Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 6
Don’t own Chuck
On board Laszlo’s yacht they transited the California channel between the Islands of San Clemente and San Nicolas. After coming out of the channel they entered the North Pacific then laid in southwesterly course towards the islands of Hawaii. The ocean conditions were favorable for good steaming and they were making good head way as the Xenia cut through the water. Oddjob and Laszlo supervised the last of the modifications.
“Everything is done Sir like you wanted,” said Jim the supervisor Paul AKA Oddjob had contracted for nautical construction. “Me and my men would like to be put ashore now. You can launch your helicopter and take us back to the mainland before we get too far out.”
“Very well if that’s what you want I can arrange transportation,” said Laszlo. “But we’ll have to drop you off at Catalina then have someone come and pick you up to run you to the ferry. Don’t worry my assistant will handle everything.”
“Sure no problem, just get your men together and have them come up on the flight deck with their gear in say a half an hour that should give you plenty of time.”
“Thanks, Mr. Zorin and if you’ve got any other work you need done in the future don’t hesitate to call. Me and my boys will always be free for you,” said the Supervisor. Then he disappeared topside to get his men together.
“That’s was kind of him and you have to admit his men did good work,” said Paul but he knew no matter how much praise he gave them their fate was sealed.
“Yes they did but they also know our little secret and we can’t let that get out, at least not yet and especially not to the wrong people. You know what you have to do so go make sure it happens.”
Jim the construction supervisor called all the men together. Most of the men had families they wanted to get home to and they didn’t want to wait the other two days of transit time before they could get off.
“So what’s the word Jim are we going to be able to get off or do we have to ride this thing to wherever their going?”
“I don’t like it much on here the crew is pretty tight lipped and when we asked where they were steaming to they told us to mind our own business.”
“Yeah, so are we going to be able to get off or are we prisoners on board until we hit land. I swear any of them tries to stop me from getting off they better have a big stick with them and an army.”
“Everyone just settle down, no one is stopping anyone. I talked with the boss man and he’s agreed to fly us off. There’s just one small catch,” said Jim. He saw some on the men roll their eyes and shake their head. “Come on guys it’s not that bad. We’re going to have to fly to Catalina then catch the ferry to the mainland because we’re too far out now.”
“Okay it’s not that bad,” said one of his men. “It could’ve been worse they could’ve told us we had to walk back.”
“Yeah they could’ve had us walk the plank or dropped us in the ocean as fish food.” There was a round of laughter.
“All right enough of the lollygagging around, everyone go get your gear and meet up on the fight deck in half an hour. If you’re late you get left behind then they really might make you walk the plank,” said Jim.
Morgan and Kim went into the office with the three Marshals. Kim’s senses were on hyperactive alert as he was observing the three men posing as the Marshals. Nothing fit in their story and the Glock was standard issue for the Marshal Service not the Tauruses they were all carrying. But why didn’t they gun him down when they saw him... unless he wasn’t the target. Morgan realized something was wrong the way Kim shut him up but he didn’t know what so he became nervous and even more talkative then normal as he led them to his office.
“So you guys flew in all the way from Kansas city? That is where the big Marshal office is right? Boy it must be nice flying all over the U.S.,” said Morgan as they headed for his office.
“It’s not all that great,” said the one guy next to him. The other two agreed as they looked over the store. Kim could tell they were checking out the security cameras and exits.
“I don’t get to get out much myself,” said Morgan as he opened the door to his office then let everyone in. “They keep me here running the cover so I don’t get much field work. My friend Chuck, now he gets out a lot and as a matter of fact we’re waiting to hear from him now and somethings I ask myself in certain situations what would Chuck do.”
“That’s nice Morgan,” said Kim as he cut him off and shook his head. “Just make the call and then I can go with these nice men. They said they were dying to get out of here so let’s accommodate them.”
“Right, call Casey... Yes, call Casey okay,” said Morgan as he hit Casey’s number on his speed dial. “Crap his phone is busy I know I’ll call Alex she’s down with him.
“Morgan put the call on speaker I think our Marshal friends would like to listen in and hear John’s voice,” said Kim as he began to put himself in position to pounce.
“Really all we want to tell him is to hurry up. We’d like to see him and get this over with then maybe stop off some place on our way to the airport to grab a bite to eat.”
