Sequel to:

Episode – Mother’s Deadly Helper

Fanfic – Mother’s Deadly Revenge

 

 

ALOHA TOWER

Written by gm and Karen S

 

===================================================

 

summer  1974

 

A traffic jam on Nimitz Hwy -- some kind of problem involving repairs by the docks -- had set the morning work day off to a late start.  When he finally arrived, Steve McGarrett rushed in the door of Hawaii Five-0 at a breathless pace.  The scent of coffee indicated others had been here first to get things going for the break of day routine.  Swiftly walking past, he gave a quick good morning to the only detective in the cubicles, Chin Ho Kelly.  Jenny Sherman, already manning her post, glanced at the clock, a certain indication that she had been counting the minutes awaiting his arrival.  Launching from her chair, she met him in front of her desk.

 

"Steve, you're not the only one tied up with that road construction," she announced, already harried at eight-sixteen am.  "Ben and Danny aren't in yet.  Senator Kalana won't make that meeting at nine."  She handed him a memo and shuffled through another five in her hand as she poured out, then handed him, a mug of black coffee, then accompanied him into his office.  "The Governor is staying an extra day in Maui, just to let you know.  Here's your mail, the most important ones on the top." 

 

Standing behind his desk, he snapped open his briefcase and started unloading it before subconsciously noting her silence.  Taking a sip of brew, he gave her his attention.  Glancing up, he was surprised at the disturbed expression on her face.  "What is it?"

 

Reflecting a curious mixture of anger and disturbance, Jenny shook her head.  “I don’t know how this could happen after all he did!  “She handed over an opened envelope.  "Bad news.  Thought you might want to get to this one right away."

 

The return address was an official stamp from the Mental Health Department of the state.  Frowning, forewarned, he thanked her with a nod and remained standing as he read the official document.  A brief notice, actually, that a criminal convicted “by reason of insanity” was to be released -- today.  Having completed his program of rehabilitation, and pronounced well enough to reenter society; freedom and an end of sentence would be granted today for Lester Smith.

 

Gasping, Steve held onto his desk, swaying with nasty astonishment.  Lester Smith!  Not a chance! his mind screamed.  Reviewing the insane criminal's past -- sniper vigilante killings -- kidnapping a judge -- assault on police officers -- kidnapping a police officer with the intent to kill {episode - MOTHER'S DEADLY HELPER} {FANFIC - Mother's Deadly Revenge} -- Smith was not fit to be out on the streets!

 

Livid, McGarrett crushed the paper into uneven folds to stuff into a jacket pocket.  Leaving all other business unattended, he rushed out of the office, calling back to Jenny, "I'll be gone until I settle this!  Chin," he shouted to the detective in his cubicle, "Hold the fort."  At the door, he paused with a last instruction to the secretary.  “Tell Danno what's happening when he gets in."

 

Feet flying down the stairs of the Palace, McGarrett's anger warred with his bubbling fear of what could happen if he did not stop this absurd injustice.  Smith loose on the streets -- a danger to anyone.  A mad criminal who had a grudge against McGarrett, Williams and Five-0 -- a personal threat to himself and friends and he would not allow such a man on the outside of a set of bars.  It had been wrong that the criminal was sent away to a mental hospital at all.  He belonged in prison!  There was no reforming someone so consumed with revenge.  That, however, was in the past – a regret dealt with at the disturbing trial – an anger never completely forgotten for the slick attorney who had arranged for Smith to be tried with an insanity clause.

 

The state facilities for mental detainees were not that far from the nearby Queen's Hospital and the racing drive to the complex was traveled in record time.  Sweeping through the main office and only pausing at the reception area to announce himself, McGarrett charged straight to the Director's office and walked in without knocking.

 

Doctor Whitney Lane was a middle-aged man of average height; pale skin and a paunch that denoted too much time indoors (probably behind a desk) and not enough action out in the Hawaiian sun.  Without preamble, McGarrett slapped the notice on the man's desk in a resounding echo sufficiently demonstrating his ire.

 

"This notification says you're releasing Lester Smith today!" he shouted.  "You can't do that!  He's a danger to society!  He's sworn vengeance on a state police officer!  He's murdered and will continue to murder unless he's kept behind bars."

 

Startled, Dr. Lane took a moment to catch his breath.  "Ah, yes, Smith.  I -- uh -- who are you?"

 

Already enraged, his temper edged a click higher with irritation that this administrator did not know him!  Snatching his leather case from an inner jacket pocket, he flipped his ID open and made sure the gold shield hovered right in front of the man's face.  "McGarrett, Hawaii Five-0.  Why wasn't I notified before this?  If you want to go over Smith's crimes I can bring you a book on them!"

 

Shaking his head, Lane, wary of the imposing policeman, kept his chair back to the wall and glared at the intruder, probably afraid of a personal attack.  "We issued the standard notification.  All the paperwork is in order, I assure you."  He glanced at the crumpled letter on his desk, not touching it.  "If the mail was delayed that isn't my fault --"

 

"What do you mean delayed?"

 

"You should have received that at the beginning of the week."  He cleared his throat, griping onto the arms of his chair, striving for increased courage.  "At any rate, uh, there is nothing you can do about this, uh, Mr. McGarrett.  You are not a qualified psychiatrist to refute --"

 

"I'm a cop who's seen Smith's brutality and violence first hand!  He nearly killed an officer on my staff, murdered several others, and I think he's still a threat!"

 

"His rehabilitation is --"

 

"I don't believe he is rehabilitated!  How could you erase the hatred and unbalanced madness of an unremorseful killer?

 

Sitting up straighter, Lane drew on inner conviction of authority for courage.  "By your own admission then, you believe Smith was insane –“

 

“I believe he was sane enough to kill and needed to be put behind bars, not treated as someone who was sick!”  Drawing back from the wrath, McGarrett knew he was not helping his cause by yelling at the Director.  Striving for control, he restated, “The man is a danger to society.”

 

“YOU are not qualified to judge that, Mr. McGarrett.  MY staff psychiatrists are the ones to establish those criteria.  He has been pronounced rehabilitated.  He will be required to attend outpatient groups --"

 

"Groups!" McGarrett shouted appalled. "He is anti-social --"

 

"He is officially released," the doctor countered waspishly.  "This is not a parole hearing.  You do not come in here and present objections and get your way, officer.  We are dealing with mental health issues, not crimes.  He is rehabilitated and set free according to all our requirements for release."

 

"We're not talking the same language, that's for sure," Steve breathed, his mind catching up with what he had heard.  "What do you mean Smith's already been released?"

 

"Yes – he – uh -- has.  All paperwork and procedures were completed this morning --"

 

"And you let him out of here already?"

 

"Yesterday afternoon, actually," Lane stood and pushed the crumpled notice closer to McGarrett.  “If you read the fine print, you will see Mr. Smith was released, as are all patients, in the afternoon.  Standard procedure.  This document is informing you, as a courtesy.  We are under no legal obligation to do so, by the way.  At any rate, today begins his official status as a former patient."

 

Feeling like his nerves had just been filled with ice water; McGarrett took in a sharp breath and stepped back.  "He's been out for a day?" he whispered, hearing his voice shake; rage or fear he wasn't sure. 

 

The ringing of the phone startled both of them and when Lane answered it, McGarrett snatched back the letter-of-evil-tidings and stuffed it back in his pocket.  He was almost out the door when Lane stopped him, relaying the call was an urgent message for him from one of his officers.

 

Grinding his teeth in frustration, already mentally plotting check-up procedures on Smith, HPD patrols of the killer’s new residence, and monitoring of the criminal, he grabbed the phone.  "McGarrett."

 

"Steve, Duke," came the familiar voice of HPD Sergeant Lukela, echoing from the effect of a radio call.  "We've got a sniper up at Aloha Tower!" he reported, the excited panic in his voice clear and desperate. 

