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Pinpoint Analysis



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental


I wanted to do something different in this new story. On my author's website, I asked for volunteers to be characters in my latest attempt. In other words, I'm using real names applied to fictitious characters. Some have asked that only their first name be used, so in some cases the last name only is fictitious.

Please keep in mind that the personality of a given character does not necessarily describe the person in real life. After all, this is fiction.

A big thank you to those who have lent their name to this endeavor! Now, may I introduce to you the cast thus far.

The Cast

Dr. Lester Griffin

Marine Biologist at MLRC

Deb Griffin

Lester's wife

Trista Nicole Griffin

Lester's daughter

Susan Petroski

Lester's Assistant

The Honorable Michael Adams

Secretary of the Navy

Commander Lori Colbo

Commander - US Navy

Shall We Begin to Analyze the Pinpoint?

The long day had finally ended. Lester Griffin headed home from his lab at Miami’s Marine Life Research Center where he was employed as a marine biologist. He was one of the best, and he knew it. So did everyone else in the center. There was no doubt about it. Lester fell to the cocky side of over-confidence.

The study of marine life was what Les lived for. He was a self-admitted workaholic with very few other interests, but he knew the ocean’s creatures like the back of his hand.

His wife Deb, was waiting for him as he came through the door. Supper was on the table and Trista Nicole was already seated with a hungry appetite.

“So, Dad. How was work today?”

The same question with the same answer day after day. “Oh, okay, Honey. Nothing special.” End of conversation.

Deb and Trista loaded the dishwasher while Les got comfortable with the History Channel. Another day had ended and another would soon begin.


The alarm clock was ringing insistently. The only thing Les liked better than the study of marine life was sleep. His time was running out. He already hit the snooze button three times. Hurriedly, he went through his morning motions of showering and dressing before backing his car out of the garage. If he could hit the interstate by 7:10, he might make it to the Center on time.

As he entered the building, his assistant, Susan Petroski came running down the hall. A look of fear and urgency covered her face. "Boss! Boss! The Honorable Michael Adams is here to see you. He's in Conference Room 1. We need to hurry!"

Les raced off to the conference room, wondering all the while why the Secretary of the United States Navy wanted to talk to him. He was feeling a touch of fear and urgency as well. Shaking it off, he entered the room.

Susan spoke first. "Doctor, I'd like to introduce you to the Honorable Michael Adams and Commander Lori Colbo of the United States Navy."

Then Adams spoke. "Thank you, Ms. Petroski. You may be excused."

Irritated by the comment, Susan muttered to herself as she made her exit, stomping as quietly as she could. In the end, it didn't matter. She was excluded, and that's all there was to it.

"Doctor, we have a serious matter to discuss. About two weeks ago, marine animal life began washing up on the beaches of Miami without explanation. We need to find out what this is all about. We need to know how these animals died and can we expect more to die? I have several specimens for you to examine. You'll need to report your findings to the Commander. And . . . we need an answer ASAP."


Les didn't have a good feeling about this. "With all due respect, Sir, why have you chosen me? I'm sure you have men within your own ranks capable of doing the job."

"Ah, but you come highly recommended. I've personally looked at your credentials, and you are exactly what is needed at this time. When shall Commander Colbo expect your report?"

Les scratched his head. He knew the conversation wasn't going his way. "Again sir, with all due respect, if I'm as knowledgeable as you say, why haven't I heard about this before. I live in Miami. I work in Miami. These are my beaches, I've not heard anything about marine life being washed up on any of the beaches."

"As I said, Doctor, when will you have the report for Commander Colbo?"

"Sir, I'm a civilian. You can't order me around, and I'll not be ordered around - not without a full explanation - which, if I recall correctly, you haven't given me yet."

"Okay, Doctor Griffin. You win. Please just look at the specimens and tell me what you see. Then we'll talk about it. I can have a truck deliver them to the lab before the afternoon. Please. Just see what caused the death of your beautiful creatures, and we'll go from there. In the meantime, don't say a word about any of this to anyone - not your assistant, not your wife. Not to anyone. We don't want to cause a panic for your town, now do we?"

Adams and Colbo returned to Washington. Les started for the lab - his mind churning the entire time. "Why would the Secretary of the Navy want me to work on this project? Why would he come all the way from Washington D.C. to Miami? Why haven't I heard about this before? An outbreak of beached fish like this would have surely caught my attention."

His thoughts continued. "Oh, now I get it. I'll just play along with the Secretary and see what happens. It could be more embarrassing for him if I take the bait. Besides, if there is a problem of that magnitude, I need to take care of it. There are too many animals at risk.Okay, Secretary. Bring it on!"

Susan burst through the lab doors. "Boss! Boss! A huge truck just pulled up to the delivery door. They say they have specimens for you. This is more of that Navy stuff, isn't it?"

