PART FOUR (of 4)
Artemus Gordon stood at the viewing port when he saw one figure leaving the wreckage of the Foster Dean. This figure wasn't wearing the artificial lung and was swimming very weakly.
"Admiral! One of your men... I think," he called out to Nelson.
Admiral Nelson came quickly to the viewport and noticed the figure in the water without scuba tanks. He snatched up the mike, giving orders to the missile room to get a rescue team into the water immediately. Nelson turned to navigation. "Take us in immediately!"
When the order came for rescue divers, Patterson and Sharkey grabbed scuba tanks and did not take the time to suit up before heading for the hatch. Before closing the door, they removed their shoes and started the depressurization to meet the swimmer. They were into the water in about two minute's time, swimming to the figure ahead of them. Sharkey recognized Ski immediately and moved in to share his tanks with the injured swimmer. A wound in Ski's shoulder was streaming blood into the water and they could see the dark shapes of sharks moving in above them.
Sharkey forced the mouthpiece to Ski, pressing the button to release more oxygen into the mouthpiece, trying to keep him conscious until they returned to the sub. Kowalski struggled with Sharkey, trying to tell him something but Sharkey and Patterson continued to move the injured man back to the sub. They entered the hatch, as Ski sagged into their arms as the water level began to drop.
Once it had dropped low enough, Admiral Nelson yanked the hatch opened as the men stumbled out into the missile room. Jamieson had already arrived with his medical crew and a stretcher as they forced Ski to lie down on it.
"No!! No! We have to get back." Ski struggled through a coughing fit as he pushed the oxygen mask off his face. "A huge man!" he gasped out. "He shot me. I was waiting for the... " The coughing began again and Jamieson forced the oxygen mask down on Ski's mouth and nose as he gulped the oxygen.
"What do you mean?" Nelson asked as he knelt over the stricken man.
"It had to be Voltaire," said Artie. "A huge man... he's about seven feet tall and built like a mountain," Artie explained. "He works for Loveless..."
"A man that large works for a little man like Loveless?" Nelson asked as the medical team lifted the stretcher, taking Ski to sickbay. Turning, Nelson called out to Jamieson, "Let me know how he is."
Jamieson nodded as he followed the team out of the missile room.
"Everyone works for Loveless," Artie replied, sighing deeply. He was really worried now, knowing that Voltaire was already at the wreckage.
Nelson went over the mike and picked it up, clicking it until Lt. Holman answered in the Control Room. "Bring us to a full stop. I want to see what is happening before we go in any closer."
"Voltaire is mentally very slow. If he feels threatened, he will kill your captain if he hasn't already done so. We can't bluff him as he doesn't have the mentality to deal with in that manner," Atemus explained to the Admiral.
Nelson nodded and spoke into the mike, "John, back us away just a bit." He hung up the mike and turned to Sharkey and Patterson, "Get me a team of divers assembled, but don't do anything yet. I'm going down to Sickbay to see what happened in that ship. Why wasn't Ski wearing any tanks?"
* * * * * * * * *
As the Admiral entered Sickbay, he could hear Ski arguing with the doctor.
"You have to let me talk to the Admiral!" Ski was insisting as he tried to push the doctor away from the treatment gurney. One of the medical corpsmen stood on the other side trying to hold the wounded man down on the gurney. Ski glanced at the door and saw the Admiral as he entered the room. "Admiral!"
Nelson went over to the gurney, pushing the man back down gently. "You need to stay calm... tell me what happened."
Ski nodded as he remained lying against the pillow while Jamieson worked on his shoulder. "The inside of the ship is dry... it has air. We had split up and the Skipper went to the upper levels. He didn't return and I was waiting for him when that man came from the area that the Skipper went to. He had a gun..." He winced as Jamieson held up a small mass of metal.
"Small caliber... you'll live, Ski."
"We have to go back for the Skipper," Ski insisted.
