Chapter One Hundred Seventy-Two:
Blake Riley’s boat took another bump from underneath the vessel. This time it was powerful enough to shake the whole ship.
“What the heck was that?” Blake said, turning in the direction of the ship’s captain, Peter Marks.
“Well, it isn’t a submersible. My guess is that it’s a very large living creature,” Peter answered.
“Such as Ogopogo?” Blake asked.
“It’s possible sir. I am not aware of another creature in Lake Okanagan that could give your ship a jar like that,” Peter stated.
“Get Dr.Hardyfor me. I think he’s below the main deck checking the sonar readings,” Blake said to Keesha, one of the university students.
Keesha didn’t have to go far as Lionel was already making his way to the main deck.
“Dr. Hardy, something very large has hit the boat twice already,” Blake said.
“I’m aware of that. That’s why I ran up the stairs to the main deck. The sonar readings I was getting suggested a very large object indeed, perhaps as large as fifty feet long,” Lionel said.
“Could it be Ogopogo?” Blake asked.
“I would hazard a guess that it is,” Lionel answered solemnly.
“Why does it want to attack our boat? I thought that Ogopogo is not an aggressive animal,” Blake said.
“At the present time we don’t have very much evidence concerning the creature’s aggression, one way or the other. There has been the odd report by a swimmer or a water skier in Lake Okanagan that claims that Ogopogo was pursuing them,” Lionel answered.
A third hit now struck the boat strong enough to allow some water to spray onto the main deck.
“Why is the creature doing this? What does it want with us?” Blake asked.
Ryan Richards walked towards Blake and Lionel.
“I have a theory,” Ryan said. The Ogopogo that is attacking the ship probably saw us capture the replica with our large fishing nets.”
By this time Kyle Winter had also stepped up to join in the discussion.
“Ryan’s right. Ogopogo likely thinks that we will try to capture him too. The creature is probably unaware that the replica wasn’t a real Ogopogo.”
“You guys could be right. My concern is how many bumps my ship can take before the creature causes some serious damage,” Blake said.
A voice was heard a few feet away. It was John Richards. “I’m worried about that too, but I’m also afraid that Ogopogo may try to climb aboard to rescue the replica.”
“So what should we do?” Blake asked, who was now looking anxious.
“My suggestion is that we throw the replica back into the lake,” John said.
“I agree. That makes sense to me. Maybe if Ogopogo thinks that we’ve set his friend free, he will leave us alone,” Lionel said.
Peter Marks was now set to take charge again. He grabbed a megaphone and said, “I need all hands on deck. We’re going to need lots of muscle power to lift the replica up and throw it back in the lake.”
Chapter One Seventy-Three:
Dr. Marsha Mitchell was in her office trying to catch up on some of her files when she heard her phone ring.
“Hello. Dr. Mitchell. This is Sheriff George Anderson. I’m calling to give you a heads up that you will soon be getting three more clients. I received a call from one of the surgeons at the hospital, Dr. Phillip Garvey. He told me that his first patient had died on the operating table. He was a man named Mike O’Grady. Mike had most of his right arm torn off by an unknown animal in Lake Okanagan. By the time his crew got him to the hospital it was too late. The poor man had lost a great deal of blood and was in very poor health prior to his injury. The doctor said that Mr. O’Grady died of from a massive heart attack while he was on the operating table.”
“That’s horrible. What happened to the other two men?” Marsha asked.
“They were DOA when they got to the hospital. These two men were criminals who stole an old couple’s boat, but they didn’t need to die in such a horrible manner. They were enjoying a couple of beers on the main deck when they were suddenly knocked off their boat by a very large green tail. The Harbor Patrol divers found the two bodies of the criminals. They were mauled very badly. One man’s leg was torn off above the knee and the other guy’s torso was almost torn in two,” Sheriff Anderson stated.
“One of the divers got a good look at the animal that caused the destruction. All he could tell me, on the record, was that the animal was an unidentifiable marine predator. Off the record, he told me he was sure that it was Ogopogo.”
“This sounds very similar to the Ida Rhodes case,” Dr. Mitchell observed.
