A Tiny Slip Ch. 02


"The burglar alarm system is activated," said Myron Milton into the radio, "and is tied into the bombs. If you open any window or outside door, it'll activate the detonators."

"Break! Break! Break!" said Cindy Ross, from inside the Sanctuary. "Clear this channel of all but the most essential communications. Keep looking for an entrance. And somebody tell me where the helicopter is."

"Helicopter last seen flying east-southeast, towards Cemetery Hill." said a voice on the radio.

"Stay away from that helicopter." said Captain Ross. "We have no idea what might trigger the bombs, including our proximity to it. Stay west of University Avenue."

"I concur with that order." said Chief Moynahan into the radio. He'd just arrived at the scene...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Sergeant Rudistan, Sergeant Rudistan!" cried out two boys as they rushed up to him. They were Davie Marsdon and Timmy Austin.

The Police had set up their command post on the northwest side of the Church, in the parking lot near the copse of trees, the Chapel to their dead east. They also had the entire Church ringed and College Street blocked off at University Avenue. They did not close University Avenue, but anyone who tried to stop was told to move along. Elm Street, which ran by the Chapel side of the compound, was also closed off.

"Not now, boys." said Rudistan. "We've got an emergency here."

"But the Iron Crowbar told us to give you a message!" said Davie Marsdon. That got Rudistan's interest.

"What is it, boys?"

"We told the Iron Crowbar about our secret passage into the Church, and he told us to show you." said Davie. Suddenly, all of the Officers were interested.

"Yes, boys, show me!" said Rudistan. The boys took him to the wall where the panel was. Rudistan checked carefully, then got on the radio.

"There's a panel here, which doesn't seem to be wired." Rudistan said. "I'm going to try it. Two thousand souls held their breaths as Rudistan edged open the panel. Nothing happened as it opened up to one side. Rudistan looked inside, seeing the dirt of the ground.

"There's a big hole over there." said Davie, trying to get in and point at it. Rudistan went in first, then had Davie come show him. Rudistan pushed up the panels, again without incident.

"Okay boys, you've done very well." said Rudistan. "But I'm going to have to ask you to stay in the safe zone with Officer Gunddottar." The boys reluctantly allowed Officer Inga Gundottar to escort them back to the safety of the command post. Soon, they were joined by Chief Moynahan, who said they could be his special guests as long as they stayed with him and stayed out of trouble. The boys eagerly agreed, and would get a front-row view of what was unfolding.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The hole was big enough for Rudistan to climb up. He found himself in the utility room, seeing the large heating unit. He turned on the light, then slowly opened the door. It was not wired to the alarm system nor to any bombs.

"I'm in!" he said over the radio.

"Roger that." said Cindy. "But all the doors to the Sanctuary are wired, even the ones from the Pastor's Study next door...."

And the she saw it.

"The baptismal pool!" Cindy cried out, almost exultantly. Mrs. Veasley nodded approvingly as Cindy got on the radio. "The baptismal pool! The baptismal pool! Rudistan, go to the second floor. There should be a bathroom or shower room with stairs leading down to the baptismal pool! Check for wires!"

People in the Sanctuary heard her, and chatter began. Two thousand pairs of eyes watched the pool in the back, behind the choir loft, and the door on the left side.

A moment later, they heard the door open. The bright, mischievously smiling face of TCPD Sergeant Micah Rudistan looked in. "Well, everyone, step right up!" he said. "It's time to be baptized again!"

The Consultant of Crime had overlooked two small things. Tiny slips, tiny slips indeed, which would allow hundreds to be saved.

Everyone cheered at the sight of Rudistan, and people were about to rush up, when Mrs. Veasley got on the microphone!"

"No one move!" she ordered. No one moved, frozen by the power of her voice, and her will behind it.

"We will go in an orderly fashion." Mrs Veasley said into the microphone. "Families with children first. In an orderly line, please."

