Episode One Hundred Eighty-Eight (Conclusion):
The Harbor Patrol arrived and managed to transport the maimed diver to the closest hospital but unfortunately, the man died at the hospital. By this time Bobby O’Conner had found out about the aborted mission to capture a live Ogopogo. Before conducting his interviews with the key participants the veteran reporter decided that he would do the right thing and would inform William Everett, the head of the Fisheries Department and Sheriff George Anderson of the day’s events. Bobby figured that if he didn’t the Harbor Patrol surely would and he wanted to say on good terms with the authorities.
The major leaders of the expeditions collectively agreed to call a halt to their investigations. On talking it over at an undisclosed meeting sight, Blake Riley, Jack Kimberly, Dr. Lionel Hardy and Winston Standfield came to the conclusion that it was too dangerous to continue their mission to capture a live Ogopogo. They all felt that the human cost was too high to proceed any further at this point. They also knew that they would have to wait to find out if criminal charges were to be brought against any of the expeditions’ participants. They agreed that their mission was not a complete failure. A preponderance of new research data had been collected and the photographic and video evidence all pointed to the proof of Ogopogo’s existence.
John and Susan Richards decided to go out for coffee to discuss how recent events were going to effect their relationship. They both concluded that they should end their separation and give their marriage another chance. The decision on where to live was settled at a Richards family meeting. Ryan and Monique shared that they wanted to continue living in Kelowna as they both wanted to pursue their academic studies at The University of British Columbia. Stephanie informed her family that she too, wished to reside permanently on Kelowna as she wanted to continue her relationship with Garry Hardy.
Wally Standfield and Garry Hardy both decided that they would return to The Kelowna Mental Health Center to complete their therapeutic programs. Upon graduation, Winston Standfield suggested that the two young men should live with him.
As for the Ogopogo family, legislation was passed that ruled that any future research projects that involved either searching for or attempting to capture the creatures would be declared illegal.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-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 Twenty-One:
Cam McDougall didn’t waste any time getting to work on the photos and videos that Jack had provided. He called Jack over to have a look at some of the photos.
“Jack, these pictures you have are incredible. Considering that they were taken at night they show remarkable clarity and detail. I just have one question for you. Two, actually.” Cam said.
“Go ahead. Ask.”
“First question. Who took these photos and videos?”
“An old friend from my high school days, Mike O’Grady,” Jack replied.
“Would it be possible for me to meet him?”
“Unfortunately not. Mike passed away yesterday at the hospital. Mike got too close to the young Ogopogo and it tore his right arm off. Mike died in the operating room while he was being treated.”
“That’s terrible. His camera work was amazing.”
“We’ll miss him. That’s for sure,” Jack said sadly.
“Here’s my other question. Just an observation, but the smaller animal definitely appears to be an animate object, but something doesn’t look quite right with the larger creature. This is even more apparent on your videos. The little one appears to be moving around in a very life- like manner, but the adult creature looks stilted. The junior Ogopogo looks very much alive and appears to want to play with the larger one. The little one may think that the larger animal is its mother. The adult size creature doesn’t appear to be moving on its own. It looks like it only moves when the little one pushes on it,” Cam observed.
“The reason for that is that the adult size Ogopogo isn’t real. It’s made out of wood. Mike O’Grady designed, built and painted the replica of Ogopogo,” Jack explained.
“From what you have told me, this Mike O’Grady was a genius. Did he make a lot of money from his work?” Cam asked.
“Unfortunately not. Mike was getting older and suffered from numerous health challenges. He lived off his government disability cheque. He also made a little spending money by repairing other people’s computers. Mike died in poverty,” Jack said.
“Life is just not fair. That man should have died as a wealthy man,” Cam said.
“As brilliant as Mike’s work is, there’s going to be one major problem. It won’t take the experts long to figure out that one of the Ogopogos is a fake. That will start them wondering if the little one is real. People are going to suspect that all these photos and videos are a hoax,” Cam stated.
