Thanks, BH, for letting me borrow the Kelly kids and Dora Bergman




Summer 1972



* * * * *



“We’ve got another one.”


The grim announcement fell like a clap of thunder from a cloudless sky, like glass crashing, shattering to the floor from a great height.  The stunning affect startled -- a shocking jolt to the men in the quiet office.  Steve McGarrett stared at the officer at the door, Sergeant Duke Lukela, for a moment, his mind taking only a fraction of a second to register the import of the alarming pronouncement.  The character lines in the face of the HPD officer were more deeply etched today, scored with fatigue worn down from long, hard days at work.  Now, the imprinted furrows also spoke of misery.


Then the head detective of Hawaii Five-0 glanced to Dan Williams, leaning against the side table by the chalkboard.  At the younger officer’s grimace of disgust, McGarrett’s throat tightened with a shared sense of revulsion, gruesome memories, and anticipation of what they would experience next.  Quickly grabbing his dark blue jacket and tugging it over his pale blue shirt while on the run, he raced out of Iolani Palace with a knot of dread in his stomach. 


Six days ago an explosion at a bar on Maunakea Street left servicemen and civilians dead, dying and injured.  The following day Che Fong, Hawaii Five-0’s crime lab chief, concluded the tragedy was no accident, but the result of a bomb.  Four days ago a bus enroute from Pearl Harbor to Honolulu blasted into thousands of pieces, killing all aboard.  That same day the cause was conclusively defined – bomb blast.


Tensely gripping the steering wheel, McGarrett listened to radio reports as he sped the black sedan through the morning streets of downtown Honolulu.  The day was pristine; sunny, warm, a subtle, fresh breeze lilting in from off the ocean.  Blue skies and sunshine and murder.


“This is worse than the last two,” came the funereal pronouncement from Williams.  His voice was tight with grim emotion.  Quietly, he had endured the drive with fists clenched, jaw tight, as they listened to the heart-rending police chatter.  “They’ve gone too far,” was his final, livid assessment.


“Yeah,” McGarrett barely breathed. 


“Their MO is shifting,” Williams spat out. 


McGarrett pondered that observation as he took a corner so fast they skidded into the next lane.  Correcting the big Mercury with a jolt, he raced through the streets now almost cleared of normal traffic because of the heavy flow of emergency and police vehicles dashing through the roadways. 


“I’m not sure,” he thoughtfully responded, an ugly, gut-wrenching theory coalescing in his brain.  For days they had been searching for motive. The explosives, the method, seemed to tie in the first two bombings.  Motive – they had guessed it was military related -- possibly some kind of violent and ruthless protest against the Vietnam War.  A city bus – this was beyond a strike at the government symbolism.  “This could be part of their twisted method.”


“Civilians!  People on their way to work!  Kids!”


“Yeah, Danno,” he nodded, his throat dry with disgust.  “Yeah.  Che identified the explosives as Chinese, remember?”


“Made in China,” Williams grimaced.  “Ben made that stupid joke the other night…” His voice trailed off in misery.  “We thought it was something a GI brought back as a souvenir.  Then the second bombing.”


“And we thought it was a personal gripe against the military.”


“No claim of credit like the usual grandstanding psychos with a platform,” Williams mused, reiterating aloud some key points of discussions already traded many times in the past week.  He took his eyes off the squad cars racing ahead of them and studied his boss.  “What do you think now?”


“I’m wondering if THIS is their message.  The bombings.  Whoever they are, they’ve got our attention.  I’m worried that now that they’re moving to soft targets they’re more insidious and dangerous than we expected.  They might have already moved on to something else, something so subtle we can’t identify it as terrorist attacks.”


Williams stared at him for a moment, as if divining what he was thinking.  “The stabbings.”


Random knife attacks had occurred over the fortnight; Ala Moana Mall, a sidewalk bazaar in Little Tokyo, a street fair at Kapiloani Park.  People had been slashed; a few tourists were sent to the hospital. Then a city worker had been killed.  Until now, it had seemed like indiscriminate violence that had vexed HPD.  Compared to Five-0’s crisis case that had taken the forefront of their attention – the bombings – it had barely registered to the state police unit.


“Why?” Williams gasped, shaking his head. 


“Panic, fear, striking terror in the heart of civilians.”  Soft targets they were known as in military parlance.  The cliché definition sickened him as much as the violence.  It seemed wrong to delegate these murder victims with the white-washed lingo of collateral damage or soft targets.  They were people, citizens of his state, men, women and children who were his responsibility.  “What better way to strike out at the heart of your enemy?”


“What a nightmare,” the younger man sighed.  “If you’re right, Steve, then there is an organized terrorist campaign.  Designed to hit at the fabric of our society so no one feels safe on the streets again.”


“Insidious evil,” the leader snarled.  “Destroy the foundation of America – the innate need of security for our families to be able to walk down the streets in safety.”


“Bring the taste of war to us.”


Mmmm,” McGarrett’s lip twitched in revulsion.


Slamming to a stop a half-block away from the flames and smoke, wedged behind three HPD squad cars, McGarrett and Williams leaped out of the Mercury and jogged along with the other officers.  Chin Ho Kelly, Lukela, and Five-0’s newest detective, Ben Kokua, were just behind them. 


The sounds of sirens echoed through the district, drowning out only the most strident shouts.  The crackle of flames, the commands, the cries for help, the painful weeping, smudged into a background blur of indefinable noise.  Smoke clogged the atmosphere and obscured the blue sky, tingeing the sunlight brown.  Ash drifted like grey snow and littered the street and cars and dark blue HPD uniforms with fluffy particles.  The air choked heavy from the rank odors of burning; fuel, rubber, buildings, bodies.


Usually on the scene of a crime quickly following a murder, robbery, or break in, this was different.  McGarrett cleared the knot of officers in front of him and came to an abrupt halt, aghast at the sight.  It was not often he had come upon such a scene and momentarily the intense, crisis-survival trauma took his breath away. 


Fire fighters were dousing flames that shot around and consumed part of the block of stores in the small line of shops along the side street off of King.  Several vehicles were twisted and burning.  The bus that had exploded was charred, warped, devastated.  Cleared out of live bodies, the gutted hull was now being soaked to quench the smoldering fires.  Rescue personnel thankfully had removed some victims who were being treated on the street or sidewalk until abstraction by ambulance.


Duke Lukela was the first to move forward and join in on the rescue operations, followed by the unit’s Chinese detective, Chin Ho Kelly, who’s usually affable face reflected a deep empathy for the wounded.  Ben Kokua, a broad-shouldered, athletic man of Samoan descent, quickly veered to the right and carried a dazed, wandering, injured woman to the curb, then held a cloth to her bleeding arm.  Williams ran over to a teenager who stumbled in erratic circles, oblivious to a bleeding head wound.  The young officer, his still boyish face reflecting the profound horror of the moment, directed the young girl sit on a bus bench.  Then he shouldered out of his jacket to wrap it around her shaking shoulders. 


This was not his usual after-the-fact arrival, but a first response situation, and McGarrett did not hesitate to do his part.  He joined two patrolmen trying to pry a man out of a car.  His instincts – to gather clues and evaluate the crime scene – had to take secondary consideration to life-saving crises.  Warmed at the selflessness of his colleagues, he saw all of his Five-0 detectives, and the HPD men, working to help and joined in without thought.


While he labored to give aid to others, he assessed the bus, the damage to the buildings, the victims, with professional attention.  Survivors.  Many were maimed, burned, badly injured, but there were at least a dozen living men and women who seemed to have been on the bus.  Several others, like the man from the wrecked car, were secondary victims/survivors from the blast.  That was not only gratifying from a humanitarian aspect, but from an investigative standpoint.  It meant the police had potential witnesses.  People who could help piece together how events unfolded this morning.


