Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 7
Don’t own Chuck
General Beckman was on her Learjet heading back to Langley. Roan and the Station Chief both looked over the jet before it took off to make sure there were no surprises. They had a special detail of men that they absolutely trusted to go over it and only then did Roan let her fly.
“You know I am the director so technically you work for me,” said Diane as Roan told her she could board now.
“I know Diane and I’ll let you continue to think that but we’re wasting time. And if you want get back to organize this manhunt we need to go.”
They boarded the plane and took off. That was two hours ago now they were part way across the Atlantic and the Colonel was on the horn notifying about the events that happened and the attack on Castle. He held the detail about a contract being out on him and Sarah to the end.
“Why that egotistical over rated lab rat with an exaggerated IQ,” said the General. “Who does he think he is putting out kill orders, blowing up labs and threatening us? I won’t put up with this. Very well he wants to declare war then I’ll declare one on him. I want our full resources looking for him. I want Laszlo found and I want him found now.”
“Well General, we got a facial hit on him on Catalina,” said Casey. “With your approval I’d like to take a team and comb the island and see if I can’t flush the rabbit out of his hole.”
“That’s a good idea but I want Agent McHugh to do it not you. Colonel you and Agent Carmichael have a bull’s eyes painted on your backs and these people obviously know what you look like so the last thing we want or need is have a shootout in the middle of a group of tourists. This is still a clandestine service and we have to consider the collateral.”
“But General what do you want me to do? Just roll over and play dead. I’ve never run from a fight in my life and I don’t intend to start now.”
“Colonel this isn’t about what you want. This is about getting our man without breaking our constitutional mandate. I want you and Sarah to go with Chuck’s plan. You two are to go to the Bartowski cabin and stay put until further notice.”
“But General, I think I could be more use in the field then locked away in hiding. If these people come for me I can face them head on, mano a mano.”
“Which is exactly what I don’t want you to do Colonel, you’ve got your orders and I expect you to follow them. You’re to go to the cabin and stay there. Agent McHugh you can take Agent Grimes with you. He will help you maintain your cover as tourists visiting the island. Take the ferry to Catalina like any other tourist and see what you can find out. I doubt if Lazlo is still there but you might find a trail we can use to sniff him out. I don’t have to warn you that he’s mentally unbalanced which makes him even more dangerous.”
“In other words he’s crazy as a loon. Diane,” said Morgan. The General raised her eyebrow. “I mean General, is there any word from Chuck? We haven’t heard from him since they fished him out of the ocean.”
“Agent Carmichael, against his doctor’s advice, took an F-14 and is currently in flight to Miramar. He and I are going to have to have a nice long talk about the difference between heroism and foolhardiness when next we speak.”
Ginger got off work late leaving Langley after most people had gone home. She walked out to her car to find someone already sitting in it. She looked around as if to see if there was anyone she could call to but the parking lot was desolate. One of the most secure facilities in the world but other than a few cameras and a roving watch there was no one around. She reached into her purse but as she did her car door popped open.
“Get in and hurry,” said a familiar voice from inside. “I’ve been waiting for over an hour you know you could’ve come sooner.”
“Stanley, this was your idea,” said Ginger as she got in. “I don’t know why we can’t just come out and tell everyone we’re dating. Are you ashamed of me?”
“Of course not but I’m your supervisor and well if we did then they’d have to move you to another lab and we wouldn’t like that. I’d only be able to see you at lunch and after work.”
“But at least we wouldn’t have to sneak around and you don’t think anyone has figured out what’s going on. Besides the only times we can show our affections now is after work so at least I’d be able to do this at lunch,” said Ginger as she leaned over and kissed him.
“Wow, I not so sure about that,” said Stanley as he sat back in the passenger seat with his glasses all steamed up. “As much as I’d like to kiss you in the cafeteria I don’t think I could stand you working in someone else’s lab.”
“Why Stanley, are you jealous?” said Ginger as she laughed and started her car. “I’m hungry and you’re taking me out to eat. I heard about this little bistro that opened up in Bethesda that I want to try out. It should be far enough out of the way for us.”
“Remember this is the middle of the work week but I think I could talk to your office super and get him to look the other way if you came to work late tomorrow.”
