Sam Does Meditation – Part IV
On the way to San Francisco, Sam broke all speed laws and all laws against talking on the phone while driving. He got hold of Phillips, his contact at the Bureau and gave him a very abbreviated version of the facts. They would meet at Bio-Tech. It usually took an hour and a half to get to the big city; Sam did it in less than 60 minutes.
They screeched up in front of Bio-Tech. The Bureau guy was there in an un-marked and a couple of SFPD were there, sirens off. They pushed Chan out of the truck and into the foyer. His crying had subsided to low moans interlaced with hiccups. Brother Huang kept patting his hand, consoling him.
The entire contingent sped into the building. Chan presented his ID to the two guards at the desk who were, by this time, ogling at the cops. Phillips presented his FBI gold shield.
A fat middle-aged security guy with the name Stanley embroidered on his shirt answered their questions.
“Well, yes, Dr. Chan. Dr. Lee was in here about, when?” he looked at the other guard. “About an hour or so ago. Said he left his briefcase and had to get it. Going to catch a red-eye flight at the airport. Didn’t he say that?” The other guy nodded silently. “But he had his proper badge, Dr. Chan, he did have access to that little office. And we had seen the brief case before, didn’t we?” The other guy, younger, nodded still staring down at his computer screen, not looking too happy.
“You say about an hour ago?” Sam took over.
“Bill, look that up on the log for the man, will you?” Stanley asked the younger man.
Sam grabbed Chan by the elbow. “Let’s get upstairs and see what’s missing.” The FBI agent followed.Huang and the cops remained in the lobby. Sam ran to the elevators, pulling Chan. The scientist pointed out the proper buttons.
“I got to let you in. Just a minute.” Stanley yelled at them.
Sam patted his foot. The elevator door slowly opened, and they got in. Chan pushed the button for the sixth floor.
Getting off the elevator, Chan seemed more in his element and raced down the hall. The hazy fog he had been in for the last hour seemed to have lifted. He punched in a code at the security portal and pressed his right hand against the tiny flickering screen. There were a series of beeps! And Sam could hear clicks and the big, heavy white door opened. The three men hurried inside.
Chan began racing around the lab doing checks, muttering to himself. Phillips and Sam stood awkwardly waiting for him to finish. Phillips was checking something on his cell phone. He showed the phone to Sam.
“Red-eye to Beijing, 11:00 pm,” the agent said quietly. Sam nodded.
“Not here, not here.” They could hear Chan talking to himself, moving deeper in to the lab. “That’s okay, that’s okay.” Then there was a pregnant pause and “Oh, shit!”
Phillips and Sam looked at each other.
Chan walked slowly back to them, shoulders slumped. “He has taken the cryo-center with the baby embryo. The latest one.” His face was ashen.
Phillips started making phone calls immediately as they all ran down the stairs this time, not waiting for the elevator. On the lobby floor, they gathered up the rest of the crew. Phillips gave quick instructions to the cops who peeled off to their pandas. Lights on and sirens blaring, they all headed for San Francisco International Airport.
“Let’s take mine, it’s faster,” Phillips told them with a wave of his hand. Sam and Chan piled into the unmarked and Phillips hit the accelerator. The car sprang forward.
Chan was mute with shock; Sam pulled a small silver flash from his back pocket. He made the young man take a swig. Chan coughed but got some color back in his face. Phillips was yelling non-stop on his phone, giving orders.
Screeching up to the airport in record time, the agent parked illegally in the red zone in front of Departures. Hustling out of the car, Sam somewhat dragged and somewhat pushed a limp Chan in front of him. Two cops stayed behind to see that Airport Security didn’t tow the vehicle.
Phillips located the gate number and pointed. Two men that he seemed to recognize came running up to him.
“This the guy?” They both asked. Phillips nodded. “He has to give a positive ID for us to stop him.”
They practically ran to the gate, Chan virtually lifted off his feet and hurried along by the beefy agents. They got to gate 21; there was a line of people boarding.
The agents stopped, placing Chan on his feet. The young man looked around wildly. Then, “Him, that’s him!” he screamed, pointing.
Dr. Lee saw Chan and the cops and tried to run but the agents were fast on their feet. They grabbed the man and his precious cargo. One agent immediately relieved Lee of his old brown briefcase and brought it over.
He put it down at Chan’s feet and opened the bag. “This it?” Chan poked his nose inside the bag.
“That’s it.” He sagged so much, Sam had to grab him. He thought for a minute the kid was going to faint.
The two agents had a tight grip on Dr. Lee and were walking him out. The man jerked to a stop in front of Chan.
“You Americans are all the same, always thinking you can save the world. Single-handed.” He spat. “Aoman de pigu,”(you arrogant ass.)
The agents pulled him away and Chen stared after him.
Phillips dropped Sam and Chan at Bio-Tech and waited in the lot. Brother Huang was still waiting patiently in the foyer, causually chatting with the security guards. He waved as they came in. Sam gave him a thumbs up and he smiled and went back to his chit-chat.
Sam and Chan went back upstairs to the lab with the stolen ‘merchandise.’ Gingerly, Chan resettled the cryo-canister back into its cradle. He checked that everything was back where it was supposed to be in the lab.
He patted the canister. “She’s okay.”
“She?” asked an incredulous Sam.
“Yes, she. I peeked.” Sam felt his head spinning again.
Chan turned off the lights and closed the security door.
Sam checked with Phillips and they agreed to meet at an all-night coffee shop. Once there, Huang ordered bacon, eggs, and coffee.
