Chuck vs Golden Thumb Chapter 9
Don’t own Chuck
Stanley groggily came to with a headache number 63 which was the total of the Excedrin headache numbers 39 and 24. His mouth was dry and it felt like he’d eaten his pillow. Looking around everything was out of focus and spinning which gave him a nauseous feeling. Then he remembered what one of the thugs had said that Dr. Zorin wanted Ginger when they took them. Ginger! Where was she.
“Ginger, where are you,” yelled Stanley as he suddenly sapped out of it and found his arms bound to his chair. He fought against the bindings until he heard her voice.
“Stanley, Stanley it’s okay calm down I’m here next to you,” said Ginger. He looked over and saw she was sitting across from him on the other side of the plane. For it was a jet they were on heading west judged Stanley from the sun’s direction.
“You should listen to the lady,” said one of the men standing in front of them. Stanley recognized him immediately as one of the team that abducted them. “Mister, we were told to bring the lady. You are cargo we can jettison anytime we want so you should keep that in mind.”
“That’s Doctor if you don’t mind buddy and you’re in a world of hurt here soon. The CIA and the NSA will be looking for us soon then we’ll see who’s laughing.”
“I could just as easily end you here,” said another man. Stanley recognized as being the one he’d darted. “Just give me a reason and I’ll end you,” said the man as he put his Taurus next to Stanley’s head.
“How was your nap I hope it was as restful as ours. Go ahead if you’ve got the guts. But this close that bullet is going to go through me then out the side of this plane. You know what happens to little holes at this altitude? I’ll tell you what they become big holes and it will suck everything lose in here out it. Oh look all you guys are loose so go for it and let’s see what happens.”
“Why you little...” said the man. He looked down at his weapon then at Stanley then at weapon. He turned red then slapped him across the face with the pistol.”
“I knew you were a wuss,” said Stanley as he spit out blood. “I can see the yellow streak running up your back from here. Tell me is that a family trait?”
“Why you I’m going to teach you a lesson you won’t...” said the man as he turned and came back at Stanley but the other man got in the middle pushing him away.
“Can’t you see he’s trying to get under your skin and you’re letting him. Go aft and chill I don’t want to see you up here until you’ve had a chance to cool off.”
“Stanley, stop agitating them. I don’t want anything to happen to you. Please, don’t leave me alone with these animals.”
“Listen to Ginger,” said a man on the forward monitor. “Unfortunately when you reach out for hired help you never know what you’re going to get. Let me introduce myself I’m Dr. Max Zorin your host. Ginger, do you remember me?”
“Your name isn’t Zorin it’s Mahnovski, Laszlo Mahnovski if I remember correctly. We chatted over the internet about next generation computers or the like.
“She remembers me. You don’t know how happy you’ve made me feel knowing a beautiful creature such as yourself remembers someone like me. But my name now is Max Zorin but you can call me Max.”
“Will you give me a break,” said Stanley. “I remember you too I filed your folder after Chuck and his team arrested you for trying to blow up Santa Monica pier. I see you’re off your meds again or were you always a megalomaniac?”
“Funny Stanley, very funny you won’t have to worry about me shooting you I’ll just have you dropped out of the plane. That seat your sitting in is rigged so it will drop out of the plane then a panel will slide over sealing the hole so there will be a minimum drop in cabin pressure. One of my pet projects of the agency unfortunately it’s never been field tested so would you like to be the first?”
“Go ahead you’re the man in charge,” said Stanley. He wasn’t sure where all this courage was coming from but he wasn’t going to back down.
“Very well you asked for it,” said Zorn as he reached up and put his hand on a red button. “You ever ask yourself why do all the buttons like this one have to be red.” I built this console I could’ve made it any color like magenta for example. That should give you something to think about on the way down. Good bye Mr. Fitzroy,” said Laszlo as he pressed the button.
“No don’t,” cried Ginger. This time it was her turn to try to break free with no success. Stanley for his part just took a deep breath and waited for it and waited for it but nothing happened.
