Day of Evil Epilogue
(A WHN from the 3rd season episode)
I have tried to keep this into the confines of the show, since it is always the endings that seem rushed and a bit flippant. This is what I believe should have been at the end of the show rather than ending it with that alien disappearing in a puff of smoke. And this was written for the subpen anniversary but was eaten by email gremlins. I guess it’s just as well, as I have looked it over again and made some corrections and additions…..
“Okay, Captain, spill it,” Admiral Nelson’s
deep voice commanded.
Lee Crane looked up in surprise. He, Chip and
Nelson were taking a short lunch break in the nose, watching the foamy
waves through the herculite windows that made the admiral’s lady so
unique. “What do you mean, Admiral?” he asked.
Chip sat inscrutable. Nelson snorted. “Lee, take
a sip of coffee and then tell me what’s been eating at you for the past
ten minutes we’ve been out here watching the ocean.”
Ten minutes? The cup was cold. His
plate of food virtually untouched. “Uh, Admiral….”
“Lee, it’s been exactly a month since that
alien tried to get us to blow up Kingdom come (Day of Evil, 3rd season episode). You’ve been moping most of
the time since,” Nelson said, not unkindly.
Crane bristled. He opened his mouth to deny the
accusation, but the admiral motioned that he had more to say.
“No, I am not saying you haven’t done your
duty or that you’ve been shirking in any way. If anything you’ve been
more diligent.” He smiled, but it was not with much humor. “To the
point where some of the newer rates quake when you walk in a room.” He
paused and when he didn’t get a response, he took a deep breath and
continued. “I know we’ve just completed a very strenuous and stressful
mission, but I also know you haven’t been sleeping well.” He pointed
at the plate of picked-at food. “You haven’t been eating well,
either.” Nelson held his hand up when Lee started to say something. “I
can tell, Lee. I didn’t get four stars for ignoring the subtle mood
changes in my men, especially my senior officers.” There was still
silence. “Lee, don’t make me command you. I think Chip is owed an
explanation, as well. He’s as worried as I am.”
Lee started, glanced at his XO, noted the
intensity of the blue-eyed gaze and looked away. Had Chip gone to Nelson?
Had they planned this? He didn’t see anything but concern in either
man’s countenance. He hated it when they ganged up on him like that.
Chip’s voice was soft but clear in its
intensity. “Maybe not an explanation as much as simply clearing the air.
A hell of a lot happened during just a few confused hours,” Chip
interjected. “And some of us were left in the dark.”
Nelson winced at his XO’s comment. That
explanation later. “Besides, lad, Doc threatened to put you on
medical leave if whatever was eating away at you wasn’t resolved.”
Fire flashed in the captain’s eyes as he spun
back around. “You just said I’ve been doing my duty and been diligent,
so why should he do something like that?”
“Because he says you are beginning to show
symptoms of several physical ailments.” Nelson shrugged. “Doc
wouldn’t tell me what, but I can guess. A little more cream in your
coffee, the antacid tablets. Need I go on?”
Crane shook his head.
“He did promise he would invoke his authority.
He also mentioned you were beginning to show signs of depression.” Still
no response. Nelson’s voice rose in his anxiety. “For heaven’s sake,
Lee, set aside rank and Navy protocol. We’re your friends. If you
can’t talk to us; if we can’t work this out as comrades in arms . . .
you’ll have to talk to a stranger.” Left unsaid was the kind of
stranger he meant. They all knew. “And nothing goes beyond these
doors.” He gestured toward the closed crash doors.
Lee was silent for another minute. Finally, as the
great Gray Lady continued to slip through her twilight realm, he got up
and set the cup of still untouched, now stone-cold coffee on the small
table near Chip’s elbow. He walked to the thick windows and without
looking back at either man began, “I fired the missile.” The sentences
came choppily as though the man had to force them out. “I almost
destroyed the world.” Crane sucked in a deep breath. “I didn’t
resist him…. I sold out
humanity for pain relief. If you hadn’t….”
Now Crane spun around to face his two colleagues.
“Admiral, let me finish. You told me to spill my guts, so at least hear
Nelson nodded, seeing the unrelenting anguish in
his captain’s eyes.
“If you hadn’t come in and pushed the destruct
button, the world would have been in flames, untold people would have
died; maybe everyone. All because I was too weak to resist . . . whoever
that monster was.” The proud shoulders slumped. “If he hadn’t made
his grand departure, Admiral, I’d have thought I was dealing with the
devil. Not that that would have made what I did any easier to bear….”
Crane paced several times before continuing. “You were able to resist
him. You refused to give in. You were strong.
