Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 4
Don’t own Chuck
Sarah was going crazy with worry in Castle she did her best to put on a happy face for Sam but it was difficult. With Sam in Castle they couldn’t monitor the search area via spy sat which added to Sarah’s desperation. So they did the only thing they could do. They ate dinner or at least tried to and keep up appearances for Sam. They ate the pizzas that Alex brought even though Sarah didn’t feel like eating. She ended up eating only half a slice and even that she only toyed with until Sam asked her if she was feeling all right.
“I’m fine just not hungry Sweetie,” said Sarah. “So tell me what you did at the park today. Did you have fun?”
“Yes, lots of it I swung on the swings and slid down the slide,” said Sam then she put on a serious look. “But why do boys wear pants and we wear skirts? It just doesn’t seem fair.” Everyone laughed which seemed to make Sam even angrier.
“I don’t know,” said Sarah. Sam was the best medicine she could have right now. “But can you see Uncle Morgan in skirt?” That made Sam laugh.
“He’d have to go through a waxing,” said Alex as she smiled looking over at Morgan. “You know I could call and get you an appointment.”
“Men, real men which excludes Grimes,” said Casey as he walked in. “Don’t wear skirts they wear kilts. Kilts are Celtic in tradition and go back to the dawn of time. The colors and patterns denote a person’s clan.”
“Okay Highlander’s here,” said Morgan. “And yes we know there can only be one but it’s still a skirt by a different name.”
“John, why are you here I thought Alex said you and Kat were going to eat supper together then spend some time alone. There’s nothing you can do here.”
“Remember Semper Fi Alex called me and told me what was going on,” said Casey. Sarah nodded her head in the direction of Sam then shook her head. “Oh, oh sure I understand. So can I ask what brought on this debate about male and female garb?”
“Go ahead,” said Emma as Sam looked at her perplexed. “They want to know why you want to know. Go ahead and tell them.”
“Why did something happen at the park today? You should’ve told me,” said Sarah. She took a deep breath because with what was going on with Chuck she knew she could easily over react.
“Well just that you had me wear my sundress and so did Maggie and Bree. They’re two girls I met in the park we were sliding together until the sun shining on the slid got it too hot. But Pete and his friend went on sliding because they had pants. It’s not fair.”
“I wonder if the Celts had that problem,” said Morgan. “Hey John, maybe that’s how the Romans defeated them, what do you think?”
“I think you’re an idiot the Romans wore skirts too not skirts tunics... oh Grimes you’re an idiot. The Franks introduced pants as riding breeches. Riding a horse bareback and wearing... okay a skirt just is wrong in a lot of ways. Don’t make me break that down anatomically for you.”
“Let’s just leave the topic there,” said Sarah as she saw Sam’s perplexed look. “If you want to wear pants to the park that’s fine the next time I’ll lay them out for you. Well if we’re done eating Nana Emma is going to take you home tonight so you can sleep in your bed.”
“Do I have to go,” begged Sam. “I can sleep in detention like last night and I promise to be quiet. You won’t know I’m here. Please, please, please, I want to stay with you.”
“Last night was different and now we have a guest back there, Mr. Kim and until the Marshals come to take him with them we have to watch him. There are some bad people looking for him so we have to keep him safe.”
“And who’s going to keep you safe if they come. Chuck’s not here,” said Sam. “When is Chuck coming home he’s been gone a long time.”
“It hasn’t been that long, no longer than usual,” said Sarah as she kissed her. “Besides we have Uncle Casey and Alex...”
“And Morgan just thought I’d remind everyone that I’m here too,” said Morgan as Casey looked over at him and grunted.
“Yes, and Morgan so we’re all safe here so you can go home and get some sleep in your own bed,” said Sarah as she caressed Sam’s face.
“I got another idea,” said Casey. “You take the kid home with Emma and I’ll stay here and see if I can get an update on the situation. As soon as I know something I’ll let you know. Besides I want to do some checking. I don’t think our friend was suicidal which meant he had to have an exit strategy and I intend to find it.”
“I don’t think I should go,” said Sarah as she looked down at Sam with her little face and sad eyes looking up at her. Sam looked like a mirror of herself when she was her age and she found out Jack was gone.
“Sarah, Sam won’t go unless you go. Do you want to force her?” whispered Emma in her ear. Like I was forced by granny when I was her age, Sarah thought but didn’t say.
