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Welcome back to the exciting adventures of Chase Cooder – Bush Pilot! In this episode plans are hatched, Ruane and Maureen get to know each other better, Parker studies the orb, and more! So climb aboard, buckle up and enjoy the ride!
After a shootout with Chase and Box deep in the Canadian wilderness, the kidnappers escaped in a helicopter, taking Ruane, Anna and Parker to an unknown destination. Just before the door to the sleek Eurocopter EC 130 closed, Ruane tossed out a clue. Chase and Box were on their way to see Anna’s father, a media tycoon. Hopefully, he would have information about Anna’s location and the clue Ruane provided.
Chase landed the lovingly restored 1967 DeHavilland Beaver and taxied to the hanger. He climbed out and kicked a chock against the front and back of a wheel. Box helped Maureen as she poured out of the plane, somewhat disappointed that Chase paid her no attention this time.
“Timmy, you get the HondaJet topped off?” Chase shouted.
“All set. She’s waiting on the tarmac for you. Hey, where’s Ruane? I thought she was with you.”
“She’s got some business elsewhere for a day or two. So keep on holding down the fort until she gets back. I have to head off myself for a couple of days. Anything comes up you have questions about, give me a call.”
“You got it, Chase. Later.”
Chase turned his attention back to the Beaver. He and Box unloaded their gear and put it in a wagon attached to a six seat open air shuttle. Chase went into his office. He opened his gun safe and put some equipment into a black bag. He closed the safe, walked out and tossed the bag in the wagon along with the rest of the gear and luggage.
“Alright, let’s go visit Woody Preston.” The three sat down in the shuttle and Chase drove them to another hanger.
Box whistled his approval. “Damn, Chase, that is one sweet ride. What is it?”
Chase grinned as he approached the sleek HondaJet. It was small; about forty two feet in length with about a forty foot wingspan, and thirteen feet high at the tail. The tips of the wings looked like they had been folded upward, what the aircraft crowd called canards.
The HondaJet was gleaming white with a cobalt blue teardrop covering the nose and sweeping back past the cockpit. The tail had a similar splash of blue as did the engines, which were mounted on top of the wings close to the fuselage. Just sitting on the tarmac, the HondaJet looked like it was breaking the sound barrier.
“Isn’t it a beauty? Ru and I lucked out. I knew a guy on the HondaJet project and he invited me to do some test flights. We got to talking and worked out an agreement. We got a killer lease/buy deal. I fly it around, people notice and ask questions. HondaJet gets publicity and we get an awesome jet at a rock bottom price. When the jet finally goes public they’ll probably tweak it some, but this is the latest one.”
Chase stopped the shuttle next to the jet. Box loaded the gear in the hold while Chase did an external inspection of the aircraft.
Inside, four chairs faced one another in a cozy arrangement. The comfortable seats were covered in soft leather in a light taupe shade. A jump seat was opposite the door, just behind the cockpit. Three large windows were spaced out along each side.
“A bathroom? This thing has a bathroom?” Box laughed.
“Nothing but the best. The champagne’s chilling.”
Chase entered the cockpit and sat in the left seat. He powered up the craft, smiling at the readouts on the flat panel displays.
Box sat down and Maureen snuggled into her seat. Box faced the rear of the plane in the starboard seat, Maureen faced forward on the port side. Box reached into a cooler and fished out a Moosehead beer and handed Maureen a wine cooler at her request. Handing her the bottle, he eyed her, taking in her voluptuous beauty. Even sitting still Maureen absolutely vibrated with sexuality.
Chase taxied to the runway, revved up, gathered speed and took off for San Diego. Once in the air he turned on the music. Bob James’ “Storm Warning” rotated on shuffle play, a song from the CD that had been playing the last time he and Ruane made love. Chase felt a growing knot of fear and anxiety in his stomach. Then his face hardened and he pushed the jet to its limit.
“So what will it be, Parker”
“What choice do I have?”
“Oh, you always have a choice. But I’m glad you changed your mind. I’ve arranged to have all the research databases you should need, reference texts in book form, and a large flat panel monitor. The orb has been scanned so that you can study it on the computer; zoom in, rotate, put it in Mercator or other configurations so you can see it all at once. I think you’ll like the setup.”