 

Glaring at the administrator, McGarrett's cold chill nearly froze his heart as he heard the rest of the message.

 

"He's taken out three people already.  I've got cordons going up around the area, but it's a mess!"

 

A moment of shock rippled through him,  then in the next instant he shifted into gear for what needed to be done.  "Get Danno there as soon as you can."

 

"Already got a call out, but traffic is a nightmare.  Chin says he's on his way."

 

"I'll be right there!"  He threw the phone at the doctor and shook his head, hardly able to articulate words through his rage.  "Sniper at Aloha Tower!  Could there be any deadlier place?  And coincidently, you just released a convicted sniper!  If this turns out to be Lester Smith up there picking off innocent victims I swear to you --"  he stopped, too enraged to mention the violence he would like to exact on whoever was responsible for Smith's freedom. 

 

Lane, cowering in fear, backed against the wall, the picture of terror personified.  Getting a grip on his temper, McGarrett spun around and jogged out, not wasting any more time on the clinical mind-administrator and recriminations. 

 

What if this was Smith?  He was convinced that it was -- the coincidence was too great.  A known killer who’s MO was sniper attack of unsuspected victims.  This HAD to be Smith.  What better, strategic and demoralizing high ground could he choose than Aloha Tower?  A command of Honolulu’s business district, part of the docks, busy streets and tourist traffic.  How better to instill terror and death than in such a perfect location.

 

Why, though, McGarrett wondered as he raced to his car.  Smith was free.  Why  turn right around and strike out in a manner that was so suicidal?  Maybe Smith didn’t care about his own health and longevity anymore.  Maybe this was all about a big, messy path of revenge.  Against McGarrett?  Against society? 

 

Steve knew he was right about the lunatic part at any rate.  Smith might be insane, but in a violent, demented way that could not be cured.  Except with a bullet.  Maybe that's what they would have to do this time – drill Smith with a sniper bullet in a fitting and ironic end.  That was an order he would not have to repeat twice to Williams, who had been the one to suffer so harshly at Smith's hands before. 

 

Now perhaps the field would be leveled.  Williams’ skills behind  the trigger against Smith’s.  He had no doubt who would win in that contest.  McGarrett would pit the criminal sniper against his own, better sniper, confident of the outcome, as long as Danno could get a spot to get a good shot off.  How could they position a sniper anywhere to take out someone in the perfect killing zone -- Aloha Tower?

 

 

*****

 

Traffic was stalled clear through the downtown area of Honolulu.  Patrolmen directed cars to detour routes.  When they spotted the head of Five-0 they waved McGarrett through quickly.  Winding his way toward the harbor, he noted squad cars on the side streets and police officers directing people out of the high rises.  Abandoned cars blocked the street about a half block from the cruise ship docks and Tower.  McGarrett parked and jogged to the end of a building, where a young uniformed female officer stopped him.

 

"The sniper has clear shots at the corner, sir, I'm afraid you can't go through here."

 

Tersely, he responded, "Officer, do you know who I am?" amazed someone else this morning was not aware of his identity and authority.

 

She studied him for a moment, distracted by a complaining businessman in a suit and tie who demanded to go through to get to his car.  Distractedly, she responded, “Yes, sir, you are Mr. McGarrett, chief of Hawaii Five-0.  But it’s still unsafe to go through here.”

 

Annoyed, but understanding she was conscientiously doing her job, he gave her a nod and spun around to return the way he came. 

 

"Where's Sergeant Lukela or any Five-0 officer?" he snapped out before leaving.

 

“Lukela is Diamond Head one block.  Set up a command post at a shave ice shop.  You can safely reach there by cutting through that alley a few doors back.  And watch your head, sir, this madman has already taken out about a dozen people so far."

 

Stomach churning at the thought of so many innocent victims slaughtered in the street, he followed her instructions and jogged through the back alley to the shave ice shop.  All the while, his mind assessed possible ramifications of this horrific event.  How they were going to get a lunatic with a rifle down from the amazing vantage point of the Tower?  The only hope he had at this point was getting Danno --safely -- up somewhere of an equal or better height and taking the guy out.  And if it was Smith -- well -- heads were going to roll somewhere for letting the nut go free.

 

When he came out on the next street he slowed to a walk, then stopped cold.  Four bodies draped with makeshift coverings ranging from a suit jacket to a tablecloth, lay on the pavement of the closed off street.  Three people were sitting on the curb, crying, being examined by emergency personnel.  He wondered why the injured had not been taken away yet, then noted the ambulance could not get through because of the bottlenecked traffic, and guessing from the angle, the range of the sniper prevented access. 

 

Gulping down a knot of anguish and regret in his throat, he hurried along.  It was not his job to see to the wounded, others were handling that.  His responsibility was ending the slaughter. 

 

He spotted Lukela behind a blue and white, crouching down at the safety of the bumper.  Leaning on a wall was a large mirror he was using to angle at the Tower. 

 

Aloha Tower.  Once called the Gateway of the Pacific.  Aloha -- love, hello -- goodbye for too many today.  Now used as the perfect killing stand.  How were they going to reach a nut secured on the high ground of the most strategically placed sentinel of the downtown harbor?

 

With no sign of any Five-0 detectives, Steve assumed authority of the situation was referred to Duke.  Bending low, he quickly made his way over to the sergeant.

 

"Duke, what's happening?"

 

"He's got clear access to offices, pedestrians we can't completely clear away, and just about every ship in the harbor," the officer curtly reported.  "Patrolmen are working on the traffic problem, diverting vehicles to the back of downtown.  We're trying to clear the office buildings but it's slow.  Shots have been fired into them, don't know about those casualties.  Don’t have personnel up there yet to check it out."

 

From this vantage point, McGarrett saw still bodies in the street, on sidewalks. Various cars were crashed against light poles or barriers or each other.  The intense morning sun sparkled off the highly polished black shoes of a businessman cut down in the crosswalk.  A woman's body draped, unmoving, over a hedge of plumeria.  Weeping and moaning carried on the trade wind.  It was a slaughterhouse.  The patrolwoman's assessment of a dozen deaths seemed low and he hoped the actual total at the end of the day was that conservative.  He had a sick feeling the estimate would be off by too many.  The rage against the gunman ran its course in seconds, his orderly mind knowing the important thing was to get the gunman out of the Tower, then worry about why, what, who and how bad.

 

"My guys report in yet?"

 

"Ben is stuck on the Ewa side of Chinatown and making his way here slowly.  Traffic is a mess all over this end of the island as you can imagine."

 

"Yeah, got caught in it myself."

 

"Haven't heard from Chin or Danny."

 

"HPD snipers?"

 

"SWAT has a few guys working their way over to the makai office buildings, but congestion is slowing everyone."

 

Fervently he wished Williams would get here and take out the murderer.  "Any word from the shooter?  Demands?  Any idea who he is?"

 

"Can't get an officer close enough to get into the Tower."  Duke bit his lower lip.  "Took out two of my boys already.  Chandler and McGill went down trying to get civilians out of the way."

 

Two cops down.  It was personal now and he ached for Lukela and all of them within the brotherhood, but there was no time for the regret now. 

 

"How are they?"

 

"Don't know.  Haven't had time to check."

 

Steve patted him on the shoulder.  "Did you try talking to the shooter?"

 

"Haven't had time for that, either."

 

McGarrett moved to the door of the squad car and reached in for a bullhorn.  Careful not to present himself as a target, he knelt down just behind the hood and called out.  "This is McGarrett of Hawaii Five-0.  Surrender yourself!  There is no escape.  You are surround --"

 

The windshield shattered as bullets rained on the glass, then on the metal of the front end.  McGarrett, Lukela and several other officers ducked down until the deadly fire ceased.  Ears ringing, hands scraped from shards of glass, McGarrett traded an anxious glance with the sergeant.  Gritting his teeth, he knew he had to try again.  This time, he had everyone clear the area while he stayed behind the body of the car and pointed the bullhorn up in the air.

