Admiral Nelson paused at the head of the Reactor Room corridor and winced. I can hear it from here, he thought grimly as the high pitched sound of Seaview's overloaded reactor bombarded his eardrums.
Close behind Nelson followed the Seaview's Captain: Lee Crane. He came skidding to a stop alongside of Nelson.
"We're too late, Admiral!" said Crane as he tried to catch his breath.
Nelson moved forward towards the hatch of the Reactor Room.
"Not too late yet, Lee," replied Nelson, "not as long as Seaview is still in one piece!"
As Nelson reached for the hatch, he and Crane were knocked off balance; the Seaview shuddered and lurched as the powerful reactor continued to run wild.
Crane grabbed Nelson's arm to prevent him from opening the hatch. "Admiral, wait!" Crane shouted. "You can't go in there with those radiation levels!"
The Seaview lurched again and they were thrown to the deck.
"We don't have much choice, Lee!" Nelson shouted. "Seaview isn't going to be able to stand much more of this!" Nelson crawled forward and pulled himself up. As he reached again for the hatch, he turned to face Crane. They had met many dangers together, not just as officers, but as friends. "Stay out of here, Lee. There's no reason for both of us to be in danger."
Crane and Nelson looked at each other silently for a minute; each of them thought the same thing: whoever went into the Reactor Room faced certain death.
"No!" replied Crane, "I'll go." He tried to pull Nelson back.
Nelson forcefully pushed Crane away. "I said stay out of here! That's an order, Captain Crane!"
"Wait!" Crane pleaded, "why couldn't we try flooding the Reactor Room with sea water first! Before we try this!"
"It's too late for that, Lee," replied Nelson with a note of regret in his voice. As if echoing his feelings, the Seaview shook violently. Nelson opened the hatch and slowly made his way through the steam, sparks and heat towards the Seaview's dying reactor.
Nelson heard Crane shouting behind him.
"Admiral . . . ?" the voice persisted. "Don't you know who I am?"
Admiral Nelson slowly opened his eyes and sighed as he recognized the familiar surroundings of Sick Bay.
"I . . . Lee?" replied Nelson in confusion. He saw relief flood into Crane's face.
"Doc, I think he's coming around," said Crane.
Nelson anxiously grabbed at Crane's arm. "Lee . . . the reactor . . . we've got to stop it from exploding!" Nelson tried to sit up and swing his legs over the bed.
The ship's Doctor grabbed Nelson before he could stand up. "Not so fast, Admiral," said Doc sternly. "You're not going anywhere right now."
"But the reactor . . ." stammered Nelson, looking at Crane for help.
Crane helped the Doctor ease Nelson back into the bed.
"Admiral, I don't understand what you're talking about," replied Crane, his concern growing. "Don't you remember what happened? Something went wrong with one of the experimental chemicals in the lab. There was an explosion and you were knocked out," explained Crane. "You really had us all worried for a while. What's all this about the reactor?"
Nelson smiled with relief. "Nothing, Lee, nothing," he replied. "Just a crazy dream I had."
Crane and the Doctor exchanged uneasy glances.
Nelson recognized the determined expression in Doc's eyes. It will be at least two days before he lets me out of here, Nelson thought to himself, sighing heavily. I might as well relax. He settled back into the bed and rolled over for a well deserved rest.
Copyright 1997 by Carla Keehn