Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 11
Don’t own Chuck
The night was dark with heavy cloud cover. In this distance was the sound of thunder growing nearer and nearer. Before long a light rain began to fall making a drumming sound on the cabin roof. Casey made a quick round outside before the weather got too bad. He heard the growls of a large pack of coyotes fighting over food close by. John wondered what kind of game would be around that could feed that many hungry mouths. He turned around and looked out in the dark one more time then went back inside.
“Emma take Sam back into the bedroom and put her to bed,” said John. “Lock the door from the inside and don’t come out unless we call for you.”
“But it’s early to go to bed,” protested Sam. “I don’t want to go to bed yet I want to wait for Chuck to come home.”
“Looks like he’s going to be late,” said Casey. “You go on with Emma like a nice little girl. Emma will read you a nice bedtime story. Now go or I won’t let you come with me tomorrow when we have to check the motion detectors.”
“If you I go to bed you promise I can go with you to walk the perimeter? You cross your heart and hope to die. Pinky swear,” said Sam as she help out her little finger.
“Yes all of that just go now. Sarah, take her in for a moment while I talk with Emma for a bit,” said John. He waited until Sarah took Sam inside then her handed Emma a Colt Mustang his backup to his backup piece. “Shoot anything that comes through that door that isn’t us.”
“John what is it? What’s going on,” asked Emma. Casey had switched in front of her eyes to a G-man assassin and she was worried that Sam was in harm’s way now.”
[Meanwhile in the bedroom]
“What’s wrong with Uncle Casey,” asked Sam. “He’s acting funny. Is everything okay? Did Chuck have another accident?”
“Casey is just being Casey and as far as I know your father should be here tonight. However, it’s raining now so that might slow him down. You saw the road coming in here so he may not make it until tomorrow. However, if that’s the case he’ll be calling soon. Now listen to Nana Emma’s bedtime story carefully because there could be a test as the end.”
“A test?” said Sam as she looked up at Sarah smiling. “Oh you’re making fun of me. Do I have to go away again with Nana Emma? I want to stay with you or don’t you want me anymore?”
“Don’t ever think that,” said Sarah as tears welled up in her eyes. “You, your father and Walnut are the best things that ever happened to me. I love you and if I send you... if we send you to stay with Nana Emma there’s a reason. But never think I don’t want you. You’re my precious little baby even when you’re a hundred and four.”
“Then that would make you...” Sam started to say but Sarah tickled her into laughing. “Stop, stop okay, okay I love you mommy.”
“I love you too Sweet Pea,” said Sarah as Emma came into the room. “I’ve got to go now. Listen to Emma and I expect a twelve page essay double spaced handwritten afterwards.” Sarah saw the puzzled look on Sam’s face then she blew her a kiss and she blew one back.
“Emma, lock the door,” said Sarah. She noticed the bulge in the pocket of Emma’s house coat and knew what it was. “Do you remember how to use that?”
“Point the business end at the person I want dead then pull the trigger. There’s not a lot too it don’t you think. But Sam shouldn’t be here. Now do you understand a little why I made the decisions I made?”
“This is not the time, nor place to resurrect the past. I need to go with Casey lock the door and remember what John told you,” said Sarah as she walked out pulling the door close behind her.
“You know if you want you could stay in there with Emma and Sam,” said Casey as he turned out the lights then handed Sarah a pair of night goggles. “I can handle everything out here.”
“I’m sure you think that but you’re my partner and I’m here so end of discussion. What’s the situation? How many hostiles are there?”
“I don’t know it’s just a feeling I have in my gut but so far my gut has never failed me. When I came in I heard coyotes fighting over food and there’s no really big game here to feed that many so the question is what’s that big.”
“You don’t think... No not Chuck,” said Sarah as she headed for the door but Casey stopped her. “Out of my way John I’ve got to know.”
“No, just hold on a minute if there’s a wet team out there you’re going out will just get you kill then what they come in here. We’ve got Sam and Emma to worry about and whatever happen outside we can’t do anything about now. The only thing we can do right now is wait for morning when we can see better.”
“This radio silence is for the birds. I’m going kill him when I get a hold of him. He could’ve at least sent me a text message saying I’m here or even don’t worry.”
“Yeah like that would work.”