Tarse led Parker to another book-lined study. A large table was in the middle of the room. The orb rested on a small soft pillow on the table. Several large reference books were stacked alongside. A computer and a large, wide screen, flat panel casino oyna monitor completed the setup. Several large windows looked out over the ocean.
“Here is your work station. Use that house phone to call the kitchen when you get hungry. I’ll check in with you later.” Tarse left, closing the door behind him.
Parker stood at the window thinking about his wife and daughter. He felt guilty for having lied to Sally about this weekend. They’d drifted apart in the last couple of years, and when Maureen seemed attracted to him… well, there was no fool like an old one.
He turned to the computer and the orb. He sat down in a Herman Miller Aeron chair, a nice choice if you were going to spend a lot of time at a computer. He had the same one in his office at the university. He turned on the computer, brought up the image of the orb, and began to inspect it.
Box held out his bottle of beer, Maureen slightly nodded sideways, reached out, and clinked his bottle with hers.
“Cheers. So, Maureen, Chase and I are curious about you. Why are you mixed up with these guys?”
Looking down, Maureen admitted, “It was a mistake. That’s for sure.”
She looked at Box. “I’m divorced. No Children. I’ve been trying to make it big in the movies forever. But, I’m in my mid-thirties and it’s not happening.”
“Been in anything?”
“Yeah. Small parts in a few bad movies, a TV show here and there, some local commercials. Nothing to get too excited about. Or that pays the bills on a regular basis.”
“So what do you do for a living?”
She sighed. “Receptionist, clerical stuff. The job of my dreams.”
“How did you get mixed up with the mercenaries? And you do realize they were shooting to kill, don’t you.”
Maureen hugged an arm across her chest. “Yes. That’s what’s so frightening. They had me completely fooled.”
“I was seeing this guy off and on. He said he tried to talk with Parker about a business deal. That he needed Parker’s expertise. But Parker refused to talk to him. He offered me a lot of money to get Parker up to Snapper Lake so he could talk to him. I swear that’s what I thought was going to happen.”
“So your boyfriend pimped you out.”
“He wasn’t my boyfriend. He was a guy I dated a few times. He was very clear that I didn’t have to sleep with Parker. He left that up to me.”
“Hell of a guy.” Box took a drink.
“So why did you run for the chopper?”
“I was scared. I didn’t know what you two would do to me. I didn’t want to be arrested. God, I feel like such an idiot.”
“Well, hopefully you’ll help us out.”
“If I can.” Maureen paused then asked, “So who’s Ruane?”
“She’s Chase’s business partner. They own Busy Beaver Bush Tours. They’ve done well for only having been in business for a few years.”
“She’s beautiful. And funny as shit. She gave those guys hell but knew when to shut up. She sure ripped them new ones.” Maureen smiled.
“So how about you, Box. What’s your life story?” Maureen questioned, moving her head forward slightly, and then back.
“Ah, the usual. Got restless after high school. I joined the Army. After the Army I used what I learned and taught courses on survival, self-defense and some other stuff.”
“Hmm. How long have you been working at the lodge?”
“A few months. I was between things so it seemed like a good idea.”
“Okay. So was Anna in one of your classes?”
Box smiled. “Refreshing to see a smart blonde.”
Maureen stuck out her tongue at Box, then tilted her head sideways and scrunched her face. He laughed.
After finishing her wine cooler, Maureen reached for another. She stretched her legs, put her feet on the seat in front of her and tapped her foot to the Allman Brother’s playing through the jet’s sound system. Box admired the view.
Parker picked up the orb. It was surprisingly light. A sheet of paper lay on the table above the keyboard in front of the monitor. It was a report of scans and other tests scientists had conducted on the orb. According to the tests the orb was made of an unknown alloy, ancient, but of indeterminate age. It was incredibly dense and, accordingly, should weigh three point one four tons.
Remarkable, Parker thought.
He looked at the image on the monitor. It was enlarged so it filled the screen. He rotated it. The orb was densely covered with symbols and shapes. No meaning jumped out at him, but he unconsciously rubbed his stomach.
As he had noted in the camp, the symbols and shapes varied widely. There was a variety of polyhedrons; tetrahedrons, cubes, octahedrons, dodecahedrons, and icosahedrons.
A tetrahedron is shaped like a pyramid, has four sides and was associated with the element of nature Fire. A cube, or hexahedron, has six sides and was associated with the element Earth, Parker thought.