Eyes moist, Steve felt touched beyond words as he surveyed the tragedy that was now shifting to an aftermath status – wounded removed, flames extinguished.  Several draped figures on the curb attested to murder victims.  Heartbreakingly, a few of the cloth-covered forms were small, denoting deceased children. 


Lips quivering, he had to look away. The tragic, still figures sending shock waves right down to his marrow.  Studying the street scene, he was overcome with a different kind of emotion; a wave of gratification and honor.  The selfless dedication of his men humbled him.  Chin already had his notebook out and was talking to a patrolman whose shirt looked charred – the man probably one of the first on the scene.  Ben and Duke were talking with the Fire Chief.  Danno was at the rear of the exploded bus, lifting a piece of metal with a handkerchief.  Shaking his head with amazement at his committed staff, he walked over to join his second-in-command.


Williams’ yellow shirt and tan trousers were smudged with soot and blood, his tie gone.  When he looked up at McGarrett’s approach, his face was smeared with similar markings as his clothes, but more evident because of the tear-tracks down the cheeks.  The eyes, however, were now clear and decisive; no longer weeping with sorrow, but resolute with the quest for justice.


Crouching down beside his officer, he quietly placed a firm hand on the slighter man’s shoulder and asked, “Danno, how are you doing?”


A shared look acknowledged they both understood the deeper meaning of the inquiry.  Williams nodded somberly.  “Okay.  This is a rough one, though,” his voice trembled slightly.  “You?”


“Ready to get these animals.”




“What do you think?” he gestured to the metal in Williams’ hands.


“I think we caught a break this time,” he replied, his face brightening.  “As you’ve noticed, the front half of the bus, and passengers, survived.”


McGarrett noted that much of the vehicle by the driver’s section was still intact.  “Lucky.  Maybe someone saw something.”  He gestured to the warped frame they stood beside.  “The bomb was in the back of the bus.”


“And no question it was a bomb.”  Williams stood and walked around the wreckage, pointing out significant details to his boss.  “Placed on the side and in the back.” 


Doctor Niles Bergman, ME, joined them as they came around the other side of the blackened vehicle.  A tall man with salt-and-pepper hair and a weathered look appropriate of his fifty-plus years, his furrowed brow expressed deep sorrow.  “Grim day, gentlemen,” he pronounced as he surveyed the covered bodies in the street.  “Hope you close this one soon, Steve.  Honolulu can’t afford too much more of this kind of violence.  It’s a war zone!”


“I know, Doc.  You and every politician and reporter on the island are breathing down my neck.”


“Most days your job is one I’d never trade for, Steve.”  He shook his head at three small sheet-draped forms on the sidewalk -- the children.  “Today, though, I might make the swap.”


McGarrett patted his shoulder.  “We’re going to stop them, Doc.  I promise.”


“Just hope it’s soon,” he sighed and moved to start his dismal task.



* * * * *


The rest of the morning passed with a blur for McGarrett.  Preliminary witness statements were scanned between urgent phone calls from the Governor and sundry officials down the bureaucratic line. Those tasks were fielded between interviews with representatives from FBI, CIA, NI, AI, and various other less official initials.  All these were interspersed around dodging calls or run-ins with the media and cooperative, even useful individuals who had reason to be involved with the case. 


When Sergeants Lukela and Kamekona dropped in with reports, he assigned the HPD liaison officers to check into tying the bombings to the stabbings.  He admitted it might be a wild theory, but instinctively felt it was starting to come together in the back of his mind and needed attention.  Usually he would not put forth a vague idea like this without more substantial evidence, and usually only to Danno or his core staff.  But the detectives were all stretched thin now and any help was welcome.  Besides, HPD was the first line of investigation on the stabbings and they would have a better handle on the cases than Five-0.


The bombings were a tragic crisis for all citizens of Hawaii, and a huge administrative mess for Five-0 and the other agencies trying to sort out jurisdiction while working to prevent more massacres and hunting down the perpetrators.  So far McGarrett had staved off the wolves fighting to muscle in on his territory.  He knew, however, this was too hot of a lava rock for Five-0 alone to keep juggling for long.  Soon politics, government meddling and public pressure would force the investigation into other hands.  For the sake of Hawaii, and for Five-0, he needed to get this stopped quickly. 


By late afternoon the exhausted detectives gathered in McGarrett’s office.  They had managed to clean up and change clothes after the on-scene activities, but the strain of the newest violence in the case remained clinging to their emotions as strongly as the smoke stench clung to their skin.


“There’s not much of a common thread in the witness statements,” Williams commented as he leafed through the papers in hand.  “What did you want me to check?”


Searching for some previously scribbled notes, McGarrett absently responded.  “One of the last passengers to board.  Sat at the rear of the bus.  Thin, Oriental man.  Wore a headband.”


The sandy hair was ruffled, a habit of frustration, as the younger detective scanned the files.  “Yeah, a few pegged him.  You think he’s the bomber?  No one noticed if he got off.  Maybe he went up with the bus?”


“Maybe.”  Blowing out a deep sigh of air, McGarrett shook his head.  “We’ve got so little to go on.  China, Chinese man on the bus, method.  It’s building up to a picture I don’t like.”


A commotion in the outer office snagged his attention, and he looked to Williams, who was sitting on the edge of the desk consulting a clipboard stacked with notes.  The younger officer shrugged his mutual confusion.  Curiosity not strong enough to interrupt their work, a knock at the door indicated they were destined to be disturbed regardless of his wishes.


Without invitation, someone opened the door.  McGarrett was truly surprised when two Oriental children ran in, followed quickly by two teenage girls who peeked around the door.  The little boy and girl, Win and Joy Kelly, rushed over to McGarrett’s desk in a race to deliver brown paper sacks.  Scolds from the teens were ignored as the two young children bounced up and down with excitement, talking at once about their proffered gifts.


“We baked the cookies ourselves!”  Win, the boy announced, yanking a plastic wrapped bundle from the bag.


“For you too, Danny,” Joy told the younger officer and pushed the second bag into his hands.


“All for me?” Danny asked as he knelt down and accepted a big hug from the little girl.


Win leaned close to both detectives.  “You better eat them quick or the girls will make you eat your lunch first.”  Protectively, he scooted close to the head of Five-0.  “Steve is gonna eat the cookies, Suzy.  We can come get lunch later.”  Helpfully, he started unwrapping the plastic covering.


Suzy, one of the older teens in the family, and her best friend, Kelly, waved to the officers.  Apologizing for the interruption, Suzy placed two more sacks on the desk.  “We knew dad would be working late on this case, so we brought food for everybody.”


The boss glanced at the clock, amazed most of the day had whisked away on the fleeting wings of intense work.  Lunchtime had evaporated in the blur of the time warp of activity.  “We appreciate it, Suzy.  Thank you.” 


“You’re lifesavers,” Williams smiled at the girls. 


“You didn’t act quick enough,” Win rebuked the detectives.  “Now you have to eat the sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes first before they let you have the cookies!  Yuck.”


“We appreciate it anyway, Win,” McGarrett laughed and ruffled the boy’s hair, especially touched at the thoughtful children who were so vibrant and alive, in shocking contrast to the horrors they had seen this morning.  “Did your mother come?” he asked Suzy, hoping pleasant conversation with these beguiling youngsters would shove away the memories of the most recent bombing.


“She’s out visiting with dad.”


“Are you kids out of school already?” he absently checked the desk clock again, watching the numbers click from Two-oh-four to Two-oh-five.


“It’s a holiday!” Joy shouted out with a little dance. 


Williams looked to the older girls with a silent question.


“The schools got out early today.  You know -- the – uh – everyone’s a little nervous,” Suzy shrugged.


Win made a sour face.  “She’s trying to tell you people are afraid because of some bad things that have happened.  So they let us out of school.”  His smile spread from ear to ear.  “I’m not afraid.”


