Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 8
Don’t own Chuck
The Major drove into Langley early to get things ready for the General’s return. He really didn’t understand this trip of hers to North Africa nor how the virus that had been running rampant in the system at Langley suddenly went away. Then there was Roan, dead now alive, and judging from the General’s last message doing quite well. All this was giving him a headache. The only good thing was the General seemed to be acting normal again which also meant he needed to get in and have her briefing ready.
“What’s this entry here,” said the Major reviewing the logs in the Situation Room. “Dr. Fitzroy called in an emergency and it was written off as a false alarm?”
“It’s written all there,” said the Watch Officer looking at the clock. His watch was over and he wanted to get out of there. “We sent out a team but they didn’t find anything other than Dr. Hartley’s car parked in the parking lot. You know they are... well seeing each other.”
“So what does that have to do with calling in for assistance? The men that were dispatched did get out of their vehicle and looked around or did they just do a drive by?”
“I don’t know they call it in as a false alarm then the team leader came by and explain to me about the liaison between the two.”
“You mean he came by to spread gossip. Is that what you’re telling me? I think you should come in early for your watch this afternoon the General may want a piece of you. Who’s the current Watch Officer,” said the Major as he looked around the room.
“I am Sir is there something I can help you with,” said a woman. She couldn’t help but overhear how his predecessor had screwed up.
“I want the CCTV feeds for this address bistro in Bethesda,” showing her the log entry. “Give me everything we can get around it and put it on the screen.”
“Geez why are all the cop cars there,” said the Watch Officer. She panned through different feeds until she found the one that gave her the best view of what was going on. “Oh crap they’re fishing a body out of the dumpster.”
“Let’s hope it’s not Doctor Fitzroy’s after he called in for assistance and was ignored,” said the Major as he glance back and shook his head at the man he’d just yelled at then turned around. “I want a team of our own there right now and by God they’d better get out of the vehicle or their next assignment will be wearing snowshoes through a minefield across the DMZ.”
“Yes Sir,” said the Watch Officer as she dispatched a team. “I’ll have them take over from the police and bring the body back our morgue.”
“Good, this is what should’ve been done last night and maybe there wouldn’t be a body in the dumpster. Geez folks we’re supposed to take care of our own.”
“I’m sorry,” said the previous Watch Officer but the Major cut him off. He had enough of his excuses and he let him have it.
“Sorry, Sorry is just a cheap band aid a word that acknowledges that you screwed up. Go tell the guy in the dumpster your sorry maybe that will bring him back to life. The best thing you can do right now is get out of my sight before I have you measured for snowshoes. If I were you I’d start dusting off my resume you’re probably going to need it after the General hears about this.”
“Major, I was able to clear up the image of the guy in the dumpster then I ran a facial on him. I got a hit from the DMV. Good news is he isn’t Dr. Fitzroy. His name was Billy Jones I cross referenced his name with the IRS and according to his last tax return he’s or was the valet for the bistro.”
“Excellent work, well that’s some good news,” said the Major. Everyone turned and looked at him. “I mean good for us not for him. Oh you know what I mean. Has anyone tried calling Dr. Hartley? Or did everyone just call Fitzroy because he called in?”
“I’m calling her now,” said the Watch Officer as she was calling they saw from the feed one of their black vehicles pull up then one of their agents walked over to a plain clothes detective and one walked over to shrubs outside the bistro. They watched him reach into the bushes and pulled out what looked like a purse. He took out a phone then answered.
“Bring all that into Langley and we’ll go over it,” said the Watch Officer then she hung up. The police left and the men in black took over.
“I’m going up to my office but I expect to be kept posted on developments,” said the Major as he left. He couldn’t help wonder why would they take Ginger unless they wanted some leverage on Stanley.
“I’ve got to double the guard around the deep database,” he said to himself as he got off the elevator then walked to the General’s office. Connie was already in and judging from the smell had already made coffee.
“Morning Major,” said Connie. “Coffee’s ready if you want a cup. I checked on the General’s flight when I came it. There hasn’t been any changes and she’s still due in at the same time at Dulles. I’ll call her driver and make sure she’s picked up.”
