Story idea by Barbara B and Katie B
Written by gm
Mahalo BB for the great editing
Checking his watch as he briefly paused at the arrival gate, Steve McGarrett compared his time with the scheduled arrival of Flight 703 from LAX. ARRIVED flashed next to #703. Five minutes early. He congratulated himself on his exacting timing and briskly continued toward the appropriate gate. Once at Gate 12, he stared out of the big windows, watching the UNITED jet come to a complete stop and the post-flight scurry of activity surround the plane.
in anticipation. It would be good to see
Danno again. Williams had been a little
unhappy to receive this assignment to escort a prisoner from
escorting a murder suspect from
Too busy to make the trip to the mainland himself, the duty fell to the second-in-command. Just too bad Williams had to cancel the surf meet. Steve smiled a little wickedly. Danno had forgotten to cancel a date with Sarah somebody, too. According to Jenny, the scathing message she left for Williams assured there would be no second chance with her. He didn’t know why he got such a kick out of teasing him about his love life. Maybe because Williams was such an easy target. There was never a shortage of ammunition. And maybe, just a little bit of regret that his own social life was no where near as exciting or busy as Danno’s.
The mobile stairs were up at the door to the main cabin and passengers started to emerge. Locals, families, businessmen, tourists with cameras and carry-ons. He had expected Williams and the prisoner Lopez to debark first. Well, maybe they were waiting for everyone else. It would cause more trouble than it was worth, probably, to get the handcuffed criminal off amid all the bustle of the anxious passengers breathlessly awaiting their coveted vacations in paradise, or returning home on the long flight from the mainland.
Impatient, Steve walked out into the bright, warm Hawaiian sunshine and waited until the passengers seemed to have all left the plane. Two stewardesses from the jet emerged carrying their bags. He stopped at the bottom of the steps. Where was Danno? When the girls reached the ground, he held out his badge and identified himself.
“A policeman,” the one with auburn hair flirted.
Under other circumstances, he would have been happy to oblige the attention, but now he was wondering if Lopez had given his detective trouble.
“McGarrett. I have one of my officers aboard your flight escorting a prisoner. Is there some trouble? Where are they?”
The girls exchanged confused looks. Both denied knowing about any policeman or prisoner. The flirty one assured she would have noticed someone in handcuffs. She moved a little closer to him. Yeah, she would have absolutely noticed Danno and he would have responded to this type of open invitation.
A male flight steward, and the pilot or co-pilot came down the stairs and joined them. Again, Steve explained his quest and was confused and a bit anxious when all denied they had seen Williams or a prisoner.
“We were notified of a prisoner transport,” the co-pilot confirmed after he introduced himself. “But your policeman and criminal never showed at the LA terminal.”
The flight steward agreed, reporting they never checked in and their seats were given to standbys.
Did they get another flight? The thought somewhat irritated Steve. Danno should have called if there was a hang up on the mainland. Another cancellation in Williams’ life -- just not his day.
returned to the terminal and had the nearest United Airlines rep call
asked them to check other airlines to
Steve used the phone to call his office.
Jenny reported she had not heard from Williams. Then McGarrett asked to be patched through to
LAPD. They were supposed to meet Danno
at the airport. After a lengthy and
tedious wait to get through channels in LA, Lieutenant Sanderson reported
Williams never showed that afternoon and he figured things were delayed in
Miffed, McGarrett barked, “Didn’t you think to check? My man is transporting a dangerous criminal!”
“I have a lot of
other things to do besides baby-sit a Gilligan’s
bothering to dignify that insult with a reply, McGarrett just hung up. Next, he had Jenny call the SDPD and talk to
their liaison, Sergeant Balboa. Balboa was confused and amazed at Williams’
failure to return home. Lopez and
Williams had left
“You didn’t escort him to LA?”
“We have a dock strike going on here, McGarrett, and every one of my men are needed out here to keep the peace. It was piece of luck Border Patrol spotted your Lopez guy, otherwise, he’d be in Baja sipping margaritas now.”
displeased, McGarrett asked him to conduct a thorough investigation. He would want answers when he arrived on the
earliest possible flight -- and that wasn’t until tomorrow! The decision was impulsive, but
undeniable. His officer was in
trouble. It might be nothing more
sinister than a flat tire, a minor traffic accident, or getting stuck in the
horrendous and notorious traffic of
The criminal had slit the throat of a government official! What would such a merciless, amoral creep do to a cop to escape? He didn’t want to think about that. Switching back to Jenny’s line, he informed her of his plans to take the first available flight the next morning. And Kono, too. They were both heading for the mainland.
Even with a hefty tailwind, the over five-hour flight to LA went fast, but was spent in anxious contemplation for McGarrett. Still no word from Williams. There were any number of possibilities of what had happened. The more gruesome and violent preying most frequently in Steve’s mind. He kept hoping when they hit the smog-filled air of LA they would find an embarrassed Williams waiting with Lopez in the terminal. There would be a contrite explanation and many apologies. They would all have a strained reunion. He would send the contrite Williams home with the prisoner and spend an unexpected afternoon with his sister and her family.
inside told him that was not going to happen. The reality would prove much more
disturbing, he feared. When discovered,
Lopez was arrested with three other family members at the border. So the gang knew he had been recaptured, they
knew he was being extradited back to
opening his eyes, anxious and irritated.
It didn’t help that Kono continually chattered. It was Detective Kalakaua’s first ride on a
big jet. It was his first trip away from
Steve’s terse, monosyllable replies did not deter the officer’s questions and finally McGarrett tried to nap to stave off the verbal assault. He did not want to converse. He wanted to think, to speculate, to try and look ahead and see/sense what had happened -- what was happening -- to Williams.
Coming in for a
landing at LAX, Kono was appalled at the brown layer of smut hovering over the
city. The HUGE city that did not have an
end and seemed a gigantic slab of concrete and numerous high-rises.
There was almost
an hour between their flight and the connecting plane to
Entering the terminal, a balding, thin man in a sports jacket and no tie approached. He flashed his LAPD badge. “McGarrett?”
“Yeah,” Steve acknowledged, guarded, wondering if Jenny had alerted the local officers. After the cold reception he received on the phone, he was not interested in asking for their cooperation. “You are?”
“Lieutenant Sanderson,” he introduced. “We spoke on the phone.”
who seemed pale for someone living in sunny
“Go ahead,” McGarrett coolly invited. Curtly introducing Kono, he almost held his breath. A personal greeting by an ambivalent LAPD cop. This could be bad news and he braced himself for the worst. Overnight, he had speculated about Danno’s body left in a ditch, thrown over a cliff, dumped in an alley . . . . “What have you found out?”
“I’ve alerted airport security, they’re asking some questions. This is like a big city here, you know, so don’t expect much. A guy escorting a prisoner -- unusual, but this is LA, you know?”
“What does that mean?” Kono asked, bewildered at the comments.
“Means weird is a way of life around here.”
To take matters into his own hands -- unsatisfied with the conduct of the local contingent, Steve split with Kono and started questioning United personnel. Sanderson helped, but Steve didn’t wait around for the man. Eventually, Steve gravitated toward baggage claim and interrogated employees along the way, as well at the main ticket counter. If Danno made it here, he would have checked in. No one remembered Dan or Lopez or saw them waiting for a flight.
and angry, McGarrett glanced at his watch, mindful they needed to proceed to
A sky-cap waved Kono over and the Hawaiian complied.
“Alquien me pago diez dolares buscar un official con pelo ribio y crespo, iajando cen un hombre con sus mianes tirados.” The man rattled off the explanation in Spanish and Kono shook his head in confusion.
“Hey, bruddah, don’t speak your language.”
The man, a bit confused, said in heavily accented English, “Amigo, someone paid me ten dollars yesterday to keep a lookout for a blond cop with curly hair, with a handcuffed dude. But I never saw them.”
Steve overheard the comment and requested the sky-cap to help them ask around and discovered many others were paid to watch for the cop and the prisoner. Finally, one man admitted he spotted Williams and that he alerted two men to Dan’s whereabouts. The men paid the sky-cap an extra ten dollars when he helped them get a rental car.
Stomach tight with anxiety, Steve demanded more information. Wanting to shake the man for his complicity in his detective’s abduction, or worse, he demanded every detail of the men, anything they might have mentioned about where they were going. What did the curly-haired cop look like? Was he hurt? Forced to go with them? Nervous?
cat, he was mad, man. One big Mexican
thug had him by the arm and the shorter cop was mad. The Mexican guy he was handcuffed to, he was
smiling like he just won at
“And you did nothing?” Sanderson asked snidely.
“Ain’t my business to do nothing, man.”
“What happened?” Steve growled. “Did they say where they were going? Anything? Did you get a license number? Anything at all?”
“The big dude in
the back, he shoved the curly guy pretty hard.
Didn’t treat the kid right. Told
him he was gonna like
From the description, there was no doubt in Steve’s mind the Mexican men with money were likely Lopez’s mobsters. They would have been across last night if not stopped by the border patrol. So much time had been wasted! Such appalling carelessness perpetrated on the part of the mainland police. Wanting to scream at the ineffective LAPD officer, McGarrett instead ground his teeth and admitted mistakes had been made, his officer was paying the price, and it seemed no one was able to do anything about it all but him.
It was time to
catch their flight, and McGarrett reluctantly left the detail work to
Sanderson. Getting sketches of the
suspects, description of the car -- tedious legwork. The detective should check if Lopez’s friends
had rented a car and intended to go across the border, but without clear
descriptions that was a hopeless angle.