"Women and children first!" yelled someone.

"Oh, please!" replied Mrs. Veasley. "What good will the mother and child do if the breadwinning father is dead. Full families! Let's go... orderly but swiftly. Let's waste no time, please."

Eight-year-old Susie Haskins, who was a distant relative of the late Scrawny Haskins, and her parents were in front, and came up first, a line forming behind them. Susie went up to Mrs. Veasley. "Thank you, Mrs. Veasley." she said. "See you on the outside!"

"Go, child." Mrs. Veasley said. "And do great things with your life."

That started a strange ritual, as everyone came up to Mrs. Veasley on the way to the baptismal pool, which was drained and dry, by the way. She shook hands or held hands with everyone that walked by, giving them words of encouragement. Cindy watched in fascination.

Then she wondered... what about the Iron Crowbar? Fear began to creep into her soul...

And then she heard singing. As the congregation formed the orderly line to the baptismal pool, a song broke out, from Psalm 23:

"Surely goodness, and mercy, shall fol-low me, all the days, all the days of my life... and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord, forever, and I shall feast at the table spread for me..."

Part 12 - The Master Plan

"Again and again he recurred to the fact that if he could be assured that society was freed from Professor Moriarty he would cheerfully bring his own career to a conclusion. "I think that I may go so far as to say, Watson, that I have not lived wholly in vain," he remarked. "If my record were closed tonight I could still survey it with equanimity. The air of London is the sweeter for my presence .... Your memoirs will draw to an end, Watson, upon the day that I crown my career by the capture or extinction of the most dangerous and capable criminal in Europe."

------ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 'The Final Problem'.

"So, Pastor," I said, "let's play no more games. Tell me the code to stop the bombs, all of them."

"No way I'd ever do that." said Westboro. "And there's no way for you to make me."

"Ohhhh, I don't know about that." I said with a bit of emphasis. I reached into my trenchcoat and pulled out a small leather billfold. Inside were two syringes.

"Oh my God..." Westboro whispered. He understood. At long last, he truly understood. "You did not destroy those drugs, after all."

"I'm afraid not." I said. "And you can take my word for it, and Steven Moschel's word, that they work very, very effectively. Now, are you going to give me the codes? Or will a demonstration be required?"

Westboro said nothing, as he willed himself to not feel fear. I took one of the syringes and uncapped the needle. Turning to the side, I pushed Westboro's head forward with my left hand, as much as I could before the chains stopped him from going further forward. Then I stabbed the needle into his upper back with my right hand. The amount I shot into Westboro was at least five times what I'd injected into Moschel.

"AAARRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!" Westboro screamed. His whole body tensed and shook as he screamed. His eyes were bulging out, sweat beginning to pour from his skin everywhere, tears and mucus coming from his eyes and nose. "AAAAAUUUUGGHH!" he screamed again as the excruciating pain racked his body.

I felt no sympathy. I thought of the dogs this man had tortured and killed. I thought of Pete Feeley. I thought of Amy, lying there dying, waiting for an organ that would never arrive... because this bastard had arranged for it to be stolen from her. Mercy was not in my blood at this moment; there was no forgiveness in my soul. The pain he was feeling was more than well deserved.

And I had no intention of giving him the antidote.

Westboro shook and screamed. And then, with a mental power that I considered unbelievable, he looked over at me, through the fire that was burning uncontrolled in his head and body.

"Yes..." he gasped... "Yes, as long as I am alive, you can make me tell you... as long as I'm alive... so therefore, I will see you in Hell, Iron Crowbar!"

I saw his tongue move in his cheek. Suddenly, the cabin of the helicopter was filled with an overpowering, pungent, almond-like aroma. I had to open the slit window and stick my nose out to get air, holding onto the stick to keep the helicopter up.

