Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 3
Don’t own Chuck
General Beckman had just finished a very pleasant meal with Roan in an exclusive restaurant on the beach of Rabat near the Plage Guy-Ville. After the meal they went to a bar Roan knew where they could get an after dinner drink and enjoy listening to some live Berber music. Roan could tell by the way the General was looking at him she had high hopes for where the two of them would be finishing the evening. Everything was going better than expected when the area Station Chief walked in.
“Oh crap,” said Roan as he took a sip from his glass. “Don’t look now, but I think we’re going to have to put the rest of our evening’s plans on hold.”
“What are you talking about,” asked Diane as she looked around and saw Chief Livingstone looking around. “Crap I thought I left word I didn’t want to be bothered. I’d like to say that he came here to get a drink and listen to the music too but I don’t think that’s the case,” said the General as she sat her drink down and turned her back.
“I’d say that’s a good assessment because he’s heading this way right now,” said Roan as he sat his drink down too. “Get ready he’s almost here. Chief small town,” said Roan.
“Not small enough. Here you are General I’ve been looking all over for you,” said the Chief. There’s been an incident and I’m afraid you need to come back to the embassy with me.”
“There’s always an incident,” said Roan. “Chief can I offer you a drink that way we can finish ours before we head off into the night to save the world.”
“No thank you,” said the Chief as he looked over Roan with his drink in hand wondered how many others came before that one. “General, we need to get back. I just got word that the incident involves Agent Carmichael.”
“Why am I not surprised there,” said Roan as he downed his Martini then ate the olives. “I guess we need to get a move on it.”
“You know he did just save your bacon,” said the Chief. The Chief was beginning to think that Roan was a little bit flippant in his remarks which rubbed him the wrong way.
“You’re right but... well I had other plans for this evening and now you come along and throw a monkey wrench in the works. I think I have a right to be a little disappointed.”
“Well we’ll see what we can do to change that after I put out this fire. Is there anything else you need to tell me,” asked the General as they got out of the bar and into the waiting Embassy sedan.
“I just got word we know the real name of this elusive Mr. Y. His name is Laszlo Mahnovski and he used to work at Los Robles National Labs.”
“Used to? What do you mean used to? He was supposed to be serving out a life sentence there for crimes he committed the last time he escaped. How did he break out this time?”
“We’re not exactly sure he did. You see I said ‘used to work there’ because the labs were destroyed today by some sort of implosion device or that’s what I was told they think was used.”
“The whole facility was destroyed?” asked Beckman. The Chief nodded his head. “What about the people that worked there? There had to be a little over two thousand people. Crap is going to hit the fan over this.”
“I’m sorry they’re all gone. There’s a team on site now gathering information and they should have a preliminary report to you very soon.”
“What does Agent Carmichael make of this? He helped arrest Laszlo when he broke out of Los Robles the first time.”
“That is the other problem. We’ve lost track of Agent Carmichael and his plane over the middle of the Atlantic. It seems that he was able to contact the Kennedy and the battle group is looking for him.”
“Geez the Lear has the buoyancy of a rock,” said Roan. “That’s what he flew out on. I saw the charter request. My poor, poor lad out there somewhere,” he said as he looked out towards the Atlantic.
“This isn’t a coincidence this is Laszlo’s doing I can feel it. Roan, I need for you to stick around if I find cold hard evidence we’re putting out a kill order. No one touches my people and gets away with it. I’ll need to contact Castle in Burbank too. How far are we away from the Embassy?”
“We’re almost there,” said the Chief as the compound came in sight. The General was now biting at the bit to get to work. They were behind and now she had to play catch up.
“I’m going to need to talk to my Major right away. Roan, I want you to contact Burbank and you Chief see if the team at the Los Robles site have any addition details.”
“Ma’am if you don’t mind I’d also like to try and make contact with the JFK and find out what I can from them in addition to what you assigned me.”
“Very well Chief make it happen,” said the General as they pulled into the Embassy parking lot. “Let’s get a move on this. Mahnovski has had time to plan everything out in detail. We don’t have that luxury we’re behind the power curve and Mahnovski knows it.”