[Outside coming over the ridge]
The four man wet team started down the steep ridge working their way through the thick underbrush. The foliage was denser than they had anticipated that along with the steep inclination made the going hard and difficult. Then adding to the difficulty was the drizzling rain which made the grass and leaves slippery.
“Watch out Three,” said Two behind him as he lost his footing and slid into him. They both went down then got up covered in wet leaves.
“Are you two trying to put on camouflage or something,” said One as he called them all together. “We need to fan out farther or we’ll risk bumping into each other again.”
“Is there a problem,” radioed Zero from the van. “Be careful to the descent from the ridge in this rain it could be slippery.”
“Now he tells us,” said One to his men. “I think we just found that out. Where’s your man at? So far he hasn’t made contact with us.”
“He’s supposed to meet up with you when you get through the brush near the cabin. I talked with him just a little while ago.”
“I wouldn’t be waiting for him if I were you,” said a voice over their comms. “He went dancing with the coyotes. I’m feeling generous this evening, if all of you turn around now and leave I’ll let you live, but if you decide to continue on... well the coyotes are still hungry.”
“Who is this,” radioed One. “How many are you? Oh I get it... cute but it’s not going to work. I think there’s just the one of you and I know who you are Colonel Casey. We missed one of your motion detectors I see.”
“You might want to guess again,” said the voice. “Like I said you continue on and you’ll have me to face. I can promise you I won’t be forgiving.”
“Zero make sure the signal jammer is working,” radioed One. “We don’t want the Colonel calling for help after all this is a private party.”
“You sure it’s just this one guy,” said Two. “For all we know we could be walking in on an army of men down there.”
“If they had an Army they wouldn’t be waiting for us. No, there’s only one man down there and he’s got you guys scared like a bunch of old women,” said One “Zero,” radioed One, “what’s the jammer’s status.”
“It seems to be working fine. All the lights are green and readings are within the norm. I even tried to call myself and got not signal found so it’s up and running.”
“There you go so can we get on with this,” said One as a lightning bolt illuminated them. Standing by One was a mysterious man with a turban on. The men grabbed their weapons and pointed at him but One thought they were pointing at him so he pointed his back at them.
“No behind you,” yelled Two. “Look out behind you. There was a... well a man with a turban on. I swear he was right here. We all saw him right?” They all nodded their heads.
“Are you all saying you saw a ghost because I don’t see any man? Listen we have to finish this contract or you know what will happen to us so get a grip on yourselves and let’s move out. If there is this man then we’ll kill him too. Screw this ridge let’s take a trail Casey knows we’re coming so it doesn’t matter anymore.”
On board the yacht they were back on course steaming towards Hawaii. Morgan and Alex went down to the crew’s quarters where they were able to grab a couple uniforms then they tried to blend in. The seas started becoming chopped and rough so the yacht began to pitch and yaw none of which helped Morgan’s stomach.
“Morgan fight it, just remember it’s all in your head,” said Alex. They found a hiding spot in a small A/C room two decks below the main deck.
“It might be in my head but I’m trying to keep what’s in my stomach down. At least it’s cool in here if it were hot. Tell me again the plan I need a distraction.”
“We stay here until dark then we go up and look around maybe we can figure out what Laszlo’s up to. I want to try and call Dad... crap I’ve got no bars how about you?”
“Nope I’ve got no signal we must be too far out. As soon as we get close to Hawaii we should get a signal or we can go up and try to get word out from the ship’s radio.”
“That’d be too dangerous. We can’t afford to get caught at least not until after they bring Ginger and Stanley on board but you’re looking better.”
“I feel better I must be getting my sea legs,” said Morgan. The yacht made a sudden roll and he found himself being hurled on top of Alex. A man opened the door right after to find the two of them tangled up inside.
“Oh... excuse me sorry but I need to get a reading if you don’t mind. You guys must be new and already you’re hooking up?”
“Yeah but we worked together before on other yachts. The... the Mayflower, yeah the Mayflower and before that there was a Spanish boat. I don’t know if you heard of it but it was called the Santa Maria. It hit a reef and sank so that’s how we lost our jobs there.”
“Well you get caught here and you’ll lose more than just your work. I guess you weren’t topside a little while ago. I can understand the need for privacy but you need to be careful the First Mate is... well not very understanding nor pleasant and our owner is homicidal.”
“If life is so bad here why don’t you just quite or jump ship when they pull into port? They can’t keep you here against your will?”
