The groggy, numb filled cloud stuffing his brain clogged his senses from real cognizance. Although time meant next to nothing in this detached state, Dan Williams knew it took him a very long time to plow through the mental obscurity and bring himself to a stage of wakefulness where he could open his eyes. There was another long space of time passing before he was able to comprehend he was in a strange place and feeling ill and confused.


He was lying on a bed. On the nearby nightstand was a phone. Able to grasp and hold onto this one solid anchor of salvation, he groped for the phone and after several fumbled mistakes, dialed through to the office.


"This is the answering service for Hawaii Five 0," came a recorded voice. "If your business is urgent…"


He fumbled the buttons until he hung up and laboriously dialed another number. After two rings the call was answered.




"Steve," Dan mumbled thickly, his voice hoarse.


"Danno! You sound terrible. Are you all right? Danno?"


Steve McGarrett's voice was sharpened with raw concern. The anxious bark startled Williams into an abrupt jolt of awareness.


"Steve I don't know," Williams replied slowly. "I feel sick."


"Where are you? Danno, talk to me! Are you at home?"


Still collapsed on the bed, Williams couldn't even summon the strength to raise his head. "In a hotel room," he concluded from the stark, regimented, anonymous furnishings, the horrible watercolor beach scene over the bed. "Don't know where."


"Don't hang up," McGarrett demanded. "I'll have a trace put on the line. Are you hurt?"


"Don't think so."


"Hold on, Danno. Don't hang up!"


Williams tried to assess his condition. It was beyond his memory of the worst case ever of horrible flu: he was tired worn out incredibly weak, skin sticky with sweat and he ached as if he had run a terrible fever. Almost as a separate entity his head throbbed and his mind was fuzzy. And to make it worse, his stomach churned in waves. Maybe it WAS the flu. That would be embarrassing, he thought. Except he had no memory of where he was or how he had gotten here. And that blankness worried him more than the illness.


After some length of time McGarrett's voice returned. "I got it, Danno. You're at the Surf East on Kuhio. I'll be there in just a few minutes. Hang on!"


There was a click from the other end. Dan let the phone drop from his hand. Faint stirrings of energy were starting to emanate from his brain. He used them to force himself to move. Very slowly, ignoring the nausea and throb of his head, he pushed himself to a sitting position. It made him feel a little better.


'Good thing,' he thought sarcastically as he realized he was wearing no shirt. 'I'm not exactly dressed for company.'


His polo shirt was crumpled at the foot of the unmade bed. He struggled into the shirt then took some tentative steps around the bed. The wobbly movement made him feel a little more alive. Unable to think from the dizziness, he sat down again and assessed the situation. His wallet, watch, i.d., and revolver were in a heap on the dresser. So he hadn't been robbed. His mind wasn't clear enough to deduce more.


* * * * *


The strong, loud pounding on the door echoed and reverberated in his head a hundredfold louder and longer than normal.


"All right," he moaned, not moving his head from his hands. Before he could respond further the door was unlocked and McGarrett, dressed in jogging shorts, sweatshirt and sneakers swept into the room. Instantly it gave Dan a source of day and time reference. It was early, probably around six Thursday morning. His call must have caught McGarrett just before the Five 0 chief's routine AM jog.




An anxious McGarrett knelt beside Williams, hands on the sagging shoulders, eyes darting over his friend to establish his own quick conclusions.


"You look terrible. What happened?"


"If I didn't feel so bad I'd be insulted," Dan quipped automatically, his droll humor surfacing unbidden.


McGarrett pressed a palm to Williams' forehead. "Come on. I'm getting you to the hospital." Without waiting for an assent McGarrett took him by the shoulders and lifted him to his feet.


"Steve, I'm not that sick," he protested weakly.


"Then you're going to see Bergman."


It was an order delivered with such irrevocability Williams did not say another word.


Dan thought sarcastically, 'Oh, that's better. I'll go get checked over by the coroner.' Abstractly he wondered if there was some hidden meaning in the fact that the Five 0 attending physician happened to be an M.E.. However, in his mental state he could come to no conclusions as to his strange, rambling thoughts.


McGarrett's strong grip guided him out the door. The trip to the pathology lab was a filmy sequence of events not quite completely colored with reality. He couldn't seem to make that final coherent snap into wakefulness, as if he was just one level removed from the real world. Not until after Bergman's brief exam, not until he sat in the lab, McGarrett forcing him to drink some black, awful coffee while they waited for Doc to finish the blood test, did Dan start to think like a detective again.


He focused on his boss sitting in the opposite chair. If he was not yet convinced of the seriousness of the situation, one look into the intent, worried Irish blue eyes assured Williams that Steve was most disturbed by this event.


"You think I've been drugged?"


Grimly McGarrett nodded. "You've got all the symptoms, Danno. Do you remember anything that happened? Anything?"


Slowly Dan shook his head. He was grateful the ache and muzziness were clearing enough so he had mobility of his head. He was even beginning to think again.


"I don't have any memory of the hotel room."


"What about last night?"


Williams stared at the blank wall behind Steve, focusing inward to a point beyond the black cushiness of his mental range. He slowly shook his head as he came up with more empty space where his memory should be. He related that he had not been wearing a shirt when he woke up. He could offer no explanation to that, and Steve did not offer one, either.