 

"Use the phone and tell us your grievances!"

 

Shots riddled the car again, with such force this time he had to move away from the vehicle when bullets shot off the side mirror.  Sheltered inside a doorway with Lukela, Chin Ho Kelly jogged up to join them, reporting much of the downtown area was at a standstill because of the shooter.  He brought with him a portable radio and said the HPD SWAT team was working its way up to the skyscrapers closest to the Tower.

 

Wishing Williams were going up with them, knowing his second in command was the best sharpshooter in enforcement, he wondered why he hadn't heard from his officer.  He couldn't even remember what Williams was doing this morning.  Court case?  Interviewing a witness?

 

The police radio crackled to life and the officer identified himself as Lieutenant Mark Shields of HPD SWAT.  He was positioned in one of the few buildings fronting Ala Moana Boulevard with windows that were not sealed, but able to open.  Many of the high rises along the harbor highway were modern and the windows unable to open, which would cut down the opportunities for the SWAT men to find suitable platforms for acquiring the target. 

 

"We can't get him in our sights, McGarrett.  He's cagey.  Not letting himself become a target."

 

"All right.  Position your men wherever you can and wait for him to show himself.  Take him out first crack, you got that?"

 

"Yes, sir."

 

Again wishing Danno would show soon, McGarrett edged back to the front of the peppered squad car.  The sound of a jetliner gaining altitude, soaring at an angle, reminded caught his attention and McGarrett watched it for a moment.  There could be danger to aircraft depending on the range this sniper had, he realized.  Danno would be a better judge of that and yet again, he silently urged his second-in-command to hurry up and get here. 

 

He used the car mic to patch through to FAA and warn them of the deadly gunman and his prime location.  Flights should be diverted away from this area for now.  The FAA’s top inspector, Mick Windsor, came on the line and asked for details.  McGarrett turned the call over to Chin, who had worked with Windsor in the past.

 

McGarrett tried another call on the bullhorn, hoping to draw out the sniper.  Instead of shots pelting the car, a spray of bullets pounded into a nearby office building.  Return fire spit back moments later.  The police radio cracked to life and Duke, near the set, answered it.  McGarrett crawled back, daunted to see Lukela shaking.

 

"They spotted our sniper," he breathed through gritted teeth.  "Shields took a hit."

 

McGarrett gulped down a groan, regretting another policeman was injured, but silently thankful Williams had not been the sniper’s target.

 

Working behind the scenes, Chin Ho was collecting information and reporting to McGarrett about placement of officers and emergency personnel.  A city-wide alert had been issued for workers who could be of service to come downtown to help.  Civilians were ordered to stay clear of the area.  With a nod of acknowledgement, he told Kelly to track down Williams and Kokua and get them there immediately. 

 

Lukela shouted for him to check out the Tower.  The window facing their direction was breaking.  Ordering Kelly to get a sniper trained on the man, he seized binoculars and crept next to the blue and white to study the figure.

 

The binoculars dropped, snagged on his hand because he had wrapped the strap around his wrist.  Trembling, he grabbed them back to his eyes.  No!  The figure standing at the window  - NO!

 

Danno! 

 

A scraped, gagged face. Hands bound behind his back.  Danno!  Blinking through eyes watery with terror, Steve fought to steady himself.  There, at Danno's head, someone held a revolver.  Someone unseen behind Danno, using him as a shield, was displaying his trophy!  Chest tightening, Steve couldn't miss the blood glaringly staining Dan's off-white jacket on the left arm and it made his nerves tremble.  Danno -- captured, wounded, at the mercy of a madman!

 

 

*****

 

On the wind, above the background noises of voices and motion, above the surprisingly quiet boulevard, Steve heard his name called.

 

"McGarrett.”  The snide, arrogant drawl of Lester Smith!

 

Still catching his breath from the shock of seeing Danno as a hostage, Steve was aware of men scrambling around him, of more officers taking strategic positions in the area, of the chatter of communications on a nearby police radio.  Part of his mind took it all in with a hazy acceptance, while most of his thoughts were stunned – burned with the memory of Danno’s beaten image in the window.

 

“Go ahead, McGarrett!” came Smith’s ragged voice – uneven and hoarse at screaming.  “Tell your boys to shoot!  I know you got shooters out there!  Tell them to fire now!  They’ll get Williams won’t they?” he cackled.

 

“Don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” he muttered aloud, then realized he had not formally given the command to the sharp shooters surrounding the tower. 

 

Lukela took hold of the mic without apology and barked orders for SWAT teams to stand down.  From a handset, the sergeant received messages from officers.  Steve couldn’t hear distinct words, but the tone of conversation was as rattled as he felt. 

 

After a few moments, Lukela turned to the head of Five-0 and reported that the snipers were awaiting his order.  They would not take a shot with Williams so close to the suspect.  Steve had an image of the SWAT team members drawing Smith into crosshairs only to recoil – perhaps with only milliseconds of time to react.  Easing their fingers from the triggers already partially pressed back when they saw their colleague – their friend – Williams --  also presented as an unexpected target.  A captive shield blocking the criminal.

 

Ben Kokua arrived, kneeling beside him, and offered to lead a team to free their colleague.  Numbly, McGarrett shook his head, knowing it was what all of them wanted to do but could not.

 

Frustrated, Kokua softly wondered if radio communications had been compromised.  Smith seemed to know a lot, or was he just too familiar with police procedure and able to second-guess their strategy?

 

Still practically frozen with fear for the victim in Smith’s grip, Steve tried to evaluate it all and mentally work around the dark horror gripping his attention.  The top authority figure out here, he had to keep his focus on saving all the lives in jeopardy, not just his friend’s.  Trying to assess that Danno was a hostage – wounded – hostage – he took a few more moments to come to grips with the crisis. 

 

"We better take precautions if he’s listening," Lukela responded when McGarrett didn’t.  The sergeant issued verbal instructions disseminate orders to SWAT and HPD personnel on TAC two only. 

 

After conferring with plain clothed detectives in the shelter of a nearby building, Chin Ho trotted up to him on his right and whispered there was more bad news.

 

Strained, gruffly aghast, voice hoarse, he responded incredulously, rhetorically, “How can things get any worse?”

 

Kelly hesitated only a moment before responding, “HPD robbery is thinking they have something important.  Sporting goods store just down the block was burglarized last night.  They were there doing an investigation when all this started.  They came by to tell us they thought there might be a tie-in.  Rifle, hand gun and six boxes of ammunition for each weapon were stolen.”

 

No words could surface to express the horror of the news.  Too much to be a coincidence, the burglary was probably how Smith became armed.  Well armed.  It would be a long time before he would run out of ammo.  How many people could he take out before he emptied the weapons? 

 

Thinking back to Danno’s condition – how long could Danno last?  And what was the end game?  Smith wanted more than just to display his beaten trophy in the window.  Steve would bet the madman wanted more than just to gloat over his triumph over the cops.  What else could Smith do to exact more painful revenge?  McGarrett didn’t want to find out.

 

Clearing his throat, his hand and voice shaking, the Five-0 leader’s anger and disgust took over.  Realizing he had dropped the bullhorn, he snatched it up again.  "Release Dan Williams now!" he shouted. 

 

"Maybe I don't want to, McGarrett!  Maybe I want a few things first!"

 

Here it comes.  Of course, Smith would not pull a horrendous stunt like this without reason.  Without a deadly and malicious cause in the back of his mind.  "What do you want?"

 

Through the binoculars, he saw Danno up against the window, weakly struggling with his captor.  Smith cracked him on the side of the head with the gun.  Williams sagged, but Smith held him tight with one arm around his chest.  McGarrett ground his teeth in frustrated rage.