Steve exchanged looks with Danny, both struck by the gravity of the panic hitting Honolulu.  They had not heard of school closures.  Their energies had been focused on the tough task of catching the bad guys.  Wondering what else was going on, the boss suggested the younger kids check out the view from his lanai.  Stepping over to Suzy and her shy friend, Kelly, he asked about the mood of the city.


“Everyone’s pretty scared,” Suzy replied. 


Always level headed and practical, she was the child of Chin’s who came here the most, who had established the strongest relationship with the Five-0 staff.  In his light-hearted moments he attributed this to the girl’s obvious crush on Danno, but that was something not even he would joke about, especially around Chin.


“They don’t feel safe out on the streets.”


The somber tone clued McGarrett into the underlying reasons for the visit.  This was not just because of the time off school.  The visit was to touch base with the Kelly patriarch, to reassure the ohana that their dad was all right – that everyone at Five-0 was still safe – and that they were working hard to right the wrongs leveled at women and children just like them.


“It’s a scary time,” Dan sympathized, “but we’re going to get them Suzy-Q, don’t worry.”


“I know you will,” she smiled confidently.


“Mahalo, honey,” Steve thanked her with a hug.


The detectives exchanged glances again, silently communicating that they both shared a humble desperation at the visit, at the faith entrusted to them by those they loved. By many in Hawaii who had never met them, but held confidence in them to stop the senseless violence against the innocent.


Williams followed his boss out to the main office and gave a quick hug to Mai Kelly.  The two smallest Kelly children, twins Amy and Dina, were playing with paper clips and rubber bands at Jenny Sherman’s secretary desk.  Ben was crouched down at eye level with the much shorter teen Alia, who was unwrapping some goodies from a knot of plastic wrap. 


“Looks like you have your hands full with the kids today,” Danny smiled at the amazing mother who managed to keep her sanity while being the wife of a Five-0 detective and the mother of eight.


“That’s why we baked cookies.  Keeps them busy.”


Close by, Alia took one of Ben’s cookies and handed it to Dan.  “They’re coconut, Macadamia nut.”


“Some of them have chocolate, too,” Suzy pointed out as she joined the group, handing him a coco colored sweet.


Considering the violence stressing the world outside these walls, Williams was hit with a poignant wave of strong ohana sentiment as he watched the kids interact with detectives who had, just hours ago, paced along the draped bodies of children so much like them.  It was a sobering moment, one of many routinely experienced by service personnel, but especially forceful since the bombings began. 


It drove home to him that this was not just a despicable crime against his homeland, but against families and people and kids just like the ohana he loved.  Renewed with a sense of justice and commitment, he silently vowed, as he watched the scene, that he would do everything possible to bring the murderers to justice.


McGarrett came up beside his second-in-command, and, with a wry smile, wondered of the teenager. “Don’t you have a cookie for me?”


Alia blushed and shook her head.


A significant look was exchanged between the boss and the mother, then both smiled at Williams.  The younger detective felt himself blush, clearly reading their silent implications that the girls were clamoring for his attention.  Was it better to just ignore the attention and mute teasing, or should he defend himself?  Catching the wicked glint in Steve’s eyes, he figured he better use caution and change the subject.


“I love coconut, Macadamia nuts and chocolate,” he complimented diplomatically, taking a bite of each cookie.


“I’m sure your father and ALL the staff appreciate the goodies,” Mai assured as she gave a gentle push to her daughters.


Both lead detectives accompanied Chin Ho and Mai in rounding up the kids and escorting them to their old, crowded station wagon.  It was an unspoken act of protection from their mutual concern in this atmosphere of heightened fear.  While Chin said good-bye to his brood, Steve and Dan walked slowly back up the steps of the Palace to return to the office.


“Danno, I’m worried the panic could get out of hand.  I’m going to discuss a press conference with the Governor.  I want you to get some answers from Che.”


“Right.”  At the top of the steps Williams stopped before he opened the front doors.  “Steve, if they’re closing schools, the panic has already started.”


“I know.  All the more reason to solve this as quickly as possible.”



* * * * *


With a little more tact than his boss had been able to manage since the bombings began, Williams patiently requested an update from Che on the analysis of evidence.  The lab chief showed the second-in-command into a storeroom where a reconstruction of debris was underway.  Bits and pieces, large and small, of bus fragments, parts of cars, buildings, were arranged on the floor of the large basement room.  With a little imagination, one could make out the vague pieces and outlines of the bus and two cars from the wreckage.


A qualified expert about explosives and bombs, Williams noted with interest the obvious clues already apparent in the fragmented puzzle.  “The bomb was at the back of the bus,” he confirmed as he studied the blast hole that ripped and warped a side panel and included part of the emergency exit door.  “It wasn’t all that powerful, was it?”


“Not in and of itself,” Che concurred.  “It ignited the gas tank and the bus went up.”  He crouched down next to several fragments.  “This is where the bomber must have been standing.”


“Or sitting.”


“No, he was standing,” the shorter Oriental assured.  When Williams glanced at him with raised eyebrows, he continued.  “Part of a hand was fused to the handle of a backpack, AND the hand rail that runs at the top of the bus.”


“Part of a hand!”


“Doc has it now.  I analyzed the material that was fused to the skin.  It was something already in our data base from the last bomb.  The analysis just came back a few minutes ago.  The charred clothing is North Vietnamese Army issue.”




“I’m not done,” he smiled triumphantly.  “I’ve had my boys working double time all morning.  Added with what we were collecting from the first two bombs, we have some good data for you.”


He stood and led the detective over to the main lab.  On one of the tables were fragments of charred debris.  Williams’ eyes were drawn to a small piece of warped metal with the obvious pieces of a clock.  Amazing how even at ground zero some remnants were left intact.  Lucky break for the investigators.




“Yes, there was more left of this than the last one.  I’m guessing all three were set with similar explosives.  We haven’t finished the tests from today’s blasts to be sure yet.”


With a metal rod, Williams poked at the remains of the bomb.  Familiar components were there, attached to a metal plate that kept snatching up the rod.  “Magnetized.  That’s how they were going to attach it to the bus, I bet.  Something went wrong and it went boom.”  He sorted through the particles.  “Crude.  Not slick.  A professional operation with unsophisticated material.  Effective – put together by someone who knows what they’re doing, but not with advanced technology.”


The phone rang and Che answered it, muttered a few affirmatives then hung up.  “Steve is on his way to Doc Bergman’s and wants you to meet him at his car.”


“Thanks, Che,” the younger man waved as he trotted out the door.



* * * * *


Williams caught his boss in the lobby of the Palace as McGarrett was jogging down from the upper level and he was striding upstairs from the lab.  In curt words shot out as he hastened to keep up with the longer, agitated stride of the head of Five-0, he related Che’s stunning information.


“North Vietnamese?” Steve repeated, his hand on the knob of the ornate, etched glass front door.


“Adds up with the Chinese explosives.”


Guiding with a firm hand on his shoulder, McGarrett urged them to the car. 
Once inside the vehicle, he started the engine and screeched out of the parking lot.  Only part of his attention was on driving.


“Without jumping to conclusions,” the leader started, “let’s look at this as we always do with every investigation.  Theories fitting the facts.”  He listed what they knew of the MO, the manufacture source, the victim-pattern, the new inclusion of the clothing.  “Someone copying the terrorist bombings used by the VC against our troops,” he speculated as he whipped into the parking lot of the ME’s office.  “OR, not copying, but CONTINUING,” he emphasized as he turned off the engine but remained in the car.


“North Vietnamese bombing Honolulu targets?” Williams drew in a sharp breath.  After a moment he nodded, knowing his boss could come up with amazing theories with the slightest threads connecting the evidence.  In this case it was not an astounding leap, but a volatile one.  “Steve, that would mean agents of a foreign government are coming onto American soil –“


“And bringing the war to our home front,” he grimaced, shaking his head in disgust.  “I saw it in Korea,” his voice softening, distantly dredging up an obvious unpleasant memory.  “Attacks against civilians supporting the US.  What if they brought it here, Danno?”