McGarrett poured more coffee and urged Dan to drink. With a grimace of distaste he complied. This brew was worse than anything Kono had ever attempted


He blinked and looked at McGarrett. "Kono and I were at the office late last night? We were going over our testimony in the Wing Lee trial."


"You're due to testify in court tomorrow against Wing Lee," Steve reminded him. "Nothing before that?" McGarrett leaned forward, stressing the urgency of the question. "Anything at all, Danno! Come on, think!"


Williams closed his eyes to concentrate. When another thought came clearly to mind, his eyes snapped open. "Is today Thursday?"


"Yes. Does that bring anything to mind?"


Sheepishly Dan nodded. "Yeah. I was supposed to take my suits in to the cleaners yesterday."


The tension broken, McGarrett ruefully shook his head. "Of course, Wednesday is two for one day. Anything else?"




McGarrett's mouth twitched with frustration and irritation. A dazzling fire played behind the sizzling blue eyes a burning quest for imperative answers as yet unclear. Smoldering with the heat of curiosity, there also came the torch of anger and disturbance. To say the least he was not happy about this attack on Williams and was taking it very personally.


It gave Dan a strange kind of warmth inside, knowing that the full force of Steve McGarrett's personality was on his side and would not rest until this mystery was solved. Even through his cloudiness he knew that warmth was the glowing comfort of having a staunch friend in his corner.


Bergman returned and stated the phial's worth of blood was being tested and promised to report the results as soon as possible. With a curt nod of thanks McGarrett urged Dan to his feet and escorted him back to the car.


"I want you to stay at my place until a team has gone over your apartment and car. Officer Ono will be taking the first shift with you."


Williams released a long sigh of displeasure. "I don't need a babysitter, Steve."


"We don't know what's going on, Danno. Until we do, I want you protected." The tone was stern and brooked no resistance. To soften the curtness McGarrett clasped his friend's shoulder. "Just a precaution. Besides, you look like you can use the rest."


Williams did not like being out of the action any more than McGarrett would if their situations were reversed. However, the mention of rest was very appealing, and Dan was realistic enough to know he could not do more than walk and chew gum right now. Any advanced level of thought or action would have to wait until he had a clearer head and more strength.


"Okay," he agreed. "But when I'm feeling better I want back in on this. Whatever is happening. All right?" He kept his eyes trained on McGarrett until the head of Five 0 turned and established eye contact.


"Sure," Steve agreed sympathetically, again patting Dan's shoulder. "I know you want some answers, too."


* * * * *


Williams was deposited at McGarrett's apartment and was strictly instructed to sleep. Then Steve set out several vitamin and mineral supplements along with healthy protein foods to be consumed by the convalescent officer. Williams not being in any shape to argue, McGarrett was pleased to have the last word. It was about time the junk food disciple consumed some decent food. Finally, he told Ono that the young Five 0 officer was to stay put and rest. Period!


The spare bedroom was a studio crowded with easels, paint and light, but was quickly cleaned up with a few mock protests from Williams. Nonetheless, the curly haired detective was asleep as soon as hit the bed.


McGarrett changed into a suit and was prepared to leave once assured his charge was safe in the care of 'watchdog' Ono. Then McGarrett drove the few blocks back to the Surf. Before he had reached Dan, he had alerted the team to go over the place with a fine toothed comb. The other staff officers knew what to look for.


The whole situation bothered him. It actually scared him, more than he would say to his friend, that Dan had been abducted in the first place. It was chilling to know Williams could be shark bait now if his abductors had wanted to take that road. Thankfully, Williams was still alive. But that left all kinds of nasty possibilities open. Even if Dan couldn't remember events, McGarrett was afraid of what, almost obviously, had happened. It brought an involuntary snarl to his lip. If he was correct, there would be unpleasant days ahead, particularly, he vowed, for whoever had engineered this setup.


* * * * *


When he sailed into the hotel room, he was pleased to see a lab team at work. Chin and Kono were examining the wall space above the chest of drawers across from the bed.


Both detectives asked after Williams' health and Steve offered a terse report that the youngest member of the team was resting and in safekeeping. For a fleeting moment McGarrett softened and thanked the men, pleased the others felt the sense of brotherly protectiveness for Dan. Being the youngest team member with a perennial boyish look would forever doom Williams to be watched after a little more closely than the others. That Steve treated him like a kid brother did not help the overcompensation of protectiveness. Neither did the image of youth diminish the respect or authority fostered by the charming Dan. It somehow enhanced his standing as the second in command, the protégé', the obviously favored son to McGarrett.


"What did you find?" Steve asked his detectives.


Grimly Chin Ho Kelly pointed to a small hole bored into the plaster. "Just what you thought, Steve. This goes through to the adjoining room."


McGarrett pounded his balled fist on the top of the chest. "Any trace of equipment?"


"Checked it," Kono said, shaking his head. "Lab boys are there now, but it's clean. If there were cameras there we can't prove it."


"The night clerk?"


Kono Kalakaua shook his head again. "Says he never saw Danny. Says this room and the one next door were rented to a couple from Arizona, and their friends, for three days. He only met the one couple once, hasn't seen them since yesterday."




