Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 23
Don’t own Chuck
Sarah was still minding the shop when Carina came back with fish and chips for her and Cole. Carina was laughing when she walked in and had that look that Sarah recognized from her CAT squad days. The one that said she’d done something or gotten into something that if she’d used better judgement she wouldn’t have. However, that was Carina not one for long drawn out complicated plans. She was the kick the hornet’s nest type but she had a unique ability to walk through without getting stung.
“Okay out with it,” said Sarah. “This is worse then when you used to come back after your exploits with bragging rights. Cole, I don’t know how you put up with her. Carina come on you know you’re dying to tell us.”
“Well okay, but only because you insist; however, I’ve got to stipulate one thing beforehand that you can in no shape or form get upset with the parties involved.”
“What? What kind of stipulation is that? How am I supposed to agree to something like that when I don’t know what I’m agreeing not to get mad at or whom?”
“Just say yes,” said Carina as she stole one of Cole’s chips. “You know the Boar’s head makes the best fries in town. So back to our original dilemma just say yes and take my word for it.”
“The last time I took your word for ‘it’ I was being chased down an alleyway in Islamabad by a group of blood thirsty angry men waving swords because you had to tell their captain that he needed to brush his teeth.”
“Oral hygiene is important if you want to prevent cavities and preserve your teeth into old age. Something he just didn’t understand.”
“Yeah and he was picking his up from the street after you knocked them out. I guess that helped him preserve them in his pocket.”
“See now you understand,” said Carina as she laughed. “But you have to admit we never had a dull moment together.”
“That I do. Okay I agree only because you remembered to get me extra pickles. Only you and Chuck remember I like extra pickles,” said Sarah looking at her watch thinking it was about time for Mary to check in.
“Well our meals were basically free thanks to your daughter,” said Carina as she laughed. “Boy the apple certainly didn’t fall far from the tree there.”
“Hold up, come again,” said Sarah. Carina caught her off guard she’d been thinking about Chuck onboard Laszlo’s yacht. “I think I’m going to have a hard time keeping my promise. Please tell me there wasn’t a pea and three shells involved.”
“I need to see her do that one but no this has to do with finding your card in the deck. Before you forget about your promise it wasn’t her fault. There was a hustler ripping people off and she took him to the cleaners. Boy did she ever,” said Carina as she laughed.
“Only you would think a quasi-five year old card shark would be funny. Well her mother doesn’t and that promise is getting harder to keep.”
“Oh lighten up a bit and imagine what it was like. It was funny to watch a hustler get hustled by someone better but it’s hilarious when that person could barely reach the bar for her bar stool.”
“Do you see me laughing it’s because I’m not. I’m going to kill Jack when I get my hands on him this is his doing. He knew I didn’t want this for her but he taught her anyway.”
“I don’t know what you’re all bent out of shape about. Let me think, what did she say to Emma when she talked to her? If you know all the tricks you’ll never be fooled.”
“If you know all the cons you’ll never be a sucker is the way it goes and that was and is the motto of the Burton household along with do unto others before they get a chance to do unto you. You don’t understand because you didn’t grow up with a conman as your father.”
Their conversation was cut short when the monitor blinked and General Beckman appeared. This time she didn’t try to hide the glass of Scotch.
“Agents I’m glad you’re both here,” said Beckman as she came on the monitor. “I’ve just briefed the President. Colonel Casey and his team were unsuccessful in stopping Laszlo from housing the warhead and closing the chamber. In less than fifteen minutes the warhead is scheduled to detonate. It will then take four hours for the wave to cross the Pacific pushing over a mile high wall of water if our experts have done their calculations correctly. At this point and time there is little that anyone can do except pray.”
“What is the evacuation plan? Some people could escape into the mountains,” said Sarah. “But we need to move now if we want to establish safe routes and if...”
“If what? To prevent mass panic or to avoid riots and violence in the street, no nothing will be put out until the event has occurred. Then those who are lucky will be directed to the mountains like you’ve suggested and the others will be taken onboard our ships that will try and weather it out in deep water.”
“And those who can’t go in either direction will be screwed like the unicorns,” said Sarah. “That’s what you mean after all. There still is hope. Chuck is on the trail of Laszlo. I expect Mary to check in soon.”