“Oh you could, could you,” said Ginger as she laughed. “And you know my office supervisor well enough to get him look the other way. He’s kind of a crouch some days.”
“A crouch really? Well, I don’t know if looking the other way are the right words. However, I can tell you I know him almost as well as I know myself. So what you want to try this new place?”
“Yes I looked at the menu on the internet and I think you’ll like it,” said Ginger as she looked over at Stanley smiling back at her as she drove. “What is it? You’ve got that look when you want to say something so out with it.”
“Oh I’ve got a look now is it? You and I both know what you want and it’s a desert,” said Stanley as he gave her an impish look.
“Why Dr. Fitzroy what have you got on your mind? You know I’m not that kind of girl,” said Ginger as she laughed.
“I bet you checked and made sure they had Crème Brûlée on the menu. Isn’t that your favorite dessert?”
“Yes after you,” she said. Stanley turned twenty shades of red which made Ginger laugh even more. “Oh Stanley we might be really late tomorrow.”
[Leaving a 30-yard cushion from their target a black Escalade drove behind them]
A black Escalade picked up Ginger’s car after they left Langley and had been following them ever since. Soon it was clear they were heading for Bethesda and before long the target vehicle pulled up outside a bistro. The black Escalade drove by as Ginger and Stanley got out of car handing the keys to the valet before going inside.
“Confirm target is on foot and has entered the bistro,” radioed the man in the back to their mobile command. “I’m circling the block we can take the target when she comes out. We’ll wait in the parking lot until then but be aware she’s not alone. What do we do with her date?”
“I’ve got a facial hit on him. He’s Dr. Stanley Fitzroy an egghead type who works in Langley with the target. He’d make a good hostage if things go sideways,” radioed the man back.
“So we grab both and ship them off to the boss. Oddjob can sort them out when he gets them on board. Now let’s wait,” radioed the man as they eased into the parking lot next to Ginger’s car.
“Harry, you know Paul doesn’t like being called Oddjob,” said the driver as he looked back at him in the mirror.”
“I know,” said the man as he smiled back. Suddenly there was a peck on the driver’s window. A man stood there with cummerbund and bowtie on motioning the driver to lower his window.
“Can’t you read buddy? This is valet parking only you can’t stay here. You’re going to have to move along this isn’t public parking or I’m going to have to call the owner,” said the valet. But as he was talking, Harry got out quietly from the other side of the Escalade then snuck around the SUV coming up behind him.
“Sure, sure, don’t get bent out of shape already just let me find the right key. Oh crap,” said the driver as he pretended to drop his keys out the window. “Can you be a pal and pick those up for me then I promise I’ll be out of your hair.”
“Geez what a klutz,” mumbled the valet as he bent down to get them but as he came up Harry wrapped a garrote around his neck and pulled it tight. The valet thrashed about for a bit banging against the side of Ginger’s car and the Escalade trying to break free but before long he went limp.
“Thanks a lot there you know a little help here would’ve been appreciated,” said Harry as the driver got out and shrugged his shoulders.
“Why? Looked to me as if you had the situation under control,” said the driver as he looked down at the valet then Harry. “You want heads or tails?”
“Just grab his feet and let’s take him over to the dumpster,” said Harry as they took the body over then tossed it inside.
“Harry, don’t you think someone might notice the valet is missing?” said the driver as they walked back over to the Escalade.
“I’ll take care of it. You just go wait in the vehicle,” said Harry as he walked over to the valet stand. There he put up a message. ‘Valet Parking Temporarily Suspended Self-Parking Until Further Notice.’
[After waiting for a couple hours it was time]
A drizzling rain started to fall shortly before Ginger and Stanley walked out of the bistro laughing. They’d shared a Châteaubriant, a four inch piece of the most tender tenderloin you could put you fork in but filling. The only thing they ate with it was a salad. However, Ginger had to have her Crème Brûlée that they shared too.
“Oh no it’s raining,” said Stanley as he offered her the inside of his jacket to stay dry. “Where’s the valet? I guess he wanted to stay dry,” said Stanley reading the sign. He grabbed her keys from the board then they headed towards her car. As they were almost there, two men stepped out of a black escalade parked next to it blocking their path.