The huge Hawaiian shrugged his broad shoulders which seemed to strain at the seams of his conservative suit. "They looked like tourists." McGarrett's lips pressed together in a stern line of somber distaste. "And I bet this place will be clean, too," he snapped.


"Been wiped, except for the phone," Kono confirmed. "And those must be Danny's prints." Kono held up a plastic evidence bag labeled as Five 0 property. Inside were various personal belongings. "Danny's stuff. You want to take it to him?"


"Have the lab go over it, including dusting for prints." Steve paused, scrutinizing the .38 revolver in the bag. "Has the gun been fired?"


"Didn't check."


With a nod Steve handed the bag back.


"A real neat setup," Chin concluded. The veteran cop shook his head in confusion. "But why?"


Dealing with the perplexities in his own manner, McGarrett paced the small space of floor. He came to a stop at the glass doors leading out to the small lanai supplied with cheap outdoor furniture. The drapes were open and for a time he stared out at the uninspired view of the hotels across the street. The buildings were a blur of grey, his inward vision concentrated on the depth of complexity surrounding someone very close to him.


"The second in command of the state police unit is drugged and undoubtedly photographed in a hotel room. Danno isn't married so it lets out the blackmail angle. At least the conventional kind." McGarrett turned back to the room and surveyed it with grim vexation. "Danno's been set up," he said tightly, his voice rising. "Somehow, someway, someone's going to use this against him. Before they whoever the sleazy punks are get the chance," he vehemently shook his fist in the air, "I intend to be there to stop them like a wall of lava!"


He took in a few breaths to ease the tension in his gut. Anger and frustration bubbled inside like the hot pahoehoe of Kilauea. He took a few moments to clear away the heated emotions and retain a grip on his reason. He would accomplish nothing for Danno or himself if he was out of control.


"Finish up here, Kono. I'll want the lab reports on my desk the minute they're ready." McGarrett stabbed the Chinese detective with a stern glare. "Chin, grill the desk clerk. I want the book on those tourists from Arizona, including composite sketches. I'm taking some officers over to Danno's apartment. Maybe we'll find something there to give us a lead."


* * * * *


Before opening the door of Williams' apartment with a key Dan had given him, McGarrett carefully studied the lock and knob. There was no evidence of forcible entry. The officers stayed at the door while Steve moved through the small rooms quickly, surveying the scene with the eyes of a detective on a case, detached from the knowledge that the apartment belonged to one of his team, to Danno. He paused for a moment to lean on the bar separating the kitchen and the living room. It was a modest apartment with uninspired, neutral furnishings. The plainness was overshadowed by the walls; decorated with a stylized Japanese print of ocean waves. Japanese prints of horses, or photo posters of surfers or beaches. Somehow, in an incongruous way, it all seemed to meld with the American contemporary furniture and the Japanese screen leading to the bedroom.


There was nothing out of place, no sign of a struggle anywhere. There was even an absence of laundry; apparently taken to the cleaners yesterday evening. The apartment was as neat as Dan always kept the nice bachelor pad. Most irritating of all, McGarrett concluded, there was no clue to offer a direction of what had happened to Dan Williams before 6:05 that morning. Steve paused at the sliding glass door leading to the small lanai overlooking the ocean. Finding no solutions or solace there he turned back and studied the room. As an afterthought he packed up a few of Dan's clothes to take to his temporary houseguest.


On the drive back to the condo to check on Dan, Steve received the lab report results. The strange drugs found in Dan's blood should have knocked him out, but he had some kind of bad reaction causing illness and amnesia. So far Bergman could not isolate the unusual drugs.


As soon as McGarrett entered his apartment he was met by an anxious Williams.


"Any news?"


"Not really," McGarrett returned neutrally. He critically eyed his friend, unhappy that the short rest had not seemed to improve the haggard young man. "You're supposed to be resting," he reminded Dan firmly.


"I took a nap," was Williams' defensive response. "Ask Ono."


Although tempted to respond to the cocky challenge for eyewitness confirmation, Steve moved the conversation along. "Some extra clothes." He handed over a paper bag. "Thought you'd like to get out of those."


"Yeah, thanks."


The tone indicated Dan probably had not thought of anything so practical. No surprise, Steve thought, Dan's mind was certainly filled with many other problems. From the tension emanating from the detective he knew Dan was wrestling with a lot of unpleasant speculations. He keenly empathized with Dan's feelings; the distress, the uncertainty, the insidious sense of an unseen threat just beyond conscious vision. He ached for his friend knowing Williams felt a sense of helpless victimization and he shared in that emotion, feeling victimized that his friend had been hurt and trapped in some vicious web.


McGarrett released Officer Ono and as soon as the HPD man was out the door Williams again pressed for details. Steve covered the scant findings at the hotel and added his own theories. When he related his thoughts on a setup for blackmail, Williams' face indicated he had already thought of that angle.


"Pretty standard operation for the sleazy extortionists around Waikiki," Williams admitted. "But why me?"


