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Colin Ferguson
Fictional Character
Supervolcano
POD: Set in the future
Appearance(s): All volumes
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: United States
Religion: Baptist (lapsed)
Occupation: Police Officer
Spouse: Louise Ferguson (divorced)
Kelly Birnbaum
Children: Rob
Vanessa
Marhall
Affiliations: San Atanasio Police Dept.

Colin Ferguson was a police Lieutenant with the San Atanasio California Police Department. When his wife Louise left him for another man, Colin became despondent and began drinking to excess. One morning he woke up and had trouble remembering where he was. Shortly, it came to him that he was in a Motel 6 in Jackson, Wyoming and he was on vacation and visiting Yellowstone National Park over the Memorial Day weekend.[1]

He continued his visit and met Kelly Birnbaum, a geology post-grad studying the Yellowstone Supervolcano. The two got off on the wrong foot but a chance earthquake got them talking about the general geology of the park and their backgrounds. Kelly gave Colin her cell number and he gave her his.[2] Colin followed up later and the two began dating. Colin continued live in and work in San Atanasio while Kelly spent her time between Yellowstone and Berkeley so the two didn't see each other often but kept in touch by phone and e-mail.[3]

Colin was at the police station when the supervolcano erupted. The first thing he did when he heard of it from Sgt. Gabe Sanchez was check his phone where he found a text message from Kelly stating "On helicopter. On my way out". As he watched the story unfold on CNN, an earthquake hit. It was a gentle rolling motion that went on and on, indicating that it was distant and large. He telephoned his daughter in Denver and left a message. She called back indicating that she was safely home although the power was out. She asked that he inform the rest of the family as she wanted to conserve power for her cell phone. He called Louise and told her who immediately decided to call Vanessa herself. Colin then told Gabe to unofficially secure a supply of gasoline for the department from a refinery in El Segundo as the eruption was sure to disrupt supplies.[4]

As a police lieutenant, Colin dealt with investigating more serious crimes such as armed robbery and murder. The biggest, longest case was of the South Bay Strangler who had been raping and murdering elderly women in the South Bay area for years. However, not all elderly women were Strangler cases. For instance, Lupe Sandoval surprised a burglar who shot her dead.[5] And not all of Colin's murder victims were little old ladies. A Korean liquor store operator had his head blown off by a shotgun toting robber. The surveillance video graphically showed a young African-American male commit the crime. Colin succeeded in getting three different news shows to run it but no leads came of it.[6] Shortly after the supervolcano erupted, Colin and Gabe Sanchez were called to another liquor store where the clerk had also been robbed at shotgun point. Colin collected the video footage and gained the interest of one TV news reporter to run it. However, because "it didn't bleed, it didn't lead" being preempted by a live car chase on the Long Beach Freeway. A fellow San Atanasio Police Officer did view the video and identified the suspect as JerWilliam Ellis.[7]

A few months after the supervolcano erupted, Colin worked up the nerve to propose to Kelly and she accepted.[8] The two were married a few months later, early in the new year. Only his youngest, Marshall attended since Rob was marooned in Maine and Vanessa was stuck in Camp Constitution. Wes Jones, Colin's long time neighbor was his best man and the ceremony was Jewish in keeping with Kelly's side of the family. The two first honeymooned in the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown LA but couldn't continue to San Diego because it snowed for the first time since January of 1949.[9]

Kelly moved into Colin's house, the family home he kept after the divorce from Louise. This was convenient for her since she got a lecturer's slot at Cal State Dominguez Hills and it was only a fifteen minute drive to the campus.[10] The following June, Marshall finally graduated from UC Santa Barbara and moved back into his old bedroom in the family home, too. Colin's arrangement with him was that Marshall would pay one third of his gross income for rent and board. While Marshall was making some money from selling the occasional short story, it wasn't much so he agreed. Colin also suggested that Marshall could supplement his income by babysitting his new baby half brother. Marshall was reluctant since he blamed his mother for the breakup of the family but in the end relented and did so.[11]

Although Colin's quick thinking and Gabe Sanchez's quick work kept the San Atanasio PD fueled, the department was running low about a year after the eruption. The various small South Bay towns worked up a secret deal to get a large oil tanker shipment of crude into San Pedro and then transship it to El Segundo for refinement into gasoline for their sole use. Police Chief Mike Pitcavage had Colin take charge of the San Atanasio portion of safeguarding the tanker trucks carrying the crude to the refinery. Not only were criminal elements a concern but also the LAPD might hijack the shipment. Colin took strong measures to protect the tankers, not only arming his officers with M16s but also taking the "Door-Knocker", an improvised armored car, out on the job. He stared down a group of LAPD officers who tried to divert the shipment and successfully handed over the trucks to the Hawthorne PD for the next leg of the trip.[12]

About two years after the eruption, Kelly began trying to have a child with Colin. Colin mentioned to her that Louise had tried to get him to have a vasectomy after they had their three children but he had resisted the idea. The two had prevented Louise from getting pregnant both by her using a diaphragm and Colin a condom. Now he was just as glad, since such a procedure was not usually reversible.[13] Kelly finally did become pregnant the following spring.[14]

Shortly after, Vanessa returned to Los Angeles from the refugee camp and was forced to live in the family home while she got back on her feet. She and Kelly did not get along and even easy going Marshall had problems with her but there was little Colin could do about it except hope Vanessa soon got a place of her own.[15] But what really worried Colin was her new boyfriend, Bronislav Nedic. From his naval service, Colin recognized Nedic was a dangerous man and feared for Vanessa's safety.[16]

About three years after the eruption, Colin attended the funeral of Officer McClintock of the Hawthorne PD who had been killed in the line of duty. After the service, he was confronted by LAPD Sgt. Jack Winters who threatened to punch him in the nose for humiliating him two years earlier. He had been in charge of the detachment trying to divert the crude oil shipment but had been forced to back down. But on reflection, Winters agreed Colin had just been doing his job the same as poor McClintock and shook hands with him instead. Colin reported this to Chief Pitcavage who said Winters should have taken a swing at him and given everyone something else to talk about.[17]

The Hunt for the South Bay StranglerEdit

The South Bay Strangler was the name the media gave to a rapist /murderer committing crimes in the South Bay area starting about seven years prior to the eruption of the Supervolcano. Ferguson was the lead investigator for the San Antonio PD for the whole of that time.

