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Welcome back to the exciting conclusion of The Adventures of Chase Cooder, Bush Pilot! In this final episode Parker studies the orb, Chase and Box make plans, Ruane steps up, and more! So climb aboard, buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Blackmailed into studying an ancient orb by Tarse Kozar, the CEO of Vortex Pharmaceuticals, Parker Dill struggled to decipher the arcane shapes and symbols he saw before him. The orb had unusual physical properties. About the size of a coconut, its density indicated it should weigh three point one four tons when in actuality it weighed about the same as a mobile phone.
Parker stared at the image of the orb’s equator on the computer screen. He clicked an icon and the orb exploded and reformed as a Mercator-like map. Parker looked closer at the image on the monitor and gasped.
Eyes wide, he recoiled in the chair. The band of symbols encircling the orb appeared to be symbols and variations of symbols of ancient cultures around the world. He saw what appeared to be Ugaritic cuneiform, thought he recognized Ogam, an ancient Celtic alphabet, I Ching symbols, and others.
It made no sense. At first glance, the runes and symbols easily spanned hundreds upon hundreds of years of early civilization from around the world. What does this mean? he wondered.
Parker enlarged the image and printed it out. He minimized the picture and opened the research databases.
Chase and Box met with Maureen, who was sitting in the kitchen of Preston’s San Diego offices.
“What now, guys?” she asked.
Chase walked to the refrigerator, scanned the contents, grabbed a couple of soft drinks, and tossed one to Box. He popped his open and announced, “Preston’s sending us to pick up his wife. She wants to be here.”
“Where is she?”
“New York. We’ll fly out today and be back tomorrow or early the next day, depending on weather.”
“Why can’t she take a regular flight?”
“Preston’s thanking us for helping Anna. And in advance for making the drop. He’s paying well.”
“What if the kidnappers call while you’re away?” Maureen asked.
“It’s a bit of a gamble, but I don’t think they will. They’ve got Parker doing his work. Anna and Ruane are extras the mercs grabbed. I think they’ve got to deal with Tarse Kozar about them before they can call to set up a ransom. Or maybe they’ll call and say have the money ready in a certain number of hours. I think we’re in good shape here.”
“Okay, when do we leave?”
“Uh, that’s the thing, Maureen. You’ve been invited to stay here for a few days, until this is over,” Box said.
“Oh. I see. I think,” Maureen replied and slumped back in her seat.
“Like I said, nice to see a smart blonde,” Box commented with a smile.
Maureen scrunched her lips.
Chase and Box got into the rented Yukon and drove back to the airport.
“Think she bought it?” Box asked.
“Probably not. But it doesn’t much matter at this point, does it? She has to stay put for the moment or risk us turning her over to the police.”
“Yeah.” Several seconds passed, then, “She sure oozes sensuality, doesn’t she?”
“Oh, boy. That she does.”
After Chase parked the Yukon near the jet, he and Box boarded the plane. They sat side by side in the passenger seats and Chase opened the briefcase Preston had given them. He put the GPS locator on the opposite seat and sorted through the documents contained inside.
“Well, well. Look what we have here. Lucky for us Preston is a resourceful man. Might be one scary motherfucker if he wasn’t on our side.” Chase smiled as he handed Box some papers.
“Malibu? Anna is in Malibu?” Box shuffled through some papers. “Blueprints? Fucking blueprints?”
“Oh, it gets better,” Chased laughed while looking at another paper he had unfolded. “Preston gave us security information, including placement of the cameras and the location of the security office. He even got us intel on the number of security forces usually on hand. And protocols, security protocols!”
Box’s eyes grew wide. “No shit? We could’ve used him in Delta. Would have saved us a lot of snooping and pooping.” He laughed.
“Okay. There are several outbuildings, one of which is the security office. One main building, large, sits on a cliff for all practical purposes. Two stories, access from the upper level only. Upper level is standard upscale living arrangement: great room, kitchen, master bedroom, library, home theatre, second bedroom. On the lower level there are four large rooms facing the ocean. Two hallways perpendicular to the hall with the ocean view rooms. Some rooms along the perpendicular hallways. As of whenever Preston got hold of this layout Anna was likely in this room here.” Chase pointed to the first room from the north end of the main building, ocean side, lower level.
“We could access it from the sea side, but it will be easier if we can find another way. See if you can find a vulnerability in the security camera setup.” Chased continued to study the almanbahis layout of Tarse’s compound.