 

"I want you to come up here, McGarrett --"

 

Dan fought against him and was struck again, this time sending them both down behind the window.  McGarrett came to his feet in dread.  The struggle going on in the Tower he could not see, but he could vividly imagine the gruesome fight.

 

Then Smith’s voice screamed, "I already shot your boy once, McGarrett!  Bet you don't want me to do it again, huh?  So come on up here!"

 

Biting his lip, Steve desperately wanted to see his detective again to make sure he was at least alive.  ‘Good condition’ had been bypassed some time ago because of Smith’s brutality.  He didn’t want to analyze details – just hope that his friend was still alive.  "Let me talk to Williams!"

 

"No, you had your chance to see him.  You could see he's alive."

 

Chin knelt down next to him.  "You can't go, Steve."

 

"I can't let him shoot Danno again, either!"

 

"Stall.  There must be something else we can do."

 

A shot echoed on the morning air and McGarrett's heart nearly pounded out of his chest.  Grabbing the binoculars, he scanned the Tower.  To his horror, Williams was sagged against the window, now bleeding from a wound on his right shoulder. 

 

"See, McGarrett!  You mess with me and he gets hurt!"

 

"Don't shoot him anymore!"

 

"Then you get up here, McGarrett!  Now!"

 

"You can't," Chin demanded, forcefully grabbing onto Steve's arm as if he was afraid the boss would immediately leap up and comply with the demands.

 

Running up from behind, Ben Kokua seconded his colleague's views.  McGarrett could not go up there, he demanded also.  Smith would kill him and Danny. 

 

Not even responding to their comments, Steve called back that he would exchange himself for his officer, but only if he knew that Williams was alive and that no more harm came to him.

 

"All right," Smith yelled back.  "You send one officer up here.  Unarmed.  And not one of your Five-0 guys.  I don't trust any of you.  And no tricks or the stooge is dead and so is Williams."

 

Kelly and Kokua were shaking their heads and McGarrett had to agree.  It was just too dangerous.  "I won't do that, Smith!  You'll just use him as another hostage.  No way!

 

"Don't need of another hostage, McGarrett.  My beef is with you, not anyone else.  And I got your main boy already.  I don’t need no one else!"

 

"Then release Williams."

 

"Right!” he shot back sarcastically.  “As long as I got Williams it’s almost as good as having you.  He's the bait, McGarrett!  You betrayed me and now you pay!"

 

Did he have a choice?  Smith had tried this trick before and McGarrett managed to avoid being killed, but it was a close thing that Williams survived.  To pull off a miracle again would be unlikely.  Smith was smarter these days; his cunning ploy with strategic high ground in the Tower -- his shooting of Dan – indiscriminate slaughter of innocent victims.  All proof he was on a short and deadly fuse.  Could McGarrett trick him again?  And if he tried and failed?  It would mean Danno's life for sure. 

 

Joining in with the Five-0 detectives, Lukela gave his opinion of the trap.  "You can't go up there, Steve.  If you even cross the street he can nail you."

 

Slowly, McGarrett shook his head, thinking, knowing each second ticked down against Dan's chances for survival.  Smith called down again, this time with an ultimatum of a two minute countdown – either someone came up to verify Williams' condition or else at the end of that time Five-0's second in command was dead.

 

"All right," Duke shouted over the top of the car.

 

McGarrett grabbed him and pushed him back behind the corner of the building.  "What do you think you're doing?"

 

"I'll go up there and check it out, Steve.  See if Danny's okay.  Get the lay of the land.  Then I'll come back and give you a report."

 

"No --"

 

"Maybe we can figure out a plan from there --"

 

"I can't let --"

 

"You want to just let him murder Danny and do nothing?"

 

"NO!"

 

"You know he'll do it!"

 

Ben and Chin joined them.  "Steve, we can give Duke a vest," Kokua suggested.

 

"And create a distraction when Duke crosses the street," Kelly opted.  "Just in case Smith is using this idea as an excuse to shoot more cops.  You can have Smith talking so he can't get a bead on Duke."

 

Lukela agreed.  "While I’m there I'll take a piece and a walkie talkie and put them up there somewhere.  If he makes you go in unarmed you’ll have a back up in the building."

 

"One minute!" Smith shouted.

 

Shaking his head, Steve felt his eyes burn with softened, turbulent emotions.  These guys were insanely loyal.  Risking their lives so willingly to save his and Danno's.  Gulping down a knot in his throat, he closed out the tender feelings and gave a nod of assent to go with the plan, too touched to respond.  At the end of the day, he could lose more than just Danno if things went wrong; he might lose Duke as well.  He could die himself.  Not without these brave and valiant men risking everything to help, he knew.

 

Kokua fitted Lukela with a bulletproof vest.  When the sergeant was set, McGarrett went back to the HPD car on the street and presented himself as a partial target, then called Smith on the bullhorn.  Once the gunman responded, Duke darted out from another location to dash across the street.  The sergeant quickly jogged across the street, toward the building complex of Aloha Tower.

 

"An officer is coming up to check on Detective Williams right now.  You don't harm him, Smith.  He is unarmed!  Don't hurt him!  You got that?"

 

"I don't care about him, McGarrett.  Just you.  As soon as he gives you a report on Williams I expect you up here!"

 

Biting his lip, Steve waited, drumming his fingers against his arm as he paced, then paced more, snapping his fingers.  What had he done?  Sent his old friend Lukela to his death along with Danno?  Was Danno even alive?  Could it be a form of sadistic revenge on Smith's part to wipe out all his friends?  No, panic was seeping into his mind.  He had to keep cool and work on getting control of this disaster.  If nothing else, he had to maintain control over himself. 

 

 

*****

 

In the shadow of the looming monument of Aloha Tower, Duke nearly stumbled over a man wedged in the gutter.  Brown briefcase blown apart, smears of blood on the pavement, the man weakly raised an arm in a flagging effort at attention.

 

“Help,” he gasped.  “Help me.”

 

Agonized that he could not pull the man to a more safe location, or stop to administer even the most rudimentary first aid, Lukela paused and spared only a moment to kneel down beside the man.  Bullets had ripped through the papers and case, hitting the man in the torso.  Eyes glazed from pain and shock, he was hardly aware of anything but his desperate plight.

 

“I’ll get someone over here as soon as I can,” the sergeant promised.

 

His humanitarian instincts warred with his duty only momentarily.  Right now, his focus had to be on saving the life of a colleague and friend.  The life of someone that was desperately needed within his police brotherhood – within the small circle of ohana connected with Five-0.  A life valued above all others by McGarrett, whom Duke would do anything to serve. 

 

Lukela entered the bottom of Aloha Tower and warily stopped at the steps of the small emergency staircase.  Alert for a double cross or trap, he made sure Smith was nowhere around, then placed a .38 and a walkie-talkie under the second step.  Taking a deep breath for courage, he skipped into the elevator and punched the button to go up. 

 

The elevator was old, the machinery reflecting the age by grinding slowly upward with an abundance of metal gear noises.  It had been many years since the sergeant had been up here.  At the top of the Tower was a maritime museum.  More striking was the spectacular view afforded from the fours sides of the monument that once dominated the harbor.  From here views of Diamond Head, the bay, the west mountains, the Koolaus at the back of the city – and Honolulu itself – could be observed and appreciated.  Overlooking the docks, the skyscrapers of downtown, you could see the contrast of century old historical blocks next to the glass and steel of modern Hawaii.  From the sparkling bright ocean, you could turn around to view the mystic, cloud-shrouded mountains. 

 

Today, all he was interested in seeing was Dan Williams alive.

 

When the doors opened, Smith was waiting, one hand on the trigger of the rifle.  As he passed through toward the small room filled with nautical artifacts of the Pacific’s past, Duke brushed his hand against the elevator controls, holding the doors open.

