This story uses the
characters that are found in Mission: Possible found at http://www.teelajones.us/uw/missposs.html.
You may want to read it first.
Hours earlier, he had dragged his sorry hide out
of his office and from the piles of paperwork on the sub's refit.
Normally, it would be his executive officer and best friend's job
to tackle the mounds of red tape to repair and replenish the Seaview's
coffers. Currently, Chip
Morton occupied a bed at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research Medical
Center nursing a concussion. His headaches were spectacular and stuff
legends were made from.
Wincing from his memory, Captain Lee Crane heard
again the heavy thud of Chip's head connecting with the bulkhead when
the Seaview had been hit with the tidal wave on their last
voyage. Only one other crewman was injured and Chip had the
misfortune to share a room with Chief Sharkey.
The Chief was laid up with a compound fracture of his left leg,
but nothing was wrong with his mouth.
In a moment of sanity, Chip had confessed to Lee
that his immediate goal was to stand, so he could either escape the room
or stuff a pillow down the Chief's throat.
Lee made a mental bet that Chip would be out of the Center by
midweek ahead of his predicted release date, maybe in time to go on a
little leave, like the rest of the crew and the Admiral.
Unfortunately, there was no leave for Lee.
Carrying a double load and his worry was wearing Lee down.
He was due for a break. Wiping
his hand across his eyes revealed his weariness. Told to leave and get
some sleep by his suffering friend, Lee said goodnight and left.
He went out into the fog and threaded his red sports car through
the hairpin turns leading up the mountain side to his home.
The mountain mist would have been snow, had it been winter.
As it was, late spring was the season and the coolness of the
droplets was welcomed over the heat of the valley.
Turning into his drive, the motion sensors
detected his presence and lighted his way to the door.
Stepping over the threshold, he felt the mantle of security drape
over his drooping shoulders. Standing
with bowed head and arms wrapped around his chest, he pondered whether
to travel to his bed or to unwind before the fireplace.
Both were tempting, but the calmness he knew he would get from
the flickering flames won the battle.
Turning the gas on, he lit the fireplace and waited until the
Shrugging out of his jacket, he went to the bar
and poured himself a brandy. Sitting
down on the sofa, his legs sprawled in an untidy mess until he summoned
enough energy to stretch them out and cross his ankles.
The stillness of the night and the crackling of the burning logs
lured him into sleep, as the fog cocooned his home.
His glass was untouched. He
softly snored while his body sought the much needed rest.
The shrill scream of the telephone startled him
awake. His heart pounded as
he pulled himself to the end of the sofa, grabbed the phone and groggily
“Señor, Señor Lee.
Lo siento. I need
Pat. Niño comes.”
His sudden headache throbbed in time to his
heartbeat as he tried to calm down Patterson's pregnant Mexican wife. “I know where he is, Angelina.
He's still on the boat doing some electrical work.
I'll call security and get him there.”
“You come too, sí?
Little Anita calls for her Tio Lee.
Scott staying with friends.
You stay with Anita, sí?
Pat and I go to the hospital to have niño?”
His body screamed to go back to the deep,
dreamless state he had been jolted from, but this was a cry for help he
couldn't ignore. From the
time that Anita was an infant, he had a bond with the little heart
stealer. She gave him hope
that one day he would find his soul mate and produce an Anita of his
own. She had given her
heart, soul and trust to him without hesitation. He could do no more for her.
I'll take a quick shower and be there in forty minutes. Can you hang on 'til then?”
came faster than this niño is. I
will wait for Pat and you.”
Lee immediately called NIMR security and told
them where Pat was and to get him and Angelina to the Medical Center as
soon as possible. He asked
for a nurse to come along to check
Angelina and to stay with Anita if, by chance, Lee didn't get
there in time.
He made it in thirty minutes. Security and an ambulance were parked in the driveway, Pat's
car was on the street. Angelina
and Pat were getting in the ambulance and a nurse was holding Anita in
her arms on the porch. Lee
hurried up the walk and took the toddler into his arms, as she yelled,
Turning, he watched the nurse climb in and the
ambulance started off. It
stopped, the door opened, Pat stepped out, and threw an object to Lee. Catching it with his left hand, he looked back over at Pat as
he got back in and shouted over his shoulder, “Thanks, Skipper for
taking care of Anita. That's
the key to the house.”
He was left on the porch holding his godchild in
his arms, staring at the blinking lights diminishing in the distance.
“Well, munchkin, let's see what we can do to get you ready for
“Yes, I'm your Uncle.
Come on squirt, let's go in and find your pajamas.”
He eventually was able to get Anita changed and ready for bed,
thanks to the teasing help from the giggly toddler.
“Tio, me hungry.”
Looking at his watch, he realized that it was
late, but not too late to have pizza delivered.
“How about pizza?”
Anita went hopping off and crying out, “P'za,
Let me put on the television and I'll order our meal.”
He got her settled down with one of her toys in
front of the set and ordered the pizza.
Within thirty minutes, she was happily munching on a slice of
cheese hamburger and sipping apple juice.
