by Barbie Lee
He clocked the car, on his radar, doing ninety-six. Hitting the lights and siren, Dana pulled out onto the interstate in pursuit as he keyed his radio. "Two eighteen. I have a silver sedan headed west on twenty, two miles west of the three ninety-seven ramp. Speed is…, I have a hundred and six on the gun."
Whoever the speeder was, Dana wasn’t closing the gap very quickly. He had the pedal all the way to the floor. His patrol car maxed out at a hundred and twenty one. He keyed his radio again. "The silver sedan is pulling away. I am clocking it at one hundred thirty six. Request help."
"Two eighteen, this is one sixty nine. I am approximately ten miles west from your location. I will try to intercept." Came back over the radio.
"Two eighteen, one fifty four. I am north of you on two eighty-one. I will drop down and intercept." Was the second message over the radio.
Dana knew this wouldn’t last too long. The speeder would find his world boxed in by the time the other two Texas Troopers slid into position and formed a rolling roadblock ahead of the speeder. Dana would close up the rear and the speeder would be finished.
"Damn!” Came a radio call, “I dropped on twenty and the speeder jumped off, headed north on two eighty one."
Dana could see lots of smoke where the speeder had burned his tires shutting it down. The other patrol car was making a turn across the grass median to get back up on two eighty-one in pursuit. Dana was shutting down to make the exit ramp; the other patrol car was blocking his path, still picking up speed. The third patrol car was headed their way from the east as he too made the exit ramp. All three patrol cars were quickly up on highway two eighty one headed north in pursuit, lights flashing, sirens blaring warnings to other motorists to move out of the way.
"Two eighteen, we have a silver sedan headed north on two eighty one, speeding in excess of one hundred miles per hour." Dana keyed his mike again, hoping Bud was up ahead of them and could cut the speeder off.
"Two eighteen, this is deputy Wills. I’m north of your location approximately twenty miles. Do you request spike strips?" Came in on the radio.
"Two eighteen, deputy Wills, lay out your spike strips. This speeder is not slowing down." Dana answered as he watched the silver car dodge out to pass a semi on a blind hill.
"Affirmative, I am laying out spike strips now." Was the reply. Wills knew if that speeder was running close to a hundred; the speeder would close the ten miles in less than five minutes. Wills had to hurry to get those spike strips in place before the speeder passed by his location.
He jumped out of his car, ran to the trunk, and retrieved the spike strip with the attached rope. It took almost two minutes of that precious time to get the strip set up on the other side of the highway and the rope stretched back across. His adrenaline was pumping when he heard the sirens coming in his direction. He heard the roar of engines screaming as they pushed the cars to the limits of speed.
It was unbelievable how quickly the little silver car popped up into view and closed the distance. At the last second, Wills remembered to pull the spike strip out onto the highway. The silver car ran across the strip and instantly the sound of rubber being thrown off rims could be heard as the tires went flat. Whoever was driving that little car was good because they didn’t lose control or hit the brakes and try to stop. They also knew it was useless to keep pushing the car without tires as they let off the gas.
Wills pulled the spike strip off the highway before the three Texas highway patrol cars flew past. They stacked up behind the silver car as it slowed. When it pulled off the highway onto the shoulder of the road and coasted to a stop, one patrol car pulled in front, another pulled out to the side next to the highway, the last one pulled in behind it. The three patrolmen were out of their cruisers with weapons drawn.
"GET OUT OF THE CAR AND LIE DOWN ON THE GROUND!" Dana was the one on the highway. He stayed behind his cruiser as he focused on the driver’s door. The windows of the silver car were tinted too heavily to see the driver. "GET OUT OF THE CAR NOW! LIE DOWN ON THE GROUND!"
Slowly the door opened. A shapely leg wearing high heels came out and touched the ground. The other leg followed as the door swung wide open. She was a dark haired beauty. She stood up, brushed down her short skirt, and then pushed her long hair back over her shoulder."
"LIE FACE DOWN ON THE GROUND NOW!" Dana had to cough that one out as he stared at the woman. It was procedure and now wasn’t the time to get lax. She could have a compatriot in the car. That friend could be holding a gun, waiting for anyone to do something foolish.
