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 Eighty-Seven:
Susan Richards started to panic as she watched John dive into the lake. It was at that moment that she realized how much she still loved her husband. When she saw what had frightened her mother, Stephanie ran to Susan and threw her arms around her.
“Why is Dad going into the lake? The two divers haven’t come up yet,” Stephanie said sobbing.
Winston Standfield walked towards the mother and daughter.
“I think that your husband has more courage and integrity than you give him credit for,” Winston said.
“That’s right,” said Garry Hardy as he joined the group. “Your dad is a very brave man. He’s probably gone down to look for the other divers. Something must have happened to them.”
Stephanie hugged Garry and Susan clung to Winston as they waited for John to return to the surface of the lake. Within fifteen minutes they saw John Richards rise out of the water carrying one of the divers.
“Thank God John’s alive!” cried Susan. “Winston, take Stephanie and me to John. We have to make sure that he’s alright.”
Within a few minutes Winston’s boat pulled up to Blake’s and Susan, Stephanie and Wally climbed aboard the Viper.
Susan was the first one to run up to John. “John, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine, but the diver is not. The creature must have bit off his arm and the man has lost a lot of blood,” John answered.
The diver was lying down on the deck of the Viper. Blake and Jack Kimberley had applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
“We have to get this man to a hospital as soon as possible,” Lionel Hardy said. “We need to find out what happened to the other diver.”
“I didn’t see the other diver when I was down there,” John said.
Although the surviving diver was very weak, he still managed to talk.
“Troy is dead. One of the creatures ripped his body in half.”
“That’s horrible,” Blake said. “Let’s get this ship to shore so that we can get this man to the hospital. Someone call the Harbor Patrol and see if they can get this man some medical attention.”
Chapter One Hundred Thirty
About thirty minutes later Blake saw another ship about one hundred metres away. What he saw was Winston Stanfield’s cabin cruiser. Winston’s crew which now included Stephanie and Susan Richards, was also headed in the direction of Squally Point. As the vessel got closer Blake realized that he did not recognize any of the crew on the approaching vessel.
Blake quickly called over Jack and Lionel. “I think we may now be encountering another vessel and crew with the same objectives as ours. Handing pairs of binoculars to Jack and Lionel he asked, “Do you men recognize any one aboard that ship?”
“Yes, I’m fairly sure who one of the crew may be. It is a well- known and controversial marine biologist who up until recently worked for The Department of Fisheries. His name is Dr. Winston Standfield,” Lionel said. You are quite right Blake, in your assumption that the vessel behind us is also searching for Ogopogo.”
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-One:
After Dr. Marsha Mitchell finished her autopsies on the two deceased criminals, Luc and Guy and the corpse of Michael O’Grady she called George Anderson.
“The wounds that I have found on all men were consistent with an attack by an unknown marine apex predator. The damage to their bodies is very much the same as those suffered by the late Ida Rhodes.”
“I was afraid that you were going to say that,” Sheriff George Anderson said with a long drawn out sigh.
“What are you going to do, Sheriff?” the medical examiner asked.
“My choices are now very limited. The creature that perpetrated these atrocities must be destroyed,” George Anderson replied.
Chapter One Hundred Thirty-Two:
While Blake, Jack and Lionel were all getting acquainted telling each other stories about their interest in Ogopogo, Monique called Ryan Richards over to an unoccupied place on the lower deck.
“What’s up, Monique?” Ryan asked.
“Something is bothering me. We need to have a heart to heart conversation.”
“Okay. What about?”
“About us Ryan. About our relationship. I’ve enjoyed being with you so much this summer.”
“That’s a good thing. Isn’t it? I feel the same way about you,” Ryan said.
“I’m glad to hear that, but we are both going to have to make some hard decisions before the end of the summer. What are your plans for the fall?”
“The original plan was to go back to Winnipeg to live with my mom until next summer,” Ryan answered.
“So does that mean that you want to break up with me at the end of the summer? Or does it mean that you want to make our relationship a long distance one until next summer?” Monique inquired.
“Neither option really appeals to me. I love you and I couldn’t stand to have only a phone and email relationship until next summer,” Ryan said. “So, what are your plans for the fall?”
“I feel the same we you do. I’m in love with you too and I wouldn’t want to have to settle for a long distance relationship for most of the year,” Monique said.