“Okay but the Marshals from WITSEC are due in here soon to pick up Kim. They wanted to get him after the Buy More closes to have less people around in case... well you know in case what,” said Sarah remembering Sam was standing near her. “John, remember to call me you promised. I want to know whatever the outcome is.”
“I promise so will you go already you’re making me nervous just talking to you.”
When the Lear first hit the surface of the water everything inside seem to begin to move in slow motion. Chuck and the pilot trying to keep the nose up the plane skipped off the surface of the water. Elizabeth let out a loud scream as everything loose inside went flying. Coffee cups, pens, paper everything flew around in the cockpit. Water came up over the fuselage but the windows held and later that was probably what saved Chuck’s life. The last hop threw Chuck forward and bumped his head rendering him semi-conscious.
“Out, out,” yelled the pilot as he got up and headed for the hatch Elizabeth had already opened. The aft section of the plane was underwater when they jumped out.
“Chuck, where’s our passenger Captain,” asked Elizabeth after they’d abandoned the aircraft. They looked around as the plane slid under the surface.
“I don’t know I thought he was right behind me,” said the pilot looking around but there was nothing left on the surface other than an oil slick and some debris. Suddenly a Seahawk appeared and two divers jumped out then they were being winched aboard.
“You need to go down,” yelled Elizabeth. She had to yell over the sound of the chopper hovering overhead. “There’s a man trapped in the wreckage. You need to get him.”
“I got them,” said the one diver. “You go down I’ll join you as soon as I get these two harnessed up and in the chopper.” The other diver pulled down his mask put in his regulator then went under trying to find the wreckage.
[Inside the plane]
Chuck was lucky because an air pocket formed in the cockpit slowing the planes descent into the abyss. It also gave him air to breath until he came to his senses.
“Crap, I need to get out of here,” he said as he tried to unbuckle his harness but the last jerk he made that knocked him senseless had jammed it. The compartment was filling with water and he couldn’t get out of his seat.
“Okay Chuck you’ve been in worse situations. Casey would be yelling at you to get your butt in gear.” He reached down pulled his boot knife and started cutting the harness straps when the water began to submerge his head. Finally free he came up and took some deep breaths before going back down.
“Chuck the pilot’s emergency oxygen,” a voice told him in his head. He grabbed the small canister of portable oxygen and mask then made his way out of the plane.
“Geez,” he thought. He was disoriented in the darkness of the abyss he couldn’t tell which way was up. He exhaled and felt the directions of the bubbles then took a hit from the canister.
“How far down am I,” he thought as he started his way to the surface. He fought off the urge to race to the surface. The last thing he wanted was to get to the bends but he also realized his oxygen supply was limited. Somewhere along the way up he hoped someone was looking for him but he was smaller than a needle in a haystack.
“A Nanobyte in a haystack,” he said to himself as he rose.
[On the surface]
The Seahawk ran the survivors over to the Leyte Gulf then came back with more divers and equipment but by then a good half hour had passed with no signs of Chuck. Without diving equipment their rescue mission had become a recovery mission.
“How much longer do we keep looking Admiral,” asked the Chief of Staff. “The plane’s been under for half an hour. Without oxygen there’s no way our man could’ve survived.”
“I know... I know but I just hate to be the one to have to tell his boss we lost him. But... well okay this is officially now a recovery operation. Let’s give it another half hour make sure everything gets written in the logs especially the exact location in case they want to send a deep sea probe to recover the wreckage.” As they were talking a chief came on the bridge then walked over to the Admiral and Chief of Staff.
“Sirs I’m sorry for interrupting but there’s a call for you in Combat Central. A General Beckman said she wants to talk to you and I won’t go into the rest of what she said when we told her you were busy.”
“I can go take this for you if you want Sir,” said the Chief of Staff. The Admiral laughed then patted his COS on the shoulder.
“Then you don’t know Diane very well. Lead the way Chief I might as well get this over with. If you don’t see me sitting down for a while you’ll know why,” said the Admiral as he left with the Chief.
“Diane, I know why you called and we’re doing everything we can. I’ve got divers down now looking for the wreckage but it went down faster than anticipated. I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t see a happy ending to this. I’m reclassifying this as a recovery mission.”
“Agent Carmichael has been in worse situations and pulled through. Don’t give up on him yet if there was a way out he’ll find it.”
“I understand Diane and if he were one of my men I’d be doing everything in my power to bring him back too. But we also have to be realistic here too. He’s been underwater for over a half an hour no one can survive that long without air... Okay I’ll give you another half an hour then I’m pulling the plug and don’t think you can get around me by going to Tank or Bob.”