Hmm. A cube has six sides and eight vertices. An octahedron has eight sides and six vertices. It’s associated canlı casino with the element Air.
Parker noted the icosahedron has twenty triangular faces, twelve vertices, and is associated with the element Water. The dodecahedron, with twelve faces and twenty vertices, symbolized the element Ether, and also represented Humanity. He tapped his lips with a forefinger and wondered what significance all this held, if any.
There was a circle, and then a circle with a vertical line and a horizontal line bisecting it. Two circles were inside the larger circle, touching one another at the center line, touching the edge of the outer circle, and were bisected by the horizontal line. The next progression showed two tangential arcs touching the tops and bottom of the inner circles and meeting at a point just outside of the larger circle.
Parker checked a reference book and, as he had thought, the tangential arcs were the same as when two circles overlap each other at the radius.
Parker read ‘This is Unity becoming Duality. The relationship created between these two circles can yield all regular polygons and in particular the geometric solution for squaring the circle, which is the most elegant geometric analogy of the infinite becoming manifest.’
He recalled the vesica Pisces, the Jesus fish. They were both ancient and current symbols, with religious correlations.
Parker noted the other shapes, the expanding polygons, through differentiation to higher harmonic divisions, fractals, space filling curves, a geometric tree of life, a Fibonacci spiral, a spiral, a solar cross, a labyrinth. Fascinating. What can it possibly mean?
As he rotated the orb on the monitor he noticed an equator of sorts. A narrow band of runes and symbols encircled the sphere, with no apparent beginning or end. The shapes were vaguely familiar. Parker enlarged them. His eyes widened and he sat back in his chair. With a trembling hand he spun the orb at the equator.
“Welcome, Chase, Box. And Maureen. Thank you for coming on such short notice.” Preston shook their hands and indicated for them to have a seat. Chase and Box sat on the black leather couch, while Maureen sat on the Chippendale side chair.
Preston sat forward in his desk chair, hands folded, arms on his desk, his back to a large window overlooking downtown San Diego. The office was simply furnished, but obviously with high quality items. A large Persian rug covered most of the floor. A small side office held filing cabinets. Dark oak paneling lined the walls.
“I haven’t heard from the kidnappers yet. I assume that Box told you I don’t want the authorities involved if I can possibly avoid it.”
“How can we help?” Chase asked.
“I want you two to make the exchange.”
“I don’t want you to do anything that would endanger Anna. Or the others.”
“Agreed. They may ask ransom for Ruane,” Chase added.
“Yes, I’d thought of that and am willing to help out in that regard.”
“That’s very generous, sir.”
Preston smiled. “No free lunches, Chase. I have an errand for you and Box while we wait to hear from the kidnappers.”
He looked at Maureen. “Maureen, would you mind if I have a word with Box and Chase in private? I don’t mean to be rude and don’t want you to take it the wrong way, but…”
“No, of course not. I’ll wait in the reception area.”
“Thank you for understanding, Maureen. There’s a kitchen down the hall. Help yourself if you want.”
“Thank you,” Maureen said and left, closing the oversized office door behind her.
Preston stood and paced. “I’ve check your backgrounds. Very impressive. Your former Delta commanders spoke very highly of you both. Intelligent, experienced, capable under difficult circumstances. I suppose if anybody could pull this off, you two can. Medical school and law school, Chase? That’s a formidable combination.”
“Doesn’t feel that way. I was highly driven for a long time.”
“Indeed. And, Box, you’ve kept in the game by running training camps.”
“Yes, sir. That’s where I met Anna. She took my SERE course.”
“The survival course?”
“Correct. Survival, escape, resist and evade. It’s tough, but they learn a lot. Anna did great.”
“Do you think your plan will work, Chase?”
“Plans always have problems and things always go wrong. We need as much information as we can get.”
“He always shows up.”
“I looked into any connection with Vortex Pharmaceuticals and the mercenaries you described. Nothing clear. There’s a Dirk Pekker, a former SAS captain who hires himself out. He’s got three guys he works with regularly and has a rolodex for larger operations.”
“What kind of discharge?”
“Pekker and the other three, also SAS, received the equivalent of general discharges.”
“Means they were trouble makers of some sort,” Box noted.
“They crossed paths with the owner of Vortex, Tarse Kozar, back in the regular army. kaçak casino Same unit. Kozar got out, started his business, and the others went on to SAS, the British Special Forces Unit.”