I . . . I can’t help but wonder if . . . I wonder if I should
even be in command anymore.”
Chip opened his mouth to say something but the
admiral made a gesture.
“Lee, I didn’t resist,” Nelson replied.
“Yes, you did.”
“No, not entirely.” Nelson got up and
approached his friend. “Lee, the alien came to me right after you went
into the reactor room. After I knew you were dying….” He laid his hand
on Crane’s arm. “I didn’t tell you everything that happened.”
Harriman turned to Chip. “And you’re right, Chip. There is a great
need to ‘clear the air.’ A lot of mistakes were made, even if things
turned out right.” When Chip nodded, the admiral turned back to Crane.
The two men gazed into each other’s eyes. “Lee, you compared him to
the devil. Well, I made a pact with him. I knew he wasn’t offering to
save you and Patterson out of the goodness of his heart. Even though he
had my face, made that generous proposal, I knew he was evil.” Nelson
paused, remembering. It was hard to relive the shock of seeing
‘himself’ so arrogant, confident in his superiority, eyeing him as he
would study a bug on a microscope slide. “It didn’t matter, though. It
wouldn’t have mattered who he was. When he said he could save you…. I
simply could not say no. Nothing else mattered….”
“And that’s why Patterson and I recovered
almost instantaneously.” Lee had understood this only after the alien
had left. “Still….”
“Still nothing! I had a very good idea what he
wanted when I made the agreement and shook hands with him. I was
overconfident in my belief that I could trick anyone, overcome any
threat.” Nelson shook his head. “No, that’s only partly true.” He
smiled humorlessly and reached into his pocket for a cigarette. When he
didn’t find one, he dropped his hands into his lap. It was only a tiny
bit true. He knew what was going on in his mind back during that horrible
time. His co-worker, his friend, was dying and there was nothing he could
do about it. He had been driven by his emotions. “I was desperate. I
didn’t want you…. Screw
the consequences, Lee, I . . . didn’t . . . want . . . you to . . .
Stunned, Lee could only stand silent in his shock
for several moments.
“And you said something about pain? Some have
gone beyond pain,” Nelson murmured. Harry took a moment and remembered
that instant when he realized what Lee had done in the reactor room. Greater
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his
friends. He looked away from his two comrades and blinked
several times to get control of himself. When he turned back, both men
were still watching him. “Lee, you seem to be disregarding just
what you did a month ago.” When neither of the younger men responded, he
continued, “Your willingness to sacrifice yourself for the entire
crew.” He coughed to get further control and turned all of his attention
to Lee. “The alien arranged all that. He stacked the deck. He thought he
could win. After I left you in sickbay and went to my cabin….” Nelson
suddenly turned to Chip. “And I know I should have said something to
you, Chip; if for no other reason than it was your right as next in
command. ….I’m sorry….” Morton didn’t say anything, but Harriman
noticed understanding in the intense blue eyes. “It’s ingrained in all
of us, but when push came to shove, I couldn’t come out and say the
words that would declare Lee a dead man. I tried, but I couldn’t. A four
star….” He shook his head in disgust. “I’ve made those kinds of
pronouncements before, but this time I couldn’t. I had decided to call
you to my cabin and talk to you in private, but that monster was there.
Leering at me with my face….”
“Admiral,” Lee began but Harry cut him off
“So I made the deal. It was burned into my hand
just as your mark was burned into yours, Lee.” Nelson gazed at his palm,
half expecting to see the hated mark there, relieved that it wasn’t.
“But in the end you resisted.”
“No, I almost launched when he came back for his
payment. I almost did it. His will was incredibly strong. I watched my
hand reach for the launch button. I was within inches….”
“But you didn’t,” Crane said flatly, his
voice filled with self-incrimination.
“Lee! You still don’t get it, do you?” Harry
barked out. Chip looked startled by the outburst. Crane just stared at
Nelson, confused. “Commander, do you remember the time period after you
came out of the reactor until your miraculous healing? Any pain?”
Lee shook his head. “Nausea, mainly and
weakness. Like all my energy had been sucked dry. I was kind of out of it
and didn’t remember much.”
“The pain you felt later wasn’t natural for
what had happened to you.”
“Lee, that alien laid something on you that was
ten times worse than radiation sickness. Not to demean that kind of
suffering, but he augmented it with something of his own design. Didn’t
you wonder at the pain you felt in the missile room?” Nelson willed the
younger man to understand.
“Well, yes. I did. It was so sudden, so intense.
Like being immersed into a furnace, like someone had stuck a knife into my
side and twisted it. I don’t know. It was unbearable.”