“The irony is that I originally planned for the replica to be a hoax played on Blake Riley. Then the real junior Ogopogo showed up and ruined all my plans to humiliate and disgrace Blake Riley,” Jack said.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty
When Jack Kimberly was driving back to his apartment he knew the next order of business was to find another photo and video technician, who could analyze Mike O’Grady’s work. As he drove past a Seven-Eleven a thought occurred to him. He did know another video expert. His name was Cam McDougal. Cam was in Jack’s down line in his former network marketing business. Jack didn’t know whether or not Cam had joined Blake’s new business enterprise yet, but Jack really didn’t care. He knew Cam well enough to know that he had his own photography business on the side and Jack knew that Cam had the skills that he was looking for.
Jack walked over to his computer and looked up his business contacts list that contained addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of all the people who had worked with him in the past. It didn’t take long for Jack to find Cam’s phone number.
“Hi Cam. It’s Jack Kimberly. I need a big favor, buddy.”
“Well, tell me what it is and I may be able to help you out,” Cam said.
“It involves your area of expertise. I need some photos and some video footage analyzed by an expert,” Jack said.
“That shouldn’t be a problem except that all the equipment I’ll need is at my place. Can you bring your photos and videos over to my place? Say within the next half hour?”
“That works for me. I’ll be at your place in half an hour or less depending on the traffic,” Jack answered.
Cam McDougal’s community was the polar opposite of Mike O’Grady’s. Cam’s house was located in the prime real estate area of Kelowna.
As soon as Cam let Jack in, he could see the excitement both in Jack’s eyes and his demeanor. Cam offered to get a coffee for Jack which Jack willingly accepted.
“So Jack. I heard that you really got stabbed in the back by Blake Riley.”
“How did you know?”
“Word travels fast,” Cam said.
“Well, that’s just a minor set- back for me. Many times in this life I’ve been kicked to the ground. But I’ll tell you what. I always get back up again.”
“That’s what makes you a winner Jack.”
“I know,” Jack said not displaying any sense of false modesty.
“I have a proposition for you Cam. If you do a top notch job analyzing my photos and videos, I’ll cut you in on the deal.”
“What deal?” Cam asked.
“I’ll let you have a look at the photos and videos that I brought over. Then I think you’ll see what I’m getting at,” Jack answered.
Chapter One Hundred Nineteen
After the Harbor Patrol watched Luc and Guy get swept overboard by Ogopogo’s tail, they quickly put on their diving gear. Both of the officers were trained divers who had plenty of experience rescuing people who had fallen overboard.
The two young divers, Jayson Kilmore and Craig Hartley moved their boat to the location where they had spotted blood in the water. They decided that, for now, only one diver would go below the surface of the water to look for the two bodies of the men who had been swept overboard. The first diver, Jayson Kilmore reached the one hundred foot level when he saw the mangled bodies of the two criminals. Luc had his left arm torn off and Luc’s body was separated at the torso. As the two men were obviously dead Jayson came back to the surface.
As he rose to the surface of the lake Jayson felt as if something large was travelling in his direction. He turned around in time to see two large amber eyes staring intently at him. Jayson noted that the eyes belonged to an enormous, serpentine shaped animal. Fortunately, after having a good look at Jayson, the menacing animal turned around in the water and swam in the opposite direction. Jayson rose very quickly to the surface. His partner, Craig Hartley, helped pull Jayson out of the water and into the boat.
“So, what did you see down there. You look kind of shaken up,” Craig noted.
“It was horrible. You wouldn’t believe it. I found the bodies of the two men, all mangled up. I also saw Ogopogo while I was down there,” Craig answered with trembling in his voice.
The two Harbor Patrol constables decided that they would cast a large net under the water and would haul the bodies of the deceased to the surface. After this action was taken, the two constables headed for the shore. From there they took the two bodies to the medical examiner.
When Winston Standfield arrived at Kelowna International Airport he only had to look around for a few minutes before he saw an attractive, well- dressed brunette holding a white poster with black lettering that spelled out the name, ‘Susan Richards’.
Winston held out his hand to greet the woman.
“Ah, it wasn’t hard to find you at all. I’m Winston Standfield.”
Susan shook Winston’s hand.