Chase and Box continued to plan, talking out scenarios, approaches, and what gear they would need.
“Well, Box. You see any reason to drag this thing out?”
“Nope. You thinking tonight?”
“Yep. No way they’d ever think we’d know where they are so fast. They’ll be on slightly higher alert, but we’ll have the element of surprise.”
“Okay then. We’ll eyeball it tonight and make our move. Malibu. Damn.”
“Convenient. That’s for sure. Alright then, let’s go.” They rose to prepare for the flight to Malibu. “Hey, I’ll let you ride up front if you promise not to touch anything,” Chase joked.
“Har de har har there, pard.”
“So they’ll let you land this thing at Santa Monica Municipal Airport?”
“Sure. Why not? They actually have more runway than this jet needs. Also be less chance of being accidentally spotted by Kozar. He flies out of LAX.”
Chase prepared the jet for landing, made his final approach and touched down. He taxied to a location as instructed by the flight tower and parked the HondaJet. Chase and Box deplaned, chocked the wheel, and made their way to the office to see about renting a car.
“Well, gentleman, all we have left today is a Mini Cooper and a Yukon.”
“The Yukon,” Chase said.
As they got in the SUV, Box questioned, “What’s with all the Yukons?”
“I don’t know. I liked those Range Rovers at Snapper Lake. You’d think they’d at least have one here. Or a Mercedes SUV.”
“Or maybe a Lexus or an Escalade.”
“An Escalade with spinners.”
“Get your lean on.”
“At least we don’t have to deal with the freeway traffic,” Chase pointed out as he drove.
“True that. You know, I think it strange how they refer to highways here. Only place I know where people say ‘I took the 105.’ Anywhere else you’d hear ‘I took 105.'”
“Me too. Like they’re living, breathing entities. Maybe it’s because there’s so many people and so much traffic the freeways play a far more important role in people’s lives here than elsewhere. And because of that it holds a certain power and they almost anthropomorphize it.”
“You been saving that word for the right occasion?”
“You know what it means?”
“Yeah. Means you don’t get out enough. But as far as the highways, maybe so. That phrase didn’t sweep the nation like most things that start here, though.
“Nope. Here we are.” Chase pulled into the Malibu/Lost Hills station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Inside the station an attractive female sergeant addressed them and asked them how she could help.
“Hello, Sergeant. We’re here to see Chief Runyon,” Chase said.
“You’re in luck. He’s here today. Let me see if he’s available.”
“Tell him Woody Preston sent us.”
They watched her turn and walk away, down a hall and through a glass door. “Always did like a woman in uniform,” Chase admitted.
“Gang of Four,” he mumbled.
“Nothing. Just reminded myself of an old song.”
Chase and Box waited a couple of minutes.
“Nice department here. Very spiffy,” Box said.
“Got an image to live up to.”
“Yeah? What’s that?”
“You know. The ‘bu image. Casual elegance. Surfing, sushi, money.”
“Oh, that. Hey, here he comes.”
They watched a tall, handsome, fit-looking man with a deep tan walk towards them. He came through a glass door and extended his hand. His grip was firm, his hand dry.
“Gentlemen. Welcome to Malibu. Come.” His voice would have been at home on radio.
Chief Runyon led them to his office, which had a view of the ocean.
“Great view,” Box said, admiring the vista.
“Another day in Paradise,” Runyon said and grinned. “Woody and I go way back. I’ve known Anna all her life and I want her safe. Okay. He told me about you two, so just to make things tidy I’m going to deputize you. Makes life easier for me if you have to shoot anybody. Only good part of this mess is that Anna’s at Kozar’s compound. I hate that asshole. Always trying to push civil law limits. You know he has a private hanger at LAX? Owns it outright. Others have to rent from LAX. He’s got entitlement issues.”
“That doesn’t sound like cop speak,” Chase commented with a smile.
“Oh, but it is. You can’t become a registered citizen of LA County without proof of psychotherapy, progess notwithstanding.”
“You checked our bona fides, I take it,” Chase said.
“You bet. Trust but verify, as they say. From what I’ve heard about you, you two are as good as anybody we have here. Maybe better. By the way, I’m the only one here knows the situation and that Anna is there. Okay, guys, raise your right hands.”
Chase and Box complied.
“Do you solemnly swear to uphold blah, blah, blah?”
“Uh, yes,” Chase said with a small smile.