Shortly after Colin's vacation at Yellowstone, he received a call to investigate the murder of Mildred Szymanski. It looked like the work of the Strangler. He and Det. Sgt. Gabriel Sanchez went to the scene where the M.O. fit the Strangler. The two police detectives and Dr. Ishikawa collected forensic evidence to confirm it and to help in the conviction of any suspect that might be charged in the future.[18]

About a year later, Colin investigated the murder of Maria Peterfalvy, another killing apparently committed by the Strangler. Due to his being the senior officer on the scene, Colin was subjected to an impromptu news conference, something he viewed as similar to being attacked by wolves. The interview ended with the arrival of Dr. Ishikawa and the pack of reporters descending on him.[19]

While Colin's relationship with Kelly Birnbaum continued to develop, the South Bay Strangler went on murdering senior citizens and sexual abusing them. Margot Keller was murdered in Torrance shortly before Colin got married to Kelly. He and Gabe attended a briefing at the Torrance PD HQ but there was no new information that might lead to an arrest.[20] The summer after his wedding, Colin investigated the murder of Eiko Ryan, an elderly widow living in Marseille Gardens, an apartment building in San Atanasio. Once again, it was the work of the Strangler.[21] Nearly three years after the eruption, San Atanasio had another Strangler case, this time Mrs. Mandelbaum. Again, Colin investigated but didn't find anything substantive to lead to a suspect.[22]

Colin got a break in a most unusual way. His son Marshall, had received information that Darren Pitcavage was drug dealing.[23] Darren always got off the hook, being the son of the police chief, Mike Pitcavage. However, this time Colin decided to investigate the matter once and for all. With the help of another detective, Colin discreetly uncovered enough evidence to get Darren arrested for felony drug-dealing.[24]

After Darren's arrest, Mike acted very distraught. Everybody dismissed this as fatherly concern. Nobody was surprised when it was found out he had committed suicide. Colin was the senior officer available so was called in at about 3:30 in the morning to take charge and tell Darren the grim news.[25] Many started blaming Colin for the arrest of Darren and his father's subsequent suicide starting with his widow, Caroline, who specifically called Colin to disinvite him to the funeral.[26] Colin did have his supporters, including his secretary Josefina Linares.[27]

However, Lucy Chen, a department DNA technician took a routine DNA sample Darren due to his felony charge. She analyzed it and found it was a close match to the South Bay Strangler indicating he was a near relative. The lab had done the autopsy on Chief Pitcavage so she had access to his DNA and analyzed it finding an exact match. She informed Dr. Ishikawa and he told her to call Colin. It appeared that Pitcavage had committed suicide because he presumed it was only a matter of time before the police gathered evidence on him, due to the attention caused by his son's arrest. A few of Colin's detractors then apologized, though most didn't say a word, leaving him unsurprised.[28]

Word of Chief Pitcavage being identified as the Strangler leaked to the press so the San Atanasio PD held a press conference the following morning. Colin, Lucy Chen and Dr. Ishikawa all attended. Prior to the meeting, Colin met privately with Mayor Eugene Cervus who discussed ways of minimizing embarrassment to the city and the department and floated the idea of appointing Colin as the new Police Chief. Colin dominated the press conference, outlining the years spent trying to identify the Strangler without success due to the lack of identifying evidence. The DNA tied the various murders together but didn't identify the perpetrator until Darren Pitcavage's sample was collected. After the news conference Colin received a telephone call from Caroline Pitcavage apologizing to for blaming him for Mike's death.[29]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Eruption, pgs. 1-2, HC.
  2. Ibid, pgs. 10-19.
  3. Ibid, pg. 25.
  4. Ibid, pgs. 173-178.
  5. Ibid, pg. 78.
  6. Ibid, pg. 99.
  7. Ibid, pgs. 270-274.
  8. Ibid, pgs. 342-344.
  9. Ibid, pgs. 408-412.
  10. Ibid, pgs. 408-409.
  11. All Fall Down, pgs. 39-42, HC.
  12. Ibid, pgs. 78-89.
  13. Ibid, pgs. 133-136.
  14. Ibid, pg. 225.
  15. Ibid, pgs. 292-295.
  16. Ibid, pgs. 306-309.
  17. Ibid, pgs. 324-328.
  18. Eruption, pgs. 37-39.
  19. Ibid, pgs. 76-85.
  20. Ibid, pgs. 391-394.
  21. All Fall Down, pgs. 54-58.
  22. Ibid. pgs. 248-254.
  23. Ibid., pgs. 348-350.
  24. Ibid., pgs. 373-374.
  25. Ibid. pgs. 381-386.
  26. Ibid. pgs. 389-391.
  27. Ibid. pgs. 391-394.
  28. Ibid., pgs. 399-404.
  29. Things Fall Apart, pgs. 5-18, HC.

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