Chapter One Hundred Seventy-Four:
Susan Richards felt both shocked and honored by Winston Standfield’s invitation to join him on his expedition. She feared for Stephanie’s safety, but also realized just how much being on this this expedition meant to Stephanie. Susan also could not help but notice the attraction growing between her daughter and Garry Hardy. She knew that if she denied this expedition to Stephanie, her daughter would probably hold a grudge for the rest of her life. Let’s face it, this scientific expedition was an opportunity to make history.
Susan had to admit that she, too, was getting excited by this once in a life time chance to be a part of something that could turn out to be really significant.
It was getting late but Susan was still continuing her conversation with Winston. She was asking him detailed questions about Ogopogo and about his methodology in his search for Ogopogo.
“The pictures and videos that we took turned out very well. The video taken with the camcorder is a bit shaky because of my combination of excitement and fear when I saw Ogopogo. I am sure that these photos and videos will be very important in establishing Ogopogo’s existence. However, my goals go beyond just having photographic and video evidence. I want to find out what kind of animal Ogopogo is. I want to know if he is a previously unknown, undiscovered creature, or if Ogopogo is an evolved version of a previously known prehistoric animal. The marine biologist inside me needs to know the answers to these questions,” Winston said.
“How do you plan to determine this?” Susan said, starting to feel sleepy.
“Susan, I can see that you’re getting very drowsy and you’ve had a long day. I have another spare room in my cottage for you and Stephanie. I will show both of you to your rooms so that you can have a good night’s rest,” Winston said.
“Thank you, Winston. I greatly appreciate this.”
Chapter One Hundred Seventy-Five:
Bobby O’Connor decided to call Sheriff George Anderson. He believes that there is now less animosity between him and the sheriff. Bobby imagines that because of his cooperation during the recent demonstration he may have won him some brownie points with Sheriff George Anderson.
“Hello Sheriff. This is Bobby O’Connor. I want to thank you for allowing me to report on the demonstration in the town commons.”
“No problem, Bobby. I was glad to have you spread the word about my speech to the crowd. For the most part it has been successful in keeping the Ogopogo hunters off the lake,” the sheriff said.
“You said ‘for the most part’. Have there been any violators of your warnings?”
“I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that there has,” the sheriff answered.
“It has recently come to my attention that a man was attacked by a marine predator. The witnesses claim it was just a large fish, perhaps a sturgeon, but I have serious problems with their stories. I am not aware of any large fish such as a sturgeon that could cause this type of injury,” Sheriff Anderson said.
“What kind of injury are we talking about, specifically?” Bobby inquired.
“A very severe one. Most of the victim’s right arm was amputated.”
“You mean torn right off?”
“Could I speak with the victim? Has his condition stabilized enough that I could talk to him?”
“No, he’s dead,” the sheriff replied. “The man was in very poor health prior to the injury. He had a major heart attack while he was in the hospital.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Bobby said.
“What do you think really caused the man’s injury?”
“I don’t know, but our medical examiner, Dr. Marsha Mitchell, will be looking into it,” George replied.
“Have there been any other similar incidents of late?”
“Yes. Dr. Mitchell is looking into another recent incident. Two criminals who had stolen a couple’s boat were reportedly knocked off the boat by a creature with a large green tail.”
“What kind of animal knocked them into the lake?”
“The Harbor Patrol saw the whole incident. Two of their divers went into the lake to look for the two men. What they found was two badly mangled bodies. One man’s torso was almost ripped in half.”
“What kind of animal could have done this?”
“We don’t know. One of the divers reported seeing a very strange, menacing creature that correlates with people’s reported sightings of Ogopogo,” the sheriff said.
“How do you intend to follow up on these incidents?” Bobby inquired.
“I have asked Dr. Marsha Mitchel to call me as soon as she has any more information about what could have attacked the victims. After that I’m going to take my law enforcement staff along to find Ogopogo,” the sheriff said.
“Wow! So you really believe that Ogopogo attacked the victims?”
“What else could it be?”
“When you go out to look for Ogopogo, could you take me along?” Bobby asked.
“I don’t see why not. I’d just have to get it cleared by the Harbor Patrol,” the sheriff said.