After that, she was more agreeable to being
rocked and he was rewarded with a sleeping child.
Putting her to bed, he sat down to call the Medical Center and
check on Angelina.
It's going to be a while. This
baby is taking its slow, sweet time in coming.
Are you and Anita doing okay?”
Lee chuckled at the concern he heard in the
seaman's voice. “We're
doing fine, Pat. She
polished off two large slices of pizza with apple juice and she's
sleeping now. I thought I
would take her to the zoo tomorrow afternoon, after we finish up at the
“That sounds good, Skipper.
I hope she's not much of a bother?”
“None at all, Pat.
It the baby arrives in the morning, call my secretary.
She'll know where I'm at.”
I appreciate this, especially since Ski and Riley aren't around
to help out.”
“I'll see you tomorrow.
Lee leaned back and stared at Pat's lifeless
fireplace. This was where
he had been earlier in the evening, well that is, without a dead fire
and a sleeping three-year-old girl in the bedroom down the hallway.
Running his hand through his black hair, he admitted to himself
how exhausted he was and decided to bury down on the sofa to sleep.
The next morning was taken up with getting a
little, live-wire ready for the day, going by McDonald's for breakfast,
and cruising up to his mountain home for a change of clothes and shave. After going into the office and checking in with his
secretary, he decided to knock off early and take the giggling and
chattering toddler to the zoo.
With his height and her petiteness, it was
easier to carry the girl, rather than allow her to walk.
They wandered from exhibit to exhibit and her jabbering at Tio
Lee got the attention of many ladies, who appreciated the sight of the
tall, handsome man with the little girl.
One of those ladies was Betty Johnson, a single widow who was
sitting on a bench under the overhanging tree limbs.
She had been despondent over her new life and
frequently came to the zoo. It
calmed her to sit and watch the visitors as they enjoyed the sights. It brought a smile to her face watching Lee with Anita.
He had set the child down as they watched the monkeys scamper
from tree to tree within the screened enclosure.
Lee was imitating the monkeys to the merriment of the child.
He picked her up and they went on down a side
lane leading toward the lions' cage.
The smile left Betty's face as she watched two rough looking men
following Lee and Anita. One
was coughing. Quietly, she picked herself up and hurried after them.
Further away, Lee had put Anita down as he knelt
to tie his left shoe. She
was making a game out of it by pulling on the string as he was tying the
knot. Once finished, he reached out to the toddler when he felt
sudden pain in his head and everything went dark as he dropped to the
One man went through Lee's pockets, as the other
one stood watching.
“Hurry up, Dick and put a lid on your
“I am, I am Sam. Hey, we hit the jackpot with
this one. This billfold is
loaded. Hmmm...I think I'll
take this watch and ring too. Should
be able to get something for them.”
The man continued to cough.
“What about the little girl?”
“She's too young to recognize us. Let's get out of here.”
They took off running, Dick muffling his cough by covering his
mouth with his hand.
Betty arrived just as they disappeared.
She found Anita sitting by a prone Lee.
“Shusss,” the little girl ordered, putting a
finger over her mouth. “Tio
I won't wake him. I
just want to see if he's okay.” Betty
gently moved her hands over his body and found the lump behind his left
ear. It was bleeding from a two-inch gash. Fishing some tissues from her purse, she held them over the
wound in an effort to get the bleeding to stop.
Looking around, she saw a couple coming up the walk.
man was mugged and is injured. Can
you get some help?”
While the man ran for help, his girlfriend
picked up Anita and rocked her back and forth.
“And what's your name, little one?”
She pointed toward Lee. “Tio
The two women didn't get anything else out of
the child, other than Lee was sleeping.
Soon, zoo security and medical help arrived.
Statements were taken and Betty and the couple were sent on their
way. Lee was still out cold
and he and Anita were whisked off to the Santa Barbara Hospital.
Across town at the NIMR Medical Center, chaos
had erupted. Angelina was
finally in active labor, angrily spouting rapid-fired Spanish, gesturing
at anyone who came close and yelling for Pat.
Pat was in the waiting room and could hear his spouse down the
hall. A television droned in the background as he paced, sipping on
tepid weak coffee from the vending machine in the corner.
The door was flung open and a nurse came in
asking for Pat. He was told
that the birth was eminent and Angelina wouldn't cooperate unless he was
there with her. As he
turned to leave with the woman, his daughter's sweet voice came over the
television, “Tio Lee sleeping.”
“There's no time to wait.
We need you there now.”
“Then get security for me.
My daughter's on the TV and I want to know why!”
He gestured at the set, watching a shot of an
unconscious Lee in the hospital bed and his daughter in a stranger's
lap. The voice of the
announcer was saying, “If you know this man and child, please contact
the Santa Barbara Police Department.”
The nurse glanced at the view, recognized the Seaview's
Captain and made a snapped decision.
“I'll talk to security and get them to find out, after I get
you into the labor room. Now
come on, before your wife literally throws the doctor out!”
She grabbed Pat's wrist, pulled him into the
hallway, and down to Labor and Delivery.