“Never has it been so true that Chuck has the weight of the world resting on his shoulders. When you talk to him he needs to be reminded of that.”
“With all due respect General, Chuck is well aware of that and he is doing everything he can to avert this disaster.”
“I’m sorry Agent Carmichael I didn’t mean to imply anything less. Chuck always does his best but this time we need more than his best. Colonel Casey, Agents McHugh and Grimes are onboard the USS O’Kane a few nautical miles away from the event site. They were given the option to evacuate but chose to remain with the Captain and crew.”
“But General you could order them to evacuate,” said Sarah. “Please General you could make them go somewhere safe. We need them on the team.”
“As much as I’d like to, and I agree, I salute their resolve but Agent Carmichael, Sarah, evacuate them to where? When this bomb goes off and triggers this Tsunami there will be no place safe to evacuate to. That’s the reason I’m not going to order them to retreat. There’s no place to retreat to. I’m just giving you a heads up in case you wish to call and say your good-byes. Beckman out.”
“Good-byes my butt, I need to contact Chuck right away,” said Sarah. “He’s the only person who can do anything right now. He has to be able to do something... he just has to,” repeated Sarah as she tried to raise Chuck.
Laszlo and May were in the air condition construction site offices when one of their men knock on the door then ran in. Laszlo was looking over the map of the Pacific Rim with areas marked off in red that would soon be flooded. When the man came in he found Laszlo soda in hand laughing looking at the map.
“Well speak up man you came in for a reason,” said May because the man pause looking at the maps that were hanging on the wall.
“Oh yes, sorry, the front gate just radioed in saying a man and woman just breached the outer perimeter on a motor bike. Do you want us to take a detail of men and track them down?”
“If you have to be told what to do then you need to be fired,” said May. “Get the men together and find them. Shoot on sight.”
“No hold up,” said Laszlo. “He was right coming here my dear. You see all the men are down in the tunnels preparing it for the next phase. No just go and reinforce our numbers by the shaft entrance that’s where Mr. Bond will be headed. Come on we need to jump in the chopper as soon as the warhead is seated or we won’t be able to make our plane.”
“This Chuck guy... I’m sorry Bond certainly doesn’t like to stay dead does he? The next time we meet I’m going to have to make sure he stays dead,” said May as they left the building. The next thing May knew Laszlo was lying on the ground with a bloody nose and she had a TT-33 pointed at her.
“You were saying,” said Chuck as he covered both with TT-33s in both hands. “Laszlo it’s over you’re going to deactivate both warheads or...”
“Or what you’re going to kill me?” laughed Laszlo. “Go ahead shoot me I don’t care. Everything is automated I don’t have to lift a finger. The Pacific warhead is in the breech and it’s been sealed. I’m just missing this one then boom everything you know goes away and you can’t do a thing about it.”
“We’ll see about that,” said Chuck as he ran to the shaft dodging bullets and knocking people out of his way. Suddenly guards started dropping in front of him like flies.
“Charles you need to learn to wait for back up,” radioed Mary. “I’m not getting any younger here. What’s the plan?”
“You’re not going to like this,” radioed Chuck as he holster on one of his pistols then leaped catching the cable the warhead was attached to. He hooked his leg around the cable and hung upside down then slid down the cable with pistols drawn.
“I’ve got to take out some of these charges,” radioed Chuck as he slid down firing at the C-4 targeting the detonators. “If I can take out enough the shaft won’t seal tight enough so the pressure and heat won’t be enough to open the sea plugs.”
“But Chuck how are you getting out,” radioed Mary. “Chuck, no there has to be another way come back out of there.”
“Just tell Sarah I love her and ask Sam not to hate me too much,” said Chuck as he reached the bottom of the tunnel where the warhead was.
“You can tell her yourself she’s on the phone now,” said Mary as she answered the phone firing at guards trying to reach the shaft. “Sarah, I’ve got you on speaker because... well we’re a little busy right now. But don’t go away I’m leaving my mic open so you two can communicate. There are things you two need to say.”
Mary was doing a good job of keeping men away from the shaft entrance which got Laszlo angry and nervous.
“Well just don’t stand there do something,” yelled Laszlo as he shoved May over the lip of the shaft. She grabbed the cable and headed down as she growled at him.