McGarrett slowly paced the confines of the living room along the mauka, Diamond Head side of the room where big corner windows overlooked the canal below and the extinct volcano to the side. It was a spacious, large room with corner glass doors leading to a roomy lanai. The generous glass space lent light and airiness to the room filled with modern, cream colored sofas and chairs. The light and shades of the room accentuated the bright Hawaiian scenic paintings, some of them McGarrett's, gracing the walls.


"Maybe we should concentrate on who's at the other end. Who would want to put you in this frame?"


Dan shrugged, completely at a loss for a motive. "No jealous husbands," he joked.


"Good thing. The list might be too long for us to handle," Steve countered.


"Really," Williams sobered," I can't think of a personal reason. Maybe because I'm with Five-0?"


As he paced, McGarrett's aggravation, his tempo, his thought machinations picked up speed and fervor. In cadence with his intent steps McGarrett's fingers snapped out a hard rhythm. "Then let's change questions. Instead of why, who? Who would have the talent for this?"


"Ted the Shutter Bug. He's a real low life." McGarrett silently nodded his agreement of the assessment and Williams went on thinking out loud. "I heard Abbey Sakai moved on from being the hooker in front of the camera to the one on the other side."


At that McGarrett raised his eyebrows. "Some example of Women's Lib."


"Yeah. There's Quan Lee. He's into anything sleazy."


McGarrett sharply pivoted on his heels and eyes narrowed, pinned Williams with an intent blue sword point stare. "Quan Lee. One of Wing Lee's many nephews?"


This time Williams' brows shot up. "Yeah. Quite a coincidence, huh?"


"Quite." Steve crossed to the phone and started dialing.


He was interrupted by a determined Williams. "Let me in on this, Steve, please."


Dan was worn out, there was no other description. But the light behind the tired eyes shone with determination which Steve found indomitable. He could understand it and he could not deny it. Sometimes, Dan was entirely too much his protégé'.


With a relinquishing sigh he said, "Why don't you shower and change. We need to get to the office."


The smile literally beaming from Dan's face transformed his fatigue to eager, if temporary, energy. McGarrett hoped he wouldn't regret this lapse of judgment, but for the moment the expression on Dan's face made it worth the cost.


He dialed the phone again. "Jenny," he said when his secretary answered, "is Kono back yet?"


"Not yet, boss. But Chin is here and wants to talk to you."


As soon as the Chinese detective was on McGarrett said, "Did you get a sketch on the couple from Arizona?"


"Sure did. A young brunette woman in her twenties with-"


"Let me guess," McGarrett interrupted with urgent anticipation, too eager to let his officer finish. "A young Chinese in his thirties with a receding hairline and a scar on his lip?"


"Right on, Steve," Chin confirmed. "Quan Lee. Did Danny remember him?"


"No, but we've been piecing some things together. Got an address on him?"


"Not yet. Kono was bringing that over with a rap sheet."


"We'll be there in a few minutes, Chin. And press the lab for those prints."


* * * * *


When McGarrett and Williams arrived, Kono and Chin followed them through to McGarrett's office.


"We got a break on prints at the scene," the big Hawaiian said. He handed an evidence bag to Williams. "Your stuff from the hotel room. Gun was clean."


Dan first retrieved his gun, badge and watch.


"Did you notice your wallet was empty?" Chin asked.




"Bruddah, you musta been real sick," Kono joked. The humor about Williams' Scot' attitude on money brought slight grins from the others.


Dan slipped his holster onto his belt and placed the badge in his coat pocket. Then he removed the contents of the bag and searched his belongings as Kono continued.


"The only prints we found were on the dresser and your wallet. Belong to a girl who got greedy for your money. Her name's Sally Chuong." He paused. When the others indicated no reaction he proceeded. "She's a hooker in Wing Lee's stable. Has two convictions in Lahaina for prostitution, a bust for attempted extortion on Waikiki."


Williams' eyes widened and a red tinge of embarrassment spread across his cheeks. "That looks bad. I was in Maui last week on the Benson case."


Kono handed him a mug shot of a young Oriental/Polynesian woman with short, bleached blond hair.


Surprise and chagrin sustained, Williams looked up to the steady eyes of his boss. "She sat next to me on the plane back."


McGarrett rapped his knuckles on the desk top. "That was the hook," he pronounced. "Do you have any memory of seeing her last night?"


Dan shook his head. "Nothing." His face wrinkled from the intense concentration. "I can't remember anything."


With a sigh McGarrett shook his head in frustration. "She must have stopped you gone to your place or even caught you out here in the parking lot. Just long enough to administer the drug."


Each indictment brought more of a tight, trapped desperation to Williams' face. By the time McGarrett was finished with the suppositions, Williams looked staggered, defeated. The young detective, never really having regained a normal level of strength, now seemed drawn and dejected. He stepped over to the sofa and sagged into the cushions.


"As soon as you get an address for Lee and the girl let me know," McGarrett told his detectives and dismissed them with a nod. When they had closed the door behind them he joined his friend at the couch.


"You can't let this get you down, Danno."


"No?" was Williams caustic response. "It might look bad but we'll think of something? Isn't that the routine, stoic response?" Williams shook his head. "It won't work, Steve. The frame is so tight there's no air to breathe. My reputation is shot after this."


