The Silent Rumble and FraidyCat Oneshot numerical challenge!
"A numeral must be part of the title, and the Oneshot should also begin with a numeral."
As FraidyCat said "Come on. Please come out and play with us."
I'm not exactly a Oneshot wonder, but here's what I came up with.
48 Hours Without Sleep
Eight, forty eight hour days. This was getting old fast. Seven women had lost their lives and they were quickly losing their chance to save number eight. Special Agent Don Eppes looked up from his notebook and stared through the double paned glass window. The well dressed middle aged man inside the interrogation room remained stoically posed behind the table without even acknowledging the barrage of questions, allegations and outright threats that had been thrown in his face. Agent Colby Granger was well versed in the methods of intimidation and interrogation, but he had been going at this guy for two hours and he was starting to look exhausted. Don knocked on the glass to call him out of the room. When the door opened, Don turned to face the younger agent.
"Don't you think it's time to quit now, Granger?"
"I'm sorry, Boss. I tried; I just can't seem to get this guy to crack."
Agent Megan Reeves leaned over the black and white video monitor on the desk and watched the screen as the suspect glanced arrogantly around the room where he had been left alone.
"I can go back in, Don."
The senior agent shook his head.
"It's useless. He's not talking and we've got no grounds to hold him. Unless we can get some idea……."
A light knock from the hallway interrupted him and Agent David Sinclair stuck his head in the door.
"Don? Charlie's here."
With no attempt to hide his smile, Don shot to his feet.
"Maybe this isn't over yet."
He grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair and headed out into the bull pen.
Don found the FBI consultant in the central conference room. The frantic squeaking of a dry erase marker filled the space as his younger brother's hand flew across the surface of the room's largest white board.
"Please, Charlie. Tell me you have something."
The squeaking stopped.
"Don, I had an idea. I'm not really sure if…..well…it will take me few minutes to write it out. You should sit down."
"Not a chance, what've you got?"
Charlie stepped away from the board and looked over his equation.
"Well, I…..um….I think I may have exactly what you're after, just let me finish, okay?"
As he turned back to the board; Megan, David and Colby filed into the room.
Colby leaned up against the desk and crossed his arms.
"We've got an hour, Don. Then they're gonna cut him loose. Without any concrete evidence, there's nothing we can charge him with. If he follows his M O, she only has an hour's worth of oxygen left anyway."
Don tilted his head toward the ceiling.
"DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!"
Blowing out a deep breath he turned to face his brother.
"Come on Charlie, you led us to him…I know he's our guy. Give me something to go on here!"
Not even sparing his older brother a glance, Charlie continued to scribble across the board. The urgency of the situation grew more apparent as the four agents paced and fidgeted while Charlie worked frantically to finish his calculations. By the time Charlie put the cap back on his marker, the tension in the room could almost be cut with a knife.
He stepped away from the board and stared at the final result. The cluster of numbers and letters meant nothing to his audience, but to him, they were as plain as complete sentences.
"Charlie? We're kinda operating on a deadline here, Buddy. You gonna tell us what this means, or do we just get to look at it?"
Shooting his older brother a fretful glance, and trying to remember that they had all been up since midnight the day before yesterday, Charlie turned his eyes to the clock. It was almost Eleven Thirty now. The young mathematician quickly moved across the room to the full size map of Los Angeles that hung from the wall.
"It would take me hours to adequately explain an algorithmic sequence this complex, Don. I think it might be more time efficient if I just show you."
The four federal agents rose to their feet in unison and gathered around the map behind Charlie. "Hand me that marker…the red one."
David tossed the red marker at him and Charlie started circling points on the map.
"These are the locations of the last eight crime scenes. Young women, buried alive with a forty eight hour supply of oxygen. These……"
He poked at the places he had just circled on the map with his marker.
"Are the sights where the chambers were found. By including the order in which the victims were placed in the chambers, the order in which they were abducted…………….."
Don's shoulders sank. "But we decided there was no discernable connection between the victims. We couldn't find one. Hell, Charlie, you even said he took random to a whole new level."
Charlie turned and stared at his brother.
"It's not a discernable pattern with the victims, Don. The obvious pattern is in the locations he chose for their burial chambers."
With his red marker, Charlie started to connect the dots on the map.
"These are the locations were each victim was found."
Then he grabbed the black marker and went back over the map.
"This is the actual order in which they were killed."
He capped his marker and stepped back from the map so the other occupants of the room could get a good look.
"But, look what happens when you overlap the two factors."
"Oh. My. God."
Megan turned to the desk and dialed the phone.
"Charlie, is that….?"
Colby started at him in disbelief.
"Yeah, it's called a dodecahedron. He pre-selected his locations for burial years ago by using this specific geometric figure. He's using the opposing points to determine his victims. So technically, their selection was random."
"So, following the pattern…..?"
Don ran his finger along the black line on the map. Reaching the end, he poked at a spot about fourteen miles south of Downtown Los Angeles.
"Yeah, Don. If I'm right, using what we know on the last woman abducted and following this pattern, the next chamber will be right there."
Don stared at him in amazement as he walked back towards the desk.
Megan looked up as she concluded her conversation.
"I said hold him. I don't care what you have to do…Do not release that prisoner until you clear it with the agent in charge."
She slammed the phone back into its cradle.
"A public park off of Lanton Avenue."
David glanced at his watch. "We've got less than thirty minutes before she runs out of oxygen."
Don flipped his cell open and started to dial as he headed out the door.
"This is Special Agent Don Eppes. We're going to need a full rescue and recovery team at the following location……"
David clapped Charlie on the back as he followed the rest of the team out the door.
"You're really something else, you know that."
Standing in the now empty room, holding his dry erase markers and staring at the map of Los Angeles, Charlie expelled a deep sigh. Lanton Park was five minutes away and all of the other chambers had been easy to open once located. They would make it in time.
They had to make it in time.
Turning back to his board Charlie began to double check his figures. Each time they came out just as they had before, but he continued to recheck them trying not to focus on the ticking of the clock on the wall.
Charlie was startled when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Charlie. It's three am. What are you still doing here?"
Turning to his older brother, Charlie glanced at the clock on the wall. His brow furrowed with concern as he stumbled over his explanation.
"I just….I was waiting…I wanted to hear…I needed to know if…."
"She'll be fine. Thanks to you."
Looking intently at the anxious expression his brother wore, Don pulled his bottom lip between his teeth before he continued.
"It was really close. But she's gonna be alright. She was conscious we loaded her into the ambulance and her description fits our suspect. We'll do a photo line up in the morning. But we've got him."
Expelling a deep sigh, Charlie nodded without speaking.
Don gave Charlie's shoulder a light squeeze.
"I'll tell you the same thing I told you the first time, Charlie. That was a hell of an equation."
This time Charlie grinned at his older brother.
"You're telling me."
Heading for the door, Don grabbed Charlie's backpack from the table.
"Come on. I'll take you home. I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted."