to open the shore power access panel. Working together they plugged the cables into the proper slots and Matt typed to his wife telling her that the connection had been made.

On Seaview, Virginia switched on the auxiliary power and plugged a portable computer into the communications outlet. She brought up the program to remotely control the systems on Scorpion. She could control the entire submarine from the computer if needed. Ginny, seeing that the air supply was almost gone brought the life support systems to full power. Once the system had been stabilized she opened the outer escape trunk door to allow Matt and Chip access to the sub. Only then did she ring the telephone in the control room.

“Captain Connors,” came to reply from the other end.

“Captain, this is Colonel Lake. Is everyone all right?”

“Thank God, Colonel. We didn’t think the rescue buoy was still connected,” he said.

“It wasn’t. I’m on board Seaview. We’re hovering about fifty feet above you. Is Major Ellis there?”

“The skipper is in sickbay, along with most of the crew. Only six of us are still conscious. We got hit with some kind of new weapon. It all but drained every ounce of power we had. Even the batteries were affected. We were down to our last oxygen candles; I had just about given up hope. I see that the escape trunk is active. Who’s coming on board?”

“My husband and Commander Morton, Seaview’s XO,” replied Ginny. They are using a new liquid breathing apparatus so don’t mistake them for aliens and shoot them okay?”

“I promise. It looks like they have about fifteen minutes left to decompress so I’ll have them call as soon as they are finished.”

“All right. In the meantime, I’m going to start recharging your batteries. Seaview out.”

In the escape trunk, Matt was contemplating the second worst aspect of liquid breathing, the reversion back to breathing air. It was an unpleasant experience that he was not looking forward to. And he would have to do this again, unless he waited for Paul and the DSRV. Depending on how much work needed to be done to get Scorpion off the bottom, he might end up doing just that.

In the missile room, on board Seaview, Virginia was so engrossed in her work that she did not hear the hatch open. She suddenly became aware that she was not alone in the room. She turned to see Nelson standing next to her, right next to her. Instinctively she jumped, already on edge from the effect of the energy field.

“My God Harry, you just scarred the living hell out of me,” she said. “I thought you’d be in the control room.”

“We’re hovering. There really isn’t much for me to do right now. I thought maybe we’d finish our conversation.”

Virginia, although she was shocked, had been flattered by his comment realizing that she had made much more of an impression than she had originally thought. But she would never tell him that, especially now.

“Harry, I don’t think that would be appropriate. And I don’t think this is something that you would normally talk to me about. We both know that I’m a married woman, a very happily married woman. What’s past is past. No good can come out of bringing it up now.”

She could see that the Admiral wasn’t listening, the whole situation reminded her too much of her last encounter with Craig, years ago. She turned to walk out of the room when the Admiral grabbed her by the arm, and pulled her close to him.

“Admiral please, don’t do this. This isn’t you. Fight it!”

Nelson had he pinned against the console, all the while trying to kiss her. As she struggled to break free she felt for the general alarm. Quickly she activated the switch, hoping that it would distract the Admiral long enough for her to escape.

In the control room, Chief Sharkey looked up at the annunciator panel to determine where the alarm had been tripped.

“Missile room,” he said as he picked up the mike. “Master at arms, lay aft to the missile room, on the double.”

“Kowalski, you have the con,” said the Chief.

“Me Chief?”

“Don’t argue with me, just take over. Rosa, Riley, you’re both with me,” ordered the Chief as he quickly headed aft.

Ginny was still trying to break free from the Admiral when the master at arms entered the missile room. He drew his sidearm and spoke, “Admiral Nelson! Let her go, sir!”

The Admiral, still holding onto Lake, spun around to face the enlisted man.

“Drop your weapon! That’s an order!”

“I’m sorry sir, you know I can’t do that, let her go, now!”

The master at arms raised his pistol and leveled it at the Admiral, but Virginia knew that it was a bluff. Nelson was unarmed and this would be a standoff until more help arrived.