McGarrett gritted his teeth, fighting back the blistering retort which came to mind at the defeatist attitude of his colleague. He retrieved a chair, which gave him time to cool off, then sat down facing Dan. The young man had always had a low threshold of self doubt, which really grated against McGarrett's righteous sense of confidence in his people, particularly Dan.


"Look, Danno, this is a cheap Waikiki hustle by a little punk with big connections. We've handled worse."


Dan would not look at him. Instead he stared at his knotted hands. "They've got me cold, Steve. Probably have witnesses no, pictures from some tourist of me and the girl on the plane. Then the pictures," his face distorted with distaste, "from last night." A nervous, forced laugh was a sorry attempt at nonchalance. "I mean I don't mind a one night stand, but this!" He slapped his hands on the couch, frustration warring with anger. "Damn, why can't I remember anything?" He rubbed his fingers through his hair a few times and drew in a long, deep breath. "Wing Lee's lawyer will get an anonymous package no, worse, the newspapers!" He shook his head. "Immediate mistrial because my testimony will be tainted."


"It would take more than that," McGarrett countered but his insistence was not backed by forceful conviction.


This time Dan glanced up and met McGarrett's gaze. Williams' eyes were filled with insecurities which McGarrett was not sure he could dispel.


Williams went on. "Even if they can't prove a connection between me and the girl they can prove I was certainly with her in a compromising situation."


Pulling excuses out of the air, Steve countered with, "You've been seen with a lot of women, Danno. This girl will mean nothing."


Williams scoffed. "Except a Five-0 cop in bed with a hooker? Boy, the press will just eat that up. They won't believe a thing I say! All my testimony will be out the window!"


"Then we rely on facts and evidence and not your testimony," McGarrett returned with a hard edge to his voice. "Danno, we're not going to let this bury you! Or our case!"


Still intent, still staring at McGarrett, Dan's tone was grave. "I won't let it bury you, Steve. I'll resign first."


"I won't accept it," Steve nearly snarled in return. Dan had offered to resign before. He had gone so far as to write out the paper the time he had beaten up on a prime suspect in the killing of his girlfriend. McGarrett didn't take it then and could not envision a time he would ever accept Dan's resignation. That's not how a favored son left this organization. He had invested too much in Dan to let the young detective off the hook now.


"Look, Danno," he said after a deep breath to curb his impatient frustration, "we'll go see what Quan Lee has to say and this Sally whats-her-name. We'll get their confession on this conspiracy in time for you to make it to court tomorrow."


With rueful amusement Dan shook his head. "So it is written, so it shall be done, huh, King McGarrett?"


In spite of the mocking humor, McGarrett grinned. "Something like that." Seriously, he assured Dan "And you aren't going to take a fall for this


"I hope you're right."


In the depths of Dan's eyes McGarrett saw doubts clouded by a desperation to believe in McGarrett's blind faith. McGarrett hoped, for both their sakes, he could accomplish all he promised.


"If it doesn't work, Steve, then you'll get my resignation in time for it to be printed in the morning editions. That way you're covered for the trial. You'll at least have Kono's testimony and that should see you through."


"We'll see," was McGarrett's guarded response. "I still think you're taking this too seriously. A little tarnish around your reputation, considering your social life, isn't too surprising," he joked lightly.


"I'm not used to this kind of tarnish," was Dan's wry answer.


There was a light knock at the door and Chin poked his head in. "We've got an address on Quon Lee. Same address showed up on Sally Chuong's last arrest sheet."


"Hah!" McGarrett practically yelled. He slapped Dan on the shoulder. "Let's go find that mysterious blonde," he said and led the way out the door.


Quon's apartment was in a mid to low rent area behind the business district of Honolulu. McGarrett ordered Kono and an accompanying officer to the back of the single story building. He, Williams and Kelly took the front door. Guns drawn, the detectives bordered each side of the door as Steve heavily rapped on the old wood.


"Five 0!" he called. "Open up!"


There was silence for the space of a few seconds then he knocked again. There was a muffled, indefinable sound from inside. Impatient, McGarrett gave a nod and Williams tried the knob. It was locked. Steve took a few steps back and kicked in the door, he and Williams going through the doorway high and low respectively, with Kelly coming in last. The apartment was empty and the window in the back was open, curtains blowing in the slight breeze. A quick scan of the room revealed there was no one home.


Kono, holding a struggling feisty young woman appeared at the window. "Got her sneaking out the back." Without much effort he pushed her through the open window and she fell in a heap on the floor.


The girl pushed bleached blond hair from her almond shaped eyes and stared vehemently at the officers in the room. When she glanced at Williams her eyes widened with recognition.


McGarrett quipped, "Miss Chuong, I think you know Officer Williams already."


Sally scooted backwards until her shoulders touched the wall. "Hey, I was only doing a job," she blurted. "I was paid for a trick." She directed her confession to Dan. "Quon slipped you the drug, not me. He didn't think you'd have a bad reaction."


Kono entered the room and stood intimidating and close to the hooker.


"We'll want a full statement. From the beginning." McGarrett ordered, an edge of unsympathetic brittleness hardening his tone.


"Sure," she agreed readily. "I would've never done it in the first place if I'd known you were a cop," she said to Dan.