"We are, " Nelson assured him, "but we aren't going to go rushing into anything."
A voice came over the speaker in Sickbay. "Admiral, there are more swimmers leaving the Foster Dean and heading for the surface."
Nelson picked up the mike, "Lt. Holman, surface! Follow those swimmers up, I want to know what is happening!"
* * * * * * * * *
By the time that they reached the surface, Lee was exhausted and relaxed in the water, letting his natural buoyancy keep him afloat as he leaned back. He could feel vibrations of something coming at them in the water; he was alarmed at first until he recognized the sound that rose with it.
"Lee?" Chip asked as he noticed the sound.
Lee nodded and turned to James West. "Mr. West, the Seaview is about to come to the surface."
"Is that what I am hearing?" James asked. He moved closed to the Captain as he realized how exhausted the Captain was. He was probably hurt worse that he was letting them know.
Suddenly the silence of the night was broken by a giant 'WHOOSH', as the huge submarine broke the surface of the ocean. Within minutes of settling down on the waves, the men were being helped aboard the deck of the submarine.
Nelson grabbed Lee's arm. "What happened to you?" He noticed Chip Morton. "Well, Mr. Morton it is about time that you rejoined us. I hope that you had enough of an adventure in Charleston."
"Yes, Sir... quite enough." He drew James West over to the Admiral as Dr. Jamieson started fussing over Captain Crane's head wound. "Sir, this is ..."
"James West?" the Admiral finished the introduction. "Mr. Gordon is waiting for you below. I have been hearing quite a interesting story from him... would you please join us?"
At the Hideout
"What time is it?" Loveless asked Mr. Pem, pacing back and forth from the opening that led to the water beneath them and to his seat again.
Pem pulled his pocketwatch out from the inside of his right vest pocket and checked it once again. "It is eleven o'clock, Miguelito," Pem answered, sighing. He was tiring of Loveless asking him every five minutes or so.
"We lowered Mr. Morton down an hour and a half ago. He is overdue. I specifically told him he had an hour to retrieve the gold and the serum and to bring it back up. I thought you said he could be trusted!"
"Dr. Loveless," replied Pem quietly, "you must be patient. You must be aware there could be a number of reasons why he is late. The current could have pushed him off course and he would have had to compensate for that. He could also have had difficulty locating the serum and gold. The ship is not stable so he would have had to proceed with extreme caution getting around."
"I realize all of that. I also realize that Mr. West is on board somewhere loose and that always means trouble. I should have taken care of him last night."
"Wouldn't Voltaire have found Mr. West and taken care of him himself?" suggested Pem.
"Well, yes, but you don't know Mr. West like I know him. He always has some trick up his sleeve."
At that moment Voltaire appeared through the ocean opening, gasping for air and clinging to the sides.
"Voltaire!" Miguelito shouted.
Gasping for air and weak from his unexpected journey upward, Voltaire allowed Loveless' men to pull him up out of the water.
"Voltaire, what happened to you down below? Why aren't you with Mr. Morton in the diving bell? Where IS Mr. Morton?"
"While Mr. Morton and I were loading the serum into the diving bell, West took me from behind. We fought but as I came at him, he bent down and threw me over his shoulders and I landed in the water. I started swimming for the surface. He and that other man I had captured must have broken out of the room I locked them in."
What other man?" Pem spoke up extremely interested. "Describe him, Voltaire."
"Tall, thin, black hair. He was wearing a yellow rubber type suit. I found him in the room that contained the gold and serum. He thought I was someone else," stated Voltaire with a devious laugh, "but I took care of his friend... he's dead."
Turning to Pem, Miguelito asked, "Do you know who the man is that Voltaire described?"
"Yes, I certainly do. Sounds like Captain Lee Crane. Hmm, that means the
Seaview is in the area and Admiral Nelson knows where the Foster Dean is located. The Admiral must have sent out a diving party to investigate. If they find the serum and the gold they will confiscate it and we will never see it."