“Harry, please, let me go,” she said pleading with him just as Chief Sharkey arrived with two more men in tow.

Outnumbered, Nelson finally seemed to lose his fight and he released her.

“Take him to the brig,” ordered the Chief reluctantly.

As Nelson was led away Virginia approached Sharkey. She could see the weight of the decision tugging heavy on his heart.

“It’s not his fault Chief, I know how hard that was for you,” she said, offering what little comfort she could.

“Thank you Colonel, are you all right?”

“Yeah, I think so. Who’s the senior officer not affected by the field?” she asked.

Sharkey thought for a moment before he answered, “I think the doc is the only one left, Colonel, I mean besides you.”

Virginia shook her head, “I’ve been affected too Chief. Besides, I’m not a qualified conning officer. I’m quite sure you know more about conning Seaview than I do.”

“Right now, First Class Kowalski has the con,” said the Chief, as he shook his head.

The phone buzzed on the console and Virginia picked it up.


“Hey Lady,” said Matt over the phone.

“Matt, we have another problem,” Virginia said to her husband, all the while thinking how much of an understatement that was.

On board Scorpion, Matt paled as his wife told him about the incident with the Admiral. Damn, I should have listened to her, he thought.

Hewett could tell that she was losing the battle as well by the shakiness in her voice. He had never heard her this way. Virginia was very prideful about her self control and for her to show this kind of vulnerability even to him was serious.

“Virginia, listen carefully,” he said firmly. “You can’t fold on me. I need you to keep focused on the mission.”

“Matt I can’t. I can’t do…”

“Colonel as you were!” said Hewett in his sharpest command voice. “I need you to prepare Seaview’s power systems to feed energy to Scorpion’s fusion reactor. That’s an order Colonel!”

“Yes sir!” she replied waspishly and hung up the phone.

“Ouch,” said Morton

“Trust me Chip, that order just hurt me a hell of a lot more than it did her. I only hope her anger is enough to counter her fear. By the way, Admiral Nelson folded on us.”

“Oh that’s just great! What else can go wrong on this…”

“Don’t ask. Chip, why don’t you get back to Seaview? Captain Connors and I can handle the restart of the reactor on this end. With any luck we can have this boat off the bottom in six hours.”

Morton nodded and donned his helmet and restarted the liquid breathing system.

“I can’t believe you tried that Colonel,” said Connors.

“It wasn’t by choice Brad,” said Matt as he finished removing his suit. Very quickly, he toweled off and donned a SHADO jumpsuit. Morton was just getting into the escape trunk and Connors closed the hatch behind him.

“Set the equalization timer for twenty minutes,” said Hewett, “then join me in the control room.”

“Aye sir.”

Virginia was still steaming mad when Sharkey returned to the missile room. At the power control panel she was punching buttons with a zealot’s fervor.

“Are you okay Colonel?” he asked.

She gave him a look that would tear the skin off a rattlesnake, before she forced herself to calm down somewhat.

“Sorry Chief, I just had my husband remind me who is in command on this mission. It’s quite funny when you think about it. I pulled rank on him once. I guess this makes us even.”

“You look like you’re still angry with him.”

“Truthfully Chief, I’m much angrier with myself than I am with him,” she said as she allowed herself to feel the emotion. “But I won’t tell him that. I figure I can get a trip to opera out of this, when all is said and done.”

Virginia changed the subject, becoming all business, “Chief, I need you to monitor the power draw from the main fusion reactor. The power output is down forty percent from normal, but if we transfer all of Seaview’s systems to the fission reactor, we should be able to hard start Scorpion’s fusion reactor.”

“I’ll get right on it ma’am.”

As Sharkey turned to leave he noticed the escape trunk pumps activate. “Did they say they were coming back?”

“No they didn’t. Let me find out,” she said as she dialed the phone.

“Colonel Hewett,” came the gruff voice on the other end.