As soon as the elevator stopped at Rick’s place they all got out each heading for a different area in the substation and began the assignment at hand.
“Major,” said the General as she looked at him in the monitor. “I expect some good news I’ve had enough bad lately.” She saw he was hesitant to answer. “Oh crap just go ahead and give me what you’ve got.”
Chuck finished with Sarah’s problem then he was propelled back into his own. After shooting down the hellfire missile aimed at her, Sarah understood there was something wrong with him. He feigned a reception difficultly then intentionally dropped the line so she couldn’t ask him what was happening. He realized he didn’t do a very good job at masking his situation but more than that what he regretted was not being able to tell her he loved her.
“The pilot sent me back to get you,” said the Co-pilot. “He said to tell he had the Admiral on the radio and he says that if you don’t get on the radio soon we won’t have to worry about running out of fuel he’d gladly shoot us down to put us out of his misery.”
“I’m sure he did. Well let’s not keep the Admiral waiting any longer,” said Chuck. He went back up into the cockpit with the co-pilot. The pilot handed Chuck a mic as he took the co-pilot’s seat.
“Admiral, it’s been a while I don’t know if you remember me...” said Chuck but the Admiral immediately cut him off.
“It’s kind of hard to forget someone who steals another man’s drone. I bet when you were in school you used to take the other kids toys without asking their permission first.”
“Actually it was usually the other way around and speaking of playgrounds I’m going to need to use yours. You have to give me credit here I’m asking”
“I wish I could help you but I can’t authorize you to land a Lear on my carrier. I don’t even know why you’d want to. You’d make a nice fire ball on the flight deck. I’m sorry I can’t risk my personnel I hope you understand that.”
“Why does everyone assume I want to land this plane on your carrier? I’d probably stall out before I got to you. If I did, this make of plane doesn’t have a tail hook not to mention what would happen to the landing gear. Your arresting cables would tear my landing gear off then I’d slide off into the ocean. If you put up a net my fuselage isn’t reinforced which would make a nice crunch and we’re back to the fire ball scenario in the middle of your flight deck.”
“Well if you know all that why am I missing my evening briefing? Seems you know the score... Oh wait a minute I see your plan. I’ll set you up a plane guard we’ve got you on the scope. The Leyte Gulf is steaming with us I’ll send her and have her deploy one of her Seahawks. You know you’re crazier than I thought.”
“See there’s a reason they made you Admiral. I’ve got two other people with me and wish me luck. I’m going to need it,” said Chuck.
“Excuse me what do you intend on doing exactly,” asked the pilot. He had an idea but he want to hear it from Chuck.
“We’re going to make a controlled landing in the ocean,” said Chuck. The pilot’s eyes got big it was what he expect but was afraid of.
“You mean a crash. I’ve never actually ditched a plane before and not in the Atlantic. Sure I did something similar in a simulator but a simulator and the real thing...”
“Just hold up you’re spiraling. First of all you’re not I am. You’re going to release the controls to me,” said Chuck as he took the yoke. “Listen, I’m the only hope we have of getting out of this situation alive. But everyone has to do their part. Elizabeth,” yelled Chuck over his shoulder. “That’s your name right?”
“Yes,” said the Co-pilot petrified and terrified. She was huddled next to the hatch asking herself why she took this job today. She could’ve been at home with her family listening to her father preach that women should stay at home. She had to pull herself together if nothing else to prove him wrong.
“Elizabeth you need to get a life vest, both of you, then you need to stand by the hatch and as soon as we stop you need to pop it open before we sink, and then get everyone out. We won’t be floating long and I expect the plane will fill rapidly with water. Everyone get ready there won’t be much time,” said Chuck as he took the control cutting back on air speed to conserve fuel.
His phone kept ringing he didn’t have to look at it to know it was Sarah calling. But what was he supposed to tell her? He was flying at twenty thousand feet and looking for a gas station because he was about to run out that wouldn’t do her or the baby any good. Sure she’d be mad at him afterwards but that was the whole plan that there would be an afterwards.
“Learjet this is the Leyte Gulf we’re in position for a pick up. Your taxi’s waiting,” radioed the Captain. Chuck looked over at the pilot and gave him a thumbs up.