"Well, Mr. Pem, you and I will just have to make a dive and find them and convince them otherwise. I MUST have that serum... I MUST. If not, they will ruin everything. All of my plans of power will be taken from me! Pull the diving bell up, it is now clear Mr. Morton will not be returning. We'll have to make the dive ourselves."
Several men rushed to the crank and began turning it to pull the huge metal sphere to the surface. The massive rope moved slowly, spilling vast amounts of water to the floor. When it finally did surface, Loveless rushed to it, indicating that Pem should also enter it.
Inside the diving bell, Loveless began fuming, almost to the point of throwing a temper tantrum. "I'll get that West if it's the last thing I do! He ruins everything, and he has done it for the last time. I am not going back to jail. I'll kill him if it's the last thing I DO! Him and your Commander Morton."
"Now, now Dr. Loveless, calm yourself. You must keep everything in perspective. Below us lies our riches."
"OUR RICHES, Mr. Pem?" Dr. Loveless asked incredulously.
"Why, yes, my good Doctor. Your serum... and my Confederate gold."
"Mr. Pem, did you really believe I ever intended on sharing any of my glory with you? Not the gold and certainly not the serum!"
"No, I don't suppose I ever really did, Dr. Loveless. That is why I have never produced my timepiece to you, sir. If you think you hold all of the cards, you are sorely mistaken."
"Oh, don't I?" and with that statement Loveless produced a gun which he pointed at Pem.
"You don't want to shoot me Doctor, I hold the key to our future."
"We'll see about that Mr. Pem... we'll see."
With that statement the bell landed inside the hold of the slowly disintegrating ship. Still pointing the gun at Pem, they both exited the bell cautiously. The room was still well lit by the lanterns that had been brought down and left. They slowly looked around. Neither one of them had any idea if there was still anyone aboard.
Loveless and Pem climbed up the ladder to the upper deck and proceeded quickly but guardedly to the room that had contained the serum and the gold. Shrieking, Loveless kicked at the remaining debris in the room. Not finding anything and with the boat swaying and creaking loudly the two men made their way back down below.
"The ship is unstable, Dr. Loveless, we must leave at once," stated Mr. Pem, anxious to re-board the diving bell.
Loveless hesitated and responded, "I told you before Mr. Pem, I never intended on sharing anything with you." Pointing the gun at Pem once again, Loveless demanded, "Hand the timepiece over to me, slowly."
As Pem contemplated what he would do next, the ship lurched with the reverberation of the explosion that had been set. The timepiece went flying out of Pem's hand as did the gun out of Loveless'. The two 'pieces' flew out ofthe opening and into the water where the gun begin to sink into the sand and the watch began floating upward.
The explosion started the ship rocking forcefully back and forth, tossing the two male occupants back and forth. Finally the ship rocked no more and slid off of its cradle that had housed it for so many long years. It slid down into the watery abyss of the Atlantic Ocean off the South Carolina coast.
The huge sub surfaced close to the coastal hideout of Miguelito Loveless. Within minutes Admiral Nelson stepped out on the deck with the two Secret Agents; Crane and Chip Morton followed him.
"What are you going to do, Admiral?" Artemus Gordon asked, aware that with the reported deaths of Loveless and Pem that the crew of the Seaview was trapped in their past.
"I don't know," Nelson replied. He looked over at Crane. "We should have paid more attention to Pem's time piece and how he built it."
"Admiral Nelson, you would be most welcomed to come with us," West invited him.
"If we cannot get back to our time. The future of this submarine remains to be seen... I think her Captain and I will have to determine her fate."
Lee Crane looked down at the deck. He knew what the Admiral was suggesting, that there was too much time to have to pass through. The Seaview was still a machine from too far into the future to be allowed to exist in this time. She could cause a lot of concerns for the world that she existed in now. He did not like thinking about her future if they remained here, as they had no choice but to destroy her themselves.