 

"Come closer.  Hands in plain sight.  Real slow."

 

Smith used one hand to quickly frisk the officer, tugging at the vest with a snarl, but that was his only protest.  Duke paid little attention to the criminal.  His focus was riveted, his breath taken away, at the sight of his fallen friend.

 

Danny, slumped on the floor, leaning against the far wall of the top room, looked in bad shape.  Bleeding from arm and shoulder wounds, his hands were bound behind his back.  His face was scraped around his forehead and cheeks, as if he had been beaten, but all the damage was not visible because of a gag across his mouth.  His eyes were only half-open and he blinked, giving Duke an acknowledgement, then shook his head.  He seemed in terrible pain, but his expression indicated something beyond that -- as if he was devastated at Duke's appearance.

 

While Smith searched Lukela, Williams covertly struggled to slip the gag off by rubbing his face against his shoulder.  Duke tried not to watch the agonizingly slow progress – fractional inch by fractional inch the cloth lowered as the Five-0 officer winced in pain.  Would the desperate actions be quick enough before Smith saw what the officer was doing?  What was so important that Williams needed to say?  And at what cost?  What would the captor do when the downed officer was free to speak?

 

The cloth slipped free.  "Don't let Steve come – keep him safe – he’ll be killed --"

 

Smith darted over to smash Williams with a rifle.  Dan ducked a beat too late and the rifle butt caught him in the shoulder.  He cried out in agony.  Duke rushed forward to help, but Smith spun around, rifle pointed at him from close range.

 

"No, don't," Williams begged the gunman, moaning in pain, clutching his newest injury.  "Duke, get out," he shook his head.  "Double cross."

 

Backing up, Smith kicked at Dan, landing a blow to his chest.  The detective slumped over, groaning. 

 

Lukela took another step forward, but held off plunging across in an assault.  It would only get him killed, he knew.  Standing there watching the already hurt Five-0 officer attacked was agonizing.

 

Smith kept the rifle on Lukela.  "I want you to deliver a message to McGarrett.  And I wanna make sure he gets it loud and clear!  Tell him he comes up here or Williams is dead!  No second chances, no negotiation.  You got it?"

 

"Yeah," Lukela tightly agreed, waiting for a chance to jump the madman.  “I got it.”

 

"Good.  Then this'll make it even clearer." 

 

He raised the rifle level with Duke’s shoulder, then suddenly lurched to the side, the weapon discharging.  Scooting over slightly, Williams had kicked Smith’s leg, throwing the shooter off balance.  Lukela lunged to his knees, grabbing at the barrel of the weapon, but failed to gain leverage in time.  Smith struggled free of Williams in time to twist the rifle toward Lukela.

 

Duke didn't hear the report of the rifle or smell the powder until he was slammed back and tumbled into the wall.  Aching from the heavy blow of a close-range bullet to the chest, even with a vest to stop it, he was out of breath and bruised, dazed at the fall and impact.  Fighting for air, he struggled up.

 

"Get out!" Dan shouted to him.

 

Lukela wobbled to his feet to assist Williams.  Smith fired again, this time catching Duke in the calf and knocking his leg out from under him.  The impact sent him flying back into the open elevator. 

 

Off balance, aching, unarmed, he knew he was no match for an armed assailant, but he had to try again.  Struggling to his knees, Lukela flew back into the elevator from a vicious kick to the side of the head delivered by Smith. 

 

Bleary, aching, out of breath, Duke barely focused on his assailant.  Able to discern that Smith was pointing the rifle at him, his heart pounded heavy against his chest, certain this was his final moment on earth.  Life-scenes, cherished memories or personal connections did not register in a flash of kaleidoscopic snippets from his past.  The image that hazed his mind with livid anger was hatred.  Passionate hatred for Smith, and that he would not be able to remove this piece of filth from the face of the earth.

 

“Good thing you’re still of some use to me, cop!Smith shouted.  “Otherwise you’d be just like your pal is gonna be!  Dead!” 

 

Smith slammed his fist on the buttons.  The elevator doors closed and Duke pressed his face against the wall, agonizing at his failure.  Just as the elevator descended, he heard Danny cry out.  Smith had his retaliation – no doubt making the injured Five-0 officer suffer for resisting in his captivity.  Duke groaned in anguish, not only that he had botched an attempt to help Danny, but that there would be terrible recriminations.  In his attempt to free his friend he had caused him more pain.

 

Tumbling out on the ground level, he was tempted to go for the stash of the revolver and talkie.  Should he go back up and try to take out Smith?  Aching and sore with his chest, leg, head throbbing, he knew he could not go up there and surprise Smith, nor overtake him.  Not in this condition, he distressed, lightly knocking his fist against the steps in frustration.  He could never get to Smith before Danno was killed.

 

 

*****

 

Nearly paralyzed with pain from numerous injuries, Williams could hardly move after Smith's last attack.  Distracting the gunman from Lukela had cost him.  Had it done any good?  Knowing Duke had been shot, he wondered if his battle had helped or hurt the cause.  He had been trying to save Duke, but did he just get his friend killed?

 

Moaning, pushing against the hurt to try and position himself to a defensive posture, he gave up in exhaustion.  No use, he couldn't even sit up any more.  Bleeding and sore from the gunshots in his arm and shoulder, kicked and beaten, he couldn't move without nearly passing out.

 

Closing his eyes, his mind drifted – how was Duke – what was Steve thinking/doing?  What would Smith do next?  Steve wouldn’t be crazy enough to come up here would he? 

 

How did he get into this mess?  Somehow, Smith had gotten the drop on him in the garage when he was walking to his car this morning.  The memories hazy, he knew he fought back, and recalled the first shot in his arm.  Since then he had been in a daze -- hurting and so tired. 

 

The danger to his friends, though, kept some of this mind focused on emotional terror and pain instead of his own aches.  Agonized that Duke might be seriously hurt, and afraid of what Steve might do now, Dan fought against, but finally lost, to unconsciousness.

 

 

*****

 

The gunshots echoing from the Tower made them all want to run to the rescue.  The head of Five-0 had been on the move before he was restrained by his men.  Racing in might only make the situation up there worse.

 

“Only one elevator, boss,” Chin had reasoned.  “You get it on the ground floor to go up, then Danny and Duke are trapped up there with that pupule.  You got to let Duke play this out.”

 

McGarrett, nearly insane with frustration, outrage, and fear could not remain a spectator to the unfolding tragedies. 

 

“He’ll cut you down, Steve,” came Ben’s wise, strained reminder as he fought against his superior’s frustrated will to be free.

 

“We’ve got to get in there!” the leader agonized.

 

When they spotted Lukela, holding his leg, staggering away from the Tower, the concentration of the two detectives faltered.  McGarrett broke free and raced to meet the wounded officer.  Kelly and Kokua followed.

 

Frequently, the tall Samoan officer nervously glanced up to the Tower.  Why were they not all cut down in the street by the sniper?  Because Smith was occupied with the hostage? He grimly wondered if Danny had provided more of a distraction to Smith’s insanity.  When the shots were fired McGarrett had wanted to go up there and storm the Tower, even though they all knew a rush could mean Danny and Duke’s deaths.  Ben cringed at the thought of what had happened to Williams now.  Reaching the wounded sergeant ahead of the others, he slid in beside the bleeding Lukela.

 

“How bad?Steve shouted, seeing blood seeping from between Duke’s fingers.

 

“Smarts,” he cringed, “but I don’t think it’s too serious.”  He pointed over his shoulder.  “There’s a guy there by the curb – somebody get him!”

 

McGarrett nodded his assent to that order and two patrolmen dashed out to comply with the rescue.  Too wrapped up in their own aid effort, the head of Five-0 did not consider any other assistance to others.  Lukela was his focus.