Finally, the air cleared, and I looked over. His eyes were looking sightlessly at the top of the canopy, and the sky. His mouth was open and his tongue lolled out, and the remnants of the foam that had come out of his mouth were on his chin and shirt. He had had a cyanide capsule in his mouth all along, or he had one secreted in his teeth or something. Either way, it did not matter...

Raymond Kyle Westboro, Head Pastor of First Baptist Church, Town & County Councilman... and the most insidiously evil and genius mind of our generation... was dead.

My work was done. I looked at the timer on the device. Fifteen minutes to go...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"All units," said the Police radio, "be advised that several witnesses saw Pastor Westboro being put on the helicopter with Commander Troy. They are both airborne, and the helicopter is northeast of Cemetery Hill."

Oh my God, thought Cindy, how in the world did Don accomplish that? She saw Mrs. Veasley staring at her, a seeming smile on the woman's face. She felt the power of Mrs. Veasley's mind, and tried to use her own mind, to feel what was going on.

"Yes, Child, that's it..." was all Mrs. Veasley said. But it was too chaotic, too much going on...

"Also," said the Police radio, "be advised that Dr. Laura Fredricson was seen at University Hospital, bringing in a patient. Dr. Fredricson is alive." Cindy was stock-still, totally stunned at what she'd just heard.

Oh my God, she thought to herself. It was a trick. Another trick by the Iron Crowbar and he didn't say a word to me. And Molly must be safe, as well. I am really going to beat that man down for this, for not telling me...

Then she thought of the enormous difficulties that would have to be overcome to make that crowbar beatdown possible. But if anyone could do it, it would be Donald Troy. She had to trust in the Iron Crowbar and his latest hair-brained scheme...

The line to the baptismal pool extended up the stairs, through the bathroom, down the hall, down the stairs, and to the utility room. Police Officers were helping people along the path, putting their lives on the line to help others. Other Police were having them move away from the Church, but many wouldn't leave completely.

The Media was all over the place. Bettina Wurtzburg and Priya Ajmani were trying to get interviews and information. Cameras were set up everywhere, waiting for the bombs to go off.

Commander Harlow set up a media tent and manned it herself, listening to radios and relaying information. Lt. Scott Peterson could not be found; he had not responded to phone calls nor texts.

Inside the Sanctuary, Cindy watched the screen. A timer had appeared on the TV when it reached fifteen minutes, and a recorded voice said that it was the timer in the helicopter. It was now counting down, inexorably towards zero.

"How many people left?" she heard Chief Moynahan's voice on the radio.

"About three hundred." Cindy replied. Mrs. Veasley looked over at her as she greeted the line of people moving by. Cindy just shook her head... it would not be enough time to get them all out...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I looked at my surroundings. I saw that I could shunt the altimeter bomb; it was crudely set up, and a circuit around it would keep it from triggering the Church bombs. It would also delay the bomb behind me in the helicopter.

I shot the remaining chemicals from the syringes out the window, and put the empty syringes near the motor and the bomb behind me. I kept the helicopter where it was, to make sure the signal to the Church was uninterrupted... if the connection broke down, the bombs at the Church would be triggered.

I had already searched Westboro's pockets and clothing for any markings, any scrap of paper that might clue me in to a way to survive this... nothing. There was no way out.

I saw the clock tick down... five minutes to go...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Less than 200 people left. There was a backup in the hallway and Fellowship Hall, though. They weren't going to make it.

"Any word on Lieutenant Croyle?" Cindy said into the radio.

"Roger that, Captain, Lt. Croyle has come out of surgery and is expected to fully recover." said someone into the radio.

Relief swept through Cindy's soul. "Roger that." She then said what she knew had to be said: "If I don't make it out of here, someone tell her that I love her. And tell my sister and my mother, too."

"You can tell them that yourself, Captain." growled another voice... the voice of Chief Griswold. "You'll get out of there with the rest of them." Even with everything on a knife's edge, Chief Griswold was there, keeping calm and keeping everyone else calm, and focused.

