Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 18
Don’t own Chuck
Chuck sat on the hypersonic looking out the window as Sam slept next to Sarah. She curled up with her arms wrapped around her like a monkey. Sam made little grunts and sounds of protest as Sarah tried to extract herself so she could go talk with Chuck. If she didn’t feel she had to she wouldn’t have moved Sam but she knew that look on Chuck’s face. Finally she was able to break free and had Emma take her spot just in case Sam woke up.
“Charles Irving Bartowski snap out of it,” said Sarah as she sat down next to him. “Did I sound like your mother just then?”
“Kind of but why would you want to sound like her?” said Chuck as Sarah took his hands in hers. “I can’t help but wonder if I sent Laszlo over the edge.”
“Chuck, he was already over the edge before you met him. Laszlo is a sociopath with an exaggerated IQ which makes him extremely dangerous. Chuck you can’t blame yourself for every nutjob we’ve come across. He’s tried to kill us once and if he gets the chance he’ll try again. That’s something you should keep in mind. ”
“I know he will and I also know what I have to do but it doesn’t mean I have to like it,” said Chuck. Sarah caressed his face then kissed him.
“I’m glad you don’t. That means the man I fell in love with is still in there,” said Sarah as she rubbed his chest. “Sweetie just promise me when the time comes I want you to be safe.”
“You know I can’t promise that... but I’ll try. Sarah,” said Chuck as he looked in her eyes and felt his heart melt. “My God you’re so beautiful.”
“Even when I’m big as a barn or I look like the Goodyear blimp?” she said as she laughed but he reached over and kissed her.
“Oh how much I love you. Please remember that so don’t hate me,” he said as caressed her face. Chuck was holding something back she knew it.
“Why should I? Chuck, what did you do? If it’s about threatening to feed the perp in the cabin to the coyotes... well you didn’t.”
“It’s not what I did but what I’m going to do,” said Chuck but Sarah cut him off she knew what he was going to say.
“No Chuck absolutely not, there’s no way am I going to stay in the plane while you go off after Laszlo. It’s not happening so you can get that out of your head. You don’t have any backup in case you haven’t looked around.”
“Will you listen to me I’m sorry but the decision has already been made out of necessity. The Hypersonic can’t land in La Palma, the landing strip is too short, and so I’m going to have to make a HALO jump. Not bad for someone who used to be afraid of heights?”
“Don’t change the topic I don’t like this. Are you sure there’s no place we can land or are you just telling me this? There’s nothing nearby then we could fly back out on a smaller aircraft?”
“No and even if there were we’d be wasting time and time is something we don’t have a lot of. This is the only way. I’m sorry I don’t like the fact that I had to bring you on this plane in your condition but flying on this or facing a tidal wave... well this is the lesser of the two evils.”
“I still don’t like it Chuck this sounds like a suicide mission. You haven’t told me what you’re going to do for backup? John isn’t here but the General doesn’t know that so she’s thinking John’s with you.”
“I made contact with an Agent that was operating in the area and so I made arrangements to rendezvous in Puerto de Santa Cruz de la Palma.”
“How do you know you can trust this person Chuck? You’re too nice and people take advantage of that. You know Laszlo has moles everywhere. How do you know this agent isn’t one?”
“I just do. Listen I can trust this person. Take my word for it and of that I’m absolutely certain. If you trust me you can trust her.”
“It’s not that simple. Have you done a full background check? Did you flash on her and even then people can have dirty rotten secrets that no one knows about not even the intersect.”
“I don’t want to flash on her,” said Chuck as he shook his head. “No that would be too embarrassing and I don’t know how I’d undo that.”
“Chuck? Why not? This is the person you’re trusting your life with. The person I’m trusting to watch over you. No Chuck, if you don’t want to do a background check I will and why does it have to be a she? If it were Carina I wouldn’t have that much of a problem with it...”
“But you would and that’s why I didn’t call her. Besides Carina is a nice person but she can be a little cheeky at times. No it’s...
“Zondra is a nice person and a competent agent. I can understand your choosing her even if she can be a little....”
“Yeah she can be a little all right but no I’m not bringing her along. I’m taking the only person I trust besides you and Casey...”