Tossing a gown over him, putting a facemask over his mouth, and
shoving a pair of gloves at him, she pushed him through the double
doors. Angelina's voice and pitch were climbing in volume.
As the nurse left to find security, she could hear Pat's voice
gently saying, “It's okay, honey.
I'm here. Calm down.
It won't be long.”
By the time Angelina had calmed down, had her
baby boy and Pat had passed out cigars to the expecting fathers in the
waiting room, his daughter was on her way to the Medical Center.
It would take a few hours more before all the paperwork was
processed to transfer Captain Lee Crane to the Center.
On the way, he woke up in the ambulance and was
instantly searching for Anita. His
agitation lessened when he was greeted by Pat and Anita at the emergency
room entrance. With his
mind at ease to her safety, Lee steadily improved and within the week he
was released to go home on limited activity.
Dr. Will Jamieson insisted that he have someone stay with him,
but withdrew the stipulation when Lee's temper exploded over all the
Lee had not gone back to work yet, when a week
later Pat Patterson called Dr. Jamieson.
“Doc, something's wrong with my daughter.
She's running a fever, not wanting to eat or drink and her cheeks
are swollen. I don't know
what to do. We're keeping
her away from the baby.”
Chuckling, the doctor recognized the symptoms.
“What diseases have you and your wife had?”
Listening, he quizzed again. “What about your son?”
When Pat had finished talking, he knew what to do.
“Keep your son away from the baby and bring your daughter in.
Be sure to pack some clothes for her.
I'll need to quarantine her for about a week.”
“Doc, the police caught the guys who mugged
the Skipper. They said one
of them was very sick. You
“I'll check into it, Pat.”
Within minutes, he had his answer and went to
check Lee's medical records. The
results had him tapping his fingers on the counter.
Checking his medical assistant's file, he made up his mind.
“James, I want you to go out to Captain Crane's residence.
If what I suspect is correct, you're going to find one sick
man.” Going to his
office, he looked for the keys Admiral Nelson insisted he have for
medical emergencies. He came back with a house key and gave it to James
with the instructions, “Use this only if he doesn't answer.”
An hour later, James called. Lee Crane was in his bed, unable to walk and very sick.
Dr. Jamieson told him to stay put and take care of the captain.
Will would be bringing medical supplies and another patient
within the next few hours and would take over the care of Lee.
Pat walked in with Anita and a suitcase.
The child in his arms was crying and running a temperature.
Will examined her and shot a look at Pat.
“I'm going to put her into quarantine.
Do you trust Captain Crane?”
“He's her honorary godfather. She's been calling him Tio Lee ever since she started
talking. You remember the
barbecue when he got her asleep in the Lazy Boy chair?
Well, he's been close to her since then. What's this about, Doc?”
He told Pat what her problem was. “Lee and Anita have the same disease. It's not for public knowledge.
You know how the Skipper gets.”
“Well, he can't be moved, so I'm going to take
her up to his place until they both get better.
That way I can watch them at the same time and less people know
the particulars.” Will
grinned. “Besides, I
always did like his place and I need a short vacation before the Captain
finds his temper again.”
“I wonder what the Skipper's going to say when
he finds out?”
“A lot! But,
maybe not as much with a little girl around.
I should be able to bring them back down here in about a week.
Call every night and I'll give you an update on your daughter.”
Dr. Jamieson was right.
Lee Crane was livid. “We
have mumps? How?”
“Your mugger exposed you and the child.”
“But look at her.
She's running around and I can't move from this bed.
Are you sure?”
have milder cases than adults. She
should be getting better by the end of the week, where as, you should
take another two weeks.”
Looking down the length of his bed at his legs
sprawled out, Lee sputtered, “But what... I mean why...?”
“Are you asking about the family jewels?
Trust me, the swelling will go down soon.
It's just a side effect of the mumps and there will be no harm
for future offspring.”
“No, it's not a side effect. It's an insult to injury!”
“Considering what's happened to you over the
last several weeks, I agree.”
Lee closed his eyes in disgust and heard the
patter of her feet walking up to his bed.
Reaching out her hand to pat his fingers, she inquired, “Tio
“No munchkin, Tio Lee's awake, just sick.”
sick. We sick together.” She pulled herself up onto the bed and stretched her length
against his side, snuggling down onto his shoulder.
Lee continued talking to the doctor to determine
what to look forward to during his convalescent.
Their conversation was interrupted by a loud
gasp and then a sigh. The
child started breathing in a rhythmic manner.
“Looks like you still have the touch, Lee.
That's not a bad thing for you to do also.
I'm going to set you up with an IV to get your fluid level back
up and I'll come back to check on you in an half hour.”
After the doctor left, Lee gazed down on the
sleeping child and whispered, “When we get well sweetheart, we're
going back to the zoo again. I
didn't get a chance to finish showing you it. I've been told that
there's a beautiful woman there most days by the name of Betty that I
need to meet. Would you go
His answer was a further settling of her body into the crook of his arm. Grinning, he nestled into his pillows, closed his eyes, and drifted off to sleep.