“You and I are going to have to have a talk when I get back,” said May Day as she lowered herself down. She saw Chuck below but when Laszlo shoved her she lost her pistol when she grabbed the cable.
“Chuck look out you’ve got company coming down,” radioed Mary. “Sorry Sarah but this really isn’t a good time. “Oh no, you don’t,” said Mary as she saw Laszlo make a break for it running back inside the offices she had him lined up but when she pulled the trigger... nothing she’d run out of ammo.
[At the Bottom Of the Shaft]
“Chuck, I’m looking from above and I don’t see you. I found Mary and I see everyone scrambling but I don’t see you.”
“Sarah, you need to speak up louder I can barely hear you. I’m removing the outer cover of the warhead now,” said Chuck as he loosened the wingnuts taking off the outer shield cover.
“Outer plate of the warhead! Chuck, you’re in the shaft with the bomb, aren’t you? What the heck were you thinking?”
“112 million people, hey I know this bomb,” said Chuck but suddenly Sarah heard the sounds of scuffling and fighting. May slid down landing on top of him.
“You’re not going to screw this up,” yelled May as she pinned him to the ground and whaled away at him. “I’m going to end you right now,” she said as she pulled a boot knife and tried to stab him. Chuck rolled at the last minute so she stabbed dirt then he threw her off.
“Listen May I don’t like to hit women. I wasn’t raised that way,” said Chuck as Sarah yelled in his ear to deck her. “May look around you there is no we here. It’s just you and me Laszlo is top side…” Chuck never finished there was a loud explosion and debris started falling in on them and the bomb.
“Grab this and help me pull or stab me and kill me but if I die you die too. Your partner is sealing the shaft with you in it. Do you want to die today?”
There was another explosion above Laszlo was taking the C-4 charges setting the detonators for thirty seconds then tossing them in. After he was happy with his handiwork he ran to his chopper that was waiting.
“Take me back to the airport we need to get out of here,” said Laszlo boarding his helicopter then pulled out a controller board with a series of toggle switches.
There were two loud pings a couple rounds passed through the cabin. Laszlo saw Mary taking aim at him so he threw a toggle switch that activated a loud siren. It was a warning siren that announced in the campsite that a blast was imminent. Mass mayhem erupted as guards, workers along with cats and dogs went scrambling to get out of the blast site. Laszlo got what he wanted people got in the way so Mary couldn’t get a clean shot off.
[In London across the Thames in Vauxhall]
“Chuck, Chuck can you hear me,” yelled Sarah but all she was only getting was static and the images she was seeing were not encouraging. Smoke was rising from the mining shaft Chuck was in. Suddenly Mary came on the line.
“Sarah, I’m sorry Chuck is trapped down the shaft with the warhead. I don’t know if you can hear but sirens are sounding the incident is about to occur. I don’t know if Chuck had time to tell you but his last words to me were to tell you that he loved you. I just want to add you’ve been the best daughter-in-law a mother could ever have or want. When you see Sam hug her for me and give Walnut a kiss for me when she’s born…”
“No I won’t accept that it’s not over. Chuck said something before we lost transmission. He said he knew the bomb. He might be trapped down there for now but the game isn’t over until the fat lady sings. If there’s a way out he’ll find it. My Chuck will come home to me.”
“Let your friends take care of you,” said Mary as she paused. “I’m going to look around to see if I can find another way in. I see people running out covered in dust so there must be another way out.”
In the Pacific Casey, Alex and Morgan stood vigil with the CO on the bridge of the O’Kane. They rigged a digital clock on the bridge so they could watch the countdown. Everyone who could was allowed to call home but they were all warned not to say anything about what was about to happen. The Skipper came out of his at sea cabin wiping his eyes.
“Captain on the bridge,” yelled the Boatswain’s mate. The CO waved for everyone to carry on as he walked over to the Colonel and Chief.
“Well we’re almost there,” said the Commander. “There’s very little to do now. I just wanted to say it was a pleasure meeting you people. XO let’s do a quick systems test before… well before. Quarter Master make sure you get the names of all our guests down in the deck log. Officer of the Deck you stand relieved it’s only right I take her on this trip.”