With the few minutes remaining, McGarrett called SDPD and alerted Balboa
of the developments. No one answering
Dan’s description had been noted crossing the border, but that didn’t mean
much. With harsh realism, the detective
reminded the Five-0 boss there was a lot of ocean between LA and
As he settled
into the small commuter jet, McGarrett stared out at the busy airport and tried
to see back to might have occurred. He
tried to think what Danno might do, trapped and captured by hostile mobsters. Confined overnight with enemies bent on
killing him. Noting his hands were
shaking, Steve folded his arms, closed his eyes, and tried to think of anything
but the terror that his friend had gone through so far in this miserable
misadventure. What he might still be
going through now. But the vibrant
thoughts and imaginative ways to kill a cop plagued him all the way to
Sergeant Balboa was a short, muscled man with brown eyes, dark skin and thick, black hair. A thin, black mustache gave him an exotic appearance. He wore a tan jacket and a polo shirt beneath and loafers that matched his jacket. His manner was professional and courteous, but cool. Steve didn’t blame him. He always treated visiting cops the same way until he knew where they stood. This time he was the encroaching officer barreling in here demanding action and he wondered how much cooperation he was going to get.
“I’ve checked into the car and talked to the border agents on duty yesterday,” he explained as they walked to baggage claim. “One officer thinks at least three white Cadillacs crossed through. All of them looked like tourists. No one fitting the description of your officer caught their eye. But, he’s not likely to have been in the car, is he?”
“What about the Mexican Authorities?”
Balboa scoffed. “We have an agreement, Mr. McGarrett. They leave us alone and we leave them alone. They turn a blind eye to the drunk college kids crossing down there from UCSD, and we ignore the transients that wander across and take up space here in our parks. Border Patrol handles the illegals and everybody tries to get along.”
Growing more livid with each comment, McGarrett growled under his breath. “That is not good enough, Sergeant! My detective’s life is on the line here! He was abducted by Mexican criminals. How long do you think he’s going to last with those vicious animals? His life is worth nothing to them! I want him found and I want you to do everything you can to make that happen!”
Balboa shook his head, sympathy hardly a distant shadow in his demeanor. “I am a homicide detective, McGarrett. This is beyond my jurisdiction. Anything of a high level gets kicked up to supervisors and captains and commanders.”
“I’ll do better
than that,” Steve vowed. “I’m going to
make waves all the way to
When they reached baggage claim, Steve allowed Kono to get the bags as he paced, Balboa watching him with veiled eyes and a masked expression. When Kono returned, McGarrett asked if the police would provide them with a car and assistance or were they on their own?
and manner remained cool. “Your
reputation is well known, Mr. McGarrett, but this is not
“You are on the
“And I explained we have ways of doing things here. You are not in charge.”
Seething, McGarrett barely controlled his anger. “Then what level of cooperation are you willing to give me, Sergeant?”
“We’ll put out our feelers, try and get a handle on Lopez’s gang on this side of the border. We’ll try to trace the car. I’ll do the usual checks --“ he hesitated, eyeing McGarrett with trepidation “-- at the hospitals and morgues, any DB’s that have come in both today and yesterday from here to LA. That could be a long list. We’ll put out a notice to get the public’s help, but that’s usually more trouble than it’s worth.” Flinching, for good reason, at the reaction this was getting from the livid chief of Five-0, he hastily added, “You go home and let us handle this. We’ll let you know as soon as we find something useful.”
Barely able to speak beyond the fury sizzling through his system, McGarrett jabbed his finger at the short officer, enunciating every word with clipped rage. “I am not going anywhere until I find my officer. You do whatever you can, Sergeant. I’m going to the source and take care of this myself.”
“Yourself? I’m going to cover things for you here in
“Chances are he
is not here anymore, don’t you think?” he snapped, voice dripping with enraged
vitriol. “Why would they stay in
“We’ll see. I’ll be in touch.”
Stalking away, McGarrett went to the nearest car rental agency and asked for whatever they had available now. Noting Balboa had left, he felt that was probably a positive event. ‘Cooperate or get out of my way,’ was his thought. If he had to mount a two-man crusade south of the border -- or anywhere else on this earth to find Danno -- he would.
“So what’s the plan, boss?”
“We’re going to find Danno.”
Stalwart and used to McGarrett’s tirades, the Hawaiian cop just nodded. “How we gonna do that?”
“Drive down to
the papers and was given the keys to a Camaro.
Not caring, he realized in a small corner of his mind that there would
be an accounting for all of these expenses.
Travel and such was covered in the yearly budget for Five-0, but his
impulsive escapade was running up bills.
Two UNITED airline tickets, two commuter flight tickets, car rental, and
special insurance for entering
“Where do we start?”
“At the border,” McGarrett sighed as he opened the trunk and allowed Kono to place the bags inside. He paused to think how easy it was to stuff a body in a trunk, then viciously slammed down the lid.
“Maybe we can stop for lunch somewhere?” Kono suggested as the got in the car.
Obviously uncomfortable as his tall, well-built frame squeezed into the small confines of the low sports car, Steve handed him a map given him at the counter. “We ate lunch on the plane, didn’t we?” He couldn’t remember. They usually did that, but he was too preoccupied with worry to remember eating.
“That wasn’t what I would call lunch. It’s getting late already.”
McGarrett glanced at his watch. “We’re still on Hawaiian time. It’s almost dinner time here.”
“Hey, that’s not fair if I have to skip a meal.” They raced onto a freeway on-ramp and Kono juggled the map while trying to hold onto the door with one hand. “What do you think will happen at the border, Steve?”
“They’re going to
cooperate. Hopefully with a higher level
than we’ve experienced so far in the
Kalakaua’s face was grave. “He could be dead, Steve. You know that.”
“I can’t believe that.”
McGarrett ground his teeth together to keep from snapping out an enraged yell. It was the truth he was running from -- running as fast as his mind would let him. He was crowding his senses with the details of police work and red tape and most of all anger. Anything that would chase away the reality that haunted his every thought. There was no reason for the thugs to allow Danno to live. If they did keep him as a bargaining chip or hostage of some kind, then that could be just as bad. Worse. There would be no hope of rescuing him from a foreign country. They would have to accede to whatever demands Lopez had, or Danno would be killed. And if he was still alive what was his fate while he awaited a ransom or an execution? It sickened Steve to think of how these Mexican mobsters would treat a cop. These animals would know no limits.
Steve knew no
limits now in his desire to succeed in this quest. Geographical boundaries meant nothing to
him. It was an imaginary borderline on a
map to cross into
Was his determination enough this time? Already, he could be too late. What would he do then? Frighteningly, his opinion, his actions, might mean nothing. This was turning into an international crime and could easily be out of his hands. He would not admit that yet, but it was a possibility he dreaded. Here he had no control or authority. No one else cared about the life of Danny Williams -- not like he did. If he couldn’t get results today, what was going to happen to his friend? If Danno was even alive.
“I’m not leaving here until we get him back.”
Kono nodded, his tone and expression more serious than Steve could remember seeing in the affable Hawaiian. “Just want you to remember what might be up ahead.”
Steve’s throat was dry. “I know. Believe me, I know.”
Instead of pulling into the long line of cars waiting to cross the border, McGarrett drove the rental car up to the Border Patrol office, arduously crawled out of the low car, and flickered on a flash of amusement to see that the large and bulky Kono was having a worse time exiting the sporty vehicle than he had experienced. They went into the small office and stopped at the desk. He presented his credentials and asked to speak to the ranking officer. They were directed to go back to a small office in the rear.
Carlton was a red-headed, freckle-faced officer whose fair skin was burned from
many hours in the hot
McGarrett remained standing and Kono followed his lead.
“I’m sure you know why I’m here.”
“Yeah, Balboa filled me in. Sorry about your officer --“
“I’d like any information you have. Video tapes of cars going through yesterday afternoon or evening, witnesses, anyone who might have spotted Lopez. I’d like to interview the officers on duty at the approximate time the white Cad might have come through. Then --“
McGarrett. Look, there’s a few things we
can do to help, but it’s not going to do you any good. Domingo Lopez slipped back into
McGarrett’s lips twitched tightly. “So I’ve been told. Still, I’d like your cooperation. Please.” The tone was still more demand than request -- McGarrett felt he could only bend so far. Didn’t they understand how important this was? ”I have an officer who’s been kidnapped. Any information you can provide could help.”
Kono was assigned the tedious task of reviewing video surveillance tapes with an officer in another building. McGarrett talked to officers that were previous day. One woman thought the white Cad had gone through her line. When shown a picture of Lopez, she confirmed he had been one of two men in the back seat. All looked like Mexicans. Certainly no one with light, curly hair and blue eyes had been in the car.
Thanking her, disturbed at the information, McGarrett joined Kono. Kalakaua had found four different white Cadillacs that had passed through that day and according to a guess by the border officer, they only had an approximate time in the evening when Lopez had crossed the border. The more important question -- they still didn’t know what had happened to Williams.
hearing out the officer, McGarrett came to his feet. “Thank you.
I appreciate your cooperation today.
Now, I’d like you to notify your counterparts in
“About like the
“Here’s the name
of a decent enough guy. Officer Guercio
“Thank you.” McGarrett moved to the door.
“If you’re going south of the border, I’ll need your weapons.”
“We’re police officers. They come with us.” McGarrett answered sternly, not interested in tedious red tape that would prevent him and his officer from entering a dangerous situation unarmed.
him again, McGarrett turned and swept out the door, Kono shuffling to catch
up. When they reached the car McGarrett
barely waited for his officer to wrangle himself in before revving it up and
screeching away. They were waved through
by the guards and quickly entered the dusty streets of
The city was the
worst Kono had ever experienced. Used to
poverty in the slums of
“I can’t believe
people can come here like this. They
come and do their shopping while these kids are starving,” he commented,
appalled. “Worse than anything I’ve ever
McGarrett barely acknowledged the surrounding environment. “Yeah, Kono, we really do live in paradise. In many aspects.”
