Pinpoint Analysis - Part 15
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 14
Another missing plane, but it's not what you think. The real trouble is only beginning.
Excerpt from Part 14
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."
The time was indelibly stamped upon Les's mind. He knew it was Trista's plane that he and Hoss nearly collided with. He also knew that had they not been in the sky at that time, Trista's plane probably would not have entered Air-zero. There was no fog. Les bore all of the guilt of his daughter's disappearance, but his mind told him otherwise.
"This can't be, Deb. She's out there. The plane just hasn't landed yet. We'll just give it some time. She'll be here. A tearful Deb buried her face in Les's shoulder. "No, she won't. She's gone. The Triangle claimed another one."
"No, that's ridiculous, Deb. Planes are late all the time, especially at Miami International. Let's just walk for a bit. When we come back, I'm sure Trista will be right here waiting for us. Come on."
Les talked a good talk, but he was having difficulty processing the event. He recalled young Cartwright's words, ". . . . There's a reason they call it The Devil's Triangle. He rules the waters and the skies in that area of the ocean . . . . It's the devil himself."
A short walk and a cup of coffee later, Les and Deb returned to the arrival gate to wait for Trista. She never came.
No body. No funeral. No closure. After a week, Les forced himself back to work. It was all Susan could do to keep track of him. His mind was elsewhere. The project that had obsessed him for the past five months was put to rest at his choosing. In the dust of that project was a missing girl, a missing daughter - Les's daughter.
His anger grew and was poured on whoever happened to be the closest at the time. Susan drew the lucky number. From down the hall, she could hear objects being thrown in the lab. She went to investigate. Just as she opened the door a book whizzed by her ear. A glass shattered at her feet.
"Boss, what are you doing?!"
A week's worth of frustration and anger was boiling over. Les couldn't contain it any longer. His violent anger had turned to a river of tears as he sat on the floor oh his nearly destroyed lab.
"Boss, you've been through too much too fast. I'm going to clean this up after I call Mrs. G."
It wasn't long until Deb appeared at the lab. She made her way down the hall to the lab. Les was still sitting in the middle of the floor sulking.
"Les, what's this all about? You need to help Susan clean this mess up. Have you lost your mind?"
Susan motioned for Deb to step out in the hall. "Mrs. G. Don't be too hard on him. He just lost his daughter. You just lost your daughter. He's hurting. I'm sure you are, too."
Deb looked at Susan. "Yeah, I guess you're right. We're both dealing with a lot. We just handle it differently. I keep busy. I don't allow those thoughts to enter my mind. it's just one foot in front of the other. Don't slow down. Don't let the thoughts catch up with you. Les - he thinks too much."
"Mrs. G. Your husband's not been to work for a week. What did he do while he was off?"
"I don't really know. He was always going someplace, always had something to fill his time. We hardly talked at all."
Susan's eyes locked on Deb. "I can tell you what he did. He kept busy. He didn't allow those thoughts to enter his mind. He put one foot in front of the other. He didn't slow down. He didn't let the thoughts catch up with him.
"Look where he's at now. The two of you aren't so different. You're taking the same path he took, and you'll end up at the same place. Please, Mrs. G. You both need to deal with your feelings. It's a hard thing, but it has to be done."
Deb and Susan walked back to the lab. Les had regained his composure and was straightening his desk. Susan took Deb's hand and placed in Les's. "I'll clean this up, Boss. The two of you go enjoy the afternoon. The weather is perfect for a walk in the park. You both need this."
There was a knock on the door. Susan opened it only to see Adams and Colbo. Mike pushed the door aside and entered with Colbo close behind. He took one look at the trashed room. "Meet us in the conference room in five minutes." Deb took a deep breath and looked skyward before leaving Les, Susan, Adams, and Colbo. She would be driving home alone.
Susan followed Adams down the hall to the conference room. "Sir, Ma'am - Les just lost his daughter. He needs some time . . . "
Adams interrupted, "Yes, he needs some time to figure out what we're going to do about it. You may be excused."
Les made his way to the room, took a seat, and buried his face in his hands.
Adams spoke softly, "Les, we know you're hurting. We want to help. Les was thinking, "Then let me go be with my wife."
"Les, thank you for bringing back Lieutenant Cartwright. We surely owe you one. Before we selected you we went through scores of profiles. We had to know exactly who we were dealing with. I know your temperament, Les."
Colbo looked Les's way. "It was your courage, Les. It was your commitment that brought back Cartwright - and at a very high cost."
Les slammed his fist on the table. "Just get to the point!"
"We're not done yet. That means you're not done yet. We're truly sorry about your daughter, but the truth is, Les, you know you've not completed your goal. You know you didn't see this project through to completion."
Les slammed his fist on the table again. "I did everything I was supposed to do with or without your support. I told you I'm done - period! Let me alone. Why is it so important to you anyway?"
Colbo stood to intervene. She knew Les hit a nerve. Unless she could diffuse the situation, an explosion was about to take place. "The stakes are higher now, Les. It's not just some marine animals that may matter to you, but they mean nothing to the Navy. It's not just a few missing planes that the government has no concern for."
Adams ordered Colbo to sit. He looked directly into Les's eyes. "It's not just about those planes. It's about who was on those planes. My wife was on the first plane to go down. A replacement was needed on that morning. My wife volunteered. That's who she is. Now she's gone."
Les turned his head away. "So, you have a personal interest in this project. I should have known."
Adams was about to forget he was addressing a civilian. "All I know is we are going to bring her back. You have a personal interest, too - your daughter. But don't think about your daughter. Don't think about my wife. Think about the other fathers that went missing. What about the children whose daddy won't be coming? What about the mothers without sons returning? How about the brothers who won't be returning to their siblings.
"Think about it, Les. We've got to bring them home. It's my duty. It's my responsibility. It's yours, too. It's not going to be easy. As a matter of fact, this will no doubt be the hardest thing you've ever done. But it has to be done.
"Your daughter is out there somewhere crying for her daddy. Is she to suppose you don't care. Is she to realize she's too much trouble to bring back. Is she to think you never cared about her? She's your flesh and blood, for crying out loud!"
Adams grabbed Les by the collar and lifted him to eye-level. "Are you ready for the storm?"
- Pinpoint Analysis - Part 16
Les meets with Trista, but how or why is anybody's guess.