"I love you too, Chief Griswold." Cindy said into the radio.

"He's right." said Mrs. Veasley. "Believe that you will make it, and you will."

"Maybe." said Cindy. "But I'll be the last one out of here... and that includes you, Mrs. Veasley.

Mrs. Veasley had refused to allow anyone to remove her from her post. She had sat there, greeting everyone, calming the children, encouraging everyone. Cindy could not help but admire Mrs. Veasley's fortitude, and drew strength from it.

Now how to get the Iron Crowbar out of that frickin' helicopter without killing anyone, Cindy thought. Damn, that was one insidious trap the Consultant had put him in... and knowing Don... he just walked into it...

Oh my God, she thought to herself, realizing it... he did just walk into it. On purpose. He knew all along... hell, he's had to have known for months!... and he went right into it...

Part 13 - The Totality of Self-Sacrifice

I heard the police radio say that there was not enough time to get them all out. Cindy had tried, and she'd done a damn good job somehow. Most of them would live, but not all... if I did not do my duty.

As the clock ticked down to less than three minutes, I thought of my life. I could not complain. I thought of my mother, my 'Mycroft', who would keep Cindy and Teresa and the rest in line and on the right path. I thought of my father, and that I'd avenged his death, as well.

My heart felt happy but heavy as I thought of my wonderful wife Laura, the fantastic children she had given me... yes, they were alive, of course that had all been a trick to save their lives... Molly and the boys, Ross and Ian. Bowser and Buddy. No man could have a better family...

There was Dr. Eckhart, a very great and kind man to so many people. All my Detectives, good people that would keep fighting the evil that constantly seeks to destroy us. Rudistan, and all the Uniformed Officers that I did not thank enough...

I thought of Tanya and baby Pete, and the price they'd paid. I'd avenged Officer Pete Feeley's murder; the Consultant of Crime was dead. Tanya would raise her son, and they would go on to honor Corporal Feeley with their lives' work.

I thought of Teresa Croyle, and remembered how I'd defended her, knowing that she had a Warrior Spirit in her that would prevail.. and it had. I knew she wasn't marrying Todd because of the nepotism laws; as my niece-in-law, she couldn't work for me... that obstacle was soon to be removed. I hoped she'd find peace and happiness, not just in her work but in her life.

Chief Griswold... like a second father to me. He'd brought me in to defeat this insidious man who now was sitting dead next to me. I had done my best to honor the Chief's trust in me, and to rid his Town & County of insidious Evil. In that, I had succeeded.

And Cindy. I began getting emotional as I thought of Cindy. No better partner, no better friend, could I possibly have had fighting this battle with me. And no better person to take over the mantle of Command than her. I'd brought her and her blood father together; she would learn from him. She would be okay. She would fight on.

I looked down at the Cemetery below as the sun settled down to the horizon. I could swear I was seeing people looking up at me. I saw Pete Feeley in his uniform, and Dr. Heinz, and Amy, and the police dog Laika.

And then, coming up from behind them, I saw Angela Harlan looking up at me, wearing a black, spidery negligee and high heels. Somehow, I could feel her looking up at me more closely than the others... waiting for me to join her in Death. All their deaths, caused by the evil of the Consultant of Crime, were now accounted for, and avenged.

One minute to go... I thought of my kids again; I wanted my last thoughts to be of them. Carole would not have me walking her down the aisle at her wedding, but she would make that walk. Jim would grow up into a great man; I wouldn't be there for him, but he would grow up, and in a better world now.

Last, I thought of Takaki Taichi, and the totality of his sacrifice. I had hoped then that my death would be as honorable as his... it would be, I knew.

Fifteen seconds to go. I took one last look at my Town. A strange euphoria came over me. No, it was not too hard, I realized.

The timer struck "00:10" as I reached out and pressed my finger to the button. I saw my name 'Donald Troy' flash on the screen, then the whole screen flashed bright green

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