Pinpoint Analysis - Part 2
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 1
- Pinpoint Analysis
Just another day at work? No. Lester Griffin's nightmare has just begun.
Revisiting Part 1
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.
The phone was ringing at the lab. Susan answered. “Marine Life Research Center. How may I direct your call?”
It was Commander Colbo. “Yes, Ms. Petroski, I need to speak with Doctor Griffin immediately.”
“He’s just finishing up for the day. May I take a message?” Of course, Susan was hoping for some juicy, top secret information.
Colbo shot back, “No, you may not take a message. Put him on the phone right now.”
Susan stomped off rather loudly to find Les. “Hey, Boss – that grouch Colbo insists on speaking with you as she put it, ‘right now!’”
Les picked up the lab phone and connected the call.
The grouch spoke first. “Doctor, we’ve been patiently waiting for an update on your research. We expect to have a written report from you by first thing tomorrow morning.” She disconnected the call as quickly as she spoke.
Les looked at his watch. It was already 6:30, and he knew he’d never be done in time for dinner. He thought, “Better call Deb. She won’t be happy, but I got to do what I got to do.”
“Hey, Honey. I’ll be working late. Wish I could be there with you guys, but I have to finish up this stuff before tomorrow morning. See you ten-ish.” He wished he could have hung up the phone as quickly as Commander Colbo did.
“Come on, Les. You’ve worked late every night this week. It’s bad enough that you don’t get off work until 7:30. It makes for a late meal with Trista and me, but this ten o’clock stuff is getting old real fast. Oh, okay. I’ll see you when you get home.”
Frustration was written all over Deb’s face. She turned to Trista and voiced what she had been feeling.
“Honey, I really don’t want to think about it, but do you suppose your dad is cheating on me?”
“Mom, don’t even go there! He may be married to his work, but he’s true-blue married to you, too, and you should know that. But Mom, I do have an idea. If Dad’s not coming home for supper, let’s take supper to him. We can eat on the patio behind the lab.”
“You know, Kiddo, that’s not a bad idea. I’ll grab the food. Get the car keys, and let’s go! If he is cheating, we’ll catch him red-handed. If not, we’ll have a wonderful meal to look forward to. Then she added, ”Of course, if he is cheating, he’ll be wearing the meal.”
Deb and Trista hopped in the car and headed out. Within minutes, they arrived at MLRC and went inside. Susan was just leaving.
“Oh, hello, Mrs. G. Are you here to see the hubby?”
“Yes. We brought him some goodies since he’ll be working late.”
“Why don’t the two of you go out on the patio? I’ll find him for you. Oh, and Trista, you look awfully happy about something. What’s up, girl?”
Triata hung her head in embarrassment. Deb prodded, “Go ahead, honey. Tell her the good news!”
Taking a deep breath, she lifted her head, still fidgeting with her hands. “I was just accepted to the University of Puerto Rico on a full scholarship. I’ll be moving in less than a month.”
A look of encouragement covered Susan’s face. “Way to go, girl. I’m so proud of you. What course of study will you be taking?”
“I’ll be taking some general courses the first year, but my major will be in marine biology.”
“Yeah, I could have guessed that. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it? I’ll be right back. I’ll go get your dad.”
The food was spread on the table, and Deb and Trista sat down to wait for Les. It wasn’t long until Susan returned.
“I can’t seem to locate him, Mrs. G. He probably went down to the beach. This extra research is keeping him quite busy.”
A puzzled expression passed on Deb’s face. “What extra research, Susan? He didn’t say anything to me about extra work.”
“Oh, I probably shouldn’t say. It’s that Russian thing. You know. The radiation leak from a Russian sub.”
“There’s been a radiation leak? Where? In the Atlantic? He’s not said anything to me about it.”
“Oh, I probably said too much already. It’s classified. You know, on a need-to-know basis. Forget I said anything.”
Deb and Trista stared at each other in unbelief. ‘When did this all take place?”
“Oh, the Secretary of the Navy stopped by the other day. He hired the Boss to do some research for the Navy.”
“And you heard all of this?”
“Well, not exactly, but I can connect the dots. They thought they were being so secretive, but I put it all together. This could be World War III, and just think! I’m a part of it.”
Les came through the door. Susan’s face turned a bright red as she excused herself and started for home.”
“So, this is a nice surprise. If I can’t come to supper, supper can come to me.” He moved to hug Deb.
“Not so fast, Doctor. So you were down at the beach. Since when did you start doing night field trips?”
A confused Les answered, “Actually if you must know, I was in the restroom. Now, what’s this about night field trips?”
“Les, Susan told me.”
“Told you what?”
“About the Russian sub leaking radiation into the Atlantic.”
“She what!? Wait a minute. First things first. This is a classified operation. I can’t tell you anything about it. Secondly, there are no Russian subs. Who told her that?”
“Oh, she just said she connected the dots.”
There were no two ways about it. Les was about to lose his composure. With a little help from Trista, he calmed down enough to enjoy his meal.
Before leaving, Deb had to know. “Does this put you in danger? I mean, is this something you’re really prepared to do. This is the Navy, Les. This could be World War III.”
“I don’t know how far this will go, but I’m committed to finding out. I’m not planning on dying just yet. But if I do, you’ll be the first to know.”
She punched Les’s shoulder and looked straight into his eyes. “That was sick, Les. See you ten-ish.”
“Honey, one thing. I don’t think I’m in any real danger, but you could be if word gets out about of this. You can’t say a word to anybody about this. I’ll deal with Susan in the morning.”
© 2018 William Kovacic