“Pancakes,” said Kim. “I’m feeling like pancakes tonight. I think I’d kill for a stack of blueberry. Would you guys mind if we stopped some place like that on the way out?” he asked as Alex came on the line.
“Morgan what is it?” said Alex. “Listen before you speak there are a couple of things I need to tell you first. One Chuck called in he’s alive and well....”
“I knew he’d make it,” said Kim as he positioned himself in the middle of the three men. “Chuck has more luck than all the Irish put together. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Right well... Dad’s a little nervous and you’re not helping. Just hand off Kim then if I were you I’d take my time about coming back down. He’s packing now to go camping so what is it that you need?”
“The Marshals say they need John to come up to sign some paperwork they have that only he can sign so you need to ask him to run up. Oh and there’s some pineapple in the fridge remind Casey pineapple. Got that?”
“Yeah, I’ll tell him but I won’t swear how he’ll react.”
“Oh one last thing, Alex I love you. I know I don’t tell you that often enough and that’s because frankly I’m intimidated by your father. But I just want you to know that, look I’ve got to run,” said Morgan. He hung up before he lost his nerve then looked at Kim. Kim nodded his head to signal it was time then everything started moving in slow motion.
“You know guys I have to say you almost sold your story. But you see there is a large office of Marshals in Kansas City but the Marshals that were supposed to come here were supposed to be from their L.A. office headed up by a Marshal Dillon who’s the only one flying in from Kansas City.”
The assassins went for their weapons but Kim already had his fork in his hand. He jabbed one in the carotid artery in the neck then ripped it out. The other two drew weapons one pointed his at Kim but he blocked the arm then stabbed it with the fork.
“Augh,” screamed the man. He fired a round through the window as he dropped his weapon. The sound of the gunshot reverberated inside the officer as Kim stabbed him in the eye with the fork. Jamming it in as far as he could the man dropped to the floor screaming in pain.
“No,” yelled Morgan and the third man pointed his Taurus at him and fired. Morgan flew back over the desk. Kim stomped the fork into the man’s brain that was down then dove on the last man. They both went down and began to wrestle for the gun. As Casey and Alex broke in they heard a loud bang and smelt gunpowder.
Kim wiped the blood off his face pushing the body off him to look up at Morgan standing behind his desk with one of the perp’s Taurus in hand. The barrel was still smoking.
“Way to go agent Cobra,” said Kim smiling. He got up slowly as Casey and Alex charged in. But Morgan was immobile just standing with the pistol in his hand.
“Give me the weapon,” he heard Casey say but it was as if John was speaking a foreign language. He looked at him and saw his lips move but what he said just didn’t register. John reached up and took the weapon from Morgan’s hands that was when reality came crashing down on him.
“Oh my God I shot that guy. I think I’m going to be sick,” said Morgan as he heaved up pizza in the trash can.
“How’s your stomach,” said Kim. “The Cobra here took a round to the gut. Good thing you had the vest on or you wouldn’t have been able to come to my rescue. I have to admit it I underestimated you. I don’t do that often but there’s a killer in there,” said Kim as he patted on Morgan’s vest.
“Ouch,” said Morgan as Alex rubbed his chest. “Did you hear that John, there’s a killer in me. The Cobra comes through again.”
“Don’t encourage him the bullet magnet worked again I see. You know if your buddy had gone for a headshot instead of center mass there would be a whole different outcome here. The question is why didn’t they just cap you both and leave?” said John as he looked over at Kim going through their pockets.
“Because John they weren’t here to collect my hit,” said Kim as he held up two photos he took off one of the men. “They were here for you and Sarah,” he said as he held up their photos. “I guess I’m on the back burner now. I should probably thank you guys for taking the heat off me.”
[A little while earlier in a getaway vehicle in the parking lot]
“Drive, drive the team’s been made,” said a man sitting in the back seat with an ear piece in and radio receiver. “We need to get out of here before they come looking for the getaway car.” The driver raced off and headed downtown Burbank where they had a garage and a safe house.
“What do we do now,” asked the driver as he glanced up in the mirror. “Mr. Zorin won’t be happy when he finds out we screwed up.”
