Disclaimer: The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea characters are not mine, just borrowed for this story.
Reviews are always welcome.
What Once Was is Now Again
The prognosis wasn't the greatest news, but at least the Admiral was alive; Jamieson had come out personally to give Lee the details regarding the emergency surgery. The last few months had been a rollercoaster of emotions; first he had been tasked with the difficult decision of choosing between Nelson and Chip, and in the end failing to save Morton from certain death. At least fortune had finally smiled on them a little, now that it seemed Chip's death had been another ruse to torment the Captain.
Instead of death Chip had been held captive, but had somehow managed to send a message to Lee to let him know he was alive. The sheer joy of the possibility of getting Morton back had lifted Crane's depressed mood; on the back of that positive news, a clue as to the possible whereabouts of their antagonising foe had been unearthed. However the positive note had been short lived as a mission into enemy territory with a replacement executive officer had discovered that their foe had relocated. The flame of hope that Chip was still alive was starting to diminish.
The Captain had gone from depressed, to recklessly obsessed, to hopeless and now, with the latest turn of events, to uncontrollable anger. The wife of one of their own had betrayed them; Michelle O'Brien had shot Nelson and left him fighting for his life.
At a time when he desperately needed someone, Crane found himself completely alone. Based on the information Davenport had obtained from an interesting source, Crane now had a lead on a man who could shed some light on the whole mystery: who was doing this to him. Lola had reported that the man was ill, so the doctors would only allow the Captain to attempt to question him at the end of the week.
Fuelled by his growing anger, Lee decided he would not wait; rules, procedure and politics be damned - he was taking action. This aggression could no longer go unanswered; it would not go unanswered.
Crane booked a commercial flight to New York. Sure FS1 would have been faster; but that would raise questions and be highly traceable; a commercial flight would probably be the last thing anyone would check. It also didn't require anyone at the Institute to be informed about it, thus keeping them from facing disciplinary actions or tipping off anyone else that might be working work Alexi.
He took a taxi from the airport to the retirement home in which Kozlov resided. Having made a few phone calls and telling a few lies, Lee managed to learn the name and address of the home. The doctors had been concerned for the man's health which is why they had postponed Crane's visit until the end of the week. Lee decided he would claim to be the man's nephew, knowing that family would be allowed to visit despite his condition.
The women at the front desk gave Lee a warm smile as he approached the counter.
"How can I help you?"
"I'm here to visit my uncle. Kozlov, K-o-z-l-o"
"Vadim Kozlov of course."
"Yes Uncle Vadim. Which room is he in?"
"Room 9B. You're in luck, they just returned from an outing to the park. I'll take you there."
The bubbly receptionist led Crane down a series of halls making googly eyes the whole way. Lee just smiled when ever she looked at him. He had more important things to do than be sociable today, but he had to be friendly to avoid raising suspicions. When they arrived she knocked lightly on the door twice, then opened it.
"Mr. Kozlov, your nephew is here to visit you" she called as Lee stepped inside.
The man in the wheelchair looked up at the Captain then nodded his head "thank-you Kelly."
The receptionist smiled one last time and closed the door to offer the family some private time to visit.
Vadim spoke English very well and with only a minimal hint of a Russian accent. He eyed Crane up for a moment before he spoke, just as Lee sized up the room's other occupant too. For someone who was supposed to be at death's door, he was remarkably well.
"You're a little young to be my nephew; not to mention I had no brothers or sisters."
"You're looking very well for someone dying" indeed the man sitting in the wheelchair looked like the picture of health for an elderly gentleman. He had peppered grey hair and dark eyes and sat there with an air of confidence and calmness; there was something vaguely familiar about this man but the Captain couldn't place what.
"I'm dying, just not today. To what do I owe the pleasure Mr. . .?"
"Crane; Captain Lee Crane." Lee was watching to see if the name held any meaning for Kozlov; if it did, the man certainly didn't let it show.
"Ah; well Captain, what brings you here?"
Suspicious Lee asked "my name doesn't ring some kind of bell for you?"
"Your son seems to have a very personal interest in me."
"Captain, I'm old and have no desire, not to mention lack of time, to play games. I've given your government all the information I ever had and wish to live out my remaining days in peace. I may not agree with my children following in their mother's footsteps, but I'm not going to start selling them out to appease your government." Crane's confusion was written all over his face. Kozlov realised why "you're not here in regards to my seeking asylum are you?"
"No. I have reason to believe one or both of your sons are targeting me and my people for reasons I have yet to determine. The man responsible was conducting research at your family's manor. ONI confirmed that you, your wife and two sons held residence there. Would anyone else be using the property?"
"No. My wife owned the place. It was part of her deal with some of the future pillars of the People's Republic. When she died my children took possession."
Vadim smiled. Here was another young officer who thought he knew his life story. "My wife was the spy Captain, Elizabeth Logan, secret agent extraordinaire; I was merely along for the ride. I suppose that's what made her so good; she had everyone convinced it was me. I learned a thing or two from her, and when I saw an opportunity I sought refuge with your government in exchange for everything I had learned . . . and my wife."
"You turned over your own wife?"
"We had a lover's spat. She thought I should die for her and I didn't think I should have to do it for her general amusement."
If circumstances were different Lee thought he might have actually liked the guy. The two were so caught up in conversation that Crane didn't notice the dark shadow peering in through the small window in the room door.
The doctor looked in and saw the Captain conversing with his patient and immediately went to his office to place a phone call. "It's me," said the doctor when someone answered the phone "Crane's here."
"I thought you took care of that?" asked the voice on the other end of the line.
"I did; I said he couldn't come till the end of the week, that way we could have Vadim drugged out of his mind and be unable to tell him anything."
"Then why is he there now?"
"The receptionist told me his nephew had come to visit; he didn't tell her he was with the navy. What do you want me to do now?"
"If he tries to leave, keep him there. I'll send someone to clean up your mess."
The doctor was left with a dial tone. The people that wanted Vadim kept quiet were not the type of people the doctor wanted to anger. He left his office and took up camp just outside of room 9B. He hoped that backup would arrive soon and he wouldn't have to try and figure out a way to keep the Captain there himself.