“Thanks for handling that for me I could be busy. We’ve got a situation and I’m not talking about the mess in California. Dr. Fitzroy is missing along with his assistant Dr. Hartley. Someone grabbed them last night and the Watch Officer dropped the ball on it now we’re playing catch up.”
“You know how much she likes that. But I don’t think he screwed up as much as the Navy did yesterday,” said Connie as she pointed to the news program on the TV. “Have you heard about that?”
“No, I went running early then came straight in. Can you raise the volume so I can hear?” asked the Major. Connie picked up the remote and raised it while she and the Major got coffee. The journalist was in the middle of a live newscast from outside the Naval base at Point Loma.
‘...Navy spokesman for Third Fleet is saying officials are not sure how yesterday’s mishap occurred but could guarantee a full investigation was underway. For our viewers who are just tuning in yesterday the USS Kidd was conducting a routine weapons exercise which included shore bombardment on the uninhabited channel island of San Clemente. Everyone is baffled as to how the incident took place, but somehow it seems a group of civilians trespassed on the firing range during the exercise and they were accidently shelled. The exact number of civilian casualties and their names are being withheld pending notice of next of kin. As you can imagine tensions are running high among the residents of the inhabited Channel Islands. More to come as this story develops at our regular noontime news so for now this is John Adams outside Third Fleet headquarters signing off.’
“Crap, they’re supposed to check the firing range before starting live fire. Geez who gave the Kidd the green light? I wonder if my Watch Officer has relatives in the Navy.”
“Why don’t you call Chuck and get him to look over what you’ve got? With his special abilities he might be able to offer some insight. He might keep you from chasing your tail and get something concrete in your hand before the General arrives.”
“I thought about that but he’s gone dark until he reaches Burbank. After the incident with the Lear he’s maintaining radio silence so no one knows he’s still alive or where he’s at.”
Morgan and Alex drove down to the Catalina Sea and Air Terminal berth 95. They left their car in day parking then made their way into the terminal. After checking on the ferry departure time they went to the Express Grill to grab a cup of coffee before departing.
“Morgan, I don’t know why you don’t want to take the helicopter,” said Alex. “It’s only fifteen minutes then we’re there. The ferry is going to take us an hour to get there.”
“Those fifteen minutes will take ten years off my life. You know how I feel about flying and besides the boat ride is more romantic,” said Morgan as he sipped on his coffee and ate his Denver omelet.
“This is a ferry we’re talking about not the Love Boat and you better hope we have calm seas or your breakfast is going to come back on you with vengeance.”
“I’ve been on a boat before I was on a boat owned by a friend of Anna’s parents and it didn’t bother me,” said Morgan. “Actually Anna and I had a good time.” Alex gave him a look. “But come to think of it, it wasn’t that good.”
“Right, well let’s go they should be boarding now,” said Alex. They got up from the grill and started walking towards to the ferry landing but as they did they noticed all the Navy personnel milling about.
“Is it just me or does it look like it’s Fleet week?” said Morgan as he looked around a sea of white uniforms and dixie cup hats. Alex nodded her head and grabbed a newspaper that someone left behind.
“Here’s the reason read there was an accident at a Navy firing range and a group of civilians were killed. You know after what happened with the Los Robles labs, Dad’s car and Chuck’s plane this sounds like something Laszlo would orchestrate.”
“I agree but we’re here to root out Laszlo and I think I’ve just found a trail to follow,” said Morgan as he pointed to a palette of Cherry Coke being loaded on the ferry. “I remember seeing cans of that stuff in his lab and he had one in his hand the last time I saw him not to mention he offered me one.”
“So we follow the Cherry Coke trail. Way to go Morgan,” said Alex as she kissed him on the cheek. “I think we can step up the PDA after all we are a young couple in love.”
“That we are,” said Morgan as he put his arm around her. “You know your father; Casey would have a fit if he saw us.”
“I know my father’s name Morgan and who’s to say he didn’t,” said Alex as she kissed him again then point out the CCTV cameras that covered the pier.
