Pinpoint Analysis - Part 14
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.
- Pinpoint Analysis - Part 13
The abandoned Navy ship holds some secrets - secrets that Les must hold on to. And if he doesn't?
From Part 13
We left Les and Hoss investigating the abandoned Navy ship off the Sam Juan Coast. The men received a surprising, yet stern warning from Commander Colbo to leave the ship immediately.
The chopper's engine began to whine as the blades began to churn. Within minutes, the two were airborne heading back to Miami. Les and Hoss struggled to get their headphones in place.
Les spoke first. "Hoss, it wasn't radiation that killed that marine life. It was the electromagnetic fields that circulated in the waters."
All of a sudden, Hoss turned scientific. "Can we prove that?"
"Not yet, but I'm going to. What we need to find out is what causes the electromagnetism. Where does it come from? What about those tiny pinpoints of light we saw? Look below us. The ocean is as dark as always. No pinpoints tonight. I'd be willing to wager there's a connection between the pinpoints, the force fields, and the disappearance of the planes. All we need to do is connect the dots."
Les changed the subject and went on. "Don't you think it a little bit strange that Colbo would be making contact after all this time?"
Hoss answered, "There's something under the surface, and I don't mean the surface of the Atlantic. Despite what you've been told, the Navy is still involved with this investigation. They're watching your every move.
A cold feeling fell on Les as he looked at Hoss. "Do you think my days are numbered?"
"I think it's very possible. You can't mess with the US Navy. They win every time."
Another thought crossed Les's mind. "Did you see the tattoo on that sailor's hand? I thought it was interesting."
"You mean the one with the dark clouds and the words 'ready for the storm?'"
"That would be the one. I have to wonder if that poor sailor knew the storm he was about to enter. I doubt it. The Navy tells its sailors nothing. You know, this need to know garbage."
The chopper began to hover as Hoss dropped the copter on to the tarmac at the heliport. The two exited and started for their vehicles. Hoss yelled over his shoulder, "I'll see you in a day or two. We'll try The Triangle again."
Les nodded as he headed back to the lab. Another late night, but he had to make sense of the discoveries onboard the ship. He switched on the light and walked toward his desk. He jumped as he heard a voice from behind him.
"May we sit down, Doctor?" Adams and Colbo had been waiting for his return. "
Les was wishing Hoss with him, but at the moment he had no choice. He snapped at the two, "How did you get in here?" After having second thoughts, he thought he better be kind - extra kind.
"Yes, of course. Please have a seat."
Secretary Adams wiped his brow as he collapsed in a chair at the end of the table. Colbo spoke up, "We're sorry to barge in on you like this, but we need to talk."
Les prepared himself for the worst. He was hoping they would give him an ultimatum to stop the investigation and let him live. He reached for the file drawer that held his dismissal contract. Finally, he was ready to hand it over if they would give him a chance. He put the contract on the desk.
There were no words that found their way to Adams' lips. Colbo continued. "Les, put that away. We're not interested in taking you off the case. We need you. Do you really think we were so careless as to leave the contract behind? Les, we're the US Navy. There's a purpose behind everything we do.
"The government shut us down. We had no choice but to officially let you go - but unofficially, the investigation continues."
"Why? Why would you care if the US government doesn't? It's just a waste of your time."
"All I can say is that the investigation must continue. It must remain under the radar. It is not supposed to be happening. The case has officially been closed. There just isn't any more money to fund the project. They had to close it. Of course, that meant the government had to come up with a story to spread to the public. If Washington gets wind of this, we'll all be in trouble.
"Washington was sending a secret convoy down to clean up the ship. That's why I told you the Secretary was coming to the ship. I had to get you away before their arrival."
Les was becoming more irritated with each word. "Like I care - I'm going up one more time with Hoss to try to rescue Cartwright. Hit or miss, I'm done after that - period! That's it!"
"We'll talk later, but think about it, Les. We need you."
Adams and Colbo dismissed themselves only to leave Les scratching his head and wondering what was going on. It was strange. The stress showed on Mike's face and he spoke not a single word. Les thought, "Very strange, indeed."
November 21, 1:00 a.m. and Les was still waiting for Hoss to usher him into Skyforce7. Finally, an out of breath Hoss made his way over to Les and the chopper. "Let's get going. We don't have much time."
Les told Hoss the bad news. "Hey, ol' buddy. This is it. Win or lose tonight, I'm hanging it up."
A stunned Hoss couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Oh. Okay. I get it. Quit or be placed in front of a firing squad, right?"