 

Helping the sergeant back to the police lines, McGarrett was so furious he could hardly contain the rage -- tempted to turn back and immediately run across the street and get up to the top of the Tower.  Could he make it across the street without being shot by Smith?  He thought he could.  Smith wanted him to suffer, right?  The criminal wanted to gloat, preen, and torment McGarrett before death.  He couldn't do that by shooting him down long distance.  By such reasoning, he figured he was immune.  Maybe Smith would wound him.  Maybe he was wrong and the madman would shoot to kill.  Then he would kill Danno.  Was it worth the risk to go up there now anyway?  No, he had to find out if Danno was still alive before the threw himself into Smith’s hands.

 

Falling behind the riddled squad car, he checked out Duke while they waited for the medics.  The bleeding was not severe, but the Hawaiian was in terrible pain.  Crouching beside his friend, he also noted the bullet hole in the vest.

 

"Okay, okay," Lukela waved back the crowding officers.  “I’m gonna live.”

 

“He nailed you dead center,” Steve breathed with regret.

 

"Vest did it’s job." 

 

"Ribs?" McGarrett asked, knowing the damage that could be done under a vest.  It saved your life, sure, but an impact could cause a mighty agonizing injury. 

 

The attendants arrived and Lukela barked at them to leave him alone.  McGarrett told them to take the officer, but the sergeant insisted he was not through with his report.

 

Satisfied the stubborn and dedicated man was in pain, but all right, he impatiently asked the pressing question on his mind, almost afraid of what he was going to learn.  If Duke was this badly wounded, what about Williams? 

 

“How is Danno?”

 

Lukela nodded, "He's alive," was the somber hedge.  "He's in bad shape, Steve.  Been shot twice.”  He shook his head, looking levelly at the boss.  “Beat up."

 

Closing his eyes against the grief that lanced through him, Steve didn't want to face anyone as he asked the next question.  "How bad?"

 

"Bleeding pretty good.  Shoulder and arm hits.  He's suffering --"

 

McGarrett looked back, disturbed at the abrupt halt of the report.  Distressed that Duke would not meet his eyes.  "And?"

 

"Danny tried to stop Smith from shooting me.  When I was going down in the elevator I heard -- well -- Smith didn't let Danny’s good deed go unpunished.  I don’t know what he did, but --"  He shook his head in regret.  “I know Danny paid for it.”  Steve's livid wrath bubbled.  Alarm reflected in the officer.  "Steve, you can’t surrender to him.  Danny wanted you -- he told me to keep you safe, Steve."

 

"And leave him there to die?"

 

Feeling his eyes water, McGarrett gritted his teeth.  What else had Smith done to Danno?  Shooting him twice already, beating him, that wasn't enough?  Leaping up, he stalked to the bullhorn and savagely snapped it on.

 

"Smith!  You're going to pay for this!"

 

The area was strafed with bullets and McGarrett ducked away just in time before the whole section was hit hard in a merciless barrage.  When it stopped, the silence was pressing, throbbing, and no one moved for moments.

 

"No, McGarrett!” came the defiant rejection, the insolent, superior shout that was strong and clear, carried on the wind.  As if the violence and suffering had inspired and invigorated the con.  His voice was as understandable as if he were standing next to McGarrett.  “You're going to pay!  You get up here now or I kill this cop!

 

"How do I know he's still alive?  Prove to me he's still alive and I'm yours!"

 

The quiet gasp from Chin didn't distract him.  He peered over the patrol car to watch the Tower.  Seconds later Williams' battered form appeared in the window.  Face bleeding, eyes closed, he looked in tremendous pain.  The frequent flinching verified that he was alive and suffering. 

 

"No Steve, don't come up –“ Williams managed to yell before he was abruptly snatched away from the window.

 

Sickened, distraught, Steve knew it didn’t matter what happened to him.  He could not tolerate this any longer.  He would put an end to the stand off now.

 

"I'm coming up!"

 

"Unarmed, McGarrett!”  Smith shouted and stepped away from the window with his human shield.

 

Livid, McGarrett was wasting no more time.  He stepped out and made himself an easy target, turning around in the street; clearly displaying he wore no holster nor carried weapons.  Glancing back at his men, he told them to storm the Tower at the next shots they heard, because, hopefully, they would be from him.  Then he jogged toward Aloha Tower.

 

 

*****

 

Once inside the Tower, before stepping into the elevator, McGarrett scanned the area and spotted the revolver Duke had left for him.  Tucking it in his belt, behind his back, he took a deep breath to steady himself.  His actions now would probably mean life or death for Danno, maybe himself.  He needed to do this right.  Noting the blood smeared inside the elevator car, he sucked in a moan.  Duke had already paid with blood.  McGarrett had to stop this insanity before there was more suffering.  Now as prepared as possible, as focused as he could be, he hit the button to take him up to the top of the Tower.

 

 

*****

 

Painful to breath, to move, Dan felt his senses grey when Smith shoved him into the wall and he slide down to the floor.  The sting from the bullet wounds was just about numb now, along with the soreness on his face.  What hurt was the simple act of breathing.  His ribs resonated with aching and his chest bones, while not broken he hoped, felt afire with throbbing damage.  Still bleeding, weak, dizzy, light-headed and slowly spiraling into disorientation, he fought to keep a grip on consciousness.

 

"He's coming," the criminal leered with pleasure, looking out the window from a concealed corner.  "Crossing the street now.  Wearing a vest.  Gonna do him no good, Williams.  When he gets up here, he's taking off the vest.  Then he's gonna come to see you.  Know what I'll do then? I'm gonna kill you then.  Maybe not," he ranted, pacing in front of the suffering detective.  “Maybe I’ll just shoot you some more!  Pow!  Pow, pow!”

 

Williams moaned.  He had failed to keep Steve away!  Duke had been injured, how bad he had no idea.  Did the vest take the worst of it?  Did he get wasted when he was trapped in the elevator?  He hadn’t delivered the message for Steve to stay clear!  Steve -- no -- he couldn't come up here.  Smith would murder him.

 

"Maybe first I shoot him in the gut.  Or the leg.  Then he'll be helpless and can't move and I'll kill you.  Maybe a few rounds at a time till I give you one in the head," he smacked Dan on the side of the face.  "Got a lot of rounds in this rifle.  Got plenty more ammo.  Not gonna run out for a long time."

 

"You'll never get out of here alive," Dan croaked.

 

Enraged, helpless, fighting back the only way he could -- verbal threats.  Little good against bullets, but it was all he had.  He slumped down, a sharp pain smarting along his arm.  Glass.  From the broken window.  He shifted and leaned away from the mess, but was too tired to move far.

 

"I got my ways Williams.  Remember the Palace?  The dumbwaiter?  I'm lots smarter than you cops!  Got you up here didn't I?" he asked and cuffed him again on the face.  "I'm gonna kill you and then McGarrett and I'm getting out of here free as a bird."

 

The slow, grinding crank of the elevator seemed loud in the small upper room of the Tower.  Steve was coming up! 

 

Shaking his aching head, Dan struggled to stay awake.  He could not let Steve come up here and be slaughtered.  What could he do?  Sliding down the wall for his head to rest on the floor, he partially closed his eyes. 

 

Smith turned away and aimed his rifle at the door. 

 

Yes! Dan realized, Smith thought he was losing consciousness.  Directing his attention to Steve.  As soon as Steve reached this floor, Dan had to act.  Summoning whatever energy and stamina he had left, to do whatever he needed to save Steve.

 

Slowly, carefully, he shifted to bring an elbow up under him and provide some kind of leverage for when he moved.  What was he going to do?  If nothing else, throw himself at Smith to give Steve enough time to get out of the elevator and shoot Smith.  Steve would be armed -- would have to be -- he wouldn't come up here helpless.  He hoped.