After several false turns and some confusing alleys, they finally found what they took -- in their weak attempt to read and understand Spanish – to be the police station. Entering the muggy stucco building, McGarrett swatted flies from his face as he offered his credentials and asked to see Officer Guercio.
The desk clerk did not speak English, and addressed Kono in a
fluent, speedy run of native language.
Kono shrugged. “Hey, bruddah, ain’t no speak that tongue. Too bad you don’t understand pidgin.”
Irked, McGarrett repeated his request, saying the name several times. Chattering away in Spanish, the clerk disappeared into a back room. He came back with a lean Latino man just slightly shorter than McGarrett. The officer looked Steve straight in the eye and introduced himself as Guercio.
“Please,” he continued in excellent English, “join me.”
He led them to a back office that was a stylish contrast to the dirty police station. The room was decorated with nice photos of boats and ocean-scapes. Aromatic coffee brewed in a new coffeemaker. From a small fridge he pulled out a sack and placed on a plate several small loaf-type food forms he called Mexican Sweetbread. Kono took a seat and helped himself to the snacks while McGarrett paced behind him.
“Lieutenant Carlton phoned and informed me of your quest,” Guercio began smoothly, sitting in the chair behind his desk. He urged McGarrett to sit.
The Five-0 chief refused, bleakly recognizing the irony of the reversed positions. How many times he had been the one in power, the one behind the desk in the center of his universe, his influence able to reach out and affect lives with little more effort than touching a button with a fingertip or issuing instructions to his staff. Completely cognizant that his considerable authority meant nothing in this foreign land – when it was so vital that he did have control and clout – made it all the more aggravating.
“Yes,” Steve plunged in aggressively. “We need as many armed men as you can spare to search the Lopez compound.”
Momentarily, Guercio seemed to have trouble controlling either his laughter or anger or both. His lips twitched along with his eyebrows and finally his face smoothed out to an aloof mask. “That is not possible, Mr. McGarrett.”
“They have kidnapped an American police officer –“
“And you have no proof of that,” he replied in a hard tone.
“I can give you enough to get a warrant –“
“That is not how things are done here –“
“Then you’re going to help us change that –“
The refusal echoed loudly in the small room. Frozen for a moment, the two verbal combatants stared at each other, silently seething -- one with indignation, one with rage. Kono, watching the pair with a horrific fascination, had conjured up some of the scary stories he had heard from other cops about never getting caught on the wrong side of the law in a foreign country. Many were the tales of Americans getting nabbed, jailed and forgotten on the wrong side of the Mexican border. Feeling uncomfortably that their lives were in Guercio’s hands, his loyalties, of course, were overwhelmingly with Steve.
While McGarrett sometimes – especially now – lacked tactful people skills, he was righteously aligned with justice. In this case, particularly important, because the missing cop was Danny. Kono was not prepared to give up his young friend without a fight, although if forced to take sides on the issue, he was not sure he could say with finality that he believed Danny was still alive. Or that they had a hope of retrieving him from this hostile land.
Coming to his feet, Kono stared at the officer. “One way or the other, we got to know if Danny Williams is in your country or not. Seems to me it would be a whole lot easier just to help us and get us on our way.”
Fuming, Guercio barely glanced at him. “It is not simple.”
“It is for us,” the Hawaiian countered easily. “Back home we got a tradition. We never let ohana down. That’s family. Maybe you can understand that.”
The simple words cut through the heat of the atmosphere. Guercio finally gave the big man his full attention. “I appreciate the problem, believe me. My friends have been killed as well by this Lopez gang. It is never easy to accept.”
McGarrett quietly, intently, pressed his advantage in the lull of confrontation. “Then help us,” he urged, wrapping his knuckles on the desk for emphasis. “My man’s chances for survival diminish with every hour that goes by. Help us save him.”
The policeman stared at McGarrett for a long moment. Astute at reading people, Steve’s heart sank when he saw what was in the brown eyes now. Defeat. A resignation to accept the way
determined lives would be lived here in
“I am sorry. There is nothing I can do. Save to warn you to leave. Only grief will come if you press your cause here. I will tell you this. Leave some American dollars. I will use it to pay the right people. In a few days I might be able to discover where the body can be found.” He shrugged, his face sadden with true sorrow. “I am sorry, but it is the way things are done here.”
“Not any more.” McGarrett gave the man a cool nod. “Thank you for your candor.”
Before they left, Guercio wished them luck. Steve thought he meant it, but did not believe it would help.
Outside, McGarrett breathed in the smoggy air and grimaced. He felt tight and empty inside at the same time. His head and stomach twisted with nerves and irritation. The outlook for their mission seemed as bleak as the barrio neighborhood he gazed out at just down the hill. He followed Kono over to the car and stared across the dismal city as he tried to grasp onto a decent plan of action.
“What now, boss?” Kono asked quietly.
“I don’t know,
Kono. We don’t exactly know our way
around.” Sighing, flushing out the worst
of his negative nerves, he offered a thankful pat on the shoulder to his
officer. “Mahalo, for what you said back
there.” He wondered if it was meant for
him as much as Guercio. A statement of hope? A commitment to the loyalty of their
unit? Ohana. Like the
“Just sayin’ it like it is,” the big Hawaiian modestly replied. “We ain’t gonna leave till we know about Danny. I just wish we could find out something soon.”
The murk-filtered golden sun was sinking low on the horizon of the Pacific. McGarrett longed for their paradise home on the other side of that big ocean. Where they should be. Where they had to return their missing brother.
A battered green taxi pulled up at the driveway of the parking lot. The driver, a bearded/mustached man removed his sunglasses and gave them a wave.
“Hey, amigos. Where do you want to go? My name is Garcia,” he introduced in broken English. “For a good price in American dollars I will be your driver.”
“Thanks, we already have a car,” McGarrett dismissed.
“Ah, you don’t
want to travel in that nice car in
“What makes you think that?” Kono wondered.
“My amigo Juan, the desk sergeant, he told me.” The man laughed. “He calls when I can help Americans. Especially policemen. You will get no better help than Garcia.”
“You know where there’s some good food?” was Kono’s first concern.
“Ah, the best, amigo.” He muttered off several long sentences in Spanish. “Conozco ia comida mas Buena en la ciudad.“ At the end he seemed to ask a question and was confused when they did not respond. “I’ll take you now if you want.” He directed his inquiry at Kono. “Habla usted espańol?”
Kalakaua just shrugged.
“I think you’re asking if we speak Spanish,” McGarrett translated. “The answer is no.”
puzzled. “You’re not from
skeptical, McGarrett decided to comply and the got into the taxi. It wouldn’t hurt to have something to
eat. At least a cup of coffee. He hadn’t had any food or caffeine since --
breakfast, maybe? He wasn’t even
sure. He could use some of the latter
now. And a local contact wouldn’t hurt
either. The likes of Garcia were a
better chance at information than Guercio.
If he was in
The short taxi ride took them out of the main city. At first, the excursion made Steve nervous, wondering if they were being driven into a trap. About to ask, the taxi slowed as they approached another village, what he would term a relatively nice suburb or neighboring town. They pulled up to the outside of a slightly run down row of businesses and were asked to pay the high fee of ten American dollars for the trip. Reluctantly, the Five-0 boss complied, knowing when he was being ripped off and not liking it, even if it was inching him toward his ultimate goal of finding Danno. Even for the best of purposes, he hated being used.
Steve and Kono were escorted into a nice restaurant called Casa Bonita. Situated near an area with hotels and businesses, this was several steps up on an economic level from the border. Inside the eatery, the detectives were introduced to a waitress and the owner, all family members of Garcia.
Knowing a little about California/Mexican cuisine, McGarrett suggested a few items to his colleague. He thought of Mary Ann and Tom in Encino and wished he could have stopped in or at least called to say hi. The crisis though, had hit him full force upon his arrival at LAX and he had not even thought of his own family. He was much too concerned with his brother officer.
flautas and quesadillas arrived in overwhelming proportions. Warning his colleague not to drink the water,
Steve ordered bottles of coca-cola to drink.
Kono was perplexed about the caution and Steve again reminded himself
that Kono was not a world traveler. Not
even a big traveler within
“Montezuma’s revenge. American digestive systems are not compatible with Mexican water. Just drink bottled beverages.”
Kono shrugged, taking his boss’s word for the warning.
particularly hungry, Steve appreciated having something to fill his churning
and tense stomach. He also needed the
lift from the coke since he had been coffee starved most of the day. Always alert for an opening, he chatted with
A seasoned sojourner, McGarrett knew as easy marks they were going to be charged exorbitant prices for everything -- like the taxi ride. And there would probably be a whopping fee -- extortion -- for keeping the rental car safe at the police lot, too. It was to be expected. Aware that American money went a long way in this country, he was prepared to use it to his advantage.
Nearly gritting his teeth at the enforced pause in the investigation, Steve recognized this was valuable time spent reading the people here. Garcia seemed useful, but not to be completely trusted. No one could be in this unfriendly environment. The warnings they received about corruption were true, Steve knew. Somehow, he had to circumvent the system to find out what happened to Danno.
Kono was still finishing up on the meal when Garcia and Ramos joined them in friendly conversation over coffee. The native coconut wireless had already pegged the Five-0 officers as American cops here on a mission. They probably seemed easy prey to the locals. Subtly interrogated, these men wanted details Steve was not ready to give them. He verbally danced around, never opening up too much.
Moderately crowded here now, Ramos diverted his attention to other customers occasionally, but it was clear the cops were his special guests. When two well dressed, hard-expressioned men entered, both Garcia and Ramos stiffened, moving immediately away from the table. Nervously, they greeted the new arrivals, profusely and obsequiously spoke to them and offered them food immediately. The two men went to the back, one of them making lewd advances to Rosa, who obviously detested the treatment. So did Garcia and Ramos, but they did nothing to stop the men. Ramos went in the back and returned with a small package, which he handed to one of the men.
