I do not own the characters or anything to do with SOSF. All stories and writings are done for skill development and fun. No profit is being made.
Timelock: Five Minutes of Terror
Lieutenant Mike Stone stood on the wooden dock, watching Darryl LeBeau flailing in the cold San Francisco Bay. The murder suspect seemed to drift farther and farther from the pier and began to slip under the water.
"He's going under." Mike said to his partner, Inspector Steve Keller. The young detective had made his way down the fire escape ladder where he had been in pursuit of LeBeau. Seconds later, he was by Mike's side glancing out into the bay.
Hearing Mike's comment and knowing the trouble LeBeau was in, Steve knew exactly what to do. He quickly shed his shoes and jacket, and then handed his gun and badge to his partner. In no time, he dove into the chilly water and swam quickly to LeBeau.
LeBeau was in a panicked state. After fleeing his pursuers, he had found himself backed into a figurative corner with nowhere to run. A black and white patrol car had capped the exit from the dock. Mike Stone had set his sights on him from the other end of the pier. LeBeau took a shot at Keller, who had taken a different path to the trap the suspect, and Stone returned fire, hitting the renegade in the shoulder.
The impact of the bullet sent LeBeau into the water; the chill taking his breath away. As he recovered, he began paddling with his arms. The pain in his shoulder became unbearable and it was all he could do to simply tread the water. As he treaded, he floated farther out. He couldn't sustain what he was doing and knew he was slipping. The chill of the water numbed him and while the pain subsided, the panic and shock did not.
As Steve approached LeBeau, he looked back and saw that Mike found a rope. It would be long enough to tie around the injured man and aid considerably in the rescue. Mike's toss of the rope was spot on. Steve grabbed an end with one hand and twisted it around his wrist so that he would have a better grasp. With his free arm, he tried to reach around the torso of LeBeau.
His efforts were met with resistance as LeBeau swung wildly and struck the young man in the face. Stunned momentarily, Steve could feel warm liquid trickle from his nose. LeBeau then grabbed Keller and pushed him down into the water. With no time to react, Steve inadvertently gasped and ended up taking in a mouthful of salty bay water.
While Mike knew that people reacted with fear when they thought they were drowning, he was not prepared to see LeBeau attack his partner. He saw two uniformed officers running toward him down the pier. While attempting to pull the rope taut, he prayed his partner was still holding on. Fearing the worst, Stone ordered the officers, "Go help him!"
The first officer quickly dropped his holster, gun, and shoes. Before he jumped in, he saw a john boat tied to a post. "Adam, get the boat out there," the officer motioned to his partner. The second officer, too, shed his belongings, jumped in the water and made his way over to the small boat. Fortunately, the craft had a small outboard motor. In no time, he was able to get the engine running.
In the meantime, Steve bobbled back up and caught a breath of air. LeBeau grabbed his shoulders again and forced him down. Mike realized that the suspect was not trying to kill his partner, but instead was overcompensating in his attempt to grab onto the man and be rescued. Steve went down again for the second time.
While under water, Steve struggled to make his way back to the surface. He felt the weight of the other man bearing down and his efforts were futile. He finally opened his eyes and saw nothing but a dark, murky green. This meant he was face down and had no chance of rising up. Fear struck the young man. He knew he had to maintain his composure or all would be lost. It was all he could do to hold his breath and hope that LeBeau would loosen his grip.
Steve remembered the rope was still looped around his wrist. He thought that if he couldn't fight LeBeau off, perhaps he could slip out from under him and use the rope as a guide back to the dock. He had long let loose of LeBeau and used both hands to grab the rope. "Mike, please be hanging onto the other end," he thought. He couldn't hold on to the rope or his breath much longer. The murky green color in front of him was beginning to grow darker.
Mike continued to pull the rope and could tell there was quite a bit of slack. "Where are you, Buddy boy?" he muttered to himself as he saw the two uniformed officers finally reach LeBeau.
The first officer got behind the suspect and grabbed his arms. That action broke the remaining grip on Keller. Steve surfaced again briefly and gasped another mouthful of air. LeBeau, adrenalin raging, broke the officer's grasp and slammed back into Keller. Steve went down for the third time.