John pulled up in the Buy More parking lot then ran inside for the things he was missing like motion detectors, his Barrett .50 and a few grenades the essentials for camping. As soon as he walked in he saw Big Mike and unfortunately for him Big Mike saw him. He thought about making a run for it but it was too late Big Mike motion for him to come over.
“John I thought you were going to out today or that’s what Morgan told me when he called me to tell me I was in charge and he was taking Alex to Catalina.”
“I’m on an offsite today. Morgan asked me to help Sarah with some things around the house since Chuck’s still out of town. I just dropped by to grab some tools then I’m off.”
“I shouldn’t be asking you this but since we’re future father-in-laws I figure I could ask you as one father to another. You can tell me is everything all right between Morgan and Alex? You know are they still... well you know together as a couple.”
“Unfortunately they are... I mean fortunately they are. Why do you ask?” said Casey as memories of Morgan dumping Alex over the phone came back and the way Morgan broke Alex heart. Casey began to boil inside. “Why is there something I should know about?” He wanted to add before he killed him.
“Well it’s probably nothing but step inside the office,” said Big Mike. “Do you notice anything or smell anything usual?”
“No, everything seems the same to me. The carpet is clean,” said Casey then he raised the blinds to see Skip and Fernando sword fight with toy light sabers. “No, I’d say everything is normal if normal could be used around here. Why am I missing something?”
“I thought you were observant,” said Big Mike. “It’s not what you can smell it’s what you can’t. This office has been cleaned. Look at the carpet what do you see? I’ll tell you what you see nothing. You don’t see the spot where Morgan spilt his grape soda or the stain Jeff left when he slept on floor... Never could get that out it was after he and Lester got kicked out of Bennigan’s... Phew, anyway no this is a new carpet and look at that glass in the window.
“What about it,” said Casey. He was trying to play it off but he remembered the way they left the office after Kim took out the assassins. “It looks like glass to me.”
“You see that’s why you’re going to stay a green shirt for the rest of your life. You can see out of it. Where are the bug guts from all the flies I swatted on it? Where are all the smudge marks from the little rug rats whose parents let them touch everything with their greasy booger covered little hands. No that glass is either new or has been cleaned.”
“So the office has been cleaned for once properly so what’s the big deal? Seems to me you’d be happy or am I missing something. What are you trying to hint at?” said John trying to think how to get out of this.
“Why would he need his office cleaned like this unless... well you’re a man of the world you know what I mean.”
“No, I’m sorry you lost me. What are you trying to say? You’re wondering if he and Alex... in here. I’ll kill him. I’ll break him in half then break him again.”
“No they have her house for that. No, I was wondering if they broke up and he was seeing someone else on the side. This sudden trip to Catalina maybe was his way of trying to tell her it’s over.”
“He’d just sent an SMS... No again unfortunately not, he told me he just wanted to get away with her and have some alone time,” said Casey as he clinched his fists thinking if Morgan took advantage of the situation he’d kill him.
“Good, I was worried there for a while that he’d be moving back in again and you can’t cage wild animals John once they’re out. You just can’t and sometimes they come out and want to roam around the house if you know what I mean. The lion needs room to pounce on the gazelle if you get me.”
“I think this is a good place to stop,” said Casey. “I really need to get those tools and get out of here. Sarah’s going to be waiting.”
“This offsite of Chuck’s sure is lasting a long time or does it just seem that way to me? The boy sure seems busy.”
“I don’t think this has been any longer than the others but I believe Morgan said he was due back soon. I can’t wait so he can take care of his pregnant wife.”
“You’re a good friend John Casey,” said Big Mike as they walked out of the office. Big Mike saw Skip and Fernando still sword fighting.
“You two idiots if you don’t want to join the out of work and homeless you’d better put those things away before you hurt someone. If I find any of them broken I’m docking your fool pay,” said Big Mike as he walked off.
Casey got what he needed then got out driving back to Echo Park where he picked everyone up then they headed for the cabin. On the way there they stopped to pick up supplies and provisions. But as they pulled in Sarah checked the mirror for something she thought she saw.
“What is it? Did you see something?” asked Casey as he turned around and looked but they were the only vehicle parked in the lot.