“Where did they hire you or don’t you have anyone that you care for? Everyone knows that if we jump ship our families pay the price along with us. You two should get up to the galley that’s where all the deckhands are congregating until we get out of this squall. You guys do whatever you want as far as I’m concerned we never met,” said the man as he left disappearing down a passageway with his clipboard.
“Really Morgan, the Mayflower and the Santa Maria,” said Alex after the man was gone. “Why didn’t you say the Niña or the Pinta?
“I didn’t hear you coming up with anything and I was thinking on my feet. Those were the first ship names that came to mind. It worked so what’s the problem?”
“Nothing... nothing at all, I’m just wondering if we haven’t bitten off more than we can chew by coming on board here. We can’t call anyone and no one knows we’re here. Morgan, are we over our heads?”
“Hey have we just changed bodies. Morgan Grimes go back into yours and leave Alex’s. No fair peeking,” said Morgan as he held her.
“Thanks Morgan,” she said as she laughed and smiled at him.
“Remember you’re John Casey’s daughter, a man who knows no fear. Well maybe one telling your mother how he really feels. Come on we’ve got a few hours to kill,” said Morgan as they went back in the A/C room.
“What do we do if the guy comes back?”
“Well we could hang a do not disturb sign on the doorknob.”
Back in Langley the General sent the Major down to the Situation Room while she finished with the Watch Officer. She sent him down to check on Roan and to make sure he didn’t get into too much trouble. He walked to find Roan off to the side talking with some of the female agents. He couldn’t hear what they were talking about but he didn’t have to in order to understand what was going on.
“Ahem, Agent Montgomery,” said the Major getting Roan’s attention. “Maybe we can talk together here in front of the monitor and let everyone else get back to work.”
“Yes, yes,” said Roan as he watched the women walk away. Then he let out a deep sigh. “Right Major you wanted to talk. If you’re here than our illustrious Watch Officer is or soon will be on a plane to his new assignment to... well I can’t say Timbuktu anymore.”
“What? Well yes, they’re calling in another senior agent so until then you and I are to run things from down here. Has Agent Carmichael called in?”
“Neither one has as you can see from our satellite a storm has moved into the area making it near impossible to see. We tried an IR scan but the lightning in the clouds has rendered that impossible.”
“Have you tried calling either Major Casey or Agent Carmichael that is Sarah?” asked the Major as he studied the monitor.
“Naturally I have but the storm seems to have taken out the cell tower that serves the area. I keep getting that annoying message about how my phone call couldn’t be completed as dialed. I don’t know who thought up these messages but they ought to be taken out and shot.”
“The General is also concerned about Agents McHugh and Grimes. She sent them to Catalina to see what leads they could find that lead to Laszlo but they aren’t answering their phones.”
“They should be relatively easy to find. Give the numbers to Lynda,” said Roan. The Major looked at him. “I mean my tech officer and she’ll put them in for a search. That’s funny look at it. We’ve got them here leaving Long Beach going out to Catalina. They go from Avalon to the airport then they disappear.”
“What activities were going on at the airport at the time? Lynda,” said the Major as he looked over at Roan smiling. “Grab some of the CCTV feeds from the airport and see what activity was going on.”
“Yes Sir coming through now,” said the Woman. “Here you go Sir you can see the only thing going on was a helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76, was taking off. Their flight plan they filed was to run back to a yacht, the Xenia.”
“Lynda, check the cell towers on San Nicolas and San Clemente Islands to see if they registered our agents phones.”
“Yes, I’ve got a hit on both islands Agent Montgomery. San Clemente being the first then San Nicolas before it disappears.”
“There’s your confirmation Major they were on that helicopter. Okay we need to know everything about that boat. I guess the big question is did they go as guests or were they taken as prisoners either way I think we can assume Mahnovski is involved.”
“Sir, we’ve got the yacht in the pacific with a course that’s taking her to Hawaii,” said another one of Roan’s new friends.
“Thanks Eileen,” said Roan as he smiled at her. The Major just rolled his eyes and shook his head. “If you want to know the truth I don’t know how I do it either.”
“Tech officer put a satellite over that yacht and let’s have a closer look. If we can see Mahnovski onboard we can take it out with a drone as an enemy combatant.”