“You worry about driving and I’ll worry about Mr. Zorin. We’re not over yet. I heard mention that Casey’s going camping and Walker’s out. I bet they got the word about the hit and are hightailing it out of the city to someplace they think is safe until the heat blows over.”
“So how does that help us? We’re a little short on men right now if you haven’t figured out. We just got handed our...”
“I know what we got handed and what did I tell you? You worry about driving and I’ll handle the rest. I know a few thugs for hire I can call on. Don’t you see we won’t need that many men? We’ve got trackers planted on their vehicles so we let them go to this house they think is safe. We let them stay there for a day or so that way they let their guard down thinking everything is cool then take them out. They won’t know what hit them until it’s too late.”
“It sounds like it ought to work,” said the driver as he pulled into the garage. “I assume you’re not going to tell Mr. Zorin about tonight.”
“Other than we’re getting ready to make the hit, I don’t think he needs to know every detail of our operation. It would be heathier for you if it stayed that way before you think of anything cute.”
The helicopter crew looked over their Sikorsky S-76 and as they were prepping it for takeoff the construction workers gathered to be run back to the Catalina. Jim staged his men off the flight deck so they wouldn’t get in the way of the flight crew. Finally, Paul came over and instructed Jim to have his men climb aboard for the run back.
“You’re coming with us,” asked Jim as Paul climbed on board with them. “I thought the boss couldn’t get along without you.”
“I’ve got to check on somethings for him and he wanted me to make sure you got a proper send off. Is everyone on board? Do a quick head count and let me know.”
Jim looked around then took out a clipboard and read off names. Everyone answered up when their name was called so he put it away then gave Paul a thumb’s up. Paul nodded then put on a headset with mic.
“Okay Xenia,” radioed Paul. “This is humming bird we’ve got all the worker bees on board and are ready to take off. The pilot informed me that we’re going to have to refuel then night over. Any last minute instructions you have for me Xenia?”
“We could use a couple cases of Cherry Coke to hold me over to Hawaii that would be nice. Thank you Oddjob you’re the perfect manservant.”
“Thank you Sir I try,” said Paul. He never was going to get Laszlo to call him by his real name thought Paul. He just shook his head.
The bird lifted off the flight deck and took to the air. They banked did one pass around the yacht then headed northeast back the way they had come. They’d been in the air for over an hour and the men were starting to get restless. Jim got up and tapped Paul on the shoulder.
“How long before we reach Catalina? The men are getting restless. Don’t tell me your pilot here is lost,” said Jim. The pilot looked over at him the turned back around.
“We’re almost there,” said Paul as he pointed out a rock in the middle of the ocean. “Listen, I’m going to do you a personal favor for the good work you’ve done. We’re going to set down out of sight because if we take you straight to the airport the customs and tax people will be all over you guys. From experience you’ll end up losing about half of your pay. I’ve got a minibus setup for you were we’ll land. You guys get onboard then I’ll call and have the driver come and run you guys to the ferry. That way you guys leave as if you’re tourists and you keep all your pay.”
“Sounds good to me,” said Jim. “Let me tell my men but if it means we end up with more money in our pockets and avoid giving it away I don’t see how anyone can say no.”
“That’s kind of what I thought,” said Paul. “Get your people ready we’re almost there.”
The chopper came in low and landed not far from the beach. The pilot kept the rotors going as the men offloaded. As Paul said there was a minibus and they all began to pile in.
“You’re sure this is Catalina I didn’t see any people when we came in,” said the one worker. “I expected it to be full of tourists.”
“This is the off season so there just aren’t that many around,” said Paul as he made sure everyone was on the bus. “Now just sit tight and the driver will be with you soon,” he said as he closed the door then locked it when no one was looking. He got back in the chopper then took off leaving the workers locked in the bus.
“Xenia this is humming bird,” radioed Paul. “Xenia this is humming bird do you read me over. The birds are in the cage and I see the cat’s at the door.”
“Roger read you the birds are in the cage and the cat’s at the door. Good work Mr. Oddjob, enjoy your night in Catalina and don’t forget my Cherry Coke.”
“Thank you Sir, I won’t over and out.”