“You’re meeting your mother, aren’t you? Why didn’t you tell me that right off the bat? Okay I can see you wanting to take Mary and if there’s one person that won’t stab you in the back that would be your mother,” said Sarah as she looked over at Emma.
“But she might shoot me in the front,” said Chuck trying to make a joke but Sarah wasn’t laughing. “Listen we’ll meet up after this is done then go home and stay inside for a week. We can order takeout and never come out.”
“And what do you propose to do with our daughter? I’m done with sending her all over the planet to stay with people and I think she is too.”
“We need a babysitter to take her to the park and play while we stay home and play,” said Chuck as he reached over and took her hands.
“You realize this is all contingent on you coming home safe and sound from this mission,” said Sarah. They were talking when the co-pilot came back.
“I’m sorry to interrupt Agent Carmichael but we’re almost over the target site. You can go aft. That will give you access to the wheel wells. The pilot with open up the landing gear doors then you can make your jump. There’s a chute and oxygen along with a polypropylene knit jump suit for you in the back and good luck.”
“Come on I’ll help you change but I expect to be kept in the loop,” said Sarah as she went back with him. “As soon as those feet hit the ground I expect a message saying the eagle has landed or something like that. You got that buster or I’ll come looking for you? This radio silence is for the birds.”
“You need to coordinate with Alex and Morgan. They have to find that delivery system,” said Chuck. “The part that’s not clear in all of Laszlo’s calculations is how he intends to move that much mass with one warhead. If we find the delivery system and subvert it then we have a chance.”
“I’ll make sure they know. Chuck, come home to me,” she said as she kissed him. “Or I’ll kick your butt. I love you.”
“I love you too,” said Chuck as he climbed down in the wheel well. He looked back at her one last time before he closed the pressurized hatch. “I’m in position,” radioed Chuck.
The sun was already up when a lone parachutist came flowing down on the outskirts of the city of Santa Cruz. Once down Chuck undid his harness stepped out of his chute and changed his clothes as by standers just stood there watching in amazement.
“What’s going on,” Chuck heard one person ask to another in Spanish but the woman just shrugged her shoulders.
“Publicity for a new perfume pour homme,” said Chuck as he picked a bloom off a Red China Hibiscus and put it in the woman’s hair then he went looking for a taxi. While he was looking for a taxi he texted Sarah and sent her a message that read: The Golden Crane is standing on one leg.
Laszlo was driven from the airport to the marina where he boarded his yacht. He had things to take care of with his new assistant so he had Ginger and Stanley taken to one of the staterooms. They were locked inside still handcuffed. Stanley waited until he was sure they were alone then he got the hairpin out.
“Stanley, we can’t stay here we need to get word out. Laszlo has to be stopped. Do you think it’s true what he said about Chuck and Sarah?”
“I think that’s what he’d like us to believe and or it’s what Chuck wants him to believe,” said Stanley as he straightened out the hairpin then force it into the teeth of the handcuffs using it as a shim and presto he was out.
“How’d you do that,” asked Ginger as Stanley came over and undid hers. “Where did you learn how to pick handcuffs?”
“It’s not picking but I read about this in one of Chuck’s after action reports about a mission on an Amtrak train traveling from Chicago to Washington. But that’s not important now we have to figure a way out of here and off this boat.”
Their stateroom had a balcony but the problem with going out on the balcony was that it risked exposing them to anyone in the stateroom next to theirs and they could hear muffled voices coming from that direction.
“Listen Stanley,” said Ginger, “I know you don’t want to hear this but we both are probably not going to be able to make it out of here. Let me go out and distract them then you make a break for it. One of us needs to let someone know what’s going on.”
“We’re not there yet I’ve got an idea,” said Stanley. He took a lamp ripped the chord off then bared the ends of the wires. Keeping the ends separated he plugged it in. “Okay you need to be ready for anything.”
Outside the door were two guards Laszlo left to guard them. They both were bored and wondering when they were going to be relieved then they heard a noise from the inside along with the muffled sound like someone running.