“Surprise,” said Laszlo. “I was just kidding. I’ve studied your work Stanley and I have to say I’m impressed. I think the agency has really underestimated your genius and that’s from one genius to another. I have a little project I’m working on and I’d like your opinion... both of your opinions actually.”
“You know you could’ve just sent me an e-mail with a thousand word abstract and I could’ve commented on it,” said Stanley. He still felt his heart in mouth and it was beating like a race horse.
“You and Ginger will be my guests on my yacht. Well I’ve got to run now so many things to get ready and prepare for. I hope you both have a pleasant nap.”
“Nap?” said Stanley as the man in front of them darted both. “Oh crap here we go again,” he said then it was lights out.
Morgan and Alex followed the Cherry Coke trail. Luckily for Morgan the seas were relatively calm and he got off feeling just a little queasy. The ferry docked at Avalon the only incorporated city on the Catalina Island and while Morgan kept an eye on the pallet letting his stomach calm down Alex went to rent a golf cart. There are very few private cars on the island so transportation is done by golf car, electric bike or on foot. Morgan was a little worried if Alex would get back in time when a panel van pulled up and two men started to load the pallet in the back.
“Crap what would Chuck do,” said Morgan as he watched them load. He had to do something or they risked losing them. Then he got an idea he pulled out a map he brought opening it up he pretended to be a tourist trying to get his bearings straight.
“Hurry up we need to get this loaded,” said the one man sounding a little short tempered with the other. “Paul’s already screaming about there not being enough time and that we’ll be late at the rendezvous point.”
“If he’s so concerned about getting this crap to the boss why isn’t he here helping,” complained the man from inside the van. “Since we sprung the boss Paul’s been doing nothing but brown nosing. He’s no better than the rest of us and what’s up the boss calling him Oddjob now?”
“You complain too much and that’s going to come back on you one of these days. You saw what happened to those yardbirds, didn’t you? What do you think they’ll do to you? I’ll tell you what the minimum will be... a float test. Now put your back into it and help me.”
“Well I didn’t mean anything I was just asking,” said the man as he and his friend situated the pallet in the back of the van then they started to drive away. Morgan watched them pull out and as they started to leave Alex showed up.
“Good you’re here finally follow that van,” said Morgan. As she drove he explained what he’d overheard the men say. “... so you were right that accident the Navy ship was accused of was no accident. I can’t believe Laszlo would do something like that what kind of monster is he?”
“Why not,” said Alex. “You didn’t see what he did to the lab and those were people he worked with and knew. The man is certifiably crazy and we need to take him down permanently.”
“This ‘we’ you’re talking about is the agency, the Navy or are we talking we as ‘you and me’,” he asked but he knew the answer already. Alex was Casey’s daughter.
“That ‘we’ can be all of the above but right now I only see ‘you and me’ here,” said Alex as they drove onto the airport behind the panel van.
“Stop,” yelled a security guard. “I need to see some identification,” he said as he stopped them at the gate leading to the flight line.
“Homeland,” said Alex as they showed him their badges. “We need to get through right now.” The man looked them over then their I.D.s then waved them through.
“Crap did we lose them,” said Morgan. “Wait pull up behind that hangar over there the one with the doors closed,” he said as he pointed it out.
“I get it Morgan, way to go quick thinking there partner,” said Alex as she leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “I wish Dad were here to see you in action. He’d be as impressed as I am.”
“And probably be so impressed he’d have his big hands around my throat choking me to death with affection after seeing us kiss.”
What Alex figured out, and what Morgan had noticed, was that all the hangar doors were open so they could see inside, that was everyone except this one. It was the only one with the doors closed so the van had to be inside. They drove around behind to the back door and while Alex picked the lock Morgan stood lookout then they were inside.
“Shush,” said Alex. “Over there,” she whispered pointing at some oil drums. They made their way as quietly as possible then worked their way as close as they could to listen in on the conversations. There were six men in the warehouse that they could see all standing around a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.