Due to the depth of the channel, which was probably dug to accommodate future plans that Miguelito had for some insane plot of world domination, the sub was able to pull to the end of the pier. Admiral Nelson stepped up to the pier, looking over the sides at the construction. "Amazing that the man could create so much. He was a genius, but his stature seemed to affect his outlook on the world." He shook his head. "Such a waste..."
"Yes," Artie agreed.
"So you will finally get some peace from him... and what will you write up on this report?" Lee asked, smiling at the pair. "I don't think that I have thanked you for saving me down on that ship."
West laughed. "I think you took well enough care of Artie that it was a fair trade. Half of the battle is keeping him out of trouble."
"I understand that fully," Nelson replied. "If it's not Lee then it's Chip... running off to Charleston, Mr. Morton? I think that we shall have to talk about you leaving you post again without permission."
"Excuse me?" Chip asked, smiling. "May I remind you, Sir... it was you that brought Pem aboard and started all this."
"Mr. Morton, consider yourself on report," Nelson warned, smiling back.
Chip turned from them to reenter the hatch when he paused, noting something that just popped to the surface off the bow of the sub. "Well, I'll be..." he murmured to himself. Without saying anything, he quickly slipped off his shoes and dove into the water at the side of the ship.
"What?" Nelson asked, startled by the young man's action.
"I think he saw something," Artie pointed out.
Lee walked over to the side of the sub as Chip started swimming back. "What are you doing?" He reached down to pull Chip back up on the side of the boat.
Chip climbed aboard, dripping water to the deck, with a triumphant smile on his lips. "I thought I saw something in the water," he explained.
"So?" Lee asked.
"So, I went in to get it." Chip opened his hand, letting the item drop to dangle from a fine golden chain. "Anyone need to know the time?" he asked as Pem's timepiece sparkled in his hand. He reached over and handed the piece to Admiral Nelson. "Here. I think that I have spent about all the time that I want to spend in Charleston."
Nelson turned the gold watch over in his hand. "Maybe we might get home yet. I am sure that Pem has reset it just in case he would need to get away from here in short notice." He looked up at West and Gordon. "Pem is smart in his own right, but still a coward. He would be prepared for something to go wrong." He looked back out at the sea. "I wonder what really happened down there."
"I don't suppose that we will know," Artie answered. "There was no way that anyone could have survived that blast. The way it threw your submarine around..."
"I wish I could believe that we are finally free of Loveless," Jim interrupted, looking out at the same direction that the Admiral was. He shook himself free of his self-induced trance. "Artie, you're the one with imagination. I want to see how you are going to write this report up to give to Colonel Richmond."
Artie thought for a minute. "Well... something like, with the... ah, aid of the good citizens of Charleston we were able to stop Loveless." He smiled at Chip. "Mr. Morton, it looks like your dive will have to go unrecognized."
"So I won't find myself in the history books?" Chip asked in mock disappointment.
Nelson smiled. "You and Lee accompany these men ashore and retrieve that serum. I want it destroyed..."
"We came for the serum," Jim West told the Admiral.
"Gentlemen, your serum will have been destroyed in the explosion if it had not been for Mr. Morton retrieving it... to save your life? If I understand correctly?"
He was addressing Jim West and had entered into his full military bearing. "I am wearing four stars so I think that I outrank your Col. Richmond. That, gentlemen, is how your report will read. The serum will be destroyed before we return to our time."
Artie nodded. "I think we can work that out."
Jim turned to Artie. "Now wait a minute, this is our mission..."
"James, are you going to try to take on the Admiral and his submarine? I don't think that we would do very well, do you? " Artemus Gordon looked back at the Admiral. "I think that we can trust this man better than we can trust those fools in Washington."
"That sounds familiar..." Lee started to say, cutting off his comment when Nelson looked over at him.
