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 4
Another lost plane with two men on board heading for AUTEC, but three voices are heard during the Mayday transmission.
From Part 4
We last left Les, Adams, and Colbo discussing downed flight 45 with two men onboard. Why are there three voices heard on the Mayday recording?
Les took another deep breath."Sir, you mentioned there were two men on the plane. Is that correct?'
"Yes. It was a supply mission. They travel light - just the pilot and co-pilot."
"Sir, there were three voices on the recording. Who was the third?"
A perplexed Adams looked at an even more perplexed Colbo. Les added, "We need to find that third voice. Get me the recordings as soon as you can. It raises a tough question, but if we can answer the tough stuff, the other stuff will come easy. At the very least, it's the best lead we've had.
Adams and Colbo dismissed themselves and headed back to Washington. Les was left with nothing to do but scratch his head in wonderment.
Adams and Colbo remained in Miami. The voice recordings from the previous downed planes were sent by express delivery, and the next day the trio found themselves once again at Les's office. Susan made sure all had coffee and donuts before returning to her work.
Les began, "Sir, do you have any ideas who the third person was?"
"Commander, let's hear it again"
Colbo started the recording. It was hard to hear because of the static interference, but in Adams mind, it was unmistakable.
"That's Lieutenant Cartwright! Commander, that's Cartwright!"
Colbo answered, Sir, that can't be. It's impossible."
Les was confused. Colbo looked at Les. She answered the question he had yet to ask.
Doctor, Cartwright was traveling on Flight 26, the first plane to go missing."
Adams continued. "That's Cartwright. I'd know that voice anywhere. Yes, there's still some static, but it's much clearer since the voice was isolated. That's Cartwright. I know it."
"Okay, so you say he was aboard the first plane," Les began. "Let's listen to the recording from the first plane. We do a lot with voice analysis in the lab. We track some creatures by voice, especially dolphins. We can identify them by their chatter.
"Excuse me for just a minute. I'll have Susan get the equipment ready. We'll know for sure if it is Lieutenant Cartwright. Commander Colbo, if you don't mind, would you please set up the recording from the first plane?"
The door closed slowly behind Les as he left on his mission to find Susan. Within minutes Les returned with the equipment and Susan following close on his heels. "Doc, do you want me to set up the equipment. I have a few spare minutes. I'll be glad to run it for you. After all, you always fumble with it."
"No, Susan. that won't be necessary. I know what you're up to, and it won't work."
Back at the lab, Les had everything under control. They were ready to identify the third voice. Colbo played the recording from the first plane.
"Mayday! Mayday!" Cartwright spoke in a very calm voice. "Flight 26 has entered extreme fog. The instrument panel has completely shut down. A blinding light is approaching the aircraft from below."
There was a slight pause, then Cartwright spoke again, “What is that? It’s too bright. I can’t see. Oh, my eyes are burning.” Not only was a similar voice heard, but the same line was spoken as was heard on the recording of the third plane.
Static took over. That was the last transmission from Flight 26.
The voice on both the first and third recordings matched. Apparently, both voices belonged to Lieutenant Cartwright. But how was that possible? Les stood to reset the equipment. "Let's hear what the second plane has to tell us.
It began just like the others. "Mayday! Mayday! The pilot went on to give a description of what was happening. The familiar fog and strange light were constants in all three flight recordings. The inoperable instrument panel also seemed to be included in all three accounts.
"Nothing strange about this transmission, Doctor. It seems perfectly normal to me."
"Maybe. Let me fine tune the instruments and let's listen to it again."
This time a cry could be heard behind the static, “What is that? It’s too bright. I can’t see. Oh, my eyes are burning.”
The three, with dropped jaws, stared at each other in silence. Colbo was the first one to speak but choked on her words. "What is going on? Cartwright is on all three planes even though the plane went missing and he wasn't scheduled to be on any of the other flights. What is going on?"
Adams shook his head in disbelief as they both glanced at Les hoping for an explanation. Lance struck his usual pose - hands behind his head, his eyes focused on the ceiling. "Sir, it's the threes. I don't have it all pieced together yet, but it's the threes. Three planes trapped in fog. Three planes with bright light approaching. Three planes with instrument interference. But three planes with Cartwright's voice.
"Like I said, I don't have it all figured out yet, but I think Cartwright is trapped in time. They say the electronic fog causes a time warp. I don't think your man Cartwright has warped to the past or the future. I think he's stuck in time."
Adams and Colbo were not following. Les continued. "I have to consider all that's taken place, all that we've heard, but this is where I'm coming from. Cartwright went through the fog on the first plane. What happened to the planes and the others, I don't know. But as each plane passed through the same airspace, we hear the repeated words of your Lieutenant.
"The others made it through the time warp. They're out there somewhere in the past or the future, but Cartwright didn't make it. Somehow he was stranded in time. Somewhere he's still out there. the question is, how do we bring him home?"
Adams broke in, "Doctor - please. Don't give us that stuff about the supernatural. Remember, we don't buy into your magical triangle theory. We need real solutions."
A defiant Les charged in. "Then would you please tell me, Secretary Adams, Commander Colbo, what are your theories about what you just heard? I'm a marine biologist pulled into your world by, I suppose chance, to give you answers to your problems - not my problems, yours. As a biologist, I'm a scientist of sorts. I follow the evidence. I go where the evidence leads. If you don't like the direction this is going, fine. What are your brilliant thoughts?"
It was obvious from their silent reaction that they knew Les was right. Adams finally spoke. "Doctor, we need to find answers. You yourself said you haven't thought this out completely. Rethink the situation and let me know what you come up with. But put yourself in my shoes. The president isn't going to accept a weak theory about one of his naval officers stuck somewhere in a time warp. To give that report would certainly mean the end of my career and Colbo's, too. Now, please give us something we can work with."
"What if I told you there were Russian subs involved? Would that fly? Oh, and no pun intended."
"Yes, that would be much better. How did you discover the Russian subs, Doctor?"
"I didn't. There are no Russian subs. If the President won't believe the truth, then you'll have to give him a lie. By the way, Mr. Secretary, have you noticed how quick people are to reject the truth and replace it with a lie? Oh, and Mr. Secretary, that's exactly what you're doing now."