The woman squatted, put her hands down on the ground in front of her, and laid down.
"ANYONE IN THE CAR COME OUT NOW AND LIE DOWN ON THE GROUND!" The officer behind the car was shouting as he held his position behind his car door.
"I’m alone." The woman’s muffled voice carried across the pavement.
Wills had pulled up and joined in. Slowly the officers closed in on the car. One opened the passenger door at the same instant the other looked into the car from the driver’s side. It was empty.
Dana pulled the woman’s hands behind her back and put handcuffs on her before helping her to her feet. "You have the right to remain silent…," He wanted to make sure she understood her rights before she said anything. There were a half dozen laws she broke besides speeding. She was going to jail.
"You don’t understand! I’m late!" She was trying to make them understand as she was led to the patrol car and placed in the rear seat.
"What’s your name?" Dana wanted a name.
"Please, I’m late! I have to get there or they will leave without me!" The woman was pleading.
"What’s your name? Where do you live?" Dana wasn’t getting the answers he wanted.
"Please, you must understand! They will leave without me!" Her eyes were begging.
Dana was in no mood for mercy after the chase. "Lady, I’m getting damn tired of this. What is your name and where do you live?"
"They won’t be back. Please, I must be there before they leave." She had tears in the corner of her eyes.
Dana shut the door knowing he wasn’t going to get any useful information from her. He looked over at the other troopers who were still searching her car. "Find her driver’s license or purse?"
Clay sighed as he stood up. "Clean as a whistle. No driver’s license, no purse, no ID, nothing. She say what her name was?"
Shaking his head, Dana walked over to the woman’s car. "No. She has White Rabbit Fever."
Clay blinked as he searched though his mind what that could be. It wasn’t any disease he recognized. "White Rabbit fever?"
"Yeah, she’s late. Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit. The Rabbit was always late." Dana laughed after he said it.
"Uh, okay. So she’s bonkers, or she wants us to think she’s bonkers. Take her in and print her. I’m betting she comes up on someone’s radar." Clay shut the door to the car and headed for his patrol car. "Hank, call it in and have it picked up. What came back on the tags?"
The third patrolman hung up his radio. "Tags and vehicle identification number are listed to Lan Corporation out of Houston. Base is trying to call them now. No one is answering."
Dana looked at his passenger in the back seat. "I’ll run her back in. Shouldn’t take long to get a name on her if she works for that corporation."
The trip back into Fort Worth was quiet except for the radio chatter. The woman had stopped saying she was late, somewhere halfway back to town. In the station they fingerprinted her and photographed her as Jane Doe because she had stopped talking.
Cindy led her back to a cell and locked her in. "Honey, you might as well tell us who you are. It would go a lot easier on you if you co-operate."
Receiving no answer, Cindy turned and left. "Not a good choice."
Hours later, it had been a long day and Dana returned to the station before he went off duty. Cindy was still on duty and he sat down in the chair by her desk. "Get anything back on the White Rabbit?"
"White Rabbit?" Cindy had no idea who Dana was talking about.
"The Jane Doe I brought in earlier today. At first she kept claiming she was late, before she clammed up and stopped talking." It brought a smile to his face as he remembered her.
"Oh her. No. She doesn’t have a record. No matches on the fingerprints or the photo." Cindy was filling in the arrest information on a drunk and disorderly brought in a few minutes earlier.
"I’m going back to see if she’s talking." Dana rose up and headed back to the holding cells.
Cindy had finished her report when Dana walked back up to her desk. "Where did you send her?"
"Nowhere. She’s in cell nine." Cindy glanced up to see if Dana was joking. His face didn’t look like he was joking.
"She’s not there. Cell is empty." Dana wasn’t amused.
"Who pulled Jane Doe out of cell nine?" Cindy stood up and shouted to the rest of the officers and staff in the room.
Everyone was looking around at everyone else to see who had taken Jane Doe out of her cell.
"Okay, this is serious. Who moved Jane Doe out of cell nine?" Cindy thought the joke had gone far enough. She was headed back to the cellblock to check herself.
Dana followed Cindy into the cellblock. Cell nine was locked and empty. "I told you she wasn’t there."