Artie caught enough of what Lee said to smile. "It seems that some things will never change... we all have our demons, correct, Admiral?"
Nelson nodded, "Some things will never change, Mr. Gordon." He looked over at Lee and Chip. "Men, you have something to do and I need to get this watch figured out. We will only have one chance to go home."
South Carolina shore
Chip Morton and Lee Crane had returned with James West and Artemus to the old weathered building that Miguelito Loveless had been using as a hideout near the ocean.
James West opened the door as Crane quietly slipped into the old building, but they found no resistance from anyone inside the building. "It's deserted!" West announced looking about the building, surprised to see the gold filled box still sitting on the floor.
A small lead box lay on the table. Artemus Gordon walked over, picked up the box and opened it to reveal a small glass bottle filled with amber colored liquid. He lifted the bottle, peering at the liquid. "The dreams of kings..."
"So that would have earned him the world?" Lee asked looking over Artemus' shoulder. "How do you suppose that the gold and serum got up here?"
"Who knows?... I would guess that Voltaire brought it up." Artemus answered, closing the box and handing it over to Captain Crane. "I would trust the Admiral to handle this."
"He will," Lee replied, taking the box from him. "Why don't we go to the sub and see what he has come up with." He picked up the small case holding the serum and handed the large chest to Mr. West. "Would you like to do the honors, Sir?"
* * * * * * * * *
They entered the submarine, pausing in the Control Room as James West looked about the sub. Some of the crew paused to look at the oddly dressed 'cowboy' but then returned to their work as Chip Morton gave them a scowl. He moved forward, shepherding the group from the area to the corridor as they walked to the lab.
Artemus Gordon had gotten over his shock at the giant submarine, but James West was amazed by the size of the boat. He listened as Lee Crane gave a brief tour of some of the areas that they passed on the way to the lab. They had descended to another floor, and to the lab where Admiral Nelson was standing at the workbench, shoulder hunched over something that he was working on. He looked up as the group entered the lab. "Ah! Lee, I think I have your next route charted." He held up the gold watch. "Whenever you are ready!"
Lee removed the box from his pocket and laid it on the table before the Admiral, "Mr. West and Mr. Gordon have decided that you need a gift."
Nelson looked down at the box and then over to Artemus Gordon. "Is this Loveless' formula?"
"Yes," Artemus answered. "We have the gold so we have decided that you should have the formula."
"You are a trusting man, Mr. Gordon," Nelson told him as he opened the box and looked at the small bottle.
"I have found that you are honorable men... even your Captain," Artie answered, looking at Crane, who smiled back at him.
"Would you please come with me? I shall show you what we shall do with this bottle... I think you will be pleased to see the results. Captain, lead us on to the reactor."
They entered the corridor and walked the few yards to the area outside the reactor room. Nelson indicated that they should stand by the viewing plate. He opened the door and walked into the reactor room. He reached in and slowly withdrew one of the rods from the reactor, filling the room with a hum and a brilliant display of colors as the reactor responded to the removal of the rod. He then slid the small bottle into the opening and replaced the rod. Using the rod, he pushed the bottle deep within the reactor, before locking the rod back in place. He exited the room, shutting the hatch as the reactor hummed, and then cast out a quick flash of light as the bottle and the contents were destroyed within the core of the device.
"What on earth?" Gordon asked, stepping back from the light display in the room.
"Another demon, Mr. Gordon," Admiral Nelson answered him. "In a few years you will be hearing about something called uranium. The reactor is one result of the discovery, there is another result that will come from it, but it will not be in your lifetime. This will come much later. Your chemical will be nothing compared to it."
"But you have apparently survived it?" Gordon responded
"So far we have..."
"What happened to the chemical?" James West demanded, looking through the viewing plate.
"It vaporized," Nelson explained. "There is nothing left of it or the glass bottle."
West turned to Artie, "And what are you going to tell Col. Richmond about the chemical?"