“Fucking A,” Box replied.
“That’s it. Here’s your tin.”
Taking the badge, almanbahis yeni giriş Chase asked, “Do we get a Mercedes convertible for a squad car?”
“After five years on the force you do, and a starlet in a bikini to ride shotgun.”
“Oboy! Thank you, Chief Runyon,” Chase said and shook his hand. Box shook his hand and they turned to leave.
They were almost out the door when the Chief called out. “Oh, one more thing. Try to keep the body count down, will you? I don’t like the paperwork.” He waved them out.
“I like Malibu,” Chase said as they left the building.
“Let’s do a drive-by, then get a room and get some sleep.”
Parker checked the databases and compared the symbols on the orb to known translations. The meaning of some symbols had shifted over the centuries. That, or the interpretations had been off in the first place. He had enough to begin to make some headway. Parker didn’t realize the dinner hour had long since passed and the sparkling blue ocean beyond the window was now as black as the La Brea Tar Pits.
“Let’s sleep in the room with the ocean view,” Ruane suggested. She untangled herself from Anna and stood up. She held out her hand to Anna and said, “Come on, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to rub against another woman. I forget what its called, but I think it begins with a ‘t’.”
Taking Ruane’s hand, Anna smiled and said, “Let’s find out.”
The wake-up call came at three a.m. Chase and Box woke up. Chase took a quick shower. Box splashed water on his face. They assembled their gear on one of the beds. Two silenced MP5s, Chase’s Glock, Box’s SIG, nine millimeter rounds of Delta Frangible Ammunition (DFA), neurotoxin darts, flash bangs, night vision goggles, bullet-proof vests, plastic ties, several “ropes” of plastic explosive and detonators, combat knives, bolt cutters, communications gear and something else.
“What’re those?” Box asked as he picked one up.
It was about six inches long and two wide. It almost looked like a canoe that had the front and back cut off and a straight panel placed across the ends. It was lightweight. The edge was about one-quarter inch thick.
“That’s a new toy. It’ll come handy when we breach the security office. You put the charge by the lock. This goes on over the charge and shapes the explosion. It also muffles it.”
“How does it stay put?”
“With a fast-acting epoxy. Actually, more like immediate acting.”
“Okay. I’ll buy it when I see it.”
They loaded their weapons. Darts with tranquilizing neurotoxins in the MP5s and DFA in the pistols.
Box looked at a DFA round. “These are better than what I’ve used before. Doesn’t look ceramic,” he said.
“Nylon composite. They have a lower shatter threshold. It’ll go through one layer of sheetrock, but won’t punch through the next wall. No sense hitting the cook.”
“Unless he’s shooting at us.”
Chase grinned. “There’s that.”
They loaded the gear in duffle bags. Both were dressed in tennis shoes, black cargo pants, and colorful shirts, and as they left the hotel nobody took special notice.
Once off the Pacific Coast highway Chase stopped and turned off the headlights. Both men traded the tennis shoes for black tactical boots and the colorful shirts for black sweatshirts. They put their police badges in a thigh pocket for easy retrieval.
They readied their gear. After adjusting his night vision goggles Chase pulled out. They drove in silence to a spot they had located earlier in the day. Chase parked down the street from Kozar’s main gate, hidden from the house by trees and hedges that helped conceal the fence surrounding the property. It was also fairly close to the security office.
Chase turned off the interior light and both men got out of the SUV. Wanting to make as little noise as possible, they didn’t close the doors all the way. Pulling on black balaclavas, Chase and Box slipped into the shrubs and stopped at the chain link fence.
There were no floodlights. Accent lights tastefully lit up the main building. Chase and Box looked at the security office through night vision goggles that adjusted for the ambient light.
“See that camera above the door? That’s the one we take out. Then, it’s a straight run to the door. No overlapping angles here. They had an idiot for a security consultant,” Box explained in a quiet voice.
“Okay. Rock, scissors, paper for the shot.”
“Oh, man. Not that shit again.”
“On three. Ready? One, two, three.” Hands and fingers shot out.
“God damn it! How do you do that? I don’t think I’ve ever won.”
Chase smiled. “It’s a gift.”
Box used bolt cutters on the fence, cutting an opening for them to enter the compound through.
“It’s the fence. Not me. Okay, here he comes. On my voice.”
Chase put one standard nine millimeter round into the MP5 and aimed at the camera.