“What?” he asked Sam.
“Oh, nothing, I just thought. . ..” Sam didn’t finish his sentence.
Huang held a butter knife to his temple. “Can’t be good all the time, Sam-Shi. Not good for you. Not the way.”
Sam had to laugh and sipped on his very black coffee and nibbled on a sweet roll.
“So,” Agent Phillips said to Chan, “tell us when it started.”
Chan sighed and sipped his hot herbal tea. He paused to pour a glob of honey into the cup.
“It started when I took a trip to China. I met this girl…” Sam and Phillips shifted and smiled at each other. “I’ve always been kind of a bookworm,” they nodded, “and she was so friendly and pretty and . . .”
“And….” Sam prompted.
“And she took me to an orphanage and showed me these kids. Those poor kids. They had so many things wrong with them and no one wanted them. They were just throwaways in that society. It was terrible.” He sighed again and sipped his tea, remembering.
“Then. . ..” Sam nudged.
“Then, well, she told me I could help. How can I help? I told her. I am just one guy. I can’t adopt all those kids. No way. I’m not married. . ..” he paused. “She told me there was another way I could help, with my research. My genetics research.”
Sam took over for a little while. “What the wiz kid here does is cutting-edge research on embryos. That is where the embryo is genetically altered to eliminate ‘bad genes’ or genes known to cause chronic illnesses and diseases. Am I right?” He looked at Chan who nodded.
“But it’s in a very experimental stage,” Chan continued. “There is no way the US Government will allow us to do that with a full-term baby unless and until there is a lot more research done. We don’t want to have. . . mistakes.” He sighed.
“And, create a monster when all we are trying to do is help, etc.,” Sam added.
Chan nodded and stared at his tea, both hands wrapped around the mug.
“But, the Chinese government is not so cautious and would like to start those experiments as soon as possible,” Phillips continued.
“She told me she was with the orphanage,” pleaded Chan.
“Dr. Chan, I am not positive,” Phillips added, “but it is likely this entire operation was funded by the Chinese military. Who,” he looked at Sam, “are desirous of creating a super-army.”
“But the girl. . .” Chan continued.
“Part and parcel, sir. Part and parcel.”
Chan seemed unsettled.
“Dr. Chan,” Phillips said softly, “did it never occur to you how odd it was that someone you only met, in a foreign country would know about your research?”
“Well, she was so interested in what I said. I talked and talked. I just assumed I must have mentioned it.” Chan carefully studied the table.
Over his head, Sam and Phillips shook theirs.
Phillips picked up the bill. It was 3 am. Sam said he and Huang would drive the scientist home.
“Am I going to be charged?” asked a tremulous Chan.
“Well, Dr. Chan, since we got everything back, it looks like nothing was actually stolen. And, since Dr. Lee has diplomatic immunity, he will go home very soon. As for your employer, well. That’s up to them.” Phillips gave a knowing look to Sam. “Someone will have to tell them something. You have about 4 hours to figure out what to say to your boss.” Phillips saluted to Sam.
“Thanks for your help, Mr. Sam Reynolds.”
“Anytime, Phillips, anytime.”
Phillips turned to leave.
“Oh, last thing Dr. Chan.”
Chan looked at him.
“I wouldn’t advise more trips to China anytime soon.” He got into his unmarked and drove away.
“Let’s get you home, bub.” Sam gathered them up and back into the truck. Chan gave directions and Sam drove to his apartment.
“Thanks, Sam.” Dr. Chan told him ruefully. “And thanks to you too, Brother Huang. I don’t know if I’ll have a job Monday. But, I have been a complete fool. I guess it could have been worse. He could have gotten on that plane.”
“Yup,” Sam answered. “It could have been worse. Night, Dr. Chan.”
Sam rolled up the window and pulled into the street. He looked at Huang.
“So true, Sam-Shi. Glad you brought that up.” Huang responded to the unspoken remark. “It could have been worse. He could have been killed by Lee, not just hit on the head.”
“Exactly, Huang. Exactly what I was thinking.” They both laughed and headed into the new dawn of a new day, going back to the Green Veil.
Sam slept very late the next day and awoke to the sound of his phone pinging at him.
“Hello, hello,” he was groggy.
“Sam, it’s Kristie!”
“Hello, darling, what gets you up so early?”
“Sam, it’s after 11 am, what are you talking about?”
“Oh, yeah. Late night. What’s up?”
“Well, the thing fell through with the kids. The boyfriend got sick and Chelsea sprained her ankle.”
“So. . .?”
“So, the weekend is off. You still want me to come up? I can go shopping at Nordstrom’s!”
Sam paused. Shopping.
“Then there’s the pool at the Clairmont Hotel, wine in the jacuzzi. Couples massages, Chateaubriand for dinner.”
“Hmm, sounding better all the time.”
“Super, I’ll make the reservations and pack. I should be up in three maybe four hours. Oh, I love you, Sam. You’re so dependable. Such a quiet weekend. Just the two of us. Kiss, kiss.” She was gone and off the phone.
Sam rolled over in bed and held the phone to his chest. “Just the two of us. Quiet weekend. Wonder if Brother Huang has some eggs and bacon hidden somewhere, that old rascal. Maybe some coffee too.” The thought occurred he hadn’t thought about a cigarette once since he got to the Green Veil.
“I guess meditation does work. Ha!”
Sam rolled out of bed and pulled on jeans and a T-shirt. Wearing his favorite pair of boots once agin, he was ready for the day.