“I want you four to catch the next chopper for Long Beach when you get there our man will meet you. I want you to go help him to handle a contract he’s having difficulty taking care of. He’s got the equipment and details just make sure he gets this done. He’s been kind of dragging his feet,” said the one guy then he handed them and envelope with what looked like money. The four disappeared then the man turned to another one dressed in a flight suit. “Are we ready to go?”
“Yes but I want to wait about a half an hour. The yacht’s turning around to meet us at the new rendezvous point and if we get there early we’ll have to hover. As it is with our fuel consumption it’ll be tight but less now that you’ve lightened our load but I don’t want to take any risks sitting the boss’ bird in the Pacific, do you?”
“No, that wouldn’t be a healthy thing for us to do. Come on I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and we can relax for a bit.”
“Just order me a double latte to go,” said the pilot. “I’ve got to grab someone from grounds control and have them pull out the bird for takeoff. If I can get this done fast I’ll join you but if I can’t I’ll drink it on our way out to the ship.”
“Okay you’re the pilot and you know what has to be done but we need to get that Cherry Coke back onboard.” The two men left leaving Alex and Morgan alone in the hangar with the bird.
“Come on,” said Alex as she wave for Morgan to follow her. They made their way to the chopper then they huddled next to it. “Keep an eye out while I pick this,” she said as she opened the side door.
“Okay there’s the Cherry Coke come on we need to report what we found in,” said Morgan as he started to pull out his phone.
“No not yet we’re almost there,” said Alex. “Come inside with me inside and close the hatch. We need to find the name of the boat Laszlo’s on if we can then we’ll have him. You and me complete our first mission bringing down the perp on our own.”
“You know you’re sounding worse than your father right now. I’d think he’d caution us to use prudence. We could just as easily follow this chopper with a spy satellite then send in a boarding party after it landed.”
“What if Laszlo finds out and tells the chopper not to come back or he flies off his boat to another place. For all we know he could have a series of boats and planes.”
“Which begs the question what good is it if we find the name of the yacht he’s on if he takes off before we can get to him?”
“You’re a genius Morgan Grimes. You’re an absolute genius,” she said as she kissed and hugged him. “I should’ve thought of that. Boy, are you on the ball today.”
“Well I wouldn’t go as far as saying genius just a little brighter than some,” said Morgan thinking about Casey made him smile. “Wait a minute what should you have thought about?”
“Here take this and put it over you” said Alex as she handed Morgan a blanket. “We’ll hide on this side of the pallet away from the front. Our guy sent away his four men that would be flying back with them so we’ll have this whole area to ourselves.”
“You want us to stowaway on the helicopter then what? We board the yacht and take Laszlo then we call the General. She sends in a mop up team after we’ve done all the heavy lifting?”
“That was your plan after all,” said Alex as she kissed him again on the cheek. Suddenly the hangar bay doors opened and some men walked in with a small truck attaching it to the front of the chopper then began to pull it out.
“Why do I always have to go shooting off my big mouth,” said Morgan. Alex held her finger up to her mouth to tell him to be quiet.
“Shush, we’re moving outside. Send a message to Dad and let him know where we are and not to worry.”
“Sure right away,” said Morgan. He shook his head then pulled out his phone and began to type a text message.
“Hurry up I think they’re coming,” said Alex. Morgan could hear them too outside the chopper so he had to be extra fast and consist.
[Outside the cabin]
Casey had set about putting in the motion detectors with a little help. Sam followed him around like his shadow carrying the devices handing them one at a time to him so he could install it. They were putting in the last one when he got a notice that he had a message.
“On chopper with Alex, help!!!” read John. He looked at his watch and shook his head. “Squirt we’re done with our job and they’ve just started. I hope Grimes didn’t sleep in again.”
“Here you two are,” said Sarah. “I’ve been looking for you two. John, I brought you a cup of coffee and for you helper I brought a fruit juice.”
“Thanks I could use this. As helpers go she’s more reliable than some. Morgan just texted me telling me they just left by chopper for Catalina. Half the day is over and their just getting started.”
“That’s right Mommy, Uncle Casey and I are working hard. We’re protecting democracy whatever that it?”
“Tell her sister,” said Casey as he took a sip. “Umm not bad actually... Well, there’s no sitting around on our hands out here.”