 

The old elevator cranked it's slow revolutions with amazingly loud gears as the car inched it's way to the top.  Dan lifted up on his hand and bit his lip in pain at a sharp penetration.  Glancing down, he saw his arm had been cut from a jagged piece of glass leftover from Smith breaking the window. 

 

Dan grabbed the largest piece of glass he could find and pulled his knees up under him.  Using his heels to steady his hands, he worked at cutting the rope binding his wrists.

 

He struggled with the sharp tool, knowing he was inadvertently slicing up his arms and hands in the processes, but gritting his teeth and working feverishly to free himself.  Along with the effort to loose his bindings, he was slowly, carefully, edging forward.  Gradual enough to not attract attention, but close enough to offer himself as – as – something – to aid Steve.

 

The elevator dinged.  The car had reached the top floor. 

 

Dan’s hands flew apart from the rope.

 

 

*****

 

He should have killed Smith before when he had the chance.  A litany repeated several times in his heart today as he had stared up at the unassailable Tower where the madman – who had once been under his power – held his closest friend’s life hostage.  He should have killed the criminal before Smith could hurt them again.  Steve just hoped it was not too late to rectify his mistake.

 

When the elevator doors opened, McGarrett kept mostly in the corner, ready to emerge only when he had a clue what to expect.  There was always the chance Smith would just fire on him the minute he presented himself as a target.  Then the vest could only help if he took a shot to the chest.  Smith's skills with a rifle were well known and a head shot would be no problem for the madman.  With the .38 hidden in the hollow of his back, he had a fighting chance if it came to a draw.  What he hoped for was a chance to talk -- stall -- assess Danno's condition -- then sneak the revolver out and shoot Smith.

 

 

*****

 

As the elevator doors opened Williams sprang, lunging at Smith.  The long, blade-like glass sliced into the back of Smith's calf and Dan's palm, the serrated edges equally mangling to both victims. 

 

Smith screamed out in pain!  Williams cried out from the agony of the glass driven into his hand.  Smith’s trigger finger yanked bullets out as his body jerked and uncontrolled fire sprayed the room.  In too much agony to notice anything but Smith's writhing form, Dan threw himself atop the gunman to prevent him from lifting the rifle.

 

Smith struggled, and as Dan's felt the dizzying greyness of faintness surround him, he plunged the glass into his attacker, striking anywhere, blindly stabbing over and over again.

 

 

*****

 

Before Steve could step out of the old elevator, shots sprayed around the metal doors.  When his ears stopped ringing from the shattering cacophony of bullets ricocheting within the intense acoustics of the metal car, he heard what sounded like a fight with grunts of anguish.  Darting a look, he was appalled to see Smith and Williams on the floor, wrestling, both of them covered with blood.  It seemed Williams had the advantage, but it was hard to tell.

 

"Danno!"

 

He raced forward, drawing his revolver, but there was no way to take a shot at the grappling criminal without endangering his friend.  Replacing the weapon, he delivered Smith a merciless kick in the head and that was enough to throw the man to the ground and to the side of his detective. 

 

Quickly he flung the rifle far out of reach, giving a cursory search of the downed criminal.  Smith was groaning in agony, shaking in pain, then faded to unconsciousness.

 

Turning back to Dan, it terrified Steve to see him still clutching the horrific weapon of a jagged piece of glass.  The shaft was protruding out of Dan’s palm and Steve hissed in sympathetic pain, knowing exactly the pain such an agonizing wound produced.  Tenderly, he talked reassuringly to his friend, placing a gentle hold around Williams' bleeding hand steadying the fearsome, jagged weapon. 

 

"Danno, it's okay," Steve assured him and lifted his shoulders to ease him farther away from the assailant.  Trembling, Williams rested, limp in his arms, dazed.  "It's all right," McGarrett whispered, horrified at the evidence of the multiple wounds.  "Help is on the way," he promised unsteadily, realizing the elevator was cranking it's way up. 

 

Against his chest, Dan's head nodded slowly.

 

It was too dangerous to extract the glass from Danno’s palm, but Steve tenderly  removed the largest chunks that he could.  Then he just held onto his friend as both of them trembled in the aftermath of the crisis.

 

Knowing his officer was going into shock, he held him tight, biting his lip as the seconds ticked by.  When the elevator doors opened, Chin and Ben raced into the room, guns drawn.  Both audibly gasped and stopped cold at the sight confronting them.  It was an appalling scene; the blood, the wounded, the evidence of a valiant fight for survival as Danno struggled to win in a battle for his life. 

 

No, Steve reconsidered, glancing around the room at the broken glass and the position of Smith and the trail of blood from Danno.  Not survival.  Not for Danno.  For him.  Danno had attacked Smith with only a piece of glass as a weapon!  A jagged, hand-held spear against a rifle, and Danno had done it to save him.

 

"Steve?" Chin came forward, whispered, as if afraid to speak.  "Is he alive?"

 

McGarrett could feel Williams’ breathing against his chest, but it was slow and shallow.  "We need to get him to the hospital."

 

"Medics are right here."

 

McGarrett spotted two attendants unfolding a stretcher.  Dazed himself, it took him a minute to realize they were telling him to let go of the patient so they could get him strapped in and to the waiting ambulance.  Dully nodding, the head of Five-0 released his friend and silently accompanied them down to the street.

 

 

*****

 

Periodically Chin or Ben approached him, standing beside him for indeterminable moments until he acknowledged them, then they would give a report: known casualty count (over thirty so far dead or wounded), secondary destruction (traffic or harbor mess ups, even FAA red tape because of the airport shut down).  Several police officers were among the dead or wounded and they were friends of some or all the Five-0 unit.  More personal news  -- like updates that Duke was fine and would be released from the hospital today -- was welcome. 

 

All the details drifted in and out of Steve’s mind, never taking root or bringing themselves to the forefront of his attention.  The officers were competent and able to handle the aftermath without him, so he allowed them to do their jobs.  Only one concern filled his thoughts and that was the condition of his friend, who was now in surgery.

 

A modicum of satisfaction in the whole affair was the fact that Smith had not survived.  Danno’s attack had ended Smith’s reign of terror over the city, over the staff of Five-0.  The crude glass knife so damagingly wielded by Williams had sliced an artery in Smith’s neck.  The criminal died in the ER.  Steve felt no sympathy for the madman, only bitter rancor at the damage done by such an insane individual for the sake of revenge.

 

At the end of the hall, he spotted someone cruising his way.  Ben Kokua pushing a wheelchair with their wounded sergeant. 

 

With a tired half-smile he walked over to meet Lukela.  “What are you doing out of bed?” he asked the sergeant.

 

“Going home,” Lukela smiled.  “Doc doesn’t want to waste a bed on me.”  His face sobered quickly.  “Danny?”

 

“No word,” was his hoarse response.

 

Lukela nodded.

 

“He’ll be okay,” Ben offered with quiet optimism.  “I’ll come back and check on the news after I take Duke home.”

 

McGarrett nodded.  Watching them leave, he knew he should send Kokua out there to help Kelly with more of the enormous aftermath of the day’s violence.  That would make sense in an administrative way, but not a personal one.  He allowed Kokua to act as a kind of liaison between the hospital and the rest of the force – keeping those who were concerned about their fallen comrades informed of recovery.  That moral booster was important to all of them. 

 

Today had been about personal attacks.  Smith’s revenge against McGarrett the root of all the suffering.  Many innocent people were drawn into that fight and several killed because of the insanity – that the lunatic criminal had to make a grand statement against his enemy by hurting others.

 

He flinched, knowing the biggest hurt had been targeted at Steve’s weakest point.  Smith knew the surest, deepest pain of all would be for something to happen to Danno. 