He did not look at all as she had pictured him in her mind. She thought it rather amusing that a man of Winston’s age would look so cool. She found it hard not to stare at this man’s long white hair complete with a ring shaped golden earring. He had amazingly thick hair that was back combed, but extended way past his shoulders and part way down his back.
Winston was wearing a black Metallica tee shirt, faded blue jeans and red Converse runners. He was the epitome of middle aged hip.
“I’m pleased to meet you Mr.Standfield. That you very much for coming to the airport to give me a ride.”
“No problem at all, my lady,” Winston said, giving her a warm smile.
Susan’s original purpose had been to angrily confront this man for offering to take her daughter on a dangerous expedition, but she was beginning to like Winston. In spite of his outlandish appearance he was a real gentleman.
Winston walked Susan out to his prized 1994 white Ford Tempo.
“Does this car still run?” Susan asked.
“Runs like a charm. Don’t worry. I fully reconditioned it myself.”
Winston opened the car door for Susan to get in.
“How did you learn how to fix cars? Were you a mechanic at one time?” Susan asked.
“No, not me. My father was a licensed mechanic. He would bring home old cars to fix up and resell. I used to help him so I learned a lot about repairing cars.”
“My ex-husband told me that you’re a marine biologist,” Susan said.
“That’s true. Up until recently. I had worked for many years for The Department of Fisheries.”
“So are you retired now?”
“In a manner of speaking, yes, but I’d prefer not to go into that just now,” Winston stated.
In less than fifteen minutes they arrived at Winston’s house.
“I will apologize for the messy house in advance. I have a lot of books and magazines scattered all over my living room,” Winston said, opening the front door of his house for Susan.
“Let me introduce you to my grandson Wally and his friend Garry Hardy, and of course, your own daughter, Stephanie.”
All three young people were watching Friday Night Smackdown when Winston and Susan walked in the house.
“Wally and Garry I’d like you to meet a lovely lady named Susan Richards. Stephanie, of course, will not require any introduction.”
Chapter One Hundred Thirteen
Jack Kimberley was sitting in the waiting room of the emergency ward. He was feeling very guilty about what had happened to his friend, Mike O’Grady. If only he hadn’t told his crew to move the boat closer to Ogopogo.
Jack was thinking of other matters, too. The appearance and filming of the junior Ogopogo had changed everything. It forced Jack to come up with other plans where Blake Riley was concerned. Finding a real live Ogopogo would not make a fool out of Blake Riley. It proved that Blake’s plan for an expedition to search for Ogopogo was not really far -fetched at all. Their sighting proved that Ogopogo was real and Jack now had the film evidence to prove it.
The question now was what would he do with his video evidence. With Mike O’Grady in critical condition, Jack would need another photo and video technician to analyze both the still photos and video footage that Mike had taken.
If the photos and video footage turned out to be of high quality, Jack figured that he was sitting on a gold mine. In a way, he would have his revenge on Blake Riley. Jack was now the one who would get all the money and fame. Unlike Blake, Jack didn’t see the need to capture a live Ogopogo now that he had the video footage. But who knows? If what Mike had filmed was a junior size Ogopogo, that meant that the creature likely had full sized adult parents swimming living in Lake Okanagan.
Jack started to think about the possibility of upping the ante. What if he and his crew were able to capture a live Ogopogo? How much money would he be able to get from the photos and videos alone? He could sell to the highest bidder.
While Jack was thinking of ways to benefit himself, Dr. Garvey walked into the waiting room to talk to Jack and his crew. He asked the men to follow him up to his second floor office. Once there, he asked the men to take a seat.
“The first question that I need to ask is this. Were any of you able to contact any of Mike’s next of kin?”
“Unfortunately not,” Jack replied. “None of us knew Mike that well and Mike had never talked to us about his family.”
“That is indeed, unfortunate,” Dr. Garvey said.
“Why is that?” Jack asked nervously. “I mean Mike’s going to pull through, isn’t he?”
“I’m afraid not. He died on the operating table. Mike had a massive heart attack. I’m sorry,” Dr. Garvey said.