“Payoff,” Kono commented quietly.
“Yeah. And the owners aren’t too happy about it.”
When the strangers left, McGarrett observed the family disappeared into the back of the restaurant. Soon, Garcia emerged, tense, but putting on a brave front. He returned to join them and discussed the best desserts in the eatery. When the exotic treat of fried ice cream was delivered, Garcia joined them again. The bill -- fifteen dollars for each meal! Kono nearly choked.
Steve accepted the inevitable. “I may have to borrow some money at this rate,” was his aside.
McGarrett explained it was the way things were done here. Again, he thought of the whopping expense receipts he was going to turn in for this trip. All of it was worth it if they could find Danno.
Casually, McGarrett asked their native contact about the two men. Garcia’s face darkened and he refused to discuss it, changing the subject to where the detectives were staying that night. After some negotiations, it was agreed they would stay in rentable rooms upstairs. Ramos seemed to have a side business in guest quarters as well as food.
Shown up to their rooms, Steve pressed his questions again now that he had Garcia and Ramos cornered.
“Tell me about the men who are extorting you. Local gang?” The men exchanged looks. Steve remained firm, but compassionate. “I know a shake down when I see one. Don’t you think I know what’s going on?”
“It is necessary,” Ramos insisted reluctantly. “Protection money.”
“Who is behind it?”
Ramos spoke something in Spanish to Garcia. Obviously, the restaurant owner was afraid. Garcia shook his head at McGarrett.
“They have you
scared. And you won’t go to the
police. It must be a powerful gang.”
him carefully. “You are familiar with
our gangs in
“Yes. Who is behind this?”
“A very nasty bunch, sir. They are controlled by two ruthless brothers.”
“Lopez,” Steve breathed out tightly.
Ramos made the sign of the cross and Garcia frowned. “Your business here, is it about them?”
“It is.” Trusting his instincts, hoping he could recruit allies here, McGarrett leveled with them. He explained Lopez’ arrest; the failed extradition attempt and the missing Five-0 detective. “The Lopez brothers kidnapped one of my officers. I think they’ve brought him down here across the border. We’re here to get him back.”
Ramon crossed his chest again and Garcia’s face tightened with sorrow. “You are safe here as long as you do not tell others why you are here. They will come for you and murder you in your sleep.”
“The Lopez gang,
they collect money from everyone from
“I’m not leaving until I find my officer.”
Ramos shook his head and handed McGarrett a key to the room. His hand lingered on Steve’s arm and he patted the cop in sympathy. “If your officer was in the hands of Lopez I pray his death was a quick one. If he was a personal enemy to Lopez, then I pray you never find out how he died.”
The older man left and Steve forced himself not to react to the dire warnings. Aware, all along, they were dealing with ruthless mobsters who knew no borders for vicious retaliation, Steve kept at bay the worst imaginings about Danno’s fate. To carry on he had to believe he would find Danno alive at the end of all this. Entrenched in enemy territory, though, feeling the grit of the air, the filth of the streets, the visceral fear of the locals, he struggled to keep the faith. He could not give up. Would not surrender. But it was almost impossible not to think the worst about what he might find when he caught up with Williams.
Noting Garcia was lingering, Kono asked, “You like living like this?” Garcia shrugged. “Take a chance, man. Fight against these thugs. We see this all the time, you know. It takes some brave men to stand up to the bad guys, but it can be done.”
“And have the same thing happen to my family as has happened to your officer?”
“If you help us, we will help you,” McGarrett promised, the intensity of his conviction carrying to make his voice as hard as his expression. “We are going to find our friend. If I have to take down the Lopez empire, I’ll do it. If you want to help we could use it.”
For several minutes, Garcia stared from one to the other as if gauging their sincerity and abilities. Finally, he gave a slight nod. Closing the door of the room, he huddled with the Americans and whispered a suggestion. McGarrett liked it and embellished on it, forming a confident plan.
After Garcia left, Kono shook his head in concern. “Can we trust him boss?” he quietly asked, obviously anxious over the arrangements.
“I think we can,” McGarrett replied with confidence. He knew he was risking Kono’s life and his own. It was worth the danger. “We need local help here. We’ve crossed more than just a geographical border, Kono. It’s a culture and a mind-set here that we’re fighting against. A criminal stranglehold. I think this is the only way we’re going to find Danno.”
Kono shifted nervously. “Do you really think -- well, you heard what they said -- what the Lopez brothers think of cops –” He cleared his throat. “Maybe we’re not going to want to find out what happened to Danny.”
swirling in Steve’s sickened imagination twisted his stomach. Danno had been the one taking Domingo back to
“We are going to find Danno,” he emphasized sternly. There could be no doubt of his determination. This was going to be a successful mission. It could have no other outcome. “We’re not going home without him, remember?”
The call of sea
birds and the soothing ebb and flow of a gentle tide came first to his thickly
slumbering senses. Seagulls? There were no seagulls in
As he slowly rose to consciousness, Danny Williams became immediately aware of other sensory input. There were aches and pains slicing into his consciousness and his skin was hot. Blinking open his eyes, the sun was so bright it hurt, and he reached out to cover them with his arm. Jarring pain lanced through him instantly and he groaned, his voice hoarse and almost inaudible even to his own ears.
Moving very slowly, he turned on his back, wincing as his tender body hit jagged rocks. Using his left hand this time, it didn’t hurt as much, he shielded his eyes. Again, he opened them slightly, squinting against the brightness of sun off water and sand. As his swimming head settled a little, he saw he was just above the tide-line on the rocks jumbled onto a beach.
Assessing his condition, he noted with the shift in his position came the reason for his aches. His shirt was pink with washed-out blood. Part of the shirt was stuck to a wound where the material had dried with the blood. Carefully lying back on the rocks, he tried not to move too much.
The physical reactions brought back nasty memories and he had complete recall of the reasons for his condition:
He had been abducted at the LA airport,
forced into a car with Lopez and his rescuers.
He had spent uncomfortable freeway hours in the back seat, a pistol
poking into his ribs. Conversation was even worse, being forced to hear the
four men’s expectations of how they were going to slowly, painfully and
torturously, kill him an inch at a time.
Then send his body parts to
Certain of his dire fate, his dread grew when they exited at a deserted off ramp. Instead of being murdered, he was hit on the head. He had no idea how long he had been out, but he thought perhaps it had been overnight. When he awoke he found that he had been bound and gagged and stuck in the trunk of the car. It was a roomy trunk, but he soon became nauseated from the exhaust fumes. After the hit on the head, he felt dizzy and queasy, too. He was trussed in such a manner to leave him unable to move much at all, so muscles were sizzling with pain for the whole trip.
When he was dragged out of the trunk, he
was weak with illness and sore muscles.
His circulation was horrible.
Fortunately, he was untied and actually grateful to be returned to the
back seat of the car. They traveled
south, the sun
sparkling off a foreign coastline. He
guessed they were in
Years ago, he and some college pals had
Expecting a painful, but short future, Williams pensively dreamed of escape plans, knowing all were hopeless compared to his odds. Then his mind drifted to the imminent end of his life. He had few regrets (except that his good life was going to be so short), his affairs were necessarily in order, and he knew he would leave this earth with many who would miss him. What strangely stood out suddenly was that he would have failed to be smarter than the bad guys and unable to continue with obligations. Failed his friends, his duty -- mostly, the trust put in him by Steve McGarrett.
It actually hurt to think about how much this would grieve McGarrett. They were close. Steve was over-protective and always worried about him. Dan just had to think back to that crisis a few years back when he had been held hostage. He only heard the stories second-hand, but was amazed when his colleagues reported McGarrett’s unhinged and even violent efforts to free Dan. What was he going to be like now? Take on the Mexican mob? It wouldn’t surprise him, but he hoped not. Vengeance was a waste for the dead and a torment for the living. He just wanted Steve to know how important he had been in his life. It was too late to say that now. Hopefully his actions of the past had been more eloquent.
When the Cadillac turned off at a beach
road, Dan couldn’t help but compare the placid, flat waves to what he knew back
home. The brown, scrub-brush hills of
what he thought must be
A limo was parked at the edge of a cliff. As soon as the Cadillac stopped, Lopez jumped out of the front seat and a similar looking man emerged from the limo to enthusiastically greet him. After hugging and talking, both men approached the Cad. Dan was pushed out and the pistol pressed painfully against his side.
Domingo and Raul Lopez treated him as if he was not even there, discussing ways of painful torture for a cop. They were speaking intermingled English and Spanish -- probably to scare him -- since their details of his demise were both gruesome and graphic. Then Raul pulled a large knife out of an ankle sheath and sliced through Dan’s tie and shirt, then slid the blade shallowly, but painfully, across Dan’s exposed throat. Dan felt the blood trickle warm against his skin.
The thugs moved back and only one was left to loosely pin back his arms as Raul slid the knife down Williams’ chest and stomach. When the henchman behind him loosed his grip to get a better view of the sport, Dan yanked out of his grasp and gave Raul a head-butt to the nose. The impulsive movement, though, caused the blade to cut into Dan’s side as he shoved past Lopez and dashed down the cliff.
Gunfire zinged off the rocks around him. Navigating the crags as he flew down the sharply angled mountain, Dan quickly lost his footing and slid, falling down until he toppled into the ocean. The water was shockingly cold for a moment, but he was already in motion, scrambling/swimming off the shore to reach deep water. Bullets pinged around him and he felt the sand kick at his legs, the water plop as lead rained around him. Diving deeper as soon as the shallows dropped off from a short shelf, his urgency lent speed and numbness to the stinging wounds. The knife cuts were aching and so were the numerous abrasions from the fall. His side throbbed, muscles hurt, but he kept swimming until his lungs felt like they would burst.