“I hadn’t thought about going to the CNO but thanks for the idea. Let’s do this you give me an hour and I’ll give you a bottle of Scotch.”
“I don’t want the cheap stuff,” said the Admiral as the men in Combat Central laughed while they pretended to go about their jobs.
“How does Dewar’s Signature sound?”
“It sounds like you’ve got a deal.”
Down in Castle Casey was monitoring the situation carefully from above. Langley moved a spy sat overhead and he was using the thermal resolution to try and cut through the lays of water below. But thermal scanning wasn’t as easy as it might sound with a large body of water like an ocean. There are warm and cold pockets of water that because of the currents and waves get mixed so the image he got was spotty. When he got a large dark botch he had to isolate it then adjust the intensity to get a clear view.
“John, what can I do I want to help,” asked Morgan. “Chuck’s my best friend and I can’t stand this sitting on my hands.”
“Well this is what spy work is like. It isn’t all running around and shooting people, although granted that’s the fun part. There’s a lot of this, too much but it has to be done and it has to be done properly by a trained profession both of which you’re not.”
“Dad, Morgan is just concerned like the rest of us,” said Alex. “There’s no need to snap. Are you having any luck?”
“None so far all I’ve found are our divers and a couple schools of fish. Grimes I don’t want to hear anything about fish being smart because their always going to school.”
“Actually I was thinking they’re kind of dumb because they never graduate,” said Morgan as Casey growled.
“Dad,” said Alex trying to turn his attention from Morgan. “While you’re doing that why don’t I start a search of choppers that deviated from their flight plans last night? It makes sense that if Laszlo wanted to get out in a hurry he’d use a chopper. If he drove out we would’ve picked him up by now on the traffic cams.”
“See Grimes that’s good spy work something you don’t know anything about. If you want to make yourself useful fine, throw away the pizza boxes then take the trash out,” said John as he turned back to work.
Morgan looked over at Alex for some solace. She shrugged her shoulders then walked over and kissed him. Casey grunted and growled as he pretended not to see but they both knew he did.
“Thanks,” whispered Morgan. She smiled back at him then went back over to the computer console. He went to the breakroom and started picking up everything then separated it. The Buy More was cracking down on recycling. Morgan got the trash in the elevator then rode it up. He had just left when Casey found something.
“There, there I thing I got him,” said Casey as Alex looked over. John had just cut through a cold water pocket and in the middle he found what looked like a floater. He immediately got on the horn and called directly to the Leyte Gulf. The CO was out on the bridge wing about to bring the chopper back for refueling when the boatswain’s mate of the watch ran out.
“Sir a Colonel Casey just called from the NSA and he’s relayed coordinates and a depth for our missing man.”
“I know they run satellites but how the... never mind. Relay the message to the Seahawk and have them get their divers to that spot ASAP. If they bring him back alive this is a story I’ve got to hear. Yell down to sickbay and have the Doc standing by.”
A little while later a first class corpsman ran up on the bridge then went straight out to see the old man.
“Sir,” said the corpsman. “With all due respect you should fly him straight to the carrier. They have the recompression tank if he needs hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Bringing him here will just delay treatment and could be fatal.”
“Very well thanks Doc. I guess I’ll have to get this guy’s story second hand.”
[Fifteen Feet Under The Surface]
Chuck was only fifteen feet away from breaking surface but he might as well have been fifteen miles away. He ran out of oxygen and was now swimming in apnea. His lungs were aching and he desperately wanted to exhale but he knew he couldn’t. Already his arms and legs were getting stiff and he felt like he wanted to pass out. Some time on his way up he must’ve because he looked up and there was Sarah. She was shiny and bright like an angel with her hair golden floating in the water around her face.
“Sarah,” he tied to say but instead of hearing his voice he saw bubbles and a feeling as if his lungs were going to burst. He tried to reach out and touch her but instead he touched the mask a scuba diver. The man shoved a regulator in his mouth holding it in place he forced Chuck to breathe.
“We got him,” radioed the Pilot as the divers broke surface. They winching him aboard and laid him out on the deck where they did mouth to mouth. Chuck was pretty much out of it as he heaved up all the salt water he’d swallowed.
“Seahawk CO’s orders fly straight to the carrier their sickbay is standing by,” radioed the Leyte Gulf. The chopper flew straight over to the carrier. Chuck was semi-conscious when they rolled him down to sick bay. He remembered seeing worried faces and overhead neon lights then darkness.