The suggestion sent chills along his spine.  “Besides murdering Americans – military and civilian – they might think it would demoralize the troops and the country.”


A wry smile played at his lips.  “Yeah, Danno, we are on the same track.  What historic event does it remind you of?”


Pearl Harbor,” he instantly supplied.  Aside from his own personal reasons for being emotionally affected by the infamous attack on December Seventh – the killing of his parents on that day – every other Hawaiian felt strongly about the surprise attack against their country, their land, their people.  “Waking a sleeping tiger, I think is the phrase one of the Japanese Admirals had to say about their bombings.”


“Close enough.  If they think this will turn Americans against the war, they are going to have a rude awakening.”


“Pretty lolo for them to try it here in Hawaii first,” Dan shook his head in revulsion.  “They must not get it that Pearl Harbor is still just under the surface for us.”


Aside from the still visual scars, physically and emotionally, from that terrible day, Hawaii was a strongly patriotic place.  Economically rooted in the backing of the US military on a consumer level.  The military was responsible for many support jobs and industries that kept Hawaii afloat.  The massive R&R program, the numerous military bases, dependents, the list was extensive.  While many Hawaiians disagreed with the Vietnam war, and many disliked that the government took up much valued land in the Fiftieth State, there was no question it was all a symbiotic, if wary, relationship. 


“They’re not making friends for their cause by killing women and children and guys on their way to work.  That just won’t cut it no matter what Hawaiians or anybody else thinks of the war.”


“You got that right, bruddah.”  McGarrett nodded for a thoughtful moment.  “Let’s keep this to ourselves for right now, Danno, until we have a few more pieces of the puzzle.  But I’m betting it’s all going to add up to dangerous insurgents infiltrating our paradise.”


Inside the coroner’s domain, they spotted the grim ME.  The autopsy room and adjacent facilities were over-crowded with sheet-covered gurneys.  Several lab-coated med techs unfamiliar to McGarrett were helping with paperwork.  A slight, gray-haired woman in a nurse’s uniform spun from the counter and nearly bumped into the tall detective.  She sprang back instantly with a gulp of surprise.


“Oh, Steve!”


McGarrett placed his hands on the thin shoulders of Mrs. Bergman.  “Dora.  Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”


She gave a warm smile to Williams and looked back to the officer who released his hold on her.  “I didn’t expect you two down here with the peasants.”


The sweet, fifty-ish woman was temperamentally and physically an opposite of her ME husband, but the couple had long been a Honolulu fixture of marital bliss.  Dora matched her husband’s irascible nature with perpetual optimism.  Regular contributors to the social/charitable circuit of the city; the couple were a fixture to those in public service.  With Niles’ wry humor and staunch support, and Dora’s motherly concern, they were natural and welcome additions to the Five-0 ohana.


“I’m helping out down here on my break.”


“You’re too good,” Williams told her with an accompanying hug.


“At least you got some nourishment,” she approved as she poked the younger officer in the ribs.  “I was worried no one from your neighborhood would surface for days.  Mai said she was going to send in some supplies.”


“And she did,” Williams smiled.  “I detect a conspiracy.”


“Maybe,” the older woman smiled.  “Someone has to watch out for you men.”


Bergman finished his consultation with one of the assistants and joined them, thanking his wife.  Then he doled out an admonition that she should get back to her own duties while he discussed important business with Steve but she scoffed and gave him a shove, then a kiss on the cheek.


“I gave up my break to help.  I expect a little more appreciation.”


“Oh, I know you’ll present me with the bill later,” the husband intoned with a sigh.  “Dinner at some expensive place with miniscule portions of unknown goods.”


She winked at the policemen.  “He thinks he’ll get off that easy?”  She gave both Steve and Dan light hugs.  “Take care, you two.”


Bergman led the officers into a back area of the morgue.  “It’s a war zone!”  Disgusted with the violence, he lectured them, spilling out his own wrath over the bloody rampage.  “I haven’t seen anything this bad since Pearl Harbor!”


McGarrett traded a knowing glance with his colleague before they entered the vault room where numerous bodies were crowded on metal tables.  All the corpses were covered with sheets and tagged on the toes – those who had toes.  His lip rippling with disgust, McGarrett pushed his reactions behind a mask of iron will.  His job was to bring justice to these victims and he couldn’t do it if he allowed his objectivity to slip.  Stay focused, stay on the job, and they would have time to mourn later.


“What have you got for us, Doc?”


At the farthest corner of the room was a counter laden with a number of articles, misshapen and charred, lined in rows and tagged with small notes.  The experienced medical man uncovered a small tray.  On it was a molten, black object that, if stylized in a Dali sculpture, might be reminiscent of something with digits.  Melded around a piece of warped metal, was indeed a hand, the chief detective admitted silently as he studded the form.  Protruding from slender – what could be fingers – was a metal rod, and wrapped around part of the lump was what imaginatively might be thought of as a watch band.  Unable to contain his distaste at the object or the stench, he drew away.


Grimacing, Williams studied the artifact for a moment.  “The guy had a watch,” he deduced.  “And he WAS holding onto the rail, huh?”


“Indeed,” Bergman nodded, satisfied his dramatic flair was appreciated and understood.  “Now for the real stunner,” he almost smiled in a sourly grim expression.  He brought over a metal bowl and with a medical instrument pushed around tiny objects.  “Teeth,” he explained.  Che’s boys found them at the rear of the bus.  Note the coverings on the molars?  Chinese dental work!”


McGarrett inhaled a soft gasp. 


“See the way the gold has melted to stick the teeth together.  Anyway, we got confirmation of the amalgamation from Che’s dentist. Doctor Wan thinks it is probably Vietnamese dentistry, but there’s not enough left to be certain.”  He returned to the hand, and again impressed his audience.  “Of what’s left, I was able to find one finger that still had a fingerprint.”


“Wow,” Williams exclaimed.


“I’m impressed,” the head of Five-0 smiled.


“I was able to remove part of the watch.  Che took it over to the university lab to try for an analysis and give us a manufacturer.”  He brought over a magnifying lens.  “If you look closely on the face, which was protected by a piece of skin that had melted over it, you’ll see . . . .”


He awaited a reaction and was not disappointed.  McGarrett gave a low whistle, then handed the lens to Williams, but did not wait for a second opinion.  “Chinese characters.”


“I leave the deductions to you boys,” Bergman leaned back on his table, his arms crossed.  “But I don’t think I would be intruding far into your territory by guessing we are dealing with insurgents from a foreign power.”


Williams looked at him, and McGarrett read the expression that his colleague felt they could let Bergman in on the recent discussion.  Their theories were lining up and the evidence supported looking in the direction of Southeast Asia.  He appreciated the work and strain the ME had put into the case with multiple bombings and victims, and knew the peripheral member of Five-0 was as passionate about bringing the animals to justice as were all the detectives and other support staff.


“That’s something we’re thinking, too, Doc,” he confirmed.  “We’ll let you know.”


“Just catch them, Steve.  They have to be stopped before this gets any worse.”


“I know, Doc.  We all know that too well,” he considered as he stared at the chared remains from the bombing.


The walk to the car was spent in solemn silence, but Williams knew, with a certainty born of familiarity with his boss, that they were thinking the same thing.  To some unknowledgeable with the head of Five-0, he might appear prone to leaping to conclusions.  Those who worked closely with him knew just the opposite; the brilliant investigator and shrewd, intuitive cop sometimes clued into the important theory with little or no evidence.  McGarrett possessed the gift of foresight in anticipating criminal behavior and linking inferences together from thin, apparently nonexistent, sometimes seemingly invisible evidence, to arrive at the truth. 