Gordon looked perplexed for a few seconds. "There was no chemical... just the gold. Reports of a chemical were greatly exaggerated and we could find nothing to support the reports with the exception to the gold."
"Mr. Gordon..." Chip Morton interrupted.
"I do believe that you still work for our government."
Nelson chuckled then turned from the reactor. "We have another experiment that awaits us but I think that Mr. West and Mr. Gordon would rather not be involved with his one. We need to see if we can get home."
"And what happens if it doesn't work?" West asked.
"I am not going to entertain those thoughts," Nelson replied. "Gentlemen, you will go topside and see our friends off and then return as we will have to be off ourselves before the countryside begins to wake up and we are discovered." He turned to James West. "I would hate to tell your President... I believe it is President Grant... what all had happened. I don't believe that he would believe us." He shook hands with both men and wished them well before returning to the lab.
Morton and Crane went back forward to Control Room, pausing just a minute before they climbed the latter to the deck of the sub. As they stepped out, the sun was beginning to climb in the sky.
They walked to the dock, as James turned to Chip Morton. "You could stay," he suggested. "On the days that I have to pry Artie from the lab and he starts complaining, you could come with me."
"No, I have enough trouble looking after the sub when Lee and the Admiral are at odds with one another. But I will keep it into consideration if I want to make a career change."
Gordon and West moved to the wooden dock after saying their good-byes. Both of the seamen from the future had re-entered the sub as Artie paused to look back at the huge sub.
"What's wrong?" West asked him.
"Nothing. I just want to see what happens now."
As Jim and Artie stood on the South Carolina shore, they both watched the submarine Seaview as she rested on top of the water. The two were unknowingly holding their breath, barely breathing for the fear that gripped them each silently. With hearts pounding they waited to see what would happen next.
Jim West could not help but wonder about the future for th huge sub. If Admiral Nelson did figure out how to use Mr. Pem's timepiece correctly, would the submarine just disappear, vanish into thin air? What would happen? What would become of the officers and crew if they were caught in our time?Where would they go? How would they fit in? How would they feel being forced by circumstances not totally under their control to stay in a time they neither wanted nor chose. And what about their families? How would they get along without them? How could they be asked to live without them... to never know how their children turned out... their wives, and mothers, and fathers? If they were forced to remain, wouldn't the future be changed? Not to mention the present, that was certain to be affected.
His head was spinning with too many thoughts... too many unknowns. They both began speaking at the same time; it came from years of friendship.
"You first, Jim."
"Artie, do you think they'll be able to make it back? Is the Admiral bright enough to figure out the exacts of that time piece? I never realized the depth of all this. The true meaning of their predicament. What it would mean to remain lost in time."
"Yeah, I've been having the same thoughts myself. When Loveless has transported us in time, I suppose we never thought that we'd never get back. We just assumed we would."
"As wonderful as it was," Artie continued, "to be aboard that fantastic submarine, I found myself wondering what I would want. What would I chose if I had to make the choice that they quite possibly may have to make. If that choice was staring me in the face, what would I choose?"
"As fantastic as their technology is, don't you think we'd still want to live and die in our own time, Artie? With the people we know and love? Let alone the familiarity of our own time?"
"You're right, of course, Jim. Even if we had to deal with Dr. Loveless again."
At that remark Artie and Jim returned from their empty gazes. "Now, why did you have to ruin the mood? I don't want to even think about Loveless right now," remarked Jim.
"Knowing that little madman, he'll return from the dead just to taunt us."
"You know what, Artie? I think you're right!"
Many thoughts were left unspoken but shared between the two of them as they quietly looked at each other and then back to the water where the magnificent submarine shimmered before disappearing from their view.
* * * * * * * * *
Lee had returned to the plotting table and he picked up the mike from the side and clicked it. "Admiral, we are in place."
"Okay, Lee." There was a few seconds of silence. "Well, I'm setting the watch now."