“Maybe I was wrong but I thought I kept seeing the same Escalade always popping up from time to time behind us.”
“I don’t see anyone put us here so if they were behind us they have to be ahead now. You might be having too many baby hormones and they’ve got you jumpy.”
“I didn’t know you were an OBGyn Casey and thank you for that professional diagnosis,” snapped Sarah. She was sorry she did but everyone talking about her pregnancy and what she could, should and had to do was wearing thin.
“I can’t wait for Chuck to get back,” Casey said under his breath. “Well we should stock up on food while we’re here or we’ll have to living off MRE’s.”
“Woof, woof,” said Sam from the back as she giggled from her booster seat.
“You’re not getting my brownie back there,” said Casey as he looked up at her in the mirror.
“Grrr,” replied Sam then giggled again.
A black Escalade drove past the small grocery store that Casey had pulled into. It drove down the highway for a little ways before it too turned off at a rest stop. The SUV pulled up where they could keep an eye on the highway but they were also out of sight from the highway. There two men stepped out to stretch their legs.
“I’m switching off the tracker for now that way they won’t find it if they try to scan,” said the man on in the passenger seat as he got out. “You almost blew it back there when you got too close.”
“I did not,” said the driver as he stretched his arms and legs. “They pulled off at that grocery store for supplies not because they were checking for a tail. Anyway I kept on going so we should still be all good.”
“’Should be’ you say well we can afford to lay back. We don’t have to worry that much about losing them with the tracker we’ve got planted on their vehicle. Once we know where they’re going we’ll scout the area then I’ll head back into the city and pick up the rest of our new crew and I’ll drive the surveillance van out.”
“Sure I can chill out here in no man’s land until you come back and just where would you like me to wait, maybe in a tree?”
“What are you afraid of that big foot might get you? If he did he’d save me a lot of grief and take care of a big pain I’ve got. If you want I can tell you where.”
“Funny very funny where you keep your brains no doubt. So tell me what did you tell Oddjob when he called asking why it was taking so long?”
“I told him that we were waiting for the right moment and contracts on people like these needed to be done when the time was right or things could go sideways.”
“You mean like what happened to our original team last night but I bet you didn’t tell him about that did you? Or did it just slip your mind?”
“Can you explain to me why I put up with you and your mouth? I must be a glutton for punishment. I should’ve put a bullet in your head a long time ago and have been done with you.”
“You probably wish you had but right now we’re a two man team. If you kill me you’ll have to do everything by your lonesome self and before you think you can our target vehicle just drove by.
“Crap, come on,” said Pepe as they both got in their Escalade. “I’m switching the tracker back on. Remember to leave a thirty yard cushion not a thirty foot one.”
“I grew up in Europe we use meters not feet and yards so excuse me if I got a little close before but it’s not my fault.”
“Then keep a thirty meter cushion that should be a thirty yard cushion plus a couple of feet. I’ve got a strong signal coming in so we can afford to lay back a bit and take it easy,” said Pepe as he check the device.
It wasn’t long before they were turning off on a side road heading off down a dusty dirt trail back through a forest and into nowhere. The cabin sat in the middle of a patch of abandoned woods which was the way Chuck’s father wanted it.
“This is going to be a challenge,” said Pepe to the driver as they humped it on foot. “One road in and out so we can’t drive in without telling them we’re coming way before we get here.”
“Yeah and look what the Big Guy’s offloading from their vehicle,” said the driver as he passed Pepe y his binoculars. “Those are state of the art motion detectors. He’ll probably set those up on the foot trails that lead in here.”
“No problem we’ll just cut us a new trail coming in from that ridge over there. We come in on quads cross country to the backside of the ridge. Then come down on foot blazing a trail so we go around the motion detectors. Once we’re down here we fan out surround the cabin then boom. A couple well placed RPGs should do the trick then we take the place. You know I wish I could thank them for making this so easy for us. Out here we can make as much noise as we want and no one’s going to hear so we can afford to take our time.”
“I’ll camp out here until you get back with the rest of the men. I’ve got a good view and I’ve got everything I need until tomorrow night.”
“Just stay out of sight and keep in touch I’ll be back with the team.”