Confident, on a subliminal level, that his friend and he were already on the same wavelength, the younger officer began. “North Vietnamese fanatics targeting the US?” He opened the conversation after they were in the secure environ of the sedan again.


“I think that is the angle we have to look at, Danno.  Bringing the war to the US to cause panic and confusion and turn citizens against the war.”


“It’s sick!” he spat out in disgusted revulsion.  “These are innocent people!  Kids and women and guys who have nothing to do with the war –“ 


“I know –“


“When we get our hands on them –“


“They will be afforded every right according to our constitutional laws,” the sharp voice echoed demandingly in the small confines of the car.


Williams took a breath to continue venting his frustration and anger, but a glance at his boss told him it was time to end the emotional tirade.  “Yeah,” he breathed out after a moment, reluctantly shaking his head.  “Right.”


“These fanatics are murderous butchers,” McGarrett sympathetically agreed, “but we go by the rules here, Danno.  As much as we’d like to go after them with our bare hands, we stay on the right side of the law.”  He patted his friend’s shoulder.  “I know you know that.”


“Yeah,” he agreed with a sigh.  “It’s better than fanatics like this deserve.”


“Probably, but that’s not our call.  We are only the ones who hunt them down and catch them.  Prosecution and execution of the law fall into other hands.  And we’re going to do our job before anyone else gets killed.”


“I know.”


Gravely somber, McGarrett looked into his eyes with grim intent.  “We are better than they are, Danno.  They are trying to drive us apart with their violence.  They hope to put a wedge through America.  Here, they want to separate us from the military and cause panic and resentment toward the troops.  I saw apathy and revulsion from Americans during Korea.  It wasn’t a clear cut war, just like Vietnam.  The insurgents want to defeat us from within by attacking our values and inciting us to fight among ourselves.  But we are going to win against this mindset and against the attacks in Hawaii, I promise you that, Danno.”


“We’re stronger together than apart,” he almost smiled.  “They don’t understand here in the Islands our diversity binds us rather than divides us.”  He raised his eyebrows.  “And they’ve certainly underestimated the power of the ohana message.  Particularly with Five-0.”


“You got that right, bruddah,” he grinned, squeezing his friend’s shoulder.  “Danno, you know Ben a little better than I do.  How are his contacts?”


The change in subject startled him, and after a moment he replied that he knew Kokua was great in HPD and should have a lot of local snitches and contacts.  “He’s kamaaina like me,” he considered of the newest member of the unit.  “Born and raised in a little tougher area of Honolulu than I was, but he worked the streets on the beat for a while.  I bet he has some good snitches.”


Not as good as Kono did, probably, McGarrett thought, but did not voice.  It still stung him to think of Kalakaua, the affable, broad Hawaiian who had been with him for years, deserting Five-0.  Marrying, then deciding to move to the Big Island!  McGarrett still had trouble dealing with what he considered disloyalty in Kono dropping his resignation suddenly on the desk, no preparation or discussion with him at all.  Not giving him a chance to sway the officer to stay. {fanfic stories: When the Time is Right, Fissures}


“We’ll get Ben on his street people,” he focused back to the conversation.  “And Chin.  And Duke.  We’ll need to hit the Chinese, the Asian community, the Vietnamese refugees – but the ones we can trust.”


“That’s a short list,” Williams sighed wryly.  “And I think they’ll all be Chin’s relatives.”


“Then we’ll sponsor a feast at their favorite restaurant and get them to spill everything they know,” he threatened as he started the car.



* * * * *


Ben Kokua had worked with Five-0 since the incident with that pupule chic that kidnapped Danny {fanfic – Deadly Ever After}.  After that, his occasional work with Duke Lukela in support of the state police unit increased.  So when it was time to fill Kono’s suddenly vacant slot, he was a natural candidate.  Duke Lukela had been McGarrett’s first choice, but he had declined.  Then Lukela recommended Kokua, who was met with McGarrett’s approval, fortunately.  It was the most prestigious promotion in the law enforcement ranks in Oahu, and Kokua felt honored to be part of Five-0.  He knew going into this there was little glamour and a lot of hard work – factors not fully appreciated by him or his wife until they experienced the challenges of the job first hand.  They were adjusting to the long hours and strain, he thought.  With the recent bombing wave, he was proud to be part of the first string – the unit that would probably be the ones to bring down the insane criminals devastating his city.  Every cop on the island wanted a piece of these terrorists, but he hoped he was the one to actually find them.  Arrest and trial was too good for these animals, and there was a lot of talk in the ranks about home-style justice.  He was tempted to align with such ideas, but the image of Steve McGarrett kept his ideals strong.  McGarrett would never compromise on anything, most of all justice.  Deserving it or not, Five-0 would treat the criminals with due process.


Trotting down the steps of the Palace to meet with Danny Williams, Kokua felt he could not have done better for himself; for his future, his family, his career.  He was included in the best of the best in Five-0 and vowed to work triple time if necessary to solve this case before more people were murdered.



* * * * *


At the edge of old Chinatown, Chin pulled the Five-0 sedan, with Duke in the passenger seat, up to an old brick building.  The signs were all written in Chinese characters with no effort to concede to the English-speaking inhabitants of the city.  These were neighborhoods steeped in over a century of immigrants who had raised children, who were then citizens, who raised the next generation to be better educated and enterprising than the struggling parents.  Like families all over the world, the work ethic to improve themselves for posterity ran strong in this Asian culture just blocks from the bustling Pacific business centers of Hawaii.  The Chinese adhered to a firm belief in togetherness, both during their stay on earth, in the future, and for those who had already passed on before. 


Duke wondered if it lent to their tenacious faithfulness to culture and relations.  Since his days as a beat cop he had come to know and love many of the Asians here.  The older generation spoke broken English, but sent their sons and daughters to Universities here or on the mainland, sometimes to other countries.  He knew Chin Ho had many hui – calabash cousins – translated from Hawaiian meaning a loose association of family and friends -- who were like family.  Ohana was another way to phrase it, a sentiment easily understood by anyone raised in the Islands.


This would be the third stop for them on this bright, crisp afternoon.  As the close, brick buildings blocked off the Trades from the nearby ocean, he could still smell the salt in the air and scent of the nearby river running through the old urban area.  These buildings were as old as the traditions favored by the ethnic groups surrounding the old neighborhoods.


After strolling on the street, Chin mostly doing the talking in Chinese, they stopped at a shop Lukela knew well.  Vi’po,” he told the woman, and gave the elderly man the same revered title for grandfather.


The Chiangs had been keeping this small shop of Chinese herbs and groceries for more years than anyone knew.  When Duke first walked a beat here they were well established.  Always friendly and supportive of the police, he was not surprised to learn they were relatives of Chin Ho Kelly.  Their English was good enough that the conversation was conducted in his language out of politeness.


Lot of rumors,” the gentleman began after they came inside the cool shop.  “Rumors not so smart.”


“What are the rumors?” Chin asked.


“Bombers want to target Chinese, coconut wireless say –“


The woman scoffed loudly and shook her head, muttering sharp words in Mandarin.  She turned to Duke and translated, “No believe street talk.  Many scared and talk no sense.  Wise ones listen and watch and learn.  Mainland Chinese.  Communists.”  She spat on the floor.  “Old tactics.”


The elderly man broke in and made a few statements in the tongue of three out of four of them, then gave a nod to the Hawaiian.  “Many infiltrate from Mainland.  Spies in community.  Punish those at home, demoralize warriors fighting far away.  Old trick.”


“You mean Vietnam,” Chin supplied.  “Bomb the people in America and make them pay for fighting in Asia.”  After a few words in Mandarin, the couple both shook their heads, then he switched to English and finished. “Any information would help.”


“We will listen better,” the man promised.