“Wait a minute now you’re sounding like Diane. We’ve got our people onboard or have you forgotten? We can get a warrant then grab him in Hawaii.”
“And risk him slipping away. I don’t like it either but we need to make sure Laszlo doesn’t get away and arrest him for what? What are we going to charge him with blowing up a facility that didn’t exist? No he has to be terminated with extreme prejudice and the public must never know he ever existed.”
“We both know why because he’s our creation. But that doesn’t make it right and if Colonel Shoot’em Up finds out... well I wouldn’t want to be you.”
“Sirs the weather is starting clear enough that we can see over the target sight in the National Forest. I’m bringing up the IR scan now.”
“There looks like four men in a cluster here and one man over here running behind outside the cabin that has to be...”
“Yes Major that’s Chuck, he’s there’s and we’re here which means there’s not a lot we can do for him except watch and wait.”
“Wait? What do you mean wait I can send in a backup team from L.A.”
“And unless we can contact Chuck to let him know they’re ours he’ll assume they’re the enemy. He’ll engage them like he’s about to do now.”
“We have to do something. We just can’t sit around on our hands,” said the Major as Roan looked at him like he was crazy.
“First you wanted to fire a missile at a boat with two of our own on board. Now you want to send in Agents that will risk becoming collateral or having to terminate the very person they’re being sent in to save. I hope you see some humor in this because I don’t.”
“If you’ve got a better plan let’s hear it I’m all ears.”
“Listen and learn. Lynda be a love and find me who or what is jamming our signals. Eileen, have our people get down to Camp Pendleton where they’ll pick up a Blackhawk. Inform the flight crew the coordinates of the interference that Lynda will give you and tell them to use a few Hydra 70s to light it up. Inform all parties that no one is to touch down until we’ve confirmed we’ve made contact with our Agents on the ground.”
[Outside the Cabin]
The team proceeded onward walking down the trail now which made the going much easier. One looked around and there was no sign of their turban stranger. He knew he was right it had all been a farce to trick them into turning back but with him the trick wasn’t going to work. He wasn’t born yesterday. Half way down he was sure he was right.
“What did I tell you it was all a trick to get us to give up and to think you guys almost fell for it. What a bunch of...”
“The idiot is you,” said a voice in their ear pieces. “Have you done a head count lately? I think you might be one man down. Turn around before it’s too late this is your last warning.”
“What? Geez where’s Four he was right behind me,” said Two. “I swear he was right here just a few minutes ago. We were talking together I mean...
“Shush,” said One then he had every one get near. “Keep your voices down. This guy knew what I was about to say so he’s nearby. We walk out about fifteen feet then each light a flare and toss it in front is us that will light up a wide area. If I’m right we’ll see him.”
“What do you want us to do?”
“I don’t know invite him out for tea and biscuits or ask what his favorite basketball team is and how their doing this season. Shoot him idiots what else. Okay but we just have to time it so we do this in unison. Now let’s go.”
They walked out slowly like they weren’t up to anything then at the fifteen foot mark then turned. “Now,” yelled One and they all lit a flare tossing it in front of them.
“There he is,” yelled Two as he opened fire. One and Three pumped rounds in him too but the man didn’t drop he stayed upright just slumping over.
“What the heck,” said One as he walked over and checked the man out. Pulled off the turban he found in horror they’d shot their own man.
“What? You didn’t think I was dumb enough to fall for something as lame as that trick. Have you done a head count lately? I think you might be missing another man.”
“Geez, Two where’s Three? I thought he was with you?” said One as he got mad so he yanked out his radio. “Listen up jerk why don’t you come out and let’s face each other like a man. You’re so tough come out and face us.”
“Face you like a man begs the question. I don’t see any men to face. Anyone who tries to hurt a pregnant woman or a child isn’t a man in my book but you keep on coming down this trail and you’ll see me soon enough.”
“I’m out of here,” said Two. “This is over. It’s just me and you against someone who knows these woods much better than we do. I don’t want to say he’s better trained but he’s handing us our butts.”
“That’s it that’s how we’ll take him. He’s been trying all along to keep us away from the cabin well we still have the RPG I’ve got strapped to my back. We go down a little bit further and level the cabin. I’m willing to bet the Colonel will come out to protect it then we kill him.”
“Then we finish our job and afterwards pancakes.”
“Sounds like a plan.”