"No, actually Adams wants me to continue. He has an agenda of his own. I just don't know what it is. Like you said, I have to be careful, but the real reason is I'm just burned out. Months of nonstop work has me down. It's not that I need the money. I'm just obsessed with finding the answers - but no more. I'm done with it. So let's give it our best shot tonight. Let's bring Cartwright home."
The helicopter slowed its pace as it approached the interception point. All was calm.
In the distance, the lights of a jumbo jet made its way into the darkness. Other than that, the color of black was on the palate. Both men waited in anticipation as they hovered near the coordinates, now known as Air-zero. The hairs began to stand on Les's neck as he sat tight waiting for the right moment. 2;06 was approaching rapidly.
Hoss maneuvered the aircraft to Air-zero and waited for Les's signal. Les looked up in time to see the plane making a beeline for the same coordinates. "Hoss, get this thing out of here. That plane's heading straight for us."
The angle of the plane determined that Hoss had to take the copter higher. He whisked the chopper through Air-zero narrowly missing a head-on collision with the huge jet. Les looked below. The plane had disappeared, as it were, into thin air - just vanished.
The nerves had to settle before the two resumed flight. Les could only think how fortunate they were. "Whew. That was too close, Hoss. We made it, but my heart still goes out to Lieutenant Cartwright.
"You called me," a third voice spoke from behind. Les looked back and couldn't believe it! "And you are no doubt lieutenant Cartwright. Am I correct?" A broad grin covered Les's face.
"Yes, sir. I am sorry. Have we met? And where am I?"
Hoss and Les left Cartwright in confusion as they both celebrated by laughing hysterically.
Cartwright interrupted by screaming, "Where am I?"
"Sailor, you've just been rescued from not existing." Les quipped.
Les continued to explain to Cartwright what had happened and how he was rescued.
Small talk followed. Then Les noticed a tattoo on Cartwright's right hand. "Hey, what's with the tattoo? I saw one just like that on another sailor's hand."
A tired Cartwright politely answered the question. "Many in the Navy wear this tattoo, and we wear it proudly, sir. We must be ready for anything at any time. We're ready even if the storm means death."
"So tell me, Cartwright, what makes you so ready?"
"I'm a Christian, sir. Jesus has taken me through many a storm, and I know He will again. He would take you, sir, if you ask. You see, 2,000 years ago Jesus died on a wooden cross . . . "
Les cut him off. "Yeah, I heard that story before, but what's the big deal? People die every day, and in some horrible ways, I might add."
"Oh, He wasn't just another person. He's God."
Les couldn't help but joke, "So God really is dead."
"No, He is very much alive. He conquered the storm of storms - death. Because He is God, death couldn't hold Him. And sir, if you seek to follow Him, He'll take you through the storms, too."
"You went through some storms, eh?"
"Oh, yes sir. I'm sure you have, too."
Les grew cocky. "Me. No. I can handle anything that comes my way." I beat the storms every time. I depend on myself. I don't need a crutch like you."
The chopper was about to land. Cartwright added, "You will someday, sir. Did it ever occur to you there is a reason why I was not taken with the others? Did it ever occur to you there is a reason for me being here right now sharing this with you? I could not go with the others because I belong to Christ. The devil can only take those that are his."
The whirl of the blades began to fade as the chopper set down on the tarmac. Les asked one more question, partly because he needed an answer and partly to change the subject. "What happened up there - the day your plane went missing?"
"All I know is what I saw in a flash just before the light enveloped the plane. There's a reason they call it The Devil's Triangle. He rules the waters and the skies in that area of the ocean. Something is taking place underneath the water. It's the devil himself behind it."
Les and Cartwright exchanged contact information, and Les rejoined Hoss. "The kid seems a little confused, wouldn't say you, Buddy?"
"I don't know. Maybe he's on to something. Even you said we need to consider every angle."
"Well, we rescued the kid. I'm done with it. Tell your story to your reporter. I'll catch up with you sometime."
Les's cell phone was ringing. "Hi, Honey. What's up?"
A frantic Deb was on the line. "Les, Trista's plane vanished. She's gone! She's gone!"
"Whoa. Slow down, Honey." What do you mean her plane vanished?"
"You forgot already? I'm at the airport waiting for Trista. She's coming home for Thanksgiving break. They said her flight disappeared from the radar. There's no trace of the plane - or her."
"Now, calm down. I'll be right there. Did they say what time the plane went missing?"
"2:06 - less than an hour ago."
- Pinpoint Analysis - Part 15
Secretary Adams leaves Les with one question - "Are you ready for the storm?"