“Well this is it. I need for you to help me hold the plane steady. When we get close to the surface the plane will begin to buck but we need to keep the nose up and the plane level at all cost.”
“Like skipping a rock across the surface of a pond,” said the pilot looking over at Chuck with a nervous smile.
“Exactly the same principal,” said Chuck. A sudden vision came in his head of what would happen if they came in at the wrong angle. He had to shake that thought out of his head.
“Happy thoughts Chuck, happy thoughts, okay here we go,” said Chuck as they began their descent. “Okay, I’m dumping the rest of our fuel so from here on we’re gliding. Remember nose up and plane level.”
Chuck knew he had to dump the fuel. The last thing they wanted was for a spark to cause a fire and the fireball scenario would come back in play but from now on there was no more turning back. But without the engines the plane turned into a bucking bronco.
“Flaps,” yelled Chuck. “Watch the flaps we’ve got to keep the nose up. Here we go brace for impact. Oh this is so going to hurt,” said Chuck but he also knew he couldn’t flinch if he did they were done for.
[On the Leyte Gulf]
News traveled fast on the Leyte Gulf and everyman on board was topside looking for the plane. The radar tracked them coming in off the forward starboard bow. The starboard lookout was the first to see them coming in through the big eyes.
“Sir the lookout has a visual,” said the Officer of the Deck to the CO. They all went out on the Starboard bridge wing to watch.
“There it is,” pointed the Officer of the Deck. “Conning officer we need to stay behind them so they don’t get caught in our wake.”
“Aye aye Sir,” said the junior officer. He relayed steering orders to the helm. They wanted to stay behind them so their wake wouldn’t cause the ocean surface to become choppy.
From then on there was little they could do except watch. They saw the plane dip out of the clouds. The jet came in as if it were going to land on a runway except the landing gear was still retracted. The plane hit the surface making a splash then skipped up before another splash again and again it did before it finally came to a stop. Already there was debris floating around it and the tail section immediately went under water. It bobbed for a bit as if it couldn’t make up its mind then the plane slid under aft first.
“I’ve got two swimmers,” radioed the pilot of the Seahawk as he hovered over the site. “The swimmers look like the flight crew.”
“Tell the pilot to get his divers in the water now. What are they waiting for swim call to be announced?”
“Captain I’ve got the Admiral on the horn he wants to know what’s going on,” said the Boatswain’s mate of the watch.
“Tell him I’ll be right with him. You can tell him we picked two up but the third one, our man, is still missing and it looks like he might’ve gone under with the plane. But we’ve got divers in the water.”
[Earlier outside the Los Robles Labs]
A man strolled through the forest in the Los Padres National Forest. He made his way to a clearing where he looked at his watch. Seeing it was time he took out a flare gun from a bag he was carrying then fired a signal flare. A few minutes later he heard the sound of a helicopter arriving so he checked his watch again. When the bird arrived it sat down and the man quickly boarded then it took off again.
“You’re late,” said the man. “By my calculations you’re a minute thirty seconds late, I pay you to be on time and by being on time I mean on time.”
“Yes Mr. Mahnovski I’m sorry I’ll talk to the pilot. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Laszlo’s personal assistant who was sitting across from him in the chopper. After they made the pickup they headed off in the direction of L.A.
“I told you never to call me that you can simply call me Y,” said Laszlo as he laughed. “No better from now on I want everyone to call me Zorin, Maxwell Zorin. Did you bring me what I asked for?”
“Yes Sir Mr. Zorin the tablet is next to your seat in the case along with the Subway sub you asked for. Our next stop is Catalina island there’s a vehicle waiting that will take you to Avalon where we’ll take a boat out to your yacht.”
“Good, radio the Captain and have him prep the boat to set sail. I want to leave as soon as I’m on board. Oh and also I have one more task for you Oddjob,” said Laszlo as he took a bite from his sandwich and was savoring it as Oddjob talked.
“Sir my name is Paul,” said Oddjob. Oddjob wasn’t his real name it was just what Laszlo called him. His real name was Paul but Paul reasoned that Laszlo called him Oddjob because of all the odd jobs he had him do for him. But it was embarrassing when he called him that in public.