Box waited until the guard entered the security office and almanbahis giriş the door was almost closed, hoping to time the shot with the door hitting the frame to mask the sound of the bullet strike.
Chase pulled the trigger. The door clanged shut as the camera disintegrated. Box was through the fence with Chase on his heels. They low sprinted forty yards to the door of the security building. Box tried the doorknob just in case, but it was locked.
While Chase prepared the epoxy, Box set the charge. When Box had the explosive set against the jamb next to the doorknob, Chase quickly spread the activating agent on the edge of the charge shaper. He put the shaper over the explosive, held it for a couple of seconds, and then nodded at Box.
Both men moved away from the door. Box detonated the charge and the door flew open. The explosion was highly muffled, surprising Box. Chase was inside before the door was fully open and shot the two men sitting at the console. The guards had no time to react and went down without a word.
Box pulled out plastic ties and bound both men’s hands and legs. He gagged them so they couldn’t shout for help, then identified the head guard and rolled a plastic patch across his thumb. He then pressed the patch to another plastic square surrounded by a small frame. He waved it a couple of times and repeated the process.
Meanwhile, Chase looked at the monitors, hoping to see something useful. On one monitor he saw Kozar on the phone. On others he saw the mercenaries sleeping. He noticed Preston working, but he did not see Ruane or Anna. Chase scanned the labels under the screens.
“Box, I see Parker, but not Ru or Anna. But there’s dead cameras in the northernmost lower level room. That’s something she’d do, just to fuck with them if nothing else.”
“Here’s your key, right side up,” Box said, handing him the thumb imprint.
Chase looked at Box “Are you still holding on to that? I already told you I’m sorry. It was an accident.”
“C’mon, you know I was in a crossfire. You try shooting people and taking a print. I got us out, didn’t I? Let it go, will you?” Chase turned back to the monitors. “Uh oh. The bad guys are up. They’re not in their beds.”
“Ahhh shit,” Box murmured.
“The button. I forgot to push the button.”
“The button. You mean the one that the guard pushes every fifteen minutes when he gets back so an alarm doesn’t alert Kozar something’s up? That button?”
“It was an accident.”
“An accident. And do I see a squad of bad guys shooting at you?”
“Alright already. You don’t got to be all sarcastic and shit.”
“Okay. But I don’t ever want to hear about an upside down thumb pass anymore.” Chase smiled.
“Look. They’re at the southern main floor entrance talking to Kozar. One’s heading toward the rooms. The other’s heading back out. That Pekker dude is staying with Kozar.”
“I’ll take out the sentry then regroup with you. Maybe come in behind Kozar and that little dickhead.”
“Okay, I’ll go in the back north entrance and get Ru and Anna. Turn your com gear on.” Chase and Box touched and activated the miniature communications device that was custom fit to their ear canals.
They disabled the monitors, and then shut off the security and accent lights. In an old and automatic ritual, they looked each other in the eye as their right hands made a fist and they touched them together.
“Bring it home, Box.”
“Bring it home, Chase.”
They left the office, separated, and moved like vapor through the darkness.
The light blinked on and the merc yanked the bed covers back, exposing Ruane and Anna, who were sleeping together naked. They jerked awake.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. A little carpet munching going on,” he said with a sneer. “Get up.”
He pushed Ruane to a sitting position at the side of the bed, her feet on the floor. She grabbed the sheet to cover herself and leaned back slightly, as though fearful of him.
Stepping forward on his right foot, he reached for the sheet and growled, “I said get up, bitch!”
Ruane leaned back farther. She hooked her left ankle behind his and kicked out hard with her right foot, driving it through his left knee. The leg straightened, and with a loud crack his knee shattered.
Before the mercenary could scream Ruane was up. She grabbed his head and slammed his face into her knee with all the power she could summon and he dropped like a sandbag. Ruane kicked his gun away and pulled his knife from the sheath on his chest.
He fumbled for his pistol, but she grabbed it and kicked him in the balls. He lay there moaning and whimpering. She quickly cut strips of the sheet to use as bindings.
“Go get our clothes, Anna. And close the door if it’s open, but not all the way.”
Eyes wide, Anna rushed out of the bedroom. Ruane rolled him on his stomach and bound his hands behind him. She gagged him. She thought about hog-tying him, but ended up simply securing his legs together.
As she dragged him into the bathroom she said, “Fucktard. I told you on the helicopter I was gonna kick your ass.” When she came out of the bathroom Anna had their clothes.
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