Mike, not a great swimmer himself, felt helpless. Determined to save his partner, he pulled the rope with much fervor. If the rope came out of the water freely, Stone knew he would follow the other officers in an attempt to rescue his dear friend and partner. While the others concentrated on abating LeBeau, someone needed to be there to find Steve.
Thoughts rushed through Mike's head as he pulled the line in. Seconds seemed like minutes and finally the senior detective was able to pull the rope taut. Perhaps he had some sort of lifeline to Steve. He began to pull harder and felt the resistance which meant that his partner had a hold of the other end.
About ten feet away from LeBeau, the john boat and the two other uniformed officers, Mike saw Steve surface. Again, the young man gasped for air and did what he could to stay above water.
"Don't let go," Mike yelled as he continued to pull on the rope. A third policeman arrived. Officer Crawford jumped into the water and swam to the fallen detective. Crawford grabbed the rope away from Steve and tied it around his torso. Together, they made their way dockside. Unlike LeBeau, Steve remained calm at the action.
Mike watched Steve climb the dock ladder and saw that he had fully emerged from the water. Still pulling on the rope, he helped steady his partner until he reached the top of the dock. Mike broke his gaze with the pair below him to see that the other two officers had managed to get LeBeau settled into the john boat. How they managed to do that would be something he'd ask later.
Seeing his final steps up the ladder, Mike grabbed onto Steve's arm and pulled him to the top of the pier. The young man was able to go no further and plopped flat onto the dock. The officer climbing behind him maneuvered around him. Mike nodded his thanks.
"Buddy boy, are you okay?" was the obvious question to fly out of Mike's mouth.
Steve was dizzy and suddenly suffering from a pounding headache. More than anything he was relieved at being out of the water and able to take more than one consecutive breath. Basking in what little warmth there was in the midday sun, he slowly regained his composure.
"Steve, can you hear me?"
Back to reality, he choked, "Yeah." That was all he could say as he started coughing.
Mike saw blood coming from his partner's nose. He was afraid that something was terribly wrong. "We need to get you to the hospital."
"No, I'm okay…" Steve protested.
"You're bleeding. I don't like the looks of this." Thoughts of a concussion or a hemorrhage quickly crossed his mind. Mike pulled out a handkerchief and tried to apply it to his partner's injury.
Steve swatted his hand away. "He smashed me in the face when I first got there," came the exasperated response.
Mike breathed a sigh of relief as he helped his partner sit up. Steve still had the rope tied around his torso, and Mike and the other office got rid of that in short order.
"Thanks," Steve as he tried to help himself out of the bond. "Both of you. That was a close call."
"It sure was," Crawford agreed.
Steve took some time to get his bearings before he spoke again. "Mike, if you hadn't tossed that rope, I would have been lost for sure. I was getting disoriented and figured it was, well, you know, over. But when I felt that tug, I figured you still had the other end."
A lump formed in the back of Mike's throat. In just a few short minutes, his partner nearly drowned. He silently sent a prayer of thanks to the heavens and then grabbed Steve's arm to help him stand up.
"You need to go to the hospital," Mike barked gruffly. He didn't want to let his emotions show anymore than they already had.
"What I need are dry clothes and to get warm," Steve protested in a matching gruff voice that belied the emotion he felt after the ordeal. Now steady on his feet, he asked, "Do you have my gun and badge?"
"I do. Say, what time is it?" Mike asked mischievously.
"What? Why do you want to know the time?" Steve was annoyed with the question, but dutifully checked to see the time. He began to relay the information, but then quickly stopped as he saw that the second hand was not moving. "Man…" he shook his wrist in disgust.
Mike laughed. "Grab your jacket and don't forget your shoes."
"I'll get them," Steve answered back abruptly.
Mike followed his partner, who was now several steps ahead walking down the pier. The senior detective looked back at Crawford and voiced his thanks. He would later inform each of the officers' superiors how they assisted in subduing LeBeau and helping Steve.
Crawford smiled back and shook his head as watched the detectives walk away still fussing at each other. Partners, he thought. He then recoiled what became a lifeline into a neat spool and tossed the rope near where Mike found it earlier.