“So what should we do?” Ryan asked.
“It means that we both need to stay here when the summer is over. Another option would be for you to move to Montreal permanently or for me to move to Winnipeg.”
“My preference would be that we both decide to live in Kelowna permanently. Of course, it’s going to be very hard news for our parents to accept,” Ryan said.
“I know our parents are very likely to be upset about our plans for the fall, but it is never easy for parents to let their children go and allow them to grow up,” Monique said.
“That’s true, but we are both adults now and have the right to make our own decisions,” Ryan said.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty–Eight:
As Jack boarded The Viper, Blake brought Jack a rum and coke. He pointed to the large water soaked replica of Ogopogo trapped in the net. “I see that you snagged the big prize,” Jack said with a wide grin on his face.
“Yeah, it’s a beauty of a model,” Blake replied with a laugh. “I would sure like to meet the guy who put together that masterpiece.”
“That could be a problem,” Jack said.
“How so? Do you know the artist?”
“His name was Mike O’Grady,” Jack said.
“That name sounds very familiar. I think I knew a kid in school who went by that name,” Blake said.
Jack burst out laughing.
“Oh, come on. It can’t be the same guy,” Blake said.
“Do you remember who won first prize at the science fair in grade eleven?” Jack asked.
“Now I see the connection. Mike was the kid who built that small model of Ogopogo. It was a beauty. I remember that Mike spent weeks working on that model. So you’re telling me that Mike O’Grady designed and built the life sized model on the deck of my ship? Why would he build a full size replica and what was it doing on the lake?”
“I arranged the whole thing,” Jack said. “I paid Mike O’Grady to design and build the life sized model.”
“I was going to use the model to get back at you,” Jack said.
“What have you got against me?” asked Blake.
“Are you that obtuse, Blake? You mean to say that you don’t remember what you did to me?”
“No. I don’t remember what I did to you.”
“You quit our business partnership and took up with some sleazy married woman,” Jack answered angrily.
“She, somehow, talked you into leaving our business to become partners with her in her start-up enterprise. The worst part was that you left me entirely out of the loop concerning your new plans. I only found out about what you had done through one of our former business associates.”
“I can appreciate what you’re saying, Jack, but you are missing something here. In our previous business venture you and I were on the same page for a long time. Then, as time went by, our business ideas were starting to diverge to the point that we couldn’t agree on lunch. I didn’t see any rational reason why you and I should remain business partners. That’s why I jumped ship. I admit that I should have let you know of my change of plans in advance.”
“So why can’t I talk to Mike O’Grady?” Blake asked, changing the subject.
“Because he’s dead,” Jack answered.
“How did he die?” Blake asked.
“He had most of his right arm torn off by a junior size Ogopogo. Poor Mike died on the operating room table. I don’t think that Mike was in good enough shape to survive the surgery,” Jack answered.
“Are we talking about a real Ogopogo now?”
“Yes, it was a real Ogopogo, all right. The only thing was that this one was likely not a full grown member of the species. The little one decided that it would check out the full scale replica that we threw in the lake. Mike was taking pictures when he got too close to the railing of the boat. The creature grabbed his right arm and tore it right off. Mike was bleeding profusely all over the ship’s deck,” Jack said.
“Were you able to save the pictures that Mike took?”
“Yes, the pictures were very clear and sharp. I had them analyzed by a mutual friend of ours, Cam McDougall.”
“Wasn’t he the guy who had his own photography business?”
“Yes, that’s him.”
“Were you able to capture the small Ogopogo?”
“No, we had to rush Mike to the hospital,” Jack replied.
“Look Jack. I admit it. I did screw you around on our last business enterprise. I should have taken the time to try to work out our differences before I joined another company. And I should have told you about it. I’m sincerely sorry. It was just that Debra Lang had my head all screwed around. I allowed lust to over- take my rational mind,” Blake said.
“It didn’t take long for my relationship with Debra to blow up in my face. It took me awhile to realize that she was just using me both personally and professionally. The last straw was when I found out that she was still seeing her husband, Roman and was trying to reconcile with him. After I confronted her, our whole relationship, both personal and business, collapsed,”
Blake was trying hard to come up with a good story that would appease Jack’s wounded ego. Blake had even thought of a way to make it up to him.
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-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.
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 Twenty-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.