“Then he showed up,” Nelson added, his voice
“With my face. I thought it was pain induced. I
wondered if I was hallucinating. I didn’t know what to think. He reached
out, promised to take it away. I thought maybe it was a dream . . . I
don’t know….” Lee’s voice trailed off as he remembered, too.
“He made a promise, just as he did with you,
Admiral; a binding promise,” Chip interjected, astonished. “And that
bound Lee to do exactly what he wanted.”
Nelson nodded. “Exactly as he did with me. He
told me the mark bound our wills to his. But he had softened you up, Lee.
He used the pain to strip away your will. And you couldn’t resist
him.” Harry could see the wheels turning in the younger man’s mind.
“You were weakened by that inhuman pain and that made his will stronger
than yours. Otherwise, I believe you could have resisted him, too. In
fact, I know you could have.” Again, he laid a hand on Lee’s arm.
“Under those conditions, there was no way you could have opposed him.”
“Wait a minute! I remember now. He said
something like that. It was like hearing a voice in a fog,” Crane
remembered. “He said something about my will being weaker than yours.
That the pain had weakened me.”
“Exactly, Lee. It dawned on me when the alien
came in the control room looking like you that he wasn’t just trying to
use your suffering to get me to change my mind. He was using you to
launch this time. He tried to get me out of the way by having Chief
Sharkey lock me up.” He paused. “And he gave the verification of what
he was doing by saying he was going back to the missile room.”
“And you overpowered Sharkey and got down to
there in time,” Chip stated.
The haunted look seemed to be retreating from
Lee’s eyes, Nelson noted with pleasure. “Yes. His near success and his
ultimate defeat was in trying to deal with us individually,” Harry
announced exultantly. “He also tried to exploit our weaknesses, not
realizing that what he perceived as weaknesses were really some of our
No one said anything for the space of several
heartbeats. It was Chip who verbalized what each had concluded internally.
“Loyalty and compassion.”
“For wont of a better definition—simple
brotherly love. The alien understood enough to realize that humans would
sacrifice for one another. He exploited it, but he didn’t understand the
totality of that kind of sacrifice. He set himself up to fail.” Harriman
stared out the windows watching the sea part for their passage. He felt
the power of the water surging around them, holding them up. It felt more
like a caress. It always had. Without turning, he continued, “He
promised to return, but I venture to say that if he hasn’t learned
exactly what makes us tick, he won’t succeed next time, either.”
Nelson heard Lee walk up beside him. Still facing the windows, Nelson
murmured, “I am in awe of what you did for the rest of us, Lee.”
“It was no more than you or Chip or anyone else
would have done. I was just as willing to send Patterson in there as
anyone. I was scared spitless when I went into the sickbay and realized
Pat couldn’t do it. I, uh, I was afraid….”
“Of course you were afraid! Who the hell
wouldn’t have been afraid? But you did it! And you are the one who’s
been beating up on himself because you were coerced into a violent act?”
Harry shook his head.
“No buts about it, Lee. What matters is that we
won. You won. Even in your so-called defeat—you won!
Humanity won.” He gazed at his command team in unabashed admiration and
appreciation, marveling that he could have two such men not only as
commanders on his vessel, but as friends. Harry lifted his now cold coffee
mug in a toast. “To my friends; to the best two comrades-in-arms a man
could ever wish for.”
Chip smiled and raised his mug while Lee looked
self-conscious. It appeared that once again, Harry noted with
satisfaction, Lee Crane was going to bounce back. They all were. He
decided that was also one of the reasons this creation of his, his Gray
Lady, was so successful. It wasn’t the nuts and bolts, the iron and
steel, it was the resiliency, grit and guts that all of the men onboard
had inside each of them. There wasn’t a one of them who wouldn’t
sacrifice himself for the others.
No, with that kind of a combination, there
wasn’t a monster, alien entity or foreign power that could defeat this
Then another thought thrust itself into his
mind…. It was a frightening
thought. Perhaps that was why Seaview seemed to attract so many of
these horrendous extraterrestrial foes. Maybe their enemies knew that Seaview
and her crew was the roadblock that prevented their conquest. Harry
mentally shuddered, not wanting to believe it, but feeling at least a
partial truth. It was a burden he didn’t want to consider and certainly
didn’t want to share—not right now. Still, it was one that couldn’t
Lee and Chip were still gazing at him, as though
expecting him to say something else. It was time to move on. “Well,
gentlemen, should we get back to saving the universe?” he quipped, half
in jest, half seriously. He reached for the crash door controls.
Chip chuckled softly.
Lee’s smile was not forced this time. “I suppose so, sir. I guess we’ve been in here gold-bricking long enough.”
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