“We’re getting wet do you mind getting out of our way so we can get into our car,” said Stanley. But the men weren’t moving. “Ginger, get ready and run back in the bistro,” whispered Stanley.
“We have an invitation for the lady to join Dr. Zorin on his yacht. If you’ll come with us we’ve got transportation lined up.”
“Excuse me who is this Zorin anyway and what does he want with my fiancée? Tell the Doctor that if he’s looking for a date there are some websites that can help him out,” said Stanley. He adjusted his belt then he reached in his jacket pulling out a pen. All the men reached under their jackets when he went for the pen but laughed when they saw what he was holding. “Yeah go ahead and laugh. But just remember Fitzroy means son of the king so don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“Yeah and what are you going to do little man?”
“Run Ginger,” said Stanley as he pushed her away. He pressed the clip on the pen and it fired a dart at the man standing next to Harry. The man dropped face first on the wet asphalt. “Who’s little now,” said Stanley tossing the pen. It exploded as a flash grenade blinding his attackers.
“Come on,” yelled Stanley as he caught up to Ginger. He grabbed her by the hand as they ran back to the bistro only to find it had closed.
“After them,” they heard the men yell behind them. “Don’t let them get away just go we need to catch them but remember we need to take them alive.”
“We need to hide somewhere,” said Stanley as he took out his phone hitting the help desk at Langley. “Agent needs assistance. This Dr. Stanley Fitzroy we’re under attack...”
“I’m sorry but you must’ve dialed a wrong number,” said a mechanical voice. “Please check your number and try again.”
“Why you piece of crap software. I designed you and you’d better patch me to the Situation Room or so help me I’ll rip out your data bytes one by one.”
“Fitzroy, Stanley, Doctor recognized. This phone call may be monitor so that we can improve our customer service please state the nature of your emergency. Dr. Fitzroy, please state the nature of your emergency. Nothing heard.”
Neither Stanley nor Ginger were able to answer. As they were hiding behind a car Stanley noticed a dart in Ginger’s neck he was about to pull it out when one appeared in his chest then it was lights out.
“Let’s get them back to the van,” said Harry as his men threw them over their shoulders. He walked up to Stanley’s phone then stomped it. “We need to go. How’s our guy anyway?”
“He’s as fast asleep as these two are. You have to give it to the little guy to be a runt he puts up a pretty good fight.”
[In the Situation Room]
“Folks look alive the computer’s got a hit agent needs assistance in Bethesda,” said the Watch Officer. “Strange, we don’t have anyone operating there.”
“The computer says Dr. Fitzroy called it in. He’s the computer geek who lives in the bat cave below us. What kind of trouble could he get into?”
“I don’t know but we need to check it out. Send a team out to investigate and let’s try to reach him by phone to see if we can find out more.”
“Sir, he’s not answering. The call just goes straight to voice mail but I checked CCTV feeds and it doesn’t look like there’s anything going on.”
“Get a team on scene then I want to talk to their leader.”
[A little while later in Bethesda]
“Langley this is mobile team we’re pulling into the parking lot outside of Louie’s Bistro and Bar. But I don’t see anything. You sure this isn’t a false alarm.”
“Dr. Fitzroy called it in and we can’t get in touch with him,” radioed the Watch Officer. “Have a quick look and let me know. I’ve got to put something the log.”
“Over there,” pointed out one of the men. “Isn’t that’s Ginger Hartley’s car,” said the man as he did a quick motor vehicle check. “Yes that’s hers,” said the man as the rest in the van started to laugh.
“Can someone cut me in on the joke,” said the team leader. “Langley is waiting for some sort of answer.”
“Sorry but they’ve been trying to be discreet and hide it from everyone. However, everyone knows they’ve been doing a little data exchanging on the side and not just on the side.”
“Langley this is mobile one I think we can write this off as a false alarm. Make a note to have the Doctor called in to explain about his late night data upload. I’ll explain what I mean when we return to base, mobile team out.”
The next morning Casey stopped by Sarah’s to tell her to make sure she was ready to go to the cabin when he got back. He had to run to the Buy More to get some last minute things he wanted to take with them to the cabin that was when she informed him she was taking Sam and Emma along. He didn’t say anything but he didn’t much like it either.