“That maybe but democracy will have to stand vigilante on her own for a bit. It’s almost time for lunch and Emma cooked eggplant parmesan she made from scratch.”
“Come on squirt we need to keep up our strength so we can be the bastions of liberty.”
“Sure,” said Sam then she went over to Sarah and pulled her down so she could whisper in her ear. “What’s a bastion?”
An F-14 flew in low after dark at MCAS Miramar. It was late evening when the jet received permission he to land. Communications with the pilot was kept down to a minimum as a part of the pass down and the grounds crew was just one man per orders. The Tower Control notified the base Commandant of their visitor’s arrival this too was in the pass down. The Commandant ran out to the hangar to greet the pilot as he jumped out of the plane.
“Sorry Colonel for all this secrecy but I’ve already lost one plane from out from under me I didn’t need another.”
“No problem, here are the things you asked for,” said the Colonel as he took him to a table with a tranq pistol and two extra clips, a secure telephone and a strange looking weapon. Chuck took it then strapped it to his forearm. “Can I ask what that thing is?”
“This? This is called telek a Tuareg dagger. My General has a sense of humor she sent this because this was the last place I was at and I guess I made an impression with this tribal chieftain... well it’s a long story.”
“You ought to put it in your backpack with all that fabric until you get off base. My marines won’t know what to do with someone driving around with that on and speaking of driving the Nighthawk is parked outside.”
“Then I think that’s it Colonel. I don’t have to remind you but as per your orders we never saw each other nor was I ever here.”
“Yes I understood that... well I don’t know what kind of mission you’re on but God’s speed and watch your back.”
“Thanks, I’m going to need it,” said Chuck as he saddled up then laid rubber as he drove off base heading to L.A. then onto the cabin. But he didn’t know what had already gone down earlier.
At the helipad in Long Beach the four man team got off the bird. They were met by another man who immediately took them out of the terminal and loaded them in a black Escalade. They pulled out and he drove them straight to their safe house. The whole time in the SUV no one said a word then when they got behind closed doors they wanted to know the plan.
“You can me One,” said the one then he named the rest of them in numerical order. “We don’t use names. We can call you Zero.”
“It’s simple,” said Zero as he laid out photos they’d taken. “Here’s the cabin where our targets have holed up in. Outside on the trials they’ve planted motion detectors leading in and they have a clear view of the road leading in. All this is good for us.”
“How do you see that?” said One as he studied the plan. “We’re going to be detected anyway we go in before we get close enough to do anything.”
“You see that’s what they think and what will make them complacent. However, if we cut a new trail in from over the ridge here,” he said as he laid down the photo. “We can take them by surprise.”
“What kind of grade are we talking about on that ridge? It looks a little steep but all in all it’s not a bad plan. Okay there’s just one problem with your plan,” said One looking over the photos. “We’re executing this tonight right after sunset.”
“But we don’t have the quads to get up on the ridge or what about hacking out part of the trail. I figured on waiting until tomorrow so we’d be better prepared and give them a day to get lazy.”
“Ideally you’d be right,” said One. “But the boss wants this done now and that means tonight or you can pick up the phone. You can try and argue with him but I won’t swear what the outcome will be. We just might get another hit if you know what I mean but go ahead we can always use the extra cash.”
“Okay, okay we’ll bring the surveillance van up as close as we can get along with the Escalade in case we need to bug out quickly. Well if we need to hit them after sunset we need to gear up now.”
“That would be a good idea. Okay everyone wears a vest if nothing else it will protect you from the briars and the brambles. Just remember when we’re moving around out there the word is stealth which means if you’ve got something to say now’s the time. In the meantime go get changed then grab something to eat we head out in ten. I think that’s what you wanted to say,” said One as he took over at Zero. Zero suddenly had the same value as his number.
“When we get there we’ll make contact with a guy I left to keep the site under observation in case they bugged out or things changed. I need to warn you he’s got a little bit of a mouth on him.”
“So did my dog before I shot him. Nine minutes guys I expect everyone in the vehicles.”