In the few seconds he had to get the lay of the land, he had seen the beach was cluttered with rocks and beyond a little curve he would have temporary shelter if he could stay deep enough to remain undetected by his captors. Turning to the north as soon as possible, he swam back to shore, watching under the surface. When he spotted the cluster of rocks that spilled into the sea, he had to take a chance. He was out of breath anyway.
Carefully surfacing, he used all his discipline to not loudly gasp hungrily for air, but to breathe in quiet, shallow breaths. He had come up behind big boulders and hugged himself into a little grotto only accessible to the sea side. He heard a few shouts, but there was no indication that they were onto his ploy. Amid the incomprehensible Spanish, he heard the word ‘morte’ and figured they thought he was dead. He stayed in his spot until he heard the cars drive away. Then he stayed longer, making sure.
Only when he was too weak to keep clinging to the rocks did he cautiously emerge. There was no one in sight. As he crawled up to the beach, he made a few steps, and then collapsed, unable to keep going. Removing his jacket, he wadded it up and pressed it to his side, then turned over, hoping the pressure would stay the blood until he was strong enough to make it up the cliff. Closing his eyes at the descending sun, he thought how different it was on this side of the Pacific. It was so flat and boring. If only he was spending this sunset at home.
Sitting up on the rocks he wondered what happened to his jacket during the night. He was queasy and worn out. He hadn’t eaten for more than a day and the wounds drained him of too much blood. Glancing up the mountain, he knew he could not climb up there to the highway. And if he did, what then? Captured by Lopez? In a hostile land where anyone could be his enemy, where he did not speak the language, wounded, adrift and friendless, he had few options.
He wondered what
Steve was doing. Mounting a search? If this was home, yes. With warm fondness, he smiled at the thought
of how Steve would be tearing up the
Here in this alien territory? Probably butting heads with officials in two countries. Grinning at the all-too-familiar and dynamic image, he quickly sobered. Steve was going through hell right now. And in a different, but similar way, so was he. Well, he was going to have to find a solution to end the suffering for everyone.
Out of necessity he chose the path of least resistance -- the seashore. He walked along the sand and rocks heading north. From the car ride he remembered the cliffs had gradually risen as they drove south, and he had noted several small farms and houses near the ocean. For too long he trudged forward, the cool water -- much, much cooler than his side of the ocean (he had been away too long and forgotten how cold California/Mexican water could be). Cool water. So he had not been taken too far south of the border. Still close. That gave him an irrational hope that he could still get out of this. Sure, he snidely assessed -- far from home, in hostile, alien territory where he didn’t speak the language, wanted by murderous mobsters. Yeah, just find a telephone and call for help. Why did he think it was not going to be that easy?
The next morning
Garcia returned them to
At a nearby mall,
McGarrett and Kalakaua bought casual clothes.
Then he stopped at a nearby bank, called Jenny, and had her transfer
money to him. He also explained they
were going to be here for another few days.
She reminded him of several important matters in
Emerging from the
mall, they were picked up by Garcia in his taxi and like hundreds of other
tourists that day, drove across the border to
In Kalakaua’s own way, the usually implacable Hawaiian had trepidations. Kono had never done anything resembling undercover work before. He had never been to a foreign and hostile country. Steve, however, was anxious for a different reason. Wound tight with control and apprehension, he was determined to find his missing friend. Realistically, however, he knew he was crossing the border into a place where he had no authority or influence, against overwhelming odds. The chances of his succeeding in his goal were slight. Accustomed to beating the odds regularly and achieving the impossible occasionally, he was undaunted. He was, still, though, highly unsettled about the fate of Williams. Despite all his determination and desire, Steve knew it was possible Danno was already dead.
cuts and scrapes from the sand and rocks were no worse than a thousand wipe
outs he had chalked up on the
A bluff sloped down up ahead at a curve in the beach, descending to meet the sand. Stumbling forward, he reached the end of the dunes and couldn’t believe his eyes. Was it a mirage, or was that a person fishing in the tide? A man in shorts, shirt and a straw hat waded in the water. A black and tan dog sat watching. As Dan stumbled forward, the dog looked his way and started barking. The man turned toward him.
Feeling wobbly and melting under the hot sun, Dan continued toward them. It was a risk to approach the stranger. He had no idea if he was still in Lopez territory and how many informants the gangsters owned. There was little choice, however, since he desperately needed help.
He gave a wave. “Hello. Can you help me? Do you speak English?”
“Si,” the man nodded as he approached. “Gringo. Le puedo ayudar q usted,” he muttered, alarmed at Dan’s bloody appearance.
“Help,” was all Dan could plea before he weakly dropped to his knees.
More incomprehensible words. The man was trying to get him to stand. The dog was barking at his heels. More than walking, he stumbled, then fell into a donkey cart. Bumping along, he closed his eyes and surrendered to the unconsciousness, his only defense against the pain and fever.
Baja was an interesting mix of simple peasants and tourist haciendas. There were not so subtle signs of the Lopez influence, also. Fancy, big cars, armed men, flashy clubs that Steve didn’t even want to guess at beyond the obvious thief businesses.
Garcia took them
to yet another restaurant owned by more cousins. Seemed the taxi driver could rival Chin and
Kono in abundant relatives with connections.
Garcia assured him his family had no love for the Lopez extortion that
was even worse here than in
Inside the cozy restaurant at supper time, Kono was approached by a flirting waitress who rattled off food items. McGarrett picked up ‘taco’ and ‘burrito’, something about lengua and fish, but little else in the monolog. Disinterested in food, he felt it was a good idea to eat while they waited for Garcia’s contact to show. Frustrated and impatient, McGarrett wanted to get on with the mission -- find Danno! Waiting for others was something he was never good at and certainly not what he came here for. In the back of his mind was also the ever-present shadow of threat to Kono and him. If the Lopez brothers got word of their insurgence into enemy territory, they could be killed or captured. He could not allow that to happen.
Frustrated, Kono again explained to Garcia that he did not speak the language. Then he smiled at the waitress and patted his stomach. Steve had to smile. Kono was getting the hang of breaking the language barrier with a commonality: food.
Poignantly, he was reminded of how different it was traveling with Kono. He had taken a few business trips with Williams, mostly just to outer islands. Certainly, Danno got his share of flirting women, but he was also someone easy to travel with. Probably because in work-related matters they thought so much alike -- on the same track. Steve could never really guess what Kono was thinking and could not anticipate his actions or words. Not like he could with Williams. As much as he appreciated his bulky Hawaiian detective, he felt a stab of regret that Danno was not with him now. Again, for the hundredth time, he wondered what had happened to his friend and if they would find him alive.
Waking up feeling numb and disoriented was not common to Danny Williams. As he slowly assessed his situation, he felt slightly comforted to recognize he was lying on a bed, not as soft as his own, but nice. He could smell a fresh, salty breeze moving around him. And no baking sun on his skin, no seagulls flying overhead. He was inside a building or something and felt a little detached. Pain killer. But it didn’t smell like a hospital. Nor did it sound like it, either. It was quiet. If he strained he could hear faint voices and the even fainter lull of a gentle surf.
Assessing all he could with his eyes closed, he blinked them open. The room was light stucco and an open window revealed greenery near the house, then sand and the ocean beyond. Inside the room it was elegantly furnished. Little details about the luxury lent him to believe he was in a place of wealth. A table of exquisite woodwork held his ID/badge case. Next to it were some sliced fruits and a glass and pitcher of water. He eagerly drank, relieving his dry throat, sipping with restraint. The water was cool and fresh, rich and clean, almost like well water he had once tasted. He allowed the cool water to float in his mouth and gradually ease the dehydrated feeling.
While his skin was sunburned, it hardly stung and he wondered what kind of oil had been applied. His side wound and the knife slice on his chest were patched -- crude stitching for the knife wound on his side, but at least he wasn’t bleeding anymore. Feeling a little too weak to rise and explore his surroundings, he did not feel threatened. Possibly a false sense of security, but he wanted nothing more than to lay here for a while.
A quiet knock at the door surprised him and he turned to watch a slight, thin man enter. Dressed in casual, but nice clothes and no shoes, his gray hair and gray, neatly trimmed beard was distinctive. The glittering, dark eyes seemed pleased.
“Good morning. We do not receive many visitors here at my humble hacienda. Welcome.”
Dan nodded, appreciating the good English with only a mild accent. “Thank you.” He nearly, automatically, responded with ‘mahalo’. That was all he needed, to complicate things with adding Hawaiian to the mix! “Where am I?”
must know you are on the Pacific coast of
Thankful he was rescued by an educated and seemingly benevolent man, he still did not want to reveal too much. “Danny Williams. Thank you for your hospitality. I -- I don’t know how to repay you. Not everyone would take in a -- uh -- injured -- stranger.”
De Silva’s expression darkened. He pulled a chair closer to the bed. “I have seen these kinds of wounds before, Senior Williams. You have had an encounter with a Lopez.” Dan did not respond. “Ah, do not fear. They are well known here. We pay them tribute and for that they make many enemies.” De Silva picked up the badge and patted it. “And thus, although it is painful for you, you now are among many friends. This is a farm, we have the means to give you medical aid. You will soon be healed enough to be on your way. Considering you are in trouble with a Lopez, it would be a risk to call in the local doctor.”
Relieved, Dan still didn’t want to reveal too much. He did ask to use a phone. De Silva was clearly agitated at the thought.
“We have no phone. We are too far away from the village. And it would do no good.”
He explained the local government and police force were notoriously corrupt. The local police would not be helpful at all. The concept was so opposite of what he was used to, it muddled Dan for a moment. HE was the police on the other side of the Pacific. Five-0 was everything that was comforting and solid to law-abiding citizens. Caught in a trap where he was the fugitive this time and could find no official help was unnerving.
“You are too weak and ill to travel to the city.”