 

Aware that someone in a white coat stood just to the side, McGarrett shot a look at the man intruding on his solitude.  Not one of the surgical team . . . . Dr. Lane, the name came to him.  The psychiatrist.

 

“Mr. McGarrett,” Lane cleared his throat.  “I wanted to give you a follow up on my patient –“

 

McGarrett advanced on the man with such sudden ferocity that the doctor snapped his lips sealed in frightened silence.

 

“Follow up?McGarrett shouted.  “Your patient just murdered and wounded dozens of people!  Your patient held this city hostage for half a day!  That madman that you were supposed to cure took one of my detectives hostage!  My officer is terribly injured nd is in surgery right now!  That lunatic did a lot of damage before we took him out!”

 

“Took him out?  You mean –  the man paled.  “You killed him?  You didn’t have to do that.”

 

Feeling ready to commit homicide on this psychiatrist, McGarrett physically stepped back to keep a measure of restraint.  “Atop all the other atrocities, that madman was trying to murder my detective!”  Looking down at the slightly shorter man, McGarrett stepped forward and stabbed him with a finger in the chest to emphasize his point.  Lane winced, evidence that Steve’s anger and frustration were lending force to his verbal and physical assault.  “Smith was a dangerous psychopath and you released him!”

 

“Mental health is not a science,” the man gasped, backing away, stopping when he hit the wall.  His expression and tone spilled out, defining terror at the cop who showed signs of madness.  “I had no idea Smith would take such actions!”

 

A firm hand grabbed onto his shoulder and caught McGarrett’s attention.  He had the impression of Lane unevenly fleeing down the corridor when he turned to face Bergman.  The ME’s expression was tight, unhappy; a result of Steve’s loss of temper, he hoped, and not because of any news about to be delivered.

 

“What is it, doc?” he tightly demanded.

 

“You mean besides browbeating my associates in the hallways of the hospital?”

 

Impatient, anguished, he had no time for trading quips.  “Danno?” he asked, knowing the single word – his tone and expression – would cut through any other considerations.

 

“He’s out of surgery.  He lost a lot of blood.  Bottom line.”  He stared at McGarrett and sighed, then a wry twitch of his lip.  “He’ll recover just fine.  And if you promise to treat members of the medical profession with the respect we deserve, I’ll let you go see him in recovery.”

 

McGarrett nearly whooped out a cry of joy.  Instead, he surrendered a pent-up, nervous reaction of a dry chuckle, then clapped his hands on Bergman’s shoulders.  “Great, doc, great.  When?”

 

The ME pointed down the hall.  “Now.”

 

“Thanks,” Steve called back as he spun around then skipped down the corridor.

 

The nurse monitoring Williams frowned at him when he entered.  Steve just gave her a nod.  No doubt Bergman had warned the staff – he always did – about renegade Five-0 officers invading the hospital when one of their own was wounded.

 

One of his own.  Gazing down at his injured/mended, pale, bruised and abrasion-marked friend, Steve felt the stirrings of sentiment cool the heat of his anger and anguish.  Danno had been a pawn in an ugly game of supremacy and revenge.  Smith absolutely held the high ground for strategic firepower and emotional leverage. The gunman knew McGarrett would do anything to protect and save one of his own.  Against all the odds, the good guys had won.  Danno was alive.  Duke was alive.  They were all going to recover from this incident.  Not without scars. 

 

His eyes traveled automatically to the wrapped hand that had been impaled by the spear of glass.  Flinching at the memory of that valiant attack on Smith to save him, McGarrett sighed heavily.  Wiping away the memory of the blood, the pain, the cries – not effortless.  Staring at his friend now; clean, recovering, safe  -- made it easier.

 

McGarrett tapped a fingernail on the metal bed rail.  No response from the patient.  Then he touched Dan’s arm and shook it gently.  Williams’ head moved and groggily, slowly, he blinked his eyes to semi-consciousness.

 

“Hey, Danno,” McGarrett smiled and sighed, relived to see Bergman’s diagnosis seemed correct.  He trusted the doc, of course, but nothing like tangible confirmation to ease the concerns in his anxiety-tense mind.  “How you doing?”

 

Williams nodded slightly.  “ ’kay . . . guess . . . sleepy . . . drugged . . .”  A goofy smile fleetingly came and went.  Probabbbbly good . . . huh?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

He concentrated with squinting eyes to assess and converse.  “You okay?”

 

“I am,” McGarrett swallowed down a lump of emotion rising at the compassionate concern expressed in his behalf.  Coming from his downed friend it was tough to take.  “You’re going to be fine, too.  Just a little mending to do.”

 

Williams nodded.  “Duke?”

 

“Fine.  He’ll be dropping by pretty soon if I know him.  Doesn’t even get to stay here overnight.”

 

Luckkkkky himmmmm . . . .”  The eyes were closing, he was fading away.  With effort he fought to open them again.  “Smith?”

 

Steve’s face set in grim anger and he tightly replied, “Dead.”  He didn’t want to go into details.  Danno could hear that he had killed Smith later.  “We won’t have to worry about him again.”  There was one disturbing thing that McGarrett had to address.  He didn’t want to wait to get this out.  “Danno, you fought like a tiger up there in that Tower,” he sighed in admiration, awe and horror.  “You saved my life.  That was why you attacked Smith, wasn’t it?  To save me.” 

 

". . . couldn't let . . . him hurt . . . you . . .”

 

Steve blinked, fighting back the moisture that seemed to blur with the memories of the vivid red blood, the acrid smell, the violent grunts and pain and desperation.  “You attacked him first, before I arrived, even though all you had –“ his voice broke, recalling the shard of glass clutched in his friend’s hand.  A primitive weapon in close-quarters – knife against rifle.  Coupled with the selfless motivation and determination of his friend – the more formidable weapon.  “You could have been killed,” he finished lamely, unsure what to say and how to say all that he felt.  “Thank you.”

 

A quiet sigh was released from the younger detective.  He closed his eyes and didn’t finish the nod of satisfaction before he dropped off to sleep.

 

McGarrett patted the wrapped arm and held his hand there for a moment.  What a long day.  A terrible day.  He remained for a few moments, gratified at seeing his officer resting comfortably.  He would be here to see the day out thanks to the heroics of his friend.  When he came back later Danno would be more awake then and maybe he could express his gratitude a little more articulately.  Maybe not, he considered, knowing after all they had been through, it would be hard to verbalize what he felt in his heart.

 

*****

 

Instead of immediately heading back to the office, McGarrett took a detour.  Driving over to Ala Moana Boulevard, he parked at the curb of the ship dock and watched the HPD and Five-0 teams in the aftermath of the shooting.  The main streets had been reopened, but there was still a lot of activity in clean up, gathering evidence and personal belongings of victims, recording the investigation for reports. 

 

Leaning on the car, he chose not to participate, but to observe.  There was little the head of Five-0 could do out here at the crime scene.  His value was in the office directing inquiries.  Today, though, to decompress from the terror, he had to be here.  Staring up at the old monument – the gateway to Honolulu’s docks – he wondered if he could ever look again on Aloha Tower and feel anything but regret and distaste for the events transpiring here.

 

It was just a building.  The broken glass and bullet-pocked walls and blood stained floor would be repaired.  All would be cleaned, fixed, and restored.  That was going to happen to all of them.  Inside and out, they would return to normal again. 

 

Knowing it would not be so easy repairing a person as it was to restore a monument, he thought of the road of recovery ahead for Williams.  He would make it.  That was the important, final tally for this crisis.  Five-0 detectives, and Duke, were alive.

 

Aloha Tower.  Aloha.  Hello.  Goodbye.  Love.

 

Goodbye to Smith for good.  Love.  Unselfish love had been demonstrated today in many varieties.  None so obvious as what Danno had done to save him.  Aloha in it’s purest form.

 

 

 

PAU