After amicably leaving, with sacks full of delicious fruits, the officers walked to their vehicle parked on the next street.  Once inside, Chin related that his older cousin said the Vietnamese refugees crowding into Hawaii were vulnerable.  Other sources, not the Vietnamese, were spreading rumors that the bombings were perpetrated by South Vietnamese radicals.  The Chinese in Honolulu saw the fingerprints closer to home.  New faces had appeared in the community recently and those loyal to the US would help point them out to Five-0.



* * * * *


Little Saigon was a blend of Chinese, Southeast Asian and Hawaiian businesses.  Dan and Ben cruised the sidewalks with an eye to making themselves seen more than anything else.  HPD officers with connections here were already talking to informants, but the overtly visible presence of Five-0 would solidify the seriousness of their mission to find the bombers. 


Stopping at a street corner café that offered a blend of Chinese, Hawaiian and Thai foods, the detectives perused the lunch menu.  Settling on some snacks, they slipped into a back table with lo mein and teriyaki chicken as they sipped soda pop and watched the people on the street.  Dan had been impressed with Ben’s sharp interrogative technique with the shop keepers and vendors they talked to so far.  The Samoan knew his way around snitches and witnesses and had a comfortable manner with interrogation, and a tough side for the people who needed a little leaning.


“This isn’t bad,” the larger man nodded as he munched on the noodles.  “My Sarah makes a great saimin, though, Danny, you’re gonna to have to try it sometime.”


Although the two detectives crossed paths a bit previous to Kokua joining Five-0, Williams had never been to their home.  The relationship would alter slightly now with the Samoan officially part of Five-0.  The inclusion went for the whole family, not just the officer.  The Kokua ohana had been to the office and formally met the detectives when Ben came on earlier this summer.  From tidbits of overheard conversations, Dan knew Jenny, Doris Lukela and Mai Kelly had taken Sarah Kokua under their wings to initiate her to the life of Five-0 dependents.  There had been a weekend luau, hosted by the Lukelas, two weeks ago that mingled everyone, including the Bergmans and the Fongs, who worked within the Five-0 ohana.  Ben seemed a good fit into the detective manifest, and Sarah a good cop’s wife.


“Didn’t she make that for the luau?”


“I don’t know,” Ben sheepishly admitted, “I just know there was such ono kau kau that day I ate way too much.”




It had been a perfect Saturday afternoon at Ala Moana Park, with the sea on one side and the grass and pond on the other.  McGarrett and Williams, both on call, had taken time out from the office work to enjoy the festivities.  It had been worth the effort to bond as a group of caring and hard working colleagues, friends and families.


Williams noted his distracted companion watching a little boy and his mother at the next table.  Kokua smiled at the antics of the youth eating with chopsticks.  He had probably been taught in the art of his ancestors for years, but the slippery noodles were proving a little taxing for his coordination.  Ben’s smile gradually faded and he faced Williams with a sober expression.


“What else can we do to get these guys, Danny?” he wondered, his voice deep with intent.  “Sarah’s worried.  So am I.  She wants me to tell her where it’s safe, what places she should avoid, but there’s no where I can tell her to hide and I’m a cop!  I’m supposed to be protecting my family!”


“I know, Ben,” Dan responded with tense resolve.  “We WILL get them.  You know how hard we’re working –“


“Every man I know is willing to put in overtime for this,” the newer detective countered.


“I know.”  With Five-0 spearheading the case, the whole staff was burdened by the extreme hours and added tension.  No one knew that better than the second-in-command, who was seeing to his tasks, plus doing what he could to diminish the workload on the habitually obsessed boss.  “That’s what we’re doing on the streets today.”


“It doesn’t seem to help much.”


Dan didn’t respond to the negative, if truthful assessment.  He needed to keep them focused on their goal.  “We’ve touched base with almost every informant you know down here.  Maybe we need to move uptown.”


The Samoan brightened.  “You have someone in mind?”


“Yeah, I know a shifty guy who’s as slippery as a jelly fish, but has some pretty solid information when you can pin him down.”  He grabbed some money out of his pocket and started counting the bills and change.  “Problem is, he’s expensive.  How much cash you got on you?”


Grimacing, Ben emptied his pockets on the table. 


Smirking, Danny shook his head.  “You’re more broke than I am.”


“Of course I am, I’m a married man!”


“Yeah,” the younger detective laughed.  “Well, we might have to survive on PB and J the rest of the week, but if we can find Shorty and he has something useful for us, it will be worth it.”


Ben rubbed his stomach in sympathy.  “I said I’d do what I had to, but taking away my lunch money?”


“We’ll get Jenny to bake some extra cinnamon rolls,” Dan joked weakly, no more anxious to let go of his cash than his colleague.



* * * * *


On the drive toward Waikiki, Williams explained that Shorty Lao was a Vietnamese immigrant who was making a name for himself as a broker of anything to anyone with money.  That he traded information for cash with Williams -- as far as the detective knew he was the only cop Shorty talked to -- was an exception only because Williams threatened him at every meeting.  The threat was not for arrest, but for something far worse to a snitch, exposure.  The exclusive arrangement was Shorty’s security.  A liaison with Five-0’s second-in-command was a kind of safety net.  Keeping loose tabs with only Williams made it a slack relationship that was not too restricting.


Ben was surprised when they pulled up at the Ala Moana Mall and parked by one of the high end department stores.  “Your informant works out of the mall?”


“Yeah.  He tells me he’s going to work his way over to an office in Kahala some day and he might just do it.”


“How’d you meet this character?”


Williams led the way to the inner shopping corridor of the huge, open-air mall at the end of Waikiki.  Scenically located, it overlooked the ocean and across the street was the expansive park sharing the same name.  “He came here as a penniless refugee from Saigon a few years ago.  A young entrepreneur hustling the street corner where I was working a case.  We talked and I saw the potential in this guy, and we made a deal.”


At an ice cream parlor overlooking one of the koi ponds in the center of the mall, they took seats at a table and watched the kids throw food to the fish.  A young, thin Asian man, sporting a neatly trimmed goatee, sitting at the next table, leaned over and offered them a menu.  He pointed at something on the back page, and whispered, “What do you want, Williams?”


“You should be able to guess,” Dan replied under his breath.  “I want to know who is doing the bombings and where they are.  I want to know by the end of the day.”


The informant glared at the cop.  “That kind of news is deadly.”


Not a negative.  Dan did not react to the information he was already getting.  “I’ll make it worth the risk.”


Shorty snorted his skepticism, but gave a sideways glance to Kokua.  “Lose the shadow, Sherlock, and we can talk.”


Dan took the menu and pointed to some treats, asking Ben to take his time ordering two malts.  The informant hastily included his own order of a chocolate-macadamia nut sundae.  Silently wary, Ben left.  Dan handed the menu back to Lao with a stack of bills folded in the middle.  After covertly counting the cash, the snitch scowled at the detective.


“Not good enough, Five-0.”


“It’s all we’ve got and you don’t get a cent more until I get something solid.”


“I don’t take credit.”


“We’re civil servants,” Dan snapped back sourly.  “And if you don’t come through for me on this, Shorty, I promise you I will make life very tough for you in Honolulu.”  The little man sneered and the officer countered, “You want to press me on this, Shorty?  You want to keep moving up in the world to get that office in Kahala, you’re going to need me smoothing the way sometimes.  If I don’t get something good out of you on this case, I will personally give a call to Immigration.  You’ll be going to be back to Saigon on the first boat.”


“You wouldn’t!” Lao snarled.


“Want to bet on that?”


“I could get killed –“


“I’ve heard you were a street kid in Saigon hustling GIs.  You made it over here by faking an ID that you were a dependent of an American soldier,” Williams shot back with a hard edge to his unswerving tone.  “Don’t think I won’t pull out all the stops on this one, Shorty.”


“Fine,” the young man gave a false smile as he stared at the koi.  “You get me double of the cash delivered today.”