“I must get word to my friends, Senior De Silva. Please, there must be a way. A telegram?”
The man was thoughtful. “Perhaps. Where must you send this?”
De Silva smiled. “Ah, you truly are far from home my young amigo. This telegram must be carefully worded. I can help you with this. For now, you will rest. I will make arrangements. My cook will bring in breakfast and you will regain your strength. When your friends come for you then you will be ready to travel.”
Closing his eyes, he settled comfortably into the pillow and felt relaxed for the first time in days. He was still in danger as long as he was on the wrong side of the border, but there was real hope now. He was alive. And Steve McGarrett was only a telegram and maybe even a plane trip away. All he had to do was stay safe until Steve came for him. Those were pleasant and secure thoughts as he drifted back to sleep.
The covert investigation, of necessity, went slowly. Since their presence there had to remain a secret, McGarrett and Kalakaua stayed primarily in the background and allowed Garcia to be the front man in most cases. Sometimes, the Hawaiian officers did not even show themselves as Garcia spoke with contacts.
trust in a stranger, in these alien surroundings, was unnerving for
McGarrett. Especially considering the vital
importance of the mission. He was basically placing them -- he and his officers – in the
hands of someone he did not know. He had
to rely on his sixth sense of character assessment, and his bankroll, that this
was the right course of action. In
truth, this was the only option besides returning to
The Baja area held many tourist traps, small farms, large plantations and fishing villages. While Kono was acquiring an obsession for fish tacos, Steve found this little area oddly similar to home, but at the same time completely different. Ever mindful of his status here, he knew his perceptions were colored by the suspicion that every person could be a betrayer, every mouth a weapon against them.
At an old dock Garcia and the Five-0 officer met with a man who did not give his name, and stayed in the shadows of a small shack. He spoke only Spanish and after several minutes of dialog, Garcia asked McGarrett for more money.
Kono frowned at the idea. “You’ve given him --“
“It might be worth it.” Steve stared hard at their guide and the man who was difficult to see in the dark recesses of the shack. “This better be good. No more money.”
Garcia flinched at the tough tone. “Yes, sir.” He cleared his throat, hesitant to reveal what was pressing in his mind. “I think this will work.”
Turning to the other man Garcia gravely, harshly, issued an obvious warning and the man hesitantly -- fearfully -- took the money, then chattered quickly. Just as fast, he left the shack.
“What did he say?”
Garcia stepped back from McGarrett’s tight impatience. “His brother was on the coast launching a fishing boat. The Lopez brothers, they met. One from the north, one from the south. There was a gringo with them.”
McGarrett’s heart leaped. “Description?”
“The fisherman was too far away for anything except to notice the man was dressed in a suit -- a blue suit -- and he had short light hair. There was no gunshot, but the man looked hurt and was pushed over a cliff.”
McGarrett gripped his arms. “What happened to him? Where is he?”
Garcia was startled at the question. “He is dead, senior. Lopez brothers, they like to use knives. The fisherman would not have heard --“
“Didn’t he check on the body?” Steve shook the messenger. “Didn’t he help?”
“Be seen by the Lopez brothers? No. He left. The body, it would be with the sharks by now anyway, senior. I am most sorry to tell you this.”
Steve backed away until he bumped into some equipment. Glaring at Kono, he silently demanded to know where his officer stood. If he would believe the report. Steve could not. He did not go through all this to get the report of Danno’s death. It was the only logical result, of course. Repeatedly he had been forewarned of the ruthlessness of the Lopez brothers, of the precarious position of a kidnapped American cop, and how there could be no happy end for any of them from this incident. He had never accepted it and could not now.
Kono shook his head, his face wrinkled in grief.
McGarrett looked away. “I want to go there,” he almost whispered, his voice as unsteady as his nerves. “Get us there. Now!”
Garcia glanced at Kono, who gave a shrug. Too afraid to voice an objection, the Mexican nodded and they walked silently to the car. As they traveled south, McGarrett felt shaky all the way down to his bones. He had pushed this possibility away for days, refusing to accept that his friend was dead and beyond his help. That he would never see Danno again in this life was just unthinkable. That he had failed to save someone so important to him was impossible to accept.
Anger sizzled inside: for Mexican authorities who road-blocked them, for the criminal gangsters who murdered without conscience, for his helplessness in doing anything useful in this frustrating search.
He held onto the anger. It would push out the grief and hurt for now. And until he found a body, he wouldn’t need to believe anything except that there was still a chance Danno was alive. Ignore the eyewitness, refute the fears of what would happen to a cop in the hands of thugs. Just concentrate on the need to have his friend back alive.
Always in the back of her mind, also, was the crisis they faced this time. Williams’ absence was because he was most likely dead. A sob rumbled in her chest just thinking that awful thought, but it was what all the officers around here were speculating. As much as they liked Danny, they were holding out no hope. Captured by ruthless Mexican gangsters, what chance did the young detective have of being alive?
mentioned any such pragmatic and depressing conclusion. He was determined to remain in
Steve had promised to call tonight and give final details of his travel plans home on the morrow. She wondered if he would come, even though he was scheduled to testify the next day. Never one to shirk duties, he had a higher priority now.
To: Jenny Sherman
Having wonderful time in Baja at Hale Moana STOP
Send boss my regards STOP
Hope to see him soon STOP
Her Hawaiian was not what it should be, but she was able to decipher the simple and well known common Hawaiian words used. The mention of Baja alerted her and she knew it had to be some kind of code. From Steve? No. Kana? Kana. The Hawaiian name for Daniel.
“Chin!” she shouted, flying up to meet him near his cubicle.
“I think this is from Danny! It’s some kind of code! But I don’t understand it!”
Glancing over it quickly, he nodded his head. He made a list on a piece of paper -- the Hawaiian words, and next to them the English definitions.
Hale -- house
Moana -- ocean
Wikiwiki -- fast
“It says, having wonderful time in Baja at ocean house. Send boss my regards. That means Steve. Hope to see him soon. That has to mean a rescue. Expect gathering fast.”
“He’s in trouble,” Jenny concluded. “And this is the only way he can get through to us.”
He read the message again, then looked at Jenny with urgency. “When is Steve calling?”
“This morning some time.”
“He’ll know what to do.”
Still weak and hurting from his injuries, Williams tried to walk around as much as possible and stretch, anxious to be healthy and strong enough to leave. While he appreciated the kindness of De Silva and his employees, he wanted to deliverance as soon as that could be achieved.
A constant concern for De Silva and all of them, was the threat of the Lopez gang. Anyone picking up gossip about the farm, who wanted a little money, could inform the thugs that Dan was there. The benevolent plantation owner and his employees could be killed for their help. Another reason Dan was anxious to leave.
Mostly, he was impatient to make certain contact with McGarrett. He knew Steve and his other friends had to be beside themselves with worry. In fact, he was a little afraid of what McGarrett might do. For all Steve knew, Dan was dead -- kidnapped and murdered by the Lopez brothers. That dire fate had nearly come true. Too close.
reports about Steve’s behavior when Dan was wounded and held hostage at
Sitting in the
sun on the front porch, Dan felt grateful to be alive. Not like his aina
Roura, like many of the employees here, had a very Polynesian look about him. There was a commonality of appearance for the Mayan/Samoan/Hawaiian/Tongan Pacific Islanders. Peoples very similar in looks and customs and sometimes language -- although that had not helped him here. It gave credence to the theory that they were all related from common stock.
De Silva, who was out in the front, met Roura and the two talked intently, both looking in his direction. Instincts told him something was up and it didn’t look good. Coming slowly and carefully to his feet, he made his agonizing and slow way out to the yard. It still hurt to move too much in any direction with any part of his body, and he longed for the safe haven of his apartment to lounge out a recovery.
De Silva issued hurried, curt instructions to Roura, then he turned to Dan. “The local police are on their way. They are suspicious of the telegram sent in the town. We must get you away.”
Already Roura was running out of the house with Dan’s possessions. The bloody, torn, ruined blue suit had been burned, but Dan’s badge and ID were handed over to him. He shoved them in the pockets of the borrowed jeans he was wearing.
De Silva bypassed a nice Mercedes sedan and led him to the old work truck in the yard. “Roura will take care of things here. You, I am sorry to say, must ride in the back.”
“I don’t want to put you in danger --“
“There is a back way out of the plantation. We will be on an old road north before they know we are gone.”
Carefully, Dan climbed into the back of the truck. He was covered with dusty sacks, then vegetables were piled around. Soon the truck was moving and he winced from the pain of the bumping and jostling. While it was uncomfortable, he knew these brave people were risking their lives for him and he endured the discomfort in silent concern.
The eeriness of the scene was almost dizzying for McGarrett as he stood on the cliff overlooking the calm, green colored Pacific that lacked the deep and serene blue tone of Hawaiian waters. It had taken them a while of walking along the rocky bluff to find the bloodstains. They had followed the trail to the water’s edge and he had stood in the surf, straining to see into the waves, wishing he could see his friend miraculously emerge from the ocean he loved.
At home, he would look on this as circumstantial evidence of the murder that had been reported. By an eye-witness. How reliable was the fisherman? How close was he to the action? There could have been someone nearby to help the wounded officer. Danno, an expert swimmer, could have managed to reach shore and find help.
Staring out at the ocean, he blinked back the tears burning in his eyes. It was all wrong. The flip side of the ocean, the jade sea, the squat little palm trees, the course and bloodstained sand. It was not supposed to be the end of the journey for his friend. Danno should be home and safe and never in danger from foreign thugs. Not that it could be any more agonizing, but it did seem to add a notch of insult to the anguish -- Danno had died far from the islands that were so much a part of him.