“Crap they’re loose inside and are getting away,” the one yelled as the other dug out the keys for the lock. He unlocked the door and grabbed the doorknob when he got knocked backwards. The other man was looking at his partner laid out on the deck so he didn’t see Stanley come out. The last thing the man saw was a set of handcuffs come at him used like knuckledusters.
“Stanley, when did you go through field training,” asked Ginger as Stanley recovered their weapons then dragged them inside and closed the door.
“I haven’t I just do a lot of reading. Put your cuff on this guy while I take care of the other one,” said Stanley they handcuffed their guards inside then locked the door with the key breaking it off afterwards in the lock.
“Where to now Stanley,” asked Ginger impressed by Stanley’s transformation into a short nerdy James Bond.
“This way,” said Stanley as he checked out the emergency exit map posted conveniently on the bulkhead. “Oh crap,” said Stanley when they got topside. They discovered that the yacht had set sail since their arrival and they were a couple of miles away from shore.
“I’m not going back,” said Ginger. “I’ve had about as much as I can take of Laszlo and we need to get word out about his evil plan.”
“Then I think we’re going to have to take a bath.” Stanley grabbed a life preserver then they climbed over the railing and dove in. Either the lookouts were asleep or busy doing something else because they got off the boat without being seen. But now they had to fight the currents and hope they’d help take them back to shore before it was too late or Laszlo came looking for them.
Chuck walked down by the pier and there sitting in a little café outside was his mother. So much for trying to look inconspicuous she had a light tan trench on with dark sunglasses. Chuck shook his head as he came over and sat down. As he sat down the waitress came over to take his order.
“I’ll have whatever she’s having and bring her another,” said Chuck. He pulled up a chair next to his mother.
“Yes Sir two Campari sodas coming right up with extra ice,” said the waitress as she wrote down the order then disappeared.
“You know one thing I’ve never gotten used to is why do Europeans ration out ice. It’s almost like they count each cube.”
“Hi Mom, you know Mom your clothes don’t exactly say incognito. Actually you’re risking becoming a cliché,” said Chuck as the waitress brought back their drinks. Chuck dropped a twenty euro bill on her tray and told her to keep the change. He held up the glass to look at it his mother was right there weren’t that many ice cubes.
“Says the man who skydives into town during broad daylight,” said Mary as she looked at him over her sunglasses. “You're looking well Charles. I hope you’ve brought me more photos of my granddaughter. I heard Sarah had a scare in Australia. You were right to come on this mission alone.”
“Thanks for coming Mom. I’ll be honest with you I don’t see any happy endings in this one,” said Chuck as he took a sip.
“I gave up on those when I left you and Ellie. You called and I came. Diane brought me up to speed but we have a problem Laszlo set sail a few hours ago. So why don't we call in an air strike and be done with it?”
“I’d like to but apart from the fact that he may have our drone override controls we need to find out how he plans to trigger these slides. One warhead isn’t enough so he has to have a way to amplify their effect.”
"Well your answers are at sea right now probably getting into position to detonate the payload and send half this island into the ocean,” said Mary as she stirred her drink with her straw then finished it.
"Not yet he’s waiting for high tide when he’ll get the maximum effect. What place around here has the most camera coverage?”
"I guess that would be the new Casino,” said Mary as she looked at him and realized what he had planned. “Oh Charles, I’m not going to like this and I know Sarah won’t go for it either.”
“We need to get Laszlo to come back into port and I can only think of one way for sure. But first I’m going to need a dinner jacket and you’re going to need an evening dress.”
“I can’t talk you out of this, can I?” said Mary. “You know when I was gone I imagined what it would be like to one day come home. I can tell you in all of my wildest imagination this is not one of the scenarios I had.”
“Why Mom, don’t you want to bet some money in a casino with your son and have some fun before the world comes to an end.”
Laszlo was beside himself on the flying bridge as he was yelling at his men. He couldn’t figure out how two people managed to get away onboard a yacht at sea and no one saw them. The more his men tried to come up with excuses the angrier he became until he couldn’t take it anymore.