[Twenty Nautical Miles out to sea]
The USS Kidd was going through her final weapons qualifications as a part of her an upcoming deployment to WESTPAC where she with her carrier battle group would transit on their way for a tour in the Indian Ocean under Central Command. But right now they were busy with this one last exercise. Down in weapons division the Division Officer and Gunner’s mate Chief were talking to their men.
“Okay guys listen up you know the drill today the Old Man wants a good show. We’ve got a couple Senators on board with the Admiral who are observing so we do this right,” said the Division Officer. “Chief you got something to tell them?”
“Thanks LT, yeah okay you heard what we can do for the Old Man. We I had a chat with the CMC and we came up with this bet. You know after we’re done here there’s going to be a steel beach picnic. Well we drop twenty rounds in under a minute in the target area and you guys get head of the line privileges and first call on liberty when we get back.”
“Chief, that’s fine and dandy but what happens if we lose your bet. If we miss the target area or we take longer than a minute,” asked a second class. “What do we lose?”
“Don’t think about the negative concentrate on the positive,” said the Chief but both he and the D.O. heard moaning. “Okay instead of head of the line we serve the line. And instead of first call we get last call but I’m with you in this. If we lose I’ll be there serving too and you can believe we’ll be running drills when we get back so last call will be the whole weekend until we figure out what went wrong. But none of that’s going to happen because you’re going to hit the target. Now man you stations and let’s do this.”
[On the Bridge]
The Captain was showing the Senators around with the Admiral tagging along behind letting the C.O. act as host. They were almost in position to commence firing so the C.O. invited all the dignitaries out to the bridge wing.
“I’m sorry Sirs but you’re really not going to be able to see much. The object of today’s exercise is the make an incursion into hostel waters do a quick shelling of shore facilities then leave before being detected. The rounds fired today will land twenty nautical miles away.”
“Here you might want to put these on,” said the Admiral as he handed the Senators sound protection. “Sorry Mark,” said the Admiral. “I didn’t want to steal your thunder.”
“Thank you Admiral. Yes you might want to put those on. The 5-Inch/54 has a good bark to it not as loud as the 16-inch on the Missouri but loud enough.”
“Sir, excuse my interruption,” said the XO as he stuck his head out on the bridge wing. “We’ve just gotten the green light to commence shelling.”
“Good tell them to stand by on my mark,” said the CO. “Gentlemen now would be a good time to don your sound protection and check the second hands on your watch, twenty rounds in under a minute. XO mark!” yelled the CO as he held up a stop watch. The cannon began to howl as it shot round after round and the second hand on the stop watch ticked away until it reached 59 seconds when the gun stopped firing.
“Twenty rounds fired into the target area,” yell the XO. “Standing by for orders Sir.”
“Good, take us back out into the channel. Give the crew ropeyard for the rest of the day and let the steel beach picnic commence.”
“I want a drone sent up,” said the Admiral talking on his phone. “Have it take photos of the target site then sent to me on board the Kidd our visitors would like to see what we hit.”
“I have to say this was all very impressive,” said the one Senator as they all retired to the CO’s stateroom for light refreshments.
The duty IT specialist manned her station checking the information data flow and making sure the onboard system processed it properly. She’d already been given a heads up that there were pix’s coming for the Admiral via drone so she wasn’t surprised when the data dump came in. She saved the data to a secure thumb drive then printed copies. At first she just gave them a quick glance but something told her to look closer.
“Oh my God,” she said as she grabbed a phone and called the wardroom where all the officers were congregating to celebrate their success.
“This had better be important,” said her Division Officer. “The Department Head and XO are giving me evil looks. Why didn’t you call the Chief first? ... Slow down,” said the Lieutenant. At that point his Department Head came over.
“Phil do we have a problem,” asked the Lieutenant Commander who looked back over at the XO. The XO had a puzzled look.
“Hold on,” barked the Lieutenant. “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” The room grew suddenly quiet. “I’m sorry Sir but you and the XO need to come with me to Comms right away there’s been a terrible accident.”
Chuck was catapulted off the carrier in the middle of the night. His running lights were soon out of sight in the dark as he banked then hit afterburners he was gone behind a cloud bank. When he heard about the attack on Castle it justified to him his need to get home and heaven have mercy on anyone who tried to touch his family because he wouldn’t.