“Okay. Can Maureen stay with you until we get back? Should be a couple of days,” Chase said.
“You don’t think she can help? Distract them somehow?”
“She’s plenty distracting. But, no. They know we have her and that we’ve questioned her. I don’t know how far we can trust her either. I think she feels guilty, but where her loyalty lies…” Chase shrugged. “She’s a factor we don’t need to worry about.”
“Good enough. She’s welcome here. I’ll make sure she stays put and is comfortable. Here’s the GPS locator, documents on the players we know of, some cash, and other equipment and materials you’ll find useful.” Preston placed a briefcase on his desk. “Good luck, men. Keep me posted and bring them back safe and unharmed.”
Ruane and Anna searched the suite. There were two bedrooms on opposite ends of the main room, and a small kitchen opposite a luxurious bathroom. There was only one door. It was locked from the outside and had security hinges. A beautiful view overlooked the Pacific Ocean in the distance, but no way was provided to open the window. Even if they could break the glass, and that seemed doubtful given its thickness, the building was built on the edge of an almost vertical hill and the jump could kill them.
Ruane noted the small cameras and microphones disguised as security alerts in an upper corner of each room. She went into the kitchen, returning with a mallet used to soften meat. She looked into the camera, said, “Fuck you,” and smashed the first device.
Inside a room in another building on the compound, a security guard winced as a beautiful redhead stuck her middle finger up at him just before the screen for each camera went black and the speakers fell silent.
The guard sitting next to him checked a red light on the panel. “Don’t sweat it, mate. Their door’s locked from the outside. They’re not going anywhere.”
Ruane got a couple of beers from the refrigerator, handed one to Anna, and sat on the couch. She kicked off her shoes and tucked her legs under her and faced Anna.
“Don’t worry, Ruane, they’ll come for us.”
“They have to find us first.”
“I’m confident they will,” Anna said and leaned toward Ruane. “I have a locater microchip implanted in my underarm,” she whispered in Ruane’s ear just in case there was another microphone in the room.
Ruane smelled like the outdoors, a faint pine fragrance mixed with a slight musky undertone. Anna’s heart beat a little faster as she lingered at Ruane’s ear a moment too long, drinking in her aroma.
Ruane tilted her head slightly towards Anna’s, barely following her retreat. She felt the barest tingle in her stomach that threatened to spread.
Anna sat back and sipped her beer. She smiled at Ruane. “I can’t believe all the shit you gave those guys, Ruane. What’s your story?”
Ruane laughed. “I did push them pretty hard, didn’t I?”
“Yeah. I was a little worried they were going to get tired of it and hurt you.”
“Sometimes I can over do it, that’s for sure.”
“They said they took you for leverage against Chase. Are you two together?”
“We’re close, but not ‘together’. Chase and I own Busy Beaver Bush Tours. I came back to the lodge with him to help with the search for you. I win! I found you!” She laughed and held out her bottle. Anna laughed and clinked it with hers.
“I did a little research on you before I was drugged. How come you didn’t stay in the family business?”
“I just wasn’t built that way. It held absolutely no interest for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m lucky and happy to be wealthy. It gives me the opportunity to give back in a way I couldn’t if I wasn’t rich. It’s more fun for me to work outside and for environmental groups.”
“I know what you mean. My folks just shook their heads when I joined the Air Force. Couldn’t believe I wanted to work on planes.”
They talked a while longer and learned more about one another. Eventually, Ruane said, “Well, I’ll flip you for first shower.”
“No, you go ahead. There’s plenty of time. I can still take one before or after dinner.”
“Okay, I’ll see you in a bit.” Ruane stood and walked to the bathroom. Anna watched her. Once inside, Ruane only partially closed the door. Anna smiled.
Anna got another beer and sat back down. She looked out the window at the ocean, watched daylight fading to twilight, and wondered when Box and Chase would make their move, and how.
Ruane turned on the shower, disrobed, adjusted the water temperature, and then got in. She raised her face to the water and let it wash the day away. She washed her hair, and shaved her legs and underarms. Ruane thought about her moment with Anna and felt her arousal bloom. It had been a long time since she had been with a woman.
About twenty minutes later Ruane emerged wearing a soft, fluffy white terrycloth robe. She had already dried her hair.
“Get this. There’s a small washer and dryer in there. We can wash our clothes and be fresh for when the action starts,” Ruane grinned.
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