“Okay, okay so you lost them I guess this could happen to anyone,” said Laszlo as he pulled the two guards outside of Ginger and Stanley’s door aside. “We all have off days I guess so I shouldn’t hold this against you two. You’ve been good and faithful servants to me so that says something, right?”
“Thank you Dr. Zorin for understanding that little guy is sneakier than he looks. I don’t know how he got the upper hand on me.”
“That’s easy he’s smarter. It’s all right to admit someone is smarter than you although I’ve never had to do it but it’s okay not everyone can be like me and I guess in a certain way Stanley is almost my equal but you two are like amoebas to me,” said Laszlo.
“Right Sir,” said the one man as he looked at his partner. The man elbowed him then nodded for him to agree.
“That’s right Mr. Zorin,” said the man looking around to where Zorin had led them. They were standing on the edge of the deck looking at the water as the boat cut through the waves.
“I know I’m right,” said Zorin as they continued to look out at the island. He snapped his fingers behind his back and a dark skinned woman stepped up with a Walther PPK she shot both men in the back of the head. They fell overboard while Laszlo got a little blood spray on his face.
“Oh a little close there May Day,” said Laszlo as he laughed. He waved for one of the crew to bring him a wet towel. “I expect this mess on the deck to be cleaned up and no more screw ups or May Day here will handle them for me.”
“My name is actually Maria,” said the woman as she put her arms around Laszlo. “But I’ll be whatever you want me to.”
“Now that was something Oddjob was missing.”
Off the coast of the Big Island the O’Kane and another Destroyer were prowling back and forth in a search patter. From Chuck’s indications they were looking off the coast of the Hilina slump but so far nothing. Morgan, Alex and Casey were all on the bridge with the CO but so far nothing.
“We’re playing a waiting game right now. They’re sitting on the bottom waiting for us to get tired and give up.”
“But we’re not,” said Casey. “Something isn’t right here. Just call it a sixth sense but something just seems off.” As John was talking his phone rang it was Sarah. He answered it putting it on speaker.
“What do you have for us? We’re searching but it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Casey. “That sub could be anywhere.”
“John, Chuck covered for you with the General. She thinks you’re here so if she calls you need to make yourself disappear. Chuck called Mary in for back up seeing that he had to parachute out over La Palma. I got a text message saying he got down okay.”
“That’s all nice and everything but what did you call about,” said John.
“Thanks John we miss you too. Chuck said to keep an eye out for some sort of delivery system. The nuke isn’t enough to cause the Hilina slump to slide into the ocean so Laszlo has to have some sort of system in place to amplify the effect.”
“Did he have any idea what we should be looking for? Or what this amplifier would look like? We’re not having much luck finding this sub.”
“No he had no idea just that there had to be a system. Keep an eye out, you know what’s at risk here so we all need to do better than our best,” said Sarah. But as he was finishing Casey saw Morgan walking toward the Commanding Officer
“Captain, what’s that over there on the horizon?” said Morgan. “It looks like an oil platform but there’s no oil out here to drill for.”
“I need to go and grab the Troll,” said Casey as he hung up and went over to Morgan. “I’m sorry if he’s bothering you. Morgan don’t...”
“No Colonel, he wasn’t bothering me and you know you’re right... I don’t know why we’ve got an oil rig in these waters.”
“Sir it’s signaled in the charts as some sort of geothermal terminal. I guess they pipe steam ashore to make electricity.”
“Alex, remember what the jerks said on the Xenia. Where’s the Station Chief at? He was there too. They said they were invited onboard to hear about Laszlo’s plans to make us like Iceland.”
“Making us like Iceland how by turning us all into Vikings and eating stinky fish,” said Casey as he shook his head.
“No Morgan’s right. Would it hurt to send a boarding party over there and check it out? We still can keep looking for the submarine at the same time.”
“Your idea Grimes so you’re coming with me. Daughter you stay here. We’ll take our men over Skipper if you don’t mind giving us a ride.”
[On the Rig]
“We’ve got a problem,” said one of the men in the control room. “The Navy ship is sending over a boarding party.”
“Let me get a message down to Paul in the sub. I’ll find out from him what he want us to do. Stand by the missile batteries.”
“Starfish this is Medusa we have a situation...”