“Quarter Master note in the log I’ve been relieved the Captain has the con,” said the OOD. The rest of the watches answered up acknowledging the Captain was now sailing the ship. At the twenty second mark Morgan and Alex walked over to Casey.
“Somehow I feel there ought to be a band playing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’,” said Morgan as he looked away.
“This isn’t the Titanic,” said Casey as he grunted. “Grimes, I might’ve given the impression that I was giving you a hard time but I just wanted the best for my Alex and well I think maybe you are.”
“We have to be fifteen seconds from the end for you to say that,” said Morgan as Casey growled. “Okay, okay I just wanted you to know that well Alex and I were going to elope and get married in Mexico when we got back. We talked about it among other things while we were stuck in the A/C room but I’m glad we didn’t. Alex wants you to walk her down the aisle and I just wish we had the opportunity to do that.”
“Just exactly what else went on in that A/C room that you’re not telling me? Grimes, I think I could set a new record here before our time is up,” said Casey as he grabbed Morgan by the collar.
“Hold up Big Guy something is wrong. Look the clock has zeroed out but nothing. Where’s the big bang and tidal wave? Looks like we get to live another day.”
“Depends what went on in that A/C room.”
Chuck and May got up disorientated covered in dust coughing. Chuck fanned the dust to clear it away from over the bomb so they could get a better look. He loosened four wing nuts to take of the side panel that revealed the heart of the bomb.
“Let’s start by yanking this wire,” said Chuck. “That’s to Laszlo’s remote detonator now he can throw his magenta switch all day and nothing will happen.”
“I wish I could be in the chopper now and see him have his little fit when nothing happens. He’s going to be fit to be tied. Chuck is it supposed to do that,” asked May as a green light came on indicating it was now armed and the display began a count down from the twenty minute mark.
“Okay I’m going to need your help here when I pull out this cylindrical thing you need to turn the top section carefully. Here okay turn that hockey puck-looking thing on the end there clockwise. That's the detonator. I need you to twist and pull gently. Boy, are there a lot of wires.”
“Didn’t you say you saw something like this before,” said May as she gingerly twisted the detonator pulling it free exposing even more wires. “Okay Chuck what’s next. Come on show Laszlo who’s smarter.”
“It isn’t about being smarter,” said Chuck as they worked together to deactivate Laszlo’s warhead he’d converted into a bomb.
“What we have here is a North Korean warhead that is actually based on next-gen Chinese technology used on their ballistic submarine fleet with the same safety features that I’ve seen before.”
“What do you mean safety features? I don’t want to rush you or anything but the display says were down to our last minute.”
“Yes, safety features, well in case of a hull breach the warhead deactivates automatically on contact with saltwater to prevent all sorts of unpleasantness.”
“Chuck, look around you do you see any saltwater? We’re not even near the ocean.”
“We don’t need ocean water as a matter of fact the last nuke I defused using fruit juice. We just have to find something with salt in it and we need it within the next thirty seconds.”
Laszlo, like May predicted, was going spastic in the back of the chopper throwing a tantrum. He kept throwing toggle switch after toggle switch but nothing seemed to be working. The lights on the board lit up green but nothing happened. Worse he was tuned into a Hawaiian radio station near Hilo expecting to hear screams then static but instead he was now listening to a rendition of Tiny Bubbles by Don Ho.
“Where’s my boom? Why don’t I hear boom? This crap isn’t working why not? I’m going to have to kill someone. Hey circle back by the mining site maybe we need to get closer.”
“But sir if we get too close we risk being knocked out of the sky,” said the pilot. Laszlo pulled his Desert Eagle and pointed it at the pilot. “You do as I say or you won’t have to worry about being knocked out of the sky and before you say I need you I’ve got an app that can control this bird I just keep you on the payroll for show.”
“Yes Sir right away. I’m banking now we should be back at the campsite in a few minutes,” said the pilot. He wondered if what Laszlo said was a lie but he didn’t feel like challenging him just in case it was true. “We’re over the site now.”
“Crap, it still isn’t working,” he said as he kept flipping the toggle to manually explode the warhead. He looked at his watch if Chuck had been able to deactivate the remote the bomb should’ve gone into automatic mode and exploded but so far nothing.
“What do you want to do sir?”
“Take us to the airport I need to get out of Dodge but this isn’t over yet.”