How could he accept this? He could not give up. Where was the hope now to sustain him? He had vowed to stay on this until he found the body. But he never would. Danno was gone completely and there would never be any justice or even retribution for the crime. Trying to think of the future, he failed to find any solace in promises of getting the Lopez brothers behind bars. Or even revenge. None of it was possible and he could not accept that any more than he could Danno’s death.
Fighting to blockade the tears and sobs that threatened to spill out, he tightly closed his eyes and lips and took in a few deep breaths. He could not loose his emotions now. Wrecked and broken in side, he had to keep the anguish at bay. This was neither the time nor place to surrender to the failure and utter devastation of the loss. He would hold it all within -- tightly controlled and denied -- until he was back home.
Dan awoke to dust in his lungs and pain emanating through his insides. The stitches mostly held, but blood was slightly seeping through the knife wound and he worried he might be bleeding internally. Too sick to move, he barely registered what De Silva was telling him. They were headed for the border, but he was afraid they would be stopped before that by the police. They should probably change cars, or walk. Dan cringed at the thought of even moving. He just could not do it.
It was afternoon
when McGarrett stopped at a small town north of Baja and called
Trembling as he listened to the ring, he almost held his breath as Jenny’s familiar voice answered. Hoarsely, woodenly, he responded, “Hi, Jenny. This is Steve.”
“Oh, Steve, finally! We’ve been waiting for you to call! Danny sent a telegram and --“
“What?” he shouted.
“He’s there, Steve, and he sent a coded message. He’s someplace called ‘the house by the ocean’. Somewhere in Baja.”
“When did you get this?”
“This morning --“
“Read it to me!”
She complied, but he lost most of the words in a haze of numb exhilaration. Yes, a code. Yes, from Danno. Steve barely released a sound, but was shaking with joy. A sob coughed out and he cleared his throat, then managed a mumbled, “Thanks, Jenny. We’re going to get him right now.”
He felt dampness on his cheeks and he wiped it away as he hung up and raced over to the far end of the small cantina to join Kono and Garcia. “Danno’s alive! We’re going to a place called ‘the ocean house’ back down in Baja. You know it?”
“No,” the little Mexican shook his head. “But we will find out.”
McGarrett paced as Garcia bought beers for a few men and talked. When he came back he had directions to a hacienda outside of the little town.
McGarrett tapped his fingers on the car door as they traveled through the country to the large plantation. A roughly dressed farm hand met them and he eyed them suspiciously. He curtly answered Garcia’s questions with one word negative replies. There was something in his eyes, though, that made Steve believe he knew a lot more than he was telling.
Working on pure
instinct and desperation, Steve made a dangerous decision and pulled out his
badge and identified himself as a detective with
“You’ve seen another badge like this,” Steve’s voice cracked with emotion and certainty.
“Si. Your man hurt,” the man replied in broken English. He explained Danno made an escape in an old truck. In Spanish he gave Garcia instructions. Wishing them luck, he warned, “Careful. Police know he runs.”
In the car, Steve
mulled over the information and warning.
Danno was being taken to the border.
But, the local police were probably in the pay of the Lopezes. Danno could be stopped at any point while he
De Silva assured
they were close to the border, but it didn’t matter. Dan could no longer even move, the pain
inside was so intense. The plantation
owner insisted they could not take the truck any closer to the checkpoint. They were in
Dan was unable to walk more than a few steps so De Silva helped him into a café around the corner. This was owned by people sympathetic to De Silva’s political views -- opposing the corruption of their government and the gangs. He insisted it would be safe there.
Not trusting the
McGarrett felt he had no choice. This
was his borderline. Crossing it was his own Rubicon. By
Leaving Kono here
at the border just in case Danno made it, Steve gave him instructions to call
Garcia’s family restaurant in
Garcia stopped at one of the family cantinas and spread the word among his family and friends. Steve was a little nervous about the distribution of information, but it could not be helped. Garcia returned, grimly reporting the Lopezes were headed this way. They discovered Dan was alive and were after him and anyone who helped him escape.
“We will go to Casa Bonita,” Garcia was certain. “My family will know what is going on around the town.”
At the un-crowded restaurant, Ramos the owner greeted them instantly. “Come back,” he urged, grabbing onto Garcia and pulling him toward the curtained rooms by the kitchen. “Come.”
In the back, they hurried up a narrow staircase. McGarrett almost thought it might be a trap, but there was nothing he could do now. He had put his trust in these people and this was his best chance of using them to find Danno. He hated depending so heavily on others, but he was the stranger here and needed the help.
They reached a landing and Ramos stopped, shouting in Spanish and pointing out the window. A big car had stopped in the middle of the street and Domingo Lopez jumped out, indiscriminately shooting into the restaurant with an automatic rifle. Then Lopez and five other men rushed in through the front doors.
Appalled at the slaughter, McGarrett drew his revolver and returned meager fire, but it was of little use against the heavily armed attack. Ramos, however, took charge and pushed them downstairs to the kitchen. Already, the cooks and waiters and waitresses were armed with pistols, knives and heavy pots and pans.
The Lopez gang didn’t know what hit them when they came through the back doors. Three thugs went down instantly under a sweep of bullets. Two cooks and a waiter were wounded or killed, Steve noted in a glance. A figure came around the corner and when identified as one of the criminals, McGarrett fired and killed Domingo Lopez. Just beyond Domingo, was the body of his brother Raul. For a moment, Steve stood over the body, amazed he had just taken down the thug -- thugs -- responsible for this whole mess, hoping it was not in vain. Down the hall, the last of the criminals was wounded, crawling away, lifting his pistol at Ramos, and was taken out by someone on the landing of the back stairs.
Cautiously, Steve joined the others checking the bodies, shaking from the pumping adrenalin still racing through his system at the sudden and deadly attack and defense. The man on the landing -- a thin man with a gray beard -- spoke quietly to Ramos. Then the stranger came down to join him.
“Senior, I have something to show you. It is urgent.” He trotted up the stairs and Steve followed.
Leaning over in a chair, a pale and worn Dan Williams stared at him. In the low light, the detective looked deathly ill, but Steve’s heart leaped with sheer joy.
He rushed over and knelt, holding onto his friend -- supporting him and hugging him in relief.
“Steve . . . .” He tiredly leaned his head on McGarrett’s shoulder.
“We’re getting out of here right now, Danno.” Voice trembling, hands shaking, he momentarily froze and allowed reality to sink in. What he had hoped for was a tangible actuality and he used the initial seconds of the reunion to ease the doubts and fears he had harbored; to reassure his obviously damaged friend. “Everything’s okay now.”
gray-haired man leaned over. “I am De
Silva. Your young friend is gravely
wounded. I did what I could at my farm. You must get him to a doctor. Get to
The advice was his most fervent mission, yet he couldn’t help but worry over the practical dangers. They were still far too entrenched within enemy territory. “What about the rest of the Lopez gang?” he questioned, thinking about retaliations and their escape. “We’ll need to get to the border. And they will be after you.”
“I think not,” he smiled.
Ramos joined them. “We have been waiting for a chance like this for a long time, Senior McGarrett. A chance to fight back. There are some in the police and many businessmen who will take a stand now. We will be fine. But you must go. It is still not safe here yet.”
He could do little more than briefly thank Ramos and De Silva. He didn’t have time to waste. His priority was Williams, who was now unconscious and oblivious to his strong hold.
carried their youngest officer down the stairs.
When the all clear was given by a look out, the detectives scurried from
the safety of the restaurant to the alley where the taxi was waiting. Bundling Williams onto the floor, McGarrett
cringed, hoping he was not escalating the damage to his friend, but there was
little choice. They had to escape
McGarrett scrunched down on the seat, staying close to Williams, supporting him the best he could as they careened through the dusty roads and narrow streets. He could see little from this vantage, but he guessed they were taking back roads wherever possible. Slouched in the front seat with an old hat tilted on his head, the Hawaiian detective offered observations and a few comments as they wound their way through the country and cities, slowly heading North.
McGarrett opened his eyes, surprised he had dozed off. He had managed little sleep in the last few days, and now that his friend was literally under his hand, his subconscious must have felt it was acceptable to catch a little sleep. Patting the warm arm under his palm, he smiled at the face very close to his. Danno was dirty, sweaty, his cheeks pale, his skin tacky with grime and illness.
“I know this is rough, aikane, but it will be over soon.”
The nod was accepting. “That’s what I’ve been afraid of. The soon part isn’t soon enough.”
“There’s nothing to fear anymore.” It was a solemn threat to anyone who might think they could stop him in his quest to take his friend to safety. Nothing, no one, would come between him and the border.
A ghost of a smile flickered on the wan lips. “I thought I dreamed you were here, but you’re here.” The quiet words were confused and measured from disorientation and probably pain.
“No dream,” he smiled. “And this is where I’ll stay till we get to the States.”
The heavy eyelids closed and he nodded his head. “No dream,” he repeated in a whisper of trust.
McGarrett patted his arm again in reassurance that everything was under control. It wasn’t, of course, but he would never let his suffering friend know there was any chance of failure. He nearly drifted back to sleep again when the car took a sharp right turn.
“What is it?”
“Lose them,” he barked at the driver.
“I am trying, Senior.”
Frustrated that this was not home, that he could not call down legions of HPD units and officers to assist, he resisted the urge to look up over the seat. If he was spotted the game would be up for sure, so he had to allow Kono to be his eyes and Garcia to drive. The vehicle suddenly lurched forward in a surge of speed, the next two left corners taken on what felt like two wheels. Before he could ask, shots rang out. Nothing seemed to hit the car, but he could tell the guns were too close.
revolver, he darted a quick glance behind him.
Tempted to return fire, he hesitated.
They were in a close, narrow-street slum. A stray shot could hit an innocent bystander. He could not risk the moral recklessness, the
legal implications, if he wounded or killed someone while illegally engaged in
a firefight down here in
“Can’t get a clear shot,” Kono told him, leaning out the passenger window.