“Oddjob are you listening?” said Laszlo ignoring what Paul had told him. “You know you’re going to have to learn to pay attention if you want to stay in my service. I met this girl, this lab tech on a video chat and I want you to bring her onboard.”
“Really a video chat, you met a girl on a pay per view and you want to meet her? Are you sure she was a lab tech or was she cosplaying? If it’s company you want I can...” Oddjob started to say but Laszlo couldn’t hear him over a series of explosions.
There was a rumbling noise below them as the ground seemed to open up and what was a super-secret government facility they were flying over suddenly vanished into rubble and smoke. The shockwave caused a bumpy ride in the chopper but when it passed Oddjob looked out to see where the lab used to be was now a gaping hole filled with fire and flames.
“Yes but it wasn’t that kind of site,” said Laszlo as he continued speaking as if nothing had happened. “Her name is Ginger Hartley and she works with some idiot in the deep database under Langley. I want you to have her brought to my yacht. You can have her flown out on our way to Hawaii the flight deck should be operational by then. And how is that other modification coming along?”
“Sir, we’ve got teams working on them around the clock both are near completion. So you say her name’s Ginger? Are you sure about the site?” said Paul AKA Oddjob. Laszlo gave him a disapproving look.
“You know if you want to act the buffoon I can get you a hat and a wand. Maybe that’s the role you’d like to fill on my staff.” Oddjob knew he had gone too far. “You realize you can be replaced but when I let people go I let them go,” said Laszlo as he looked out the window at the burning rubble to get his point across.
“Right of course you want Ginger, I’ll make the arrangements and see she gets an invitation she can’t refuse.”
“Very good, now brief me on Operation Divine Justice. Where do we stand?” asked Laszlo as he finished his sub then poured himself a cherry coke.
“Everything is on track both our teams are in place like you wanted. There were some minor delays with the drilling equipment,” said Oddjob. He caught Laszlo’s look so he quickly went on to explain. “We had a little problem with customs but I was able to iron them out. Nothing really to worry about I can assure you. Anyway everything is in place and we’re almost on schedule.”
“Is that like you were almost on time to pick me up? You know what almost is good for,” asked Laszlo. Oddjob shook his head and got ready for what was to come. “Nothing, it’s like saying he almost won the race but he didn’t. Your ‘almosts’ will come back and bite you someday and I won’t put up with any more delays. If I dropped you out of this helicopter right now would you be almost dead?”
“I see your point Sir and it won’t happen again,” said Oddjob knowing good and well he couldn’t keep that promise but for the moment he just wanted to get Zorin or Laszlo off his back.
“It better not happen again or you’ll need wings,” said Laszlo then he laughed. “Wings, some people could use a pair right about now.”
Paul didn’t think his threat was anything to laugh at but he didn’t realize Laszlo wasn’t laughing at him. Laszlo was laughing at his last remark about wings. Icarus and Chuck came to mind both flew too close to the sun. Chuck’s sun was him and he’d melted Chuck’s wings with his genius. But there was room for only one man at the top of the pyramid and that was himself.
“Pharaoh now there’s a title I could use for myself,” said Laszlo as he daydreamed what it would be like to be a Pharaoh and have people like Chuck and his handlers build him a pyramid. “Yes it’s good to be the king.”
“Sir, Sir, ... Doctor Las... I mean Dr. Zorin we have a small problem,” said Paul. He’d just gotten off his phone. “It seems the authorities have the names of a number of your associates. They’re being rounded up and arrested as we speak. Others have gone into hiding. Do you want to continue on with the project or lay low for a little while until the heat dies down?”
“We hold the course. With Chuck out of the way there’s no one who can really match my genius. We can make sure of that by getting rid of his handlers. I want a team put together to take care of them if they’re still alive. Without Chuck they should be easy enough to take care of.”
“Yes Sir I’ll take care of it,” said Oddjob as the chopper landed at the airport in Catalina. There they were met by a Golf cart and driver who whisked them off to the docks where a boat took them out to the yacht. In a half an hour Laszlo’s mega yacht the Xenia was underway and headed for international waters.