Nelson words had barely left the speaker when Captain Crane felt the dizziness pass over him. He closed his eyes for a couple seconds before calling out to the radioman.
"Sparks, what do you have coming in?"
Sparks moved the dial, listening to the headset that he was wearing. "Stock reports, Sir... we have lost about two hours since we left. Weather is normal; highs in the 70's for Santa Barbara... game was delayed for rain..." he continued as he picked up the news.
Crane turned, hearing someone on the circular staircase. Admiral Nelson came down, smiling widely. "Captain, take us home... we've had an adventurous two hours."
"Yeah, tell me about it," Chip agreed.
Artemus Gordon sat at the desk on the Wanderer writing furiously on the paper before him. The soft glow of the lantern provided him just enough light to work. Jim West lay the paper in his lap, watch his friend as he labored over the paper.
Gordon looked up from the paper, startled by the question. "Huh?"
"It's about time that we got some dinner tonight and you are still sitting there writing. What are you doing?"
"The report to Col. Richmond..."
"And what are you writing in this report?" Jim interrupted.
Artie picked up the papers before him and shuffled through them. "The usual, Jim." He scanned them quickly and began reading from the pages. "Loveless was in Charleston... remains of the ship found... we were assisted by seamen on the docks... serum destroyed in the explosion of the Foster Dean." He flipped back through the papers. "The explosion was caused by the build-up of gases and touched off by Loveless himself, who was killed in the explosion."
"And what about the submersible ship?"
Artie looked over the papers at his partner, "What submersible ship?" His voice carried the tone that Artie used when he was certain what happened did not happen.
"Oh, so you are creating a falsehood?"
"And what do you think that Richmond would do if I wrote the real story?"
"Have us both on a very long vacation..."
"But... I did do some research on submarines." Artie dug around on the desk before holding up a piece of paper and a book for James to see. "The name of the book is Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. It's a story about a submarine and the Captain of this submarine is Captain Nemo."
"Ah, like Captain Crane?"
"No, more like Admiral Nelson, a man of vision... but Captain Nemo had a bit more devious nature."
"Ah... am I hearing some envy in your voice, Artie?"
"I'm not certain if it is envy or not," Artie answered, but then added, "Do you think that they made it back to their time?"
"Yeah. What if we were on something like that?"
Artie chuckled at the thought. "It wouldn't work, Jim. You could never do it." He emphasized the word 'you'.
"And why couldn't I do it? If you will remember it was me who found their Captain."
"Yes, you did," Artie agreed. "But then you notice the short time that you were on the sub... there were no women!"
Jim West laughed as he walked back to the couch and folded up his paper. "Yeah, I noticed that."
"And since you had to do all the work, while I sat around admiring the beautiful lady known as the Seaview, I decided that I would do something nice for you."
James was suddenly aware of the smile on Artie's face, "I'm not delivering that report to Col. Richmond."
Artie looked over at the door at the rear of the train. "Miss Feather!" he called out, smiling at Jim. The door opened and the Feather Queen walked out from the back room. She has scrubbed all the make-up off her face and was wearing a simple but very fetching gown.
The young lady smiled at Jim West and offered her arm to him as she kissed Artie lightly on the forehead. Jim smiled in return, looking over the lovely vision that stood beside him.
Artie waved him away, "Have fun, you two. We leave in the morning, James. Don't be late," he warned them as James led the lovely lady to the door.
As James and the Feather Queen went out the door Artie returned to the report, signing and dating it before slipping it into the envelope for the messenger to pick up. He reached into his pocket and took out the small-encased 'moon-rock' that the Admiral had given him before they had left the submarine for the last time. He sat it on the desk before getting up and turning the lantern out. As he passed the window and paused to pull down the shade, Artie caught the sight of the full moon hanging over the sleeping port of Charleston. He looked into the round face of the 'man in the moon', who seemed to wink back at him.