"Just tell them to deliver it to the lab. I'll meet them there."

"You'll need me to help, right Boss?"

"Actually, Susan, why don't you take the afternoon off. I know I have a tendency of overworking you sometimes. You go on. I can handle this."

"But, Boss . . . "

"No. I insist. You need a break", and Les thought (and so do I). Now get out of here. See you in the morning."

Susan stomped off - not so quietly this time.

Les began to study, examine, and test the now dead ocean life. After a few hours, his suspicions were confirmed. He picked up the phone.

"Office of the Secretary of the Navy. Commander Colbo speaking. How may I direct your call?"

"Commander, this is Doctor Griffin. I have your written report ready, but I think we need talk in person. Can you . . ."

"Just a minute, Doctor. The Secretary wants to speak with you."

"Yes, doctor. It's good to hear from you. You say we need to speak in person?"

"Yes, sir. It's not just a large number of animals washing up on the beach, This is bigger than anything I've ever seen before. When can you be here?"

"Tomorrow morning!"

"Tomorrow morning, it is. I will see you then, sir."

Susan escorted the Secretary and Commander down the hall to the conference room. She tried her best to subtly get information from both, but neither were biting. Les was waiting for them with a pile of papers to wade through. "Please, have a seat," he offered.

Adams and Colbo took seats across the table from Les. "Thank you both for coming. I could have just faxed you the report, but we really do have a serious problem, as you know. To cut through all the paperwork here," Les shoved the papers across the table, "these precious animals have been exposed to large doses of radioactive isotopes, including cesium 137 and iodine 131. There's radiation in the waters, and if we don't find its source many more animals will die."

The Secretary spoke up. "Thank you, Doctor. That confirms what we were thinking. We'll be on our way. Both stood up to leave.

Les jumped up. "Wait a minute. You didn't travel nearly 1,000 miles for this. Please, sit back down."

Les didn't realize he was playing into the hands of the Secretary. "Doctor, we came for confirmation of what we already knew. You gave us that. Now, we must go. We have our own personnel to follow up on the matter."

Colbo added, "Well, it is a long trip, sir. The doctor has done a lot of work in such a short time. Maybe we should hear what he has to say."

That being agreed upon, the three sat back down. Les continued, "You see, sir, these animals were all fried, but at three different times. Three waves of radiation in two weeks." Les placed three samples on the table. He continued to stress his point."These creatures all died sometime within the past two weeks, but there is strong evidence that there were three separate applications of radiation. They weren't all killed at the same time."

The Secretary and the Commander continued to play the game. Adams stood again. "Okay, thank you, Doctor. We'll be going now."

"No! Wait! Mr. Secretary, Commander. You didn't come all the way from Washington to Miami two days in a row just to have your concerns confirmed. You don't care about these animals. Tell me, what's this really about?"

"Okay, Doctor. If you must know. Over the past two weeks, the Navy has lost two planes and a ship off your coast, all heading for the Bahamas. We searched everywhere. We can't locate them anywhere. They just vanished into thin air."

"You mean they were traveling over the Devil's Triangle?"

"No, the US Government doesn't officially recognize that description.

"Oh, excuse me. I mean the Bermuda Triangle. Does the US Government recognize that description?"

Adams was becoming irritated. He knew where the questioning was going. "No, we do not recognize that description. Our planes and ship were traveling the Atlantic waters."

Les took a deep breath. "Heading for AUTEC, I'll bet. Tell me, sir, what were the dates your equipment went missing?"

"The ship went missing July 12th. The first plane was lost from radar on July 18st, and the second on July 21st. Do you think the radiation bursts that killed your animal life could have also affected our planes in some way?"

Les was beginning to see what he thought he saw. "The Navy wants to find their planes." What he didn't see was there was more to it - much more.

He ventured on. "So if I can find the radiation problem and protect the wildlife in the ocean, maybe you're hoping I can find out what happened to your planes and ship. Is that it?"

Colbo broke in. I must say, Doctor, you are very intelligent. That's exactly what we were hoping. Are you ready to sign on with the US Navy. We pay our civilians very well, you know?"

Adams added, "This mission is classified. You can tell absolutely nobody what you're doing. The national security is at stake. We don't want to unnecessarily alarm anyone.

Les was ready to sign on and the mission was underway.

Adams and Colbo headed back to Washington. Once on board the plane, Adams winked at Colbo. "See, I told you it would work. It's a win-win situation. He saves his wildlife. We find the planes. If the mission is a success, the Navy will come out smelling like roses. If it fails, well, it's all Doctor Griffin's fault. He'll be the scapegoat.

Pinpoint Analysis - Part 2

© 2018 William Kovacic

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