“Just have everyone ready by the time I get back. I’ve got to run down to Castle and grab some more motion detectors to help set up a secure perimeter around the cabin along with a few other toys.”
“Can I wear this,” said Sam as she walked out of her bedroom wearing Casey’s helmet. “Are we going to have to eat dog food again?”
“Dog food? What are you talking about and wait a minute that’s from my armory. What are you doing with it? It doesn’t even fit you squirt,” said Casey as he pushed the helmet down over her eyes.
“Hey, who turned out the lights I can’t see,” said Sam as she bumped into the refrigerator and waved her hands out in front of her like she was blind.
“Now you’re just acting silly,” said Sarah as she took it off her. “I told you this was Uncle Casey’s and he’ll need it back.”
“No go ahead and let her keep it for now. But what’s with the dog food... Oh the MREs I get it but they’re not all bad. I bet you liked the brownie,” he said. She nodded her head as she took the helmet back from Sarah and put it on.
“Go back to your room with Nana Emma. I’ll be in a minute to get your things ready,” said Sarah as Sam disappeared into her room with Emma. “John, I know you don’t like that I’m bringing her with us but we had an argument and this was the compromise.”
“What I don’t like is the General sending Alex and Morgan on mission without us. She was out of line not letting me head up this team. They need someone with experience.”
“John, I get it your worried about Alex but she’s smart and we trained her well. There’s nothing to worry about. She can take care of herself and Morgan,” said Sarah. “And if Laszlo does have a contract out on you and me showing our face in public just endangers everyone including Alex.”
“And bringing Sam with us puts her in harm’s way too but they’ll have to get past me to get at her. I’m sure you have your reasons.”
“Chuck wanted me to put her on a flight out of here with Emma,” said Sarah wondering if she was being a good parent or not.”
“Sounds like the right move to me,” said Casey. He wanted to ask why she didn’t do it but that wasn’t any of his business.
“Easier said than done,” said Sarah as she thought about Sam’s conversation with Emma that she overheard. “Yes much easier said.”
“Just have everyone ready by the time I get back.”
[Across the street from Echo Park]
While Casey and Sarah were talking in the courtyard a man walked a dog down the street outside Echo Park. He stopped to let his dog do his business then started away. Looking around carefully he made sure the coast was clear before opening the side door grabbing up the dog and jumping inside.
“You know you could’ve gotten a fine for what you did back there Pepe,” said the driver. “You’re supposed to pick up after your dog. You certainly aren’t a very responsible pet owner.”
“I’m not a what? I don’t know why I put up with you and I certainly don’t know why I got stuck with walking this thing to begin with. I should’ve sent you.”
“You put up with me because you got everyone else killed and besides I’m the driver remember. That’s what you keep reminding me of along with staying in my place.”
“Which you never do and as far as fines go I didn’t make the mess it was this fleabag who did so he should pay the fine,” said Pepe as the dog growled at him. “This mutt isn’t even mine. If it bothers you that much you can go and pick it up I just needed the mongrel for cover.”
“Well you might explain that to the policeman who’s about to knock on the side of the van,” said the Driver. As he spoke there was a knock on the van.
“Crap…. Excuse me officer I know what you’re about to say but you see I forgot my bag when I took my dog out this morning so I came over and got one. You just happened to show up as I was about to go back and clean up my dog’s mess.”
“That’s good but I was going to tell you that you have to move your vehicle. There’s no parking on this side of the street today. Read the posted sign,” said the Officer as he pointed it out. “Your buddy can move your van while you go clean up your dog’s mess. What are you people doing parked here anyway?
“The networks pay us to go out and check TV reception. You know now that we’ve switched over to digital they want to make sure everyone is getting the best reception possible.”
“You need to come over to my neighborhood then and check it out. I’ll be watching the game and wait for the play then I get ‘no signal’. I swear we were better off before at least then I could blame the wind.”
“You could blame it on solar flares,” said Pepe. But the cop didn’t see the humor. “We’re working on it.”
“I bet you are. What’s the dog for? Is he a signal retriever?” said the Officer as he shook his head. “Just get your crap off the sidewalk and move your rig or I’ll have it towed.”