They walked back up to the office and ran the video monitors back to see when she had been removed from her cell. The video showed officers escorting prisoners to and from the cellblock but no one had gone into cell nine. By all rights, the woman should still be there. She had pulled a Houdini and disappeared without a trace.
"Put out an arrest warrant on her. I don’t know how she did it, but she couldn’t be far." Dana wasn’t thrilled they had lost his prisoner.
"What did you get back on that Lan Corporation today?" Dana figured if they could get a name on the woman it would be simple enough finding where she lived and going after her.
Cindy shook her head. "Had someone in Houston check it out. It’s empty. They closed down their headquarters. I went through the directory and they had an office here in Wichita. Sent Merle over to check it out. Office is empty there too. Phone service still works as I called over there and it rang but Merle said there wasn’t anything inside."
She smiled as she raised her eyebrows. "Could be you stumbled onto something big. Caught one of them as she was escaping with government secrets."
Dana looked disgusted. "Sure, and she was hiding it where? Car is as clean as a whistle. She wasn’t carrying any ID or papers. She was a speeder and nothing more."
"Your speeder was driving a Lan Corporation company car. Lan has obviously closed up shop very recently. No one knows what Lan Corporation did. They don’t list any services or goods and they were only in the white pages. Sounds like what spy stuff is made up of, to me." Cindy was smiling from ear to ear.
"Sure and I’m Bond…, James Bond. You’ve been seeing too many movies." Dana turned and headed for the door. He wasn’t happy his speeder had been misplaced.
Weeks changed to months, Dana forgot about the White Rabbit. Life went on, even when a mystery or two was tossed in. His vacation came up and he was headed to Canada for some serious moose hunting south of Dawsons Creek. The Southwest Airlines flight out of Dallas to Los Angeles wasn’t bad. The Alaska Airways up to Seattle was a little rough. The Bush Freight Airways into Dawsons Creek was really rough, with lots of air turbulence.
Dana was glad to get his feet on the ground at Dawsons Creek. He caught a cab into town. Settler’s Inn was almost empty but the season was several weeks old. Most hunters had come and gone already. Dana had hit the lull before the traffic picked up again.
"Welcome to Dawsons Creek, Mr. Cooper." The desk clerk pushed the registration book toward Dana.
"Thanks. Long trip. I’ll grab a bite and take a nap. Has Frank Cheksaka showed up yet?" Dana signed the register and handed over his visa card.
"You weren’t informed? Mr. Cheksaka had an unfortunate accident. Broke his leg when a snowmobile rolled over on him."
Dana looked up at the desk clerk and his nametag. "No, when did this happen? Why didn’t someone call me? I need a guide and Frank was it."
"I’m sorry Mr. Cooper. It happened early this morning. I’m sure you can find a suitable replacement for Mr. Cheksaka. Your room is one oh eight, down the hall to your left." Eddie was holding up the Visa card for Mr. Cooper after he had scanned it. "We will add to your credit card during your stay. You may sign out when you leave."
"Sure." Dana wasn’t happy the way this hunting trip was starting out. No guide meant no moose.
Dana found a café and his bed in less than an hour. He was up before sunup the next morning looking for a guide. He had gone through the telephone book and most of the cafés before two hours were used up. Guides were either gone or they were already booked. In disgust, Dana leased a snowmobile when one of the locals told him where he might find moose.
Dana soon found he was lost. Either he had taken the wrong turn or he had gone too far, but beyond doubt he was lost. His only chance was to find his way back to town. He knew which direction Dawsons Creek was so he drove in that direction until he was almost out of gas. Then he smelled smoke. Where there was smoke, there were people.
He followed the scent upwind until he came to a little cabin nesting up against an embankment. It was covered over with snow. If it hadn’t been for the smoke drifting lazily up out of the stovepipe he wouldn’t have ever seen it.
"HELLO, IS ANYONE HOME?" Dana didn’t want to get shot by someone thinking he was a bear.
"What do you need?" Came the feminine voice that answered him from the doorway.
"I’m out of gas and I think I’m lost. I was headed back to Dawsons Creek. I seem to have missed it somehow." He killed the snowmobile before he slid off and stood up.
"You certainly are lost. Dawsons Creek is thirty miles north east of here. You can’t make it tonight. You might as well come on in and wait for light tomorrow." The voice answered back.
