Pinpoint Analysis - Part 7
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 6
The third plane out, fog, and an obsessed Les - where does it lead?
From Part 6
We last left Les obsessed with observing Navy Flight 21 cross the Bermuda Triangle. He completely forgot that his daughter was on her way to college in San Juan.
. . . Les's phone rang. It was Deb. "Les, where are you? What ae are you doing? You didn't even say goodbye to Trista!"
A bewildered Les began, "Okay. Okay. I'll take them one at a time. Number one - where am I? I'm on a confidential mission for the US Navy. Number two - I'm responding to orders from the US Navy. Number three - Trista is never up when I leave for work. Why should today be any different?"
"Because today is the day she left for San Juan. She won't be back until Thanksgiving. She so wanted to see you before she left. But you - one of the biggest days of her life, and you completely ignore her."
"Okay. I admit I've been obsessed with my work lately, but it's just about done here. I'll be home shortly. Tell her I'm on my way."
"Tell her you're on your way? Les, she left an hour and a half ago. It was an early morning flight. The third one out, actually."
"The third one out! Get her back! She can't be on the third flight! Stop her plane!"
Deb's patience was running thin. "Les, what are you talking about? I can't stop her flight. She's probably almost there by now. What's so important about being the third flight out anyway?"
Today is August 9. Nine divided by three is three. Three weeks since the last plane went . . . I've said too much already. Have her call me as soon as you hear from her."
Les, we're talking about our daughter. Confidential or not, I have every right to know what's going on."
"Just tell her to call me as soon as she can." Les looked to the south. Fog was rolling in. The pinks, purples, and blues were gone.
Les made his way back to the lab. Nearly half s day had passed. Les was growing more impatient as the minutes passed. Still no word from Trista. There were no last goodbyes or I love yous. Les's heart sank as he thought back over Trista's life.
The phone rang. It was Deb. "Les, have you heard anything from Trista yet. She should have called by now. Her plane was to arrive at Marin International at 10:33 this morning. It's almost 3:00. She was to call as soon as she arrived."
Delivering bad news was never Les's specialty. "Honey, it's the threes. I'll explain it when I get home."
"You mean she's . . . " Deb choked on her words. " . . . she's not coming home? Ever?"
"I can't leave right now. Can you drive down here? We can talk."
"Yeah, sure. I'll see you in fifteen."
Susan made her way down the hall to Les's office. "Boss, it's a call from San Juan. I don't know who is calling, but they say it's important and need to talk with you immediately."
Hesitantly, Les took the phone from Susan. She stood waiting to hear what the call was about. Les waved her away while he spoke.
"Doctor Les Griffin. How may I help you?"
"Daddy! Daddy! It's so good to hear your voice. I wanted to see you before I left this morning, but I know how busy you are right now. Mom was going to drive me down to the lab to say goodbye, but I didn't want to bother you. I just wanted to hear your voice and let you know we all arrived safe and secure. I'll see when I come home for Thanksgiving break."
Relief washed over Les as he fell to his knees and gave thanks to whoever might be out there, or up there. Surely, there was a man upstairs. Within minutes, Deb arrived and came face to face with a jubilant Les.
"Honey, she just called. Everything is fine. We can relax. I can't tell you about threes. She wasn't affected by them, and this is on a need to know basis - know what I mean?"
Deb nodded her head and uttered one word - "Whatever."
But I do set my own schedule. I'm taking the rest of the day off. We can at least go for a drive and eat out at Morgan's. We need to celebrate, and we do need some time together. I'll tell Susan we'ree leaving."
.After dinner, Les and Deb headed home. As they entered the door, the phone was ringing. It was Trista.
"I just needed to hear a familiar voice. My roommate hasn't moved in yet, and it's kind of lonely."
The discussion continued for a bit. Then Trista said something that demanded Les's complete attention."
"Dad, you know the strangest thing happened when we were almost to San Juan. Off the right wing - that's where I was sitting - I could see a weird fog. Then we heard a voice like it was speaking from within the fog. It wasn't just me. It was the whole plane that heard it."
Les's mind was immediately off and running. He wanted to sound interested but not too interested. "And what did the voice say?"
"It was so clear. I remember the exact words. 'What is that? It’s too bright. I can’t see. Oh, my eyes are burning.' Daddy, I'm telling you. It was the strangest thing I ever heard."
In his mind, Les was trying to process all Trista was telling him.
"So you traveled through this fog and heard a voice?"
"No, we didn't travel through the fog. It was to the right of the plane, but we definitely heard a voice speaking."
"Okay, Honey, Mom wants to talk to you, too. I love you." He handed the phone to Deb.
A confused Les stepped out on the porch to think. Trista's plane did not enter the fog, but yet she heard Lieutenant Cartwright calling out for help. Perhaps the radio equipment somehow picked up the call while flying close to the fog. Maybe it just happened to be the right frequency. The possibility didn't seem likely, but there really was no other explanation for what Trista experienced. Les would file away the information for a closer look at a later time. For now, an exhausted Les needed some rest.
As much as sleep was needed, it was also what Les couldn't find. He tossed and turned his way through the night. His talk with Trista was heavy on his mind. A sleepy Les drove to the lab for yet another day of research - and no answers.
On the back burner of his mind was the heavy loss of marine life. Radiation still seeped into the waters of the Atlantic. The Navy closed the beaches due to pollution issues. It was never announced what the pollution was or what was causing it. Radiation, the Navy knew. The cause, they didn't. Les had his work cut out for him.
He went back and forth between priorities. Should he focus on the destroyed marine life? What about Lieutenant Cartwright? Missing planes? The power of threes? His best option would have been to pick one and work it. Instead, he dabbled in each, and at the close of the day, he knew nothing.
© 2018 William Kovacic