“Matt, who is returning to Seaview?” she asked.

“Commander Morton,” he said. “With the Admiral being out for the count, we decided that Chip would be of more use over there.”

“Well, I wish you would have told me, I might have shot him thinking it was you.”

“I see your sense of humor has returned,” Matt said somewhat lighter.

“Well don’t think you’re getting off that easy,” she said in mostly feigned annoyance. “I’m going to transfer all of Seaview’s system over to the secondary reactor and use the primary reactor for a hard start. I should be ready in about an hour.”

“All right, that should give me enough time to verify the power system integrity. Call me when you’re ready.”

Virginia forced herself to hang up without getting sentimental. The anger that she had, was helping her stay focused, but inwardly she hoped that Matt understood.
« Last Edit: Mar 29th, 2011 at 11:22pm by Matt »  

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Re: Demons of the Deep
Reply #9 - Apr 26th, 2011 at 2:02am
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Chapter 9:

“We lost contact with Seaview about six hours ago Paul,” Straker said over the vidlink. “There appears to be some type of a dampening field down there. It’s affecting Utronic communications.”

Paul Foster nodded as he checked Triton’s position on the chart.

“Ed we’re still about six hours away, we might be able to shave an hour off that, but it will mean pushing the engines for all they are worth.”

“I don’t think we have much choice Paul. Do it.”

“Yes sir, I’ll report when we are on station. Triton out.”

Foster looked across the chart table at Captain Franklin, “Well you heard the Old Man,” he said with a grin.

“Don’t let Straker hear you say that. I hear he hates to be called old.”

Franklin turned to the ship’s helmsman, “Mr. Randall, all ahead flank.”

“All ahead flank, aye, aye sir.”

Paul noticed the pitch of the deck change slightly as the vessel increased speed. He looked back down at the electronic plotting chart and noted the updated ETA.

Still four hours away, he thought.

In the control room of Scorpion, Matt Hewett watched the power indicators as the fusion reactor was brought online. The highly advanced power system automatically stabilized itself as more of the ship’s systems were brought onto the power grid.

“All right Virginia,” he said to his wife on the vidlink. “You can cut the feed on your end. Scorpion is now under her own power.”

As Ginny shut down the shore power feed, the distribution system on the SHADO submarine transferred the last few remaining circuits.

“That’s it Matt, you’re on your own,” she said.

Behind Ginny, Matt could she Julie Howard sitting at one of the tables. She appeared to be drawing something.

“How’s Julie?” he asked.

The young lady heard the question and answered on her own, “Hi Uncle Matt. Are you coming back now?”


“Good, Aunt Gin misses you,” she said with a grin.

“You weren’t supposed to tell him that,” said Virginia, feigning seriousness.

But Matt knew better, and apparently so did Julie, judging by the grin on her face.

“Well so much for your trip to the opera, Gin.”

She gave him a venomous look, “We’ll just see about that.”

She suddenly changed her demeanor and asked, “Are you going to need Commander Morton to help you with the cable?”

“That depends on whether the cable gets fouled when I eject it. Stand by a second,” said Matt has he picked up the mic.

“Radio, con. See if you can raise Seaview on the Utronic link.”

“Radio aye.”

Matt turned back to the monitor, “I want to make sure we don’t lose contact when I jettison the cable.”

“That would be helpful,” Virginia said sardonically.

Matt had always admired her quick and decidedly barbed wit. But he had to admit that being in the main beam of it when she was angry could make a person’s teeth ache.

“Con, radio. I have Seaview on the Utronic link.”

“Very well, patch me through to their missile room,” he said as he reached for the feed control. “Gin, I’m switching over now.”

The monitor went blank for a few seconds before the link was re-established and Ginny’s image reappeared.

“I’m ejecting the cable,” said Hewett.

Outside Scorpion, the power and communications cables that led to Seaview were jettisoned from their ports. As the cables drifted to the bottom, the winch underneath the submarine slowly pulled the cable back to its berth. When the cable was completely retracted, the doors underneath Seaview’s missile room closed.

