Silent Service – 77

Written by: Dana Coen; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

The submarine Watertown surfaced in middle of norwegian sailboats and the JAG, Chegwidden (C) sent his officers Harm (H) and Mac (M) to investigate while they were having significant disagreements. Commander Flagler gave M XO Eustis’ Palm Pilot to use while she was aboard. Mess Chief Basilio said that the boat was “not right,” having more injuries and illnesses than he’d seen in 7 years. An entire watch got E Coli dysentery, ruptured eardrum and scabies requiring sterilization of the entire mess. He said the corpsman was the “hardest working squid on the boat.”

Chief Hodge, the corpsman, said that the crew had four back-to-back patrols without liberty and had “shared stress.” He pressed on Ms foot to “cure” her sore neck. The boat was ordered to N Korea to find an underwater missle facility so they were stuck for 14 days and had to “hot bunk” in the enlisted barracks. The enlisted thought it was funny to harass M with the trash compactor until she faced them down and promised to “haul them out the forward trunk and feed their #!@ to the crabs.” Harm tried to settle her about the “pranks” but finally suggested they “just try to get along.” He said he would be more sensitive and she less. She said if he was more sensitive she wouldn’t need to be less.

A seaman was killed by a ruptureing high pressure valve which lacerated his Vena Cava. It was probably due to a tiny nick in the packing of the valve during maintenance. Flager didn’t accept the XOs suggestion for burial at sea and ordered the food cooked and the ice cream eaten so they could use the cooler for a morgue. At dinner, M brought up the possibility of a “cursed boat” and was shot down by Flagler. Hodge announced that seaman Bluestein had “hepatitis A” so everyone had to be tested. Harm deduced that someone was trying to hurt people because the crew hadn’t been ashore in four patrols to have contracted hepatitis A. He and M thought it might be the XO due to his lack of empathy for the crew and being the only one on the watch that didn’t get sick. He told H that he was the only one who was allergic to wheat and didn’t eat the pancakes. Flagler was angry that they woke him up with their accusations and no back-up.

Mac told H that if they pursued it they would “be the most unpopular guests at the party.” Harm said “as long as we dance together” and M retorted “and you lead.” They got into another row about their anger not being just “a bump in the road.” Harm said you “honestly resent me” and M said “and you have no faith in me.” She suggested they talk about it and H said “this isn’t a marriage” so she walked away. Harm asked Bud (B), who was back at JAG headquarters, to check the records of all the crew and bud asked what it was like out on a submarine. Harm told him he could find out by “throwing away all his fresh fruit and vegetables, putting lube oil in his humidifier, sleeping on a shelf in the closet and going to work before sunrise.” Chegwidden came on the line and asked him if he was operating with the “full consent of the skipper or had done anything irregular, unlawful or ill advised.”

Bud eventually called back and told H that the crew were outstanding but also mentioned that Hodge had received commendations two times before for outbreaks of Legionnaire’s disease and serious bacterial infection – three epidemics in a row! Harm went to the infirmary and found an empty bottle of ipecac (emetic), so confronted Hodge with his Munchausen By Proxy syndrome. He had already called M to come down to the infirmary; but, before she came, Hodge struck him in the throat to cause spasm so he couldn’t speak, then injected him with sedation. When M came H couldn’t speak. She told Hodge to accompany her to the bridge to inform the CO. Harm got to the computer and emailed Ms PDA that the culprit was Hodge. Hodge put ammonia in Ms eyes but she kicked him to the ground and ran into the infirmary. She and H hid in the bulkheads but Hodge came in and tried to inject H again. He dropped the syringe when H hit him but had the advantage and slammed H around. Mac turned on steam jets; but, then H was downed and was choked into unconsciousness by Hodge. Harm stuck him in the back with the syringe to subdue him and rescue M.

Harm was still hoarse when they left the ship. Flager was down on himself for hand picking Hodge and M gave him encourgagement. He told her that “healthy self-criticism was useful but we should never underestimate our support.” He said “you two are quite a team. Do you always work this well together?” M told him “when he lets me do the talking.”

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