“Aim for the tires,” he ordered. Checking through the windshield, he knew when Garcia straightened from this tight turn, there was a short straightaway and no houses. “When they come around the corner, blast them!” Leaning out his window, he waited one . . . two . . . three . . . seconds . . . .
When the sedan careened after them, he opened up with a steady volley of shots and so did his officer. The sedan swerved, skidded sideways, and smashed into a tree. Kono released a yell, and McGarrett leaned back in the seat and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Who do you think they were?” Kalakaua asked their driver.
“Lopez’s amigos maybe. Don’t know. We not stay to find out.”
Checking on Williams, his heart skipped a beat when he saw his friend awkwardly wedged against the door. Maneuvering the wounded man up onto the seat, he held him in his arms until they reached the border and came to a screeching halt at US Customs.
He remained where he was, making sure his friend was still all right. Kono ran inside and ordered an ambulance. From the gesticulating and angry countenance of the Hawaiian, he could tell the story was not going well. There were new officers on duty and irritated, he hoped he did not have to go in there and take this into official channels. That would be time consuming.
Checking Danno again under the bright lights coming from the station, his anxiety increased. His friend was running a high fever, and was delirious and not responding to verbal summons. There was no time to waste.
A frustrated Hawaiian finally returned and through the open back window reported, “They having all kinds of fits, Steve, but I think they’re convinced.”
“Did they call the ambulance or not?”
“If it’s not here in five minutes I’m going in there.”
Just under his
deadline, the ambulance arrived. Danny
was carefully removed from the taxi, then placed into the ambulance. Steve gave Kono a handful of cash and the car
keys with instructions to pay Garcia and get the rental back. He would go in the ambulance. Wedging in beside medical equipment, he noted
with envy the state of the art vehicle, filled with the latest life-saving
instruments. A sure sign that
“Stab wound. Pretty crude sewing there,” one of the young
men observed Williams’ wound.
“Infected. Torn stitches.” Vital signs were taken and an IV started, far
more advanced than anything
The routine gave the top cop confidence. “Well?”
“He’s going to be okay, I think. Once we get him to ER they can tell the extent of any internal damage.”
He had thought of that, of course, but had not addressed the possibility with any degree of seriousness. It seemed more important that his friend was alive. Then they had to reach safety. Infection. Internal injury. They were not safe yet, were they, he considered.
The ER was
similar in looks and feel of the hospitals in
Kono arrived before the attending physician, and that further irked the Five-0 chief. It was late night, now, and his Hawaiian detective walked along the row of vending machines in the waiting area, fingering through his change. Valiantly, the big guy was probably starving, but not complaining. McGarrett couldn’t remember when they arrived, did not note the time, actually, but knew it had been a while. The grueling end of a miserable and stressful, fearful, day. He had no idea the last time he ate, and did not care. There was no room in his mind, though, for his own comfort, and his stomach was tied in knots anyway, until he knew about Danno.
Several other people were there in the busy, big city emergency area. A number of them stood nervously as doctors came to deliver good or bad news. Each time a green-gowned medic arrived, he warily watched, waiting for a sign that the man wanted to talk to him, containing his tension internally and covering it with an iron lid of icy detachment. This time, when a tall, balding surgeon made eye contact, he hurried over.
“Doing fine,” the man nodded firmly. “Doctor Harper,” he introduced. Kono joined them and he included the Hawaiian in his explanation. “The knife snagged on a rib, fortunately for the young man, and did minimal damage. There is considerable torn tissue, but we’ve got him stitched and stabilized and on a heavy duty antibiotic.”
“He’ll be all right?”
“Yes, just fine. He’ll be here a few days to make sure the infection is taken care of, and give him a chance to heal a little more.”
“Thank you, doctor,” McGarrett breathed out a tense, deep breath. “When can I see him?”
“Maybe tomorrow –“
The cop closed in
to meet the man eye to eye. “Doctor,
this man is my officer. He was kidnapped,
held hostage and nearly killed.”
Intensity and heat escalated as the words shot out like flying shards of
lava from an exploding volcano. “I don’t
know how you do things in
Kono sputtered. McGarrett maintained the intense visual contact with the physician. “Yes.”
Narrowing his eyes with mirth, a slight grin appeared on his face. “”You’re with the State Police over there, is that right?”
Nodding, he smiled. “I serve my Navy reserve duty over at Tripler every year. I do believe I’ve heard rumors about you.”
That probably did not bode well, Steve considered, and prepared to do serious battle with the man.
The doctor continued. “So I guess we shouldn’t let Hawaiian tradition be ruined here on the mainland.”
Sighing with relief, certain he had heard a long breath released from Kono at his shoulder, McGarrett allowed a slight smile. “I guess not.”
“Very well,” he nodded. “I’ll put it in his chart that he’s allowed you two as visitors. And I’ll let you know when he’s ready to go back to your paradise.”
Feeling overwhelmed with the triumph of Danno’s near-miss at death, his hope of recovery, Steve leaned against the nearest wall and allowed the tight knot of tension to mutate into the thrill of joy. When he felt he could communicate normally, he ordered Kono to go find himself some decent food and call the office to let them know everything was all right.
The hospital views were nearly the same; patches of Pacific-blue ocean and azure skies interrupted by gray high rises and bustling cars. The staffs were remarkably similar, too. Varying personalities of nurses coming in to hassle, commiserate or ignore the gruff detective who had made himself a fixture in the chair next to the bed. Unfortunately, the reasons for being here were disappointingly the same. Williams came in and out of sleep, the periods between dreamland drawing shorter, the waking moments longer and more coherent, the energy returning in slow but steady increments.
Kalakaua had booked him a room in a nearby hotel, then left to go back home. McGarrett used the hotel very little, spending most of his time here. He could have returned to his duties – should have probably – but he did not feel he could close out this affair without accompanying his officer home. It was superstitious, and he would never admit it aloud, but he expected more misadventures if he turned his back. Reprisals, complications – he wasn’t sure and couldn’t specify – but he would not risk it. As the head of Five-0 there was a great deal of latitude with his schedule, though he could never confess that to anyone. He felt his place was here and here he would stay.
He turned with a smile, and crossed the room in long, quick strides to help his officer sit up in bed. “How you doing?” he asked as he curbed his instinct to give more assistance than necessary.
“Like I‘m ready to get out of here.”
A typical reaction from a Five-0 officer stuck in the hospital. “Yeah, Danno, I hear you, but when you leave here it won’t be a quick hop over to your apartment. We’ll have airport hassles and almost six hours of flight time ahead of us.”
“Better than cooling my heels here,” the younger man complained earnestly. “Sure you can’t pull some strings?”
Aside from the
cooperation of Doctor Harper, there had been little in the way of friendly
functions between the staff and McGarrett.
Spurred on by Williams’ perky condition, though, he promised to do his
best to oust his detective from
Standing near the open lanai doors, McGarrett turned to the next page of notes and read off several points not yet discussed. Williams, sitting on the edge of the desk, read over his own file. Loud voices, and laughter, from the outer office alerted him and he glanced over his papers at his officer.
“What is going on?”
Dan smiled and cocked an eyebrow. “I don’t know, but they’re having more fun out there than we are here.”
McGarrett grinned and offered a suspicious nod. “Then I better put a stop to it.”
Crossing to the door, Williams on his heels, McGarrett opened it and took a moment to read the incongruous situation. Kono and Jenny were standing near the secretary’s desk. On their heads were gigantic sombreros and draped around their shoulders were colorful serapes.
slipping a blanket around Chin emerged from behind Kono. It was the last person Steve expected to see
“Ah, my amigos. Alooohaaa!” he shouted with fervor. He came over and gave them both warm hugs, which surprised the officers and the rest of the staff. “I learned that on the plane trip over. It is a long flight to your paradise, but it is worth it I think.”
“Ah, Arturo, please, Mr. McGarrett. After all we have been through, you must consider me your amigo.”
Steve invited him into the private office. After settling that they were on a first name basis, De Silva studied the younger detective with pride. “It is good to see you looking very much better. How is your health now?”
“Good,” Danny smiled with a touch of relief. “I’m all better, thanks to you.”
It had been six
months since their misadventure in
“We can’t thank you enough, Senior,” Steve added his heartfelt thanks.
Arturo bowed slightly. “My pleasure to perform an act like the famous Samaritan. But it is I who have come to thank you both.” He reached into a pocket of his suit and handed them several pictures. “Souvenirs. To outward appearances, it seems I performed the good deed and saved young Danny. In truth, amigos, you saved us.”
Steve felt warmed all over when he looked at the clean streets and playing children in front of the Casa Bonita. The buildings were repainted. A band played on the corner. There were pińatas hanging from several doorways.
returned life and joy to a small corner of
Steve couldn’t describe the feeling that washed over him. Pride -- no. Humility and awe, that was more appropriate. A little too choked up to say much, he simply thanked the man.
“Now, I have other trinkets in the other room for you both,” Arturo smiled and clapped their shoulders. “But nothing can ever adequately pay you for your heroic deeds. Gracias amigos.”
caught Steve’s glance and seemed even more embarrassed than McGarrett. At Arturo’s insistence, they joined the group
in the outer office. It was a boisterous
celebration and Arturo related some tall tales of the adventures in
“All right, let’s not forget we have an office to run,” McGarrett wryly reminded as he drifted back into his office.
Picking up the report again, he found it hard to focus on the details of police work. Dark memories had intruded and the corresponding deep emotions that went with them. This incident proved that some good could come out of bad, but he would never want to experience those bad days over again.
“Wow,” Dan quietly commented as he sat on the arm of a chair. “How does it feel to save a whole community, Steve?”
“They saved themselves,” he modestly returned. Silently he thought it was almost overwhelming. But it did not feel nearly as good as the knowledge and relief that he had saved his officer.