Chin helped her to her feet and cuffed her hands as he read her rights.


Without protest she admitted Quon approached her the week before to sit next to Williams on the flight back from Maui. Then last night she bumped into Dan outside the dry cleaners and he walked her to her car. Quon came up behind him and knocked him out, then administered an exotic Chinese sedative. By the time they reached the hotel, which they entered unseen from a rear entrance, Williams was running a fever and was obviously ill from an adverse reaction to the Oriental drug. Their original plan of filming a wild orgy was then altered to establish a few shots of Dan and Sally on the bed. Then the extortionists left, afraid Dan's illness would become fatal.


"Nice and thoughtful of you," Steve condemned acidly. "I think we can add attempted murder of a police officer to your list of crimes!"


"No way!" Sally leveled the chief of Five 0 with a glare of disbelief, then swiveled to include Williams in the look. "You can't charge me with attempted murder!" She winked at Dan. "No offense, sweetie, but that was when Quon told me you were a cop. I don't mess with cops whether they're awake or not!"


A blush of embarrassment crept up Dan's neck and made his cheeks tingle.


Steve coughed into his hand to hide a grin. "Officer Kelly will take you downtown for a formal statement." With a nod of dismissal he indicated that was the end of their interview.


As she was led away she paused by Dan. "That lousy crud Quon said it was all a joke the pictures and all." Automatically she slipped into character and shot the young Five 0 officer a suggestive grin. "Besides, you were too cute to pass up. I'm just sorry we didn't get to enjoy ourselves!"


Williams' face graduated into a deep crimson. McGarrett bit back a smirk and directed a not very stern glare at the woman.


"Where can we find Quon and the pictures?"


Sally shrugged. "He didn't say and I didn't ask. But you might try Ling's Photo Shop on King."


Chin's face expressed surprise. "Didn't know that was one of Lee's fronts."


"Think of it as a freebee," Sally offered.


"Mahalo," McGarrett said with a nod. After the woman was gone he glanced at the still embarrassed Williams, and Kono. "Let's see what Ling's has to offer, gentlemen."


As soon as Kono was out of earshot Steve said quietly to his second in command, "I bet that's the first time you've made a conquest while unconscious."


The blush returned, so deep that as Williams preceded him out the door McGarrett grinned that the back of Dan's neck was lava red. This would be a great source of amusement for some time to come if the circumstances weren't so serious. Aside from the grave implications of the frame, the quixotic Miss Chuong had lent a respite of humor to the otherwise dreary situation.


* * * * *


Some officers were left at Quon's in case the hustler showed up there. McGarrett put in a call to District Attorney Manicote, who had already gone home for the night, to request a search warrant for the photo shop. It would take time since finding a judge and prosecutors after hours was a long process of elimination.


Tired of pacing the floor, McGarrett drove Williams and Kalakaua over to King Street. They parked down the block, which afforded them a view of the row of businesses where the shop was located.


In frustration McGarrett pounded the steering wheel. "It could take a long time for the search warrant."


Williams, worn down from the long day, was slumped down, head back, eyes closed.


"Too bad we don't have probable cause," Kono commented to no one. "Then we could go in without a warrant."


McGarrett smiled. "Good thinking, Kono. Why don't you go around back and see if there are any suspicious characters."


It took only a moment for Kono to catch on to the ploy. He left the car and crossed to the back alley.


McGarrett drove to the nearby intersection where there was a gas station. He went to the pay phone and called a number. Dan watched in curiosity. When McGarrett put a handkerchief onto the mouthpiece of the phone Williams was out of the car and eavesdropping on the conversation.


"Is this the police?" Steve asked in a gravelly voice. "I was just driving by Ling's Camera Shop on South King. I saw some lights flickering, like someone was robbing the place."


At that Williams pressed his lips together to stifle a giggle. McGarrett waved him to silence.


"No, I don't want to give my name," McGarrett said into the phone and hung up. With exaggerated sternness he warned his friend, "Not a word."


Lips sealed, Williams shook his head, but his eyes were dancing with amusement. He was completely mute as he followed his boss back to the car where they listened to the police dispatcher call a patrol car to the area, reporting of a possible burglary in progress at Ling's. Kono returned in time to hear the report.


Within minutes a patrol car pulled up to the curb in front of the camera shop.


"Nice to know the city's finest is so efficient," Williams cracked.


"Very convenient," McGarrett agreed with a broad stroke of wryness.


The black Mercury screeched out of the station and swung around to pull up behind the patrol car. With a completely sober expression, McGarrett told the investigating officers they had picked up the call on the radio and decided to stop. Obligingly, McGarrett offered to investigate the back. The Five 0 men drove around to the alley and parked in the small recessed slots designated for the photo shop.


The corner of the window in the back door was broken and the door ajar. For a moment McGarrett's face clouded with anger directed at Kono for going too far in bending the law. Before he could issue a reprimand, Williams stepped in.


"I should have thought of this. After all, I may need to find another career after tomorrow."


"Not if I can help it," Steve countered grimly.


The Five 0 detectives slipped into the shop, automatically drawing their guns as they stalked the premises. Of course, no one was there; but McGarrett made a good showing of searching the area. He stopped at the doorway to a small office.