“If it’s that important, Five-0, you will pay.  You meet me at Hudson’s this afternoon at five-  Happy hour.  I’ll give you everything I can.  Then I don’t want to see you again.”


“I won’t promise that, Shorty.”


Kokua emerged from the ice cream store with his hands full of goodies.  Shorty gave him a quick glance, leaning over to quietly remind Williams that the meet would be just the two of them, no newcomers.  Then the Vietnamese grabbed his sundae from the tall detective and scooted away, quickly lost in the crowd.  When asked what had happened, Williams started walking, sipping on his fudge-banana malt.


“Shorty might come through.  I’m meeting him tonight and I’ll find out.”


“You want me to go with you?”


“No, thanks.  He doesn’t want any company.”


“You think it’s safe to meet him?”

“Sure,” Dan shrugged, feeling the little guy was no threat.  “He knows you know about him and the meet.  He wouldn’t risk anything tricky.  Money is his god.  It’s more important to him than his personal safety.  That’s why he makes such a good mark.”


“Brilliant,” the Samoan admired.  They reached the LTD sedan in the bright, afternoon sun, the breeze coming off the crystal blue ocean was crisp, warm and fresh.  Kokua stood by his door for a moment and smiled at the younger officer.  “I’m impressed.  I didn’t think Five-0 worked informants, but you might be better than HPD.”


Williams laughed as they slipped into the car.  “What, you thought this was going to be a cushy desk job?”


“No.  Nothing about Five-0 ever seemed cushy,” he admitted with a chuckle.  “I’ve seen you guys put in a lot of hours.  Duke and Chin kept warning me about that.  Especially working with Steve, if you don’t mind me repeating coconut wireless info.”


Finding the confession amusing, Dan just smiled, knowing many professionals who admired and respected the tough leader of their unit, but few who understood or liked the man known in Hawaiian as haole hao – the man of iron.  McGarrett could be tough to live with, but in terms of his value, and keeping Hawaii safe, he would be impossible to live without.



* * * * *


Returning from the jaunt in Chinatown, Jenny Sherman flagged down Duke and Chin as they entered the office.  “Duke, your son, Tom, called and would like to speak to you as soon as possible,” she reported.  To Chin, she handed two memos.  “Nick has a report on an informant in Little Tokyo that might be able to help you.  Says he’ll meet you if necessary.”  The second slip of paper was delivered with a smile.  “Alia wants to know if you need lunch brought over.  Apparently the girls are taking up cooking and baking in their spare time.”


Kelly chuckled as he shook his head.  “And did she ask how many of us would be in the office for lunch?”


Jenny winked.  “You mean which detectives would be here?  How did you know that, dad?  You sound like the father of a teenage girl who likes to come in and flirt with one of your colleagues.”


Chin Ho gave a smile to the sergeant and nodded toward the secretary.  “Flirting isn’t only for the teenage girls,” he teased.  “How is Nick today?”


“Just fine, thank you,” Jenny grinned with satisfaction.


“Makes me glad I only have sons,” Lukela smiled.  “You think Danny would mind if I use his office to call Tom?”


“No, I’m sure he wouldn’t, he and Ben are still out.”


Chin told the secretary to call his home and let Mai know he would be working late again tonight.  Lunch and dinner would be okay if the girls wanted to bother driving into the city.


Dialing the memorized number, a voice she recognized as Alia answered barely after the first ring.  Bored high school girls, she smirked.  Good thing Mai and Chin  gave the older kids time limits on the phone, otherwise no one would be able to get through.


Lukela made himself at home in Williams’ cubicle and dialed home, wondering what his graduating high school senior son had to say that was so urgent he called the Palace.  The last days of school had been disrupted by this bombing spree and there was uncertainty if the elementary, middle schools and high schools would reopen, or just go on an extended summer vacation without the formal year-end exams.  Much debate had been flung out at school board meetings, city council meetings and in the editorial column and letter section of the papers.  Principles, teachers, students, parents, had been interviewed by reporters, and numerous polls of all kinds were plastering the airwaves and papers daily. The tourist industry was complaining that overreactions would damage their business, and the whole city seemed in an uproar.  It only added to the stress of the atmosphere and the pressure on McGarrett and Five-0.


As he listened to the rings, he pondered Tom’s recent conversations with him.  The youngest of three boys, Tom was struggling to find his place among his peers and brothers.  Duke had not been home much since the bombings, but knew last night when he went home for a quick snackand he was assailed by a very upset young man.  School cancellation interfered with finals and graduation and parties—all the important things in the teen’s young life.  The son of a cop, Tom knew the realities of his father’s work, but he still was enough of a typical kid to believe at least part of the world still revolved around him – or at least it should.


“Hello.” Snatched up on the third ring with a curt snap.


“Hello, son, what did you need?”


“Dad, I am NOT going to Auntie’s on the Big Island! This bomber is going to get caught in a few days, right?  I have graduation to think about!  And the prom is Friday!  You can’t send me away!”


“Son, your mother is worried – “


“Come on, Dad, save me on this, please!”


Doris and he had discussed sending Tom to his niece on the Big Island until the violence gripping Oahu was over.  Never one to encourage fleeing in the face of danger, Duke agreed it was prudent.  His son’s agitated objections though, gave him second thoughts.  He DID feel that Doris was overreacting.


“All right, let’s discuss this when I get home.  But don’t antagonize your mother, Tom, and this might just be a stay, not a pardon.”


“Gotcha, Dad, mahalo.”


The line went dead and he knew he was going to pay for that when he got home – with a stern lecture from Doris about solidarity among parents.  He would just have to convince her to not worry so much.  Sam and Jake, the older boys, were both up at Laie at college, and Duke felt they were safe there, but the high school teen was upset and angry – probably suffering from feelings of cowardice if shipped off to another island.  It didn’t help that Doris tended to overcompensate with the last child at home.  She was usually a sturdy girl – she had to be as a cop’s wife – but this might be a hard one for Tom and him to convince her about.


“Trouble at home?” came a quiet voice from the doorway.


Lukela turned and sighed out a long breath,  Yeah, Steve.  It’s the bombings.  Doris wants to send Tom over to the Big Island.  He’d rather stay here and go to the prom.”


The comment was light, meant to infuse mild humor into the serious situation, but McGarrett did not find it amusing.  Their little ohana was not the only part of the populous apprehensive about the recent violence.


“You need to go home?”


“No, it will be fine.”


The tone was tough, but Steve detected an echo of disturbance in the voice.  He was territorial about his ohana.  How rough must it be for the staff with real families?  His promises to catch the bomber were sincere, fervent, but emotional responses to the crisis.  In reality, he knew it might get a lot worse before it got better.


“We’ve all been putting in a lot of overtime on this, Duke.  I want you to go home and spend some time with your family tonight.”  The officer started to object, but McGarrett halted him.  “I think that’s what you need to do.”



* * * * *


Never comfortable in front of the public scrutiny, McGarrett had learned press conferences and media interviews were one of the distasteful elements of his career choice.  Filing into the small conference room on the first floor of the Capitol Building, McGarrett followed Governor Jameson, Tom Sullivan of the FBI and Chief Dann of HPD to the long table set before a number of folding chairs.  Cameras, lights, tripods and microphones were all aligned before them like crouching predators. The chief of state began without preamble, conveying sincere and heartfelt sympathies for the victims of the latest bombing and the previous strikes.  He issued standard statements that Five-0, HPD, and government officials were doing all they could to assist victims and prevent further attacks.  Each of the law enforcement representatives spoke for a few moments, generalizing their investigations into vague commentary. Then came the part McGarrett disliked the most, the question and answer session.


Several barbs were directed at the FBI, including speculation by one reporter that the attacks were directed against military targets. 


“Since Federal personnel were victims naturally the Bureau would be involved,” Sullivan assured.