Dana picked up his rifle and headed for the cabin. He was wishing he had brought some of his camping gear, but he hadn’t planned on spending the night out in the woods. He kicked snow back away from the door before he opened it and walked into the cabin. The room was dimly lit by a kerosene lantern hanging by the fireplace.
His eyes hadn’t adjusted from the bright snow to the dark cabin but he could vaguely make out a woman with her back to him standing by a pot hanging in the fire.
"You hungry? I don’t have much but you’re welcome to share. I wasn’t expecting company." She dropped a ladle down in the pot and stirred it.
"I haven’t eaten all day. I was dumb enough to think I could go out and shoot a moose and be back before dinner. Getting lost wasn’t in my plans." The cabin felt toasty warm. Dana’s fingers and toes were starting to hurt as they warmed.
The woman reached over to a cabinet on her right and picked up a bowl. She ladled some food into it from the pot. "This will warm you up."
She picked up a box of crackers off the cabinet before she walked over and set the bowl and crackers down on the table in the middle of the room. "Here, go ahead. I’ll get mine."
Dana wasn’t looking when she walked toward him. He only caught a glimpse of her before she turned to get another bowl. She was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt. She looked familiar.
She ladled up another bowl and walked back over to the table. She sat down, picked up her spoon, and stirred her food. "It’s hot. Don’t burn your mouth."
Dana did a double take and looked harder. "I know you!"
He grabbed his rifle. "You’re under arrest."
She blew on her spoon and took a small bite. "Not bad. Could use a pinch more salt and another clove of garlic."
"Didn’t you hear what I said? You’re under arrest." Dana pointed the rifle at her to get her attention.
She sighed as she looked at him. "I also remember you. You are the patrolman who made me miss my ship. Cooper was the nametag you were wearing at the time. Is it still Cooper? Look around you, Cooper. Where do you think we are? This isn’t Texas. Even if it was, it still wouldn’t make any difference. There are four feet of snow outside, it’s growing dark, and it’s bitterly cold."
She took another bite after blowing on it. "I heard you the first time. I’m under arrest. Big deal. What now? Are you going to tie me on that snowmobile you said was out of gas and pull it and me back to town? I have some kerosene for my lantern. You want to try running that through your carbs? The engine may run but it wouldn’t move that vehicle. Kerosene doesn’t burn like gasoline."
She reached over and picked up several crackers before dipping one into her bowl. "You plan on standing there all night holding that rifle on me? Long nights up here."
Snapping her fingers she nodded. "I got it! You are going to handcuff me."
Shaking her head she curled up the corners of her mouth. "Small problem. You probably didn’t bring your handcuffs to go moose hunting. Hard to handcuff a moose."
Dana wasn’t amused. "You’re still under arrest. I’m taking you back to Dawsons Creek first thing in the morning."
"Great, you finally came up with a plan. If you aren’t eating, I’m going to put your stew back in the pot." She took another bite of stew and nibbled on a cracker.
Dana finally realized it was a ridiculous situation. He couldn’t watch her all night, he couldn’t tie her up, and he didn’t want to end up dead because he went to sleep. "I’m not taking my eye off you." He took the bullets and bolt out of his rifle before he sat down and took a bite of stew. On an empty stomach, it tasted great. When his stomach was full and he was warm, it only took minutes before he was nodding.
"Bed is over there in the corner. I didn’t plan on company so we share. You get any funny ideas in the middle of the night and I’ll toss you out into the snow." She pointed over to a dark corner of the cabin.
"I’m not sleepy. I’m only going to find a little softer place to sit. These wooden chairs are hard on the butt." Dana rose from the table and walked over to the bed. Minutes later snoring sounds were coming from the corner of the room.
"Oh swell! He snores. That’s just great! I can tell this is going to be a long night." She picked up the bowls and carried them over to the sink where she washed them before heading to the rocker beside the fire.
>>>>>>>TO BE CONTINUED
FROM THE EDITOR: There's much more to come. Stay tuned to this station for the further adventures of the Trooper and the Alien! Please be so kind as to comment and kudo. The author and I would greatly appreciate it, and thank you for reading.
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