"Check it out, Danno. See if they left us anything useful. Kono, tell the officers the suspects are gone."


"You shouldn't be too hard on Kono," Dan said quietly. "He was trying to help me out."


"I know," was Steve's tight reply. He didn't like it, but it was done and he could not argue with the results.


Quickly Williams rifled through the recent business accounts. In a few moments Kono returned.


"They're searching the neighborhood."


With a smirk and a shake of his head, Williams said, "How long are you going to let them chase this fantasy burglar?"


"Till we find what we need," McGarrett countered as he helped search the desk.


Williams moved on from the paperwork to the file cabinets. There was a locked file drawer within a locked drawer in one of the cabinets. Covering a letter opener with his handkerchief, he used the blade to snap open the cabinet. McGarrett raised his eyebrows in wordless disapproval.


"Has my whole staff gone criminal?" was his caustic inquiry. His irritation was suddenly abandoned and he let out a little exclamation of joy. "Hah! Negatives," he called out. He brought out plastic holders filled with negative strips and stacks of copy negative sheets accompanying the pictures. He handed some pages to the others and they quickly scanned the sheets. What they saw surprised them all.


"There's enough here to blackmail most of the prominent businessmen in Honolulu." McGarrett quickly sifted through the sheets, letting out a few low whistles, pausing, even stopping at a few of the sheets. "Your friend Sally makes a pretty steady living at this, it seems."


"She's not my friend!" Dan snapped back.


McGarrett smiled at the extreme defensiveness. "Just a figure of speech, Danno. Look at how meticulous Ling is, with code numbers for each set. This is going to keep Vice busy for weeks."


Williams cleared his throat. "Code numbers. Right."


McGarrett scowled but did not spare a glance at his friend. "Keep your mind, and eyes, on the job, Officer Williams, and not on the pictures." After he glanced at certain sheets he started tossing them in random spots around the room. He continued scanning the pictures but stopped cold when Williams drew in a sharp breath.


"Here they are," Dan said with a voice thick with embarrassment. A wash of red slowly rose from his neck to the roots of his curly hair. "Not exactly prom pictures."


McGarrett took the copy negatives, complete with their own code number, and did more than give them a cursory glance. As far as blackmail photos went, these were extremely tame in comparison to the x rated pictures he had been sorting through. However, they would be extremely incriminating to a solid member of his staff. Sally was easily identifiable, as was Dan. Although the shots were only from the waist up the creative angles gave the impression that the couple were in the throes of intense passion.


"I'm finished," Dan sighed, when he saw the sheets.


"Not yet," McGarrett corrected as he snatched up the sheets and folded them into his pocket. He went back to the papers on the desk. "I saw something here a minute ago here," he said as he grabbed a receipt from a courier service and indicated to Dan the corresponding code number on the receipt. "Photos delivered to Malcolm MacDonald at, " his voice stammered, " the Honolulu Free Press."


"Oh no," Williams groaned. "I'm doomed. If there's something MacDonald loves more than a good juicy sex scandal it's a cop scandal. He must be in seventh heaven to get both in one shot!"


McGarrett let his colleague complain, let him vent the vocal misery. His own mind was churning with possible options to this unpleasant twist. By now the photos must be in MacDonald's printer ready to be splashed on the front page of the morning edition. While the Free Press was nothing more than a scandal rag which lacked any legitimacy, its stories were often picked up by the local news and occasionally even the mainland wire services. And once the damage was done, even if they could prove Dan's innocence in the frame up, the mud would have been slung and would permanently stain Williams' reputation. While it did not necessarily mean anything detrimental to the Wing Lee case or to Dan's career, it was something the public would never forget. Sensational scandal stuck in the memory; quiet retractions never did. And that would not be good enough for a member of Five 0, Steve insisted, and certainly not for Danno!


The HPD officers returned and reported they could not find any sign of the suspects. McGarrett showed the officers the broken file drawers. He explained the negatives were strewn on the desk and floor when they arrived. He suggested one of the officers notify HPD Vice and Kono would stay to help. He volunteered to personally bring Mr. Ling down to the shop.


He glanced at the receipt for the courier and realized it was with a service which operated late into the evening. Always believing in long shots, McGarrett called the service. Within a few minutes they located the information that the packages from Ling's shop had been picked up only a few hours before. They were listed as priority, same day delivery, and most of them had already gone out to their destinations. McGarrett slammed down the phone and raced out to his car, shouting for Dan to follow.


The newspaper office was only a few blocks away and McGarrett sped through the streets as if he were in a grand prix. He screeched up to the newspaper office and the car rocked to a stop at the delivery entrance. He leaped out, showing his badge to a security guard. When Steve asked about a courier delivery the guard said that the truck had not come while he was on shift.


"What a wild idea," Williams muttered, his voice at once disbelieving and amazed. "It's a long shot, Steve."


"We've had longer, Danno," he countered, secretly agreeing there had been few times he had stretched so far, so desperately, for a piece of luck as he did now.