“How are you going to keep Hawaii safe from more attacks, McGarrett?”


“In cooperation with the FBI and HPD, Five-0 is working to collect evidence and find the perpetrators – “


“McGarrett or Sullivan,” one man in the front waved, “do you think this is a statement against America’s involvement in Vietnam?”


McGarrett tuned out the political rhetoric of the reporter and with a nod gave the question to his colleague.  As was his habit, he scanned the crowd, noting the media reps were eagerly hanging on every word, but anxious to ask leading questions, even supplying answers for the officials.  The tense mood in the room was tangible, a confrontational attitude coming from the people they faced, and a defensive attitude from the on-the-spot officials behind the table.  Except for the head of Five-0.  McGarrett was frustrated.  He would rather be out being useful rather than trapped here under the hot lights and sizzling questions.


When it was over, he made a dash for the door and slipped out before any of the reporters could snag him.  Trotting across the parkway to the back of the Palace, he was relived no one accosted him in an attempt at an exclusive interview.  Dashing up the stairs to the Five-0 wing, he was already focused on Five-0’s next moves in this delicate and deadly chess match.



* * * * *


The attack was instant.  As soon as McGarrett emerged from the protective bastions of the Palace, the wolves were upon him.  News cameras and microphones in his face, literally, startled and took him aback momentarily.  The gaggle of reporters all yelled at once and he forcefully pushed at the annoying little man in the front, stepping on the foot that did not move out of his way fast enough, denying to himself that it was a deliberate defensive maneuver.


“McGarrett, come on, you’ve got to say something about these bombings!” one man yelled.


He could barrel through them like a rolling wall of fresh pahoehoe, but it would only incite their aggressive instincts.  Better to give them a few crumbs rather than brush them off with a no comment line, which, in their mood, would only escalate the hostility level.  Long ago he had learned part of his job was to deal with the press, not just run them over.


“Is it true there’s a direct link to Hanoi –“


“Doesn’t it prompt you to support the efforts to end the war?”


“What do you think the President should do –“


At the bottom of the steps, his passage effectively blocked by a wall on one side and the clamoring mob at his chest, at his side and back, he paused to sweep the media vultures with an angry glare.  How had they grabbed onto the idea about Vietnamese involvement?  It was a theory he had thought of only today.  He had discussed it only with Danno and Bergman.  Was there a leak in the coroner’s office?  Were the reporters a little smarter than he gave them credit – piecing he puzzle together as quickly as he had?


“I deal in facts,” he sternly reminded them.  “When we have solid evidence to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, they will be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”  He glared into the nearest camera so the message was unmistakably clear to all the viewers – including the killers.  “And if the murderous bombers are watching this, I have a message for them.  We will find you.  There is no doubt.  You can’t crawl far enough, or hide deep enough that Five-0 will not track you down.”  Trying to slide through, he could not manage, still stuck tight by the human wall. 


“Aren’t you taking on more than Five-0 can handle if this is backed by the Vietnamese government?”


“What about the politics of the war?” someone else asked.


Temper now flaring, he elbowed into the short man who was no match for him and seemed to be favoring his right foot.  The jab to the man’s left ear created a painful “yowl” and he ducked, giving McGarrett a place to slide through.


“I never get involved with politics,” he tersely reminded.


“What about the Vietnamese –“


“Do you think the President –“


McGarrett swung on the particularly offensive female who had the mic in his face.  He pushed it away with a violent swipe and breathed out incensed ire like fire from a dragon.  “I have sworn an oath to uphold the laws and statutes of the State of Hawaii, which is part of the United States of America.  I am a Naval Reservist.  I am duty bound to support the Commander in Chief of this nation.”


“And if these bombings are perpetrated by a foreign government, what will you say if the President –“


“You guys have the most ridiculous questions,” he muttered under his breath and almost hoped it would be picked up on the evening news.  “Look, I don’t fly to Washington and tell the President how to do his job.  The President does not come to the Palace here and tell me how to run the state police.  Now why don’t you guys grow up and give us some space so we can do our job!”


“Freedom of the press!  The public has a right to know –“


“It’s more important that we catch these criminals and stop the killing than it is to talk into your cameras.”


The woman dashed in front of him.  “Then tell us this,” Ms Vernor, the chief woman’s lib shark at the Advertiser demanded in his face. “You just appointed a new detective to Five-0.  While I’m sure Officer Kokua is highly qualified, why didn’t you allow a female officer into your exclusive boy’s club?”


Putting on his sweetest smile, allowing the dripping sarcasm to flow in his tone, he responded right down into her face, “We already covered that at the press conference, Ms Vernor.  Maybe you should check your notes if you can’t remember.  They say the memory is the first to go.”  He pushed past the stunned woman, her nonplussed, off-balance shock providing no obstruction at all for his determined surge.  “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” 



* * * * *


“So, you’re not making much of an effort to make friends among the press,” the younger man smirked as he chuckled at his boss.


McGarrett sputtered and shook his head.  “No.  Not taking my own advice about the no comment stance.”


“Sometimes you just have to let off steam,” Williams nodded in understanding. “When this is all over, it would be nice to get some good press for a change.”


“Don’t hold your breath.”


“I won’t.”  He snickered.  “Especially after your zinger to the Vernor dragon!”


The comment drew a chuckle from the otherwise grim chief.  “I hope it makes her think twice about stupid questions, but again, don’t hold your breath.  Particularly since she may have to buy a new pair of shoes.  My exit was a little heavy, if you know what I mean.”


This garnered a laugh from the younger officer, and it cheered McGarrett to hear the response, feel the momentary relaxation in the discussion.  It reminded him that amid the stress, no matter what was happening around him, he had a core ohana – a brother – to turn to no matter what – to center him back to the ability to step away from the stress and irritations and tragedy and set himself back to a track where he could think and effectively act.


On the rest of the drive to the coroner’s, Williams returned their focus to business and reported the lab findings.  They put together a profile of the attackers: deadly, Asian and/or Vietnamese -- this last one blew himself up – accident probably and not suicide bombers like the protesters in Asia.  Attacking soft targets without mercy or pattern. 


McGarrett grimly shook his head.  “This won’t be easy, Danno.  They aren’t too careful about hiding the clues.  Our people are piling up the evidence.  How can we fight ghosts?  We don’t know what they look like, what they want, except to strike terror in the city.  We have to catch them at it to end this!”


“And that means more bombings,” Williams groaned.  “People waking up tomorrow morning are going to be scared.  What did the Governor say?”


“He’s going to keep open lines to the press and has asked for tip hot lines into his office.  That’s supposed to be starting tonight.”


Williams’ sigh came deep in his throat and the boss’ grimace was sour.  “Yeah.  Tip hot lines.  We’ll get as many cranks as we will anything useful.”


“More cranks,” the older man vowed.  “And that’s his idea to deal with the panic?”

“What else is he going to do, Danno?”


The officer shrugged.  “At least he didn’t ask you to man the phones.”


This raised an eyebrow form McGarrett.  “What’s that supposed to mean?”


“Just a comment on how you charm the press and public, Steve.”




* * * * *


Releasing a whoop of joy, Kelly yanked the teletype message from the machine and jogged toward the boss’ office, waving the paper in the air like a victory flag.  Without knocking, he barged into the private domain.  McGarrett, in shirtsleeves, froze behind his desk, a file folder in both hands.  With jacket removed, sleeves rolled up, tie loosened, Williams, sitting on the edge of the desk, looked up from the notebook he had been reading from.


“Immigration records!” Kelly shouted out. “The fingerprint belongs to a Chinese dude named Huong Troc -- supposed to live in Saigon.  He’s registered as living at a house by the university, known as a Vietnamese hang out.”  He handed the paper to McGarrett who scanned the names as the Oriental officer continued.  “You’ll see some other names there that came