“The cable is secure Matt. Are you coming back, or are you going to ride up on Scorpion?”

“I’m coming back to Seaview, Brad can handle the ascent. I’ll see you in about an hour. Scorpion out.”

Ed Straker looked down at the evidence that Colonel Grey had laid out in front of him. There was no question about it and it left Straker very little choice in his next action.

“Who else knows about this John?” asked Straker, now very concerned.

“The second shift tracking team and the control room staff. Not counting, myself, Colonel Wallace and you.”

Straker grabbed a command level flash traffic message form and quickly scrawled a message onto the form. He pulled the sheet off the pad and handed it to Grey.

“John, code this and have Keith transmit it immediately.”

Grey took the form and his face went ashen when he saw what his boss had written.

“Yes sir,” he said solemnly.

“Ed, what about Ginny and Matt…”

Straker looked at his wife, his eyes haunted with the knowledge of what he may be required to do. He took her hand as they conversed without words.

“Con, radio, receiving flash traffic on the command emergency channel, coded Alpha Epsilon.”

The command emergency channel on a SHADO submarine was a one way transmission medium that allowed high level messages to be received by the command staff regardless where the sub was located. The high power transmissions from the orbiting satellites were able to cut through the interference, much to Matt’s surprise. An Alpha Epsilon message was only decipherable by a SHADO Colonel or above.

“Very well, I’ll be right down,” said Hewett.

He hung up the mic and turned to Connors, “You have the con. I’ll be back in about ten minutes.” It will take me that long to decode the message, he thought as a feeling of foreboding came over him. What the hell is going on topside?

In the brig of Seaview, Admiral Harriman Nelson formulated a plan. Knowing this ship better than any man aboard would give him a decisive advantage once he broke free of his cell. And that opportunity would come soon enough.

Matt walked back into the control room and stood by plotting table and addressed Captain Connors formally.

“Captain, once I’m clear of the ship, I want you to get her to the surface. Once there you will rendezvous with the UNSS Triton. She should be on station in about two hours. Once you clear this field, you will most likely lose contact with Seaview.” Under no circumstances are you to re-enter the energy field. Your mission is to get this ship and crew to safety.”

“Aren’t you and Seaview coming to the surface?”

“Not right away. This energy field is no doubt of alien origin. We need to find out where its source is and destroy it. You don’t know this yet, but a UFO took out an ocean liner last night. There was only one survivor, a seven year old girl. Over nine hundred people lost their lives last night. I want that UFO,” Matt said with fierce conviction.

“You sound more and more like Straker every day,” said Connors.

“I’ll take that as a compliment Brad. Speaking of the Commander,” he paused for a moment. “Once you surface, contact HQ and advise them of our tactical situation. Tell Commander Straker, that if he doesn’t hear from us in twenty four hours, I strongly recommend that he target this canyon with a tactical nuclear warhead…”

“Colonel! You’re not serious.”

“I’m deadly serious Brad.”

“What about Seaview? I don’t see Commander Morton as one who would be willing to go along with this insanity,” Connors said, still disbelieving his ears.

“Morton doesn’t want to detonate a nuke anymore than I do but if there is an alien installation down there and we can’t neutralize it, Straker will order the strike anyway.”

“What about Foster? He’s going to be down in that trench looking for the damn thing.”

“Paul already knows the situation. Under the circumstances, the DSV, and Seaview will be considered expendable,” said Hewett.

“This is crazy Matt!”

“I’m well aware of that Brad. So you take care of yourself and get this ship home.”

“Aye, aye sir,” said Connors with resignation in his voice.

Colonel Hewett exited the control room and headed aft to the escape trunk. Ten minutes later he had donned the liquid breathing suit and was stepping into the escape trunk. He had almost no anxiety this time as he transitioned to breathing liquid. Maybe Chip was right, he thought.

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