“Augh,” he said as he opened his eyes. Looking around the room he saw that he was in sickbay. His head ached and he felt a little light headed as he tried to sit up.
“Hey where do you think you’re going,” said the Doctor as he pushed Chuck back down. “You need to stay down and rest. You’re lucky to still be with us.”
“Everyone wants to know what kind of training you have to go threw to hold your breath for over an hour underwater,” asked the Admiral standing next to the Doctor.
“None,” said Chuck as he touched the bandage on his head. “You just need to grab the pilot’s emergency oxygen tank. I guess I banged my head good.”
“You could say that you’ve got a mild concussion and a goose egg to match. I want to keep you here for twenty-four hours under observation.”
“I can afford that I need to get out of here,” said Chuck as he tried to get up but his head started spinning again and he fell back on the bed.
“Like I said, you aren’t going anywhere,” said the Doc. “You keep that up and I’ll sedate you then we won’t worry about you doing anything stupid.”
“You don’t know me very well. Admiral, I need to contact my team right away. My plane was sabotaged by a lunatic who’s going to be going after them next. I need to warn them and get them someplace safe until I can get to them.”
“Tell me what you need and I’ll see you get it.”
“A tablet with Wi-Fi capability please and then you can leave the rest to me. Tell your people in comms if they see someone piggy back on their bandwidth not to be alarmed.”
“I bet that’s how you steal my drones too.”
“I did say please this time. Oh, and Doc can I get a sheet I can cut up, please.”
Casey and Alex were down in Castle working. Alex had isolated a few hits that fit the time slots that they were interested in but so far they were all traced back to paparazzi that were trying to fly over the houses of stars to take compromising photos. She had a few more to go but now was distracted by John’s find. They anxiously waited in Castle now for word.
“Well the trash is taken care of,” said Morgan as he walked back in. “You want me to sweep and mop the floor. Maybe I can buff it too to get a nice shine what do you think?”
“I think you need to shut up,” snapped Casey. “Before I buff you with my fist or use you face like a Brillo pad.”
“Morgan, Dad did it,” said Alex. “He thinks he found Chuck. We called the search team and now we’re waiting for confirmation.”
“That’s great we should call Sarah right away. She’ll want to know,” said Morgan as he pulled out his phone and started to dial.
“Grimes, you make that phone call and I swear I’ll shove it down your throat. You’ll have to press on your stomach to dial and do I need to tell where the recharge cable will go. She’s the last person we want to call until we know the situation.”
“So what do we do? Just wait? How long to we wait for,” said Morgan. “Why haven’t they called us back yet? You don’t think that’s bad do you?
“Grimes, I swear you say anything else that ends in a question mark and I’m going to take your body and make a question mark out of it starting with breaking your back. Will you please shut up and give my ears a rest?”
“Look,” said Morgan pointing at the monitor. “The Marshals are here from WITSEC to pick up Kim. Do you want me to take him up to the Marshals? Oh sorry that ended in a question mark. I could rephrase it if you want. Kim Marshals I take, is that better? Oh crap another question mark.”
“Just shut up and go,” said Casey. “Make sure they give you something saying they assume responsibility.” Alex smiled at Morgan waiting until he disappeared.
“That was nice of you to trust him with the prison transfer.”
“Trust him? I figure what can he do to screw it up. He just has to walk up with Kim smile then walk back down. Kim wants to go and they want to take him so what can go wrong.” Just then the monitor flickered and Chuck appeared.
“Alex, John I hear I have you guys to thank for saving me,” said Chuck lying in his hospital bed with a turban on.
“What’s with the head piece? Don’t tell me you’ve gone native?”
“No, just a slight head contusion but I didn’t want Sam to see the bandage. Listen my plane was sabotaged by Laszlo. He called me before he remotely dumped half of my fuel,” said Chuck as he went on to explain what Laszlo told him. “...Listen, you guys need to be extra careful he’s going to be gunning for you. I take it Sarah’s home?”
“Yes she wanted to get Sam out of here before she figured out something was wrong with you. If you call her at Echo Park you’ll find her at home by now.”
“I will but John, you and Sarah need to pack up and go the Bartowski safe house. Laszlo mentioned you two specifically as being on his hit list. You should be safe there until I can get to you.”
“Yeah I’d like for Laszlo to send someone. Maybe I could scratch an itch I’ve needed to scratch for some time.”
“Whatever just get Sarah where she’s safe. I’m being held on the JFK for observation for 24 hours then I’m going to commandeer a F-14 but I’ve got to remember to say please first.”