The car radio indicated a call for him and he responded. At the other end Chin reported he had just picked up search warrants for Ling's business and home. Just then a courier van pulled up and stopped, blocked from the driveway by the Five 0 sedan. McGarrett showed his badge to the driver and indicated anything shipped from Ling's shop was covered under a search warrant involved with a criminal investigation. Suitably impressed, the driver surrendered the package. With some delight Williams scribbled out a receipt on a notepad page.


"Just want to cover all our bases," he explained.


McGarrett grinned. "Good thinking." He tapped a hand on the package. "Let's go talk to Mr. Ling. I'll bet he'll have a lot to say."


* * * * *


When McGarrett stepped into the courtroom the next morning he immediately glanced at Wing Lee, whose sly eyes tracked him until he took a seat behind John Manicote. Lee looked particularly smug. Poker faced, McGarrett turned his attention to Manicote. A few minutes later the court was called to order and the judge entered. Manicote called the State's first witness, Five 0 Officer Dan Williams. From the back of the room Williams entered the double doors. Next to him stepped Mr. Ling, who studiously avoided the murderous stare of Wing Lee.


"Congratulations on a brilliant job, Steve," was Manicote's warm praise. "Wing Lee convicted and Danny Williams in the clear." He generously poured out the expensive champagne, for himself and Dan, into coffee mugs.


Steve thought the glassware lacked something in class but was in keeping with the dignity and irony of the celebration. Wing Lee had been convicted on all counts. The mobster would be behind bars for a long time.


"Better watch that champagne, John," Williams warned wryly. "We don't need a scandal about a drunken DA."


"Here's to the persistence of honest cops," John offered.


Dan's tiredly glanced over the rim of his mug and tipped his head toward McGarrett in a subtle nod of thanks, of appreciation. "Hear, hear," he agreed quietly, sincerely and meaningfully. "And the honesty of persistent cops."


With a return nod Steve acknowledged the spoken and unsaid messages from his friend.


It was the second round of toasts and the D.A. was getting ever freer with the compliments and wine. "You should have let me take you to the Volcano House for a big party. I wish you'd indulge just once, Steve. This is a celebration!"


"No thanks, John," McGarrett responded as he sipped his black Kona coffee.


He had nixed the idea of a flagrant public bash for the Five 0 and D.A staffs. They had settled on a quiet round of drinks in the office.


John glanced at his watch and sighed. "Guess we should call it a night." He slapped Dan on the leg. "You look bushed. Go home and go to bed, Danny. Alone." He smirked.


"Ha, ha," was Williams' dry reply around a huge yawn.


McGarrett had not been in the mood for a party tonight. Although all had turned out in their favor, he was still unsettled from the close call. It would take him some time to emotionally come to terms with the frame up and abduction of Williams. Too easily things could have turned out tragically different; the frame could have worked, the papers could have destroyed Dan's career Dan could have died from Quon's stupid and negligent miscalculation of the drugs. McGarrett would not let himself lose sight of how close Five 0, Dan he had come to disaster. It was frightening how a good man, a good cop, was so vulnerable and susceptible to attack; physically as well as emotionally and professionally.


It would take time for Dan to come out of this, too. Still somewhat ill, tired, embarrassed and shaken by the near loss of his job and reputation, Dan was going to need some recovery time. However, the young man was resilient and would probably bounce back without much trouble.


The minor details of allowing Kono and Williams and himself to bend the rules break the law, temporarily, to accomplish their goals hardly created a tremor of regret in his conscience. He had bent rules before when Chin had been framed as a cop on the take. Dan's career was certainly worth the risk. Now he was more concerned with Dan's well being; in fact, that had been his only goal through the whole incident. It did not surprise him the lengths he was willing to go to save his friend. That too was a little scary. In his heart he knew he probably had not really reached any limits concerning the risks he would take to save Dan's career, name, or life.


"You look worn out, Danno," McGarrett commented as Manicote prepared to leave. "You need to get home before you crash here."


Williams was exhausted from the long few days, Steve observed as he fondly studied his friend.


"You start your vacation tomorrow," the boss reminded. "And remember you're under orders not to come back to work for a week."


Williams sighed deeply, audible evidence of his fatigue. "A week off and I'm too tired to enjoy it," was his quip.


"Well, I'm going to make sure you stay out the whole time." It was Steve's big brother attitude coming to the surface; a forceful emotion in the aftermath of the recent crisis.


Steve walked Manicote to the front door. On the way back to his office he stopped to refill his coffee. He mused over the last few day's events, relieved they were over, pondering the stress and anxiety suffered by all.


The old adage about never appreciating someone until they were gone was applicable here, he realized. He didn't put a lot of time into demonstrative appreciation of his staff. They knew how much he valued and cared about them didn't they? Of course they did. Still, it probably wouldn't hurt to let them know once in a while. Now, he felt he needed to make that clear to Dan. Had he mentioned to Dan in the last few days how worried he was about him? Maybe this was a good time to say so.


When he reentered the room he laid a hand on Williams' shoulder and said, "Danno, I'm glad" He stopped in mid sentence. The younger detective had fallen fast asleep in the chair. Affectionately McGarrett squeezed his friend's shoulder. "I'm glad it's over, Danno." It was all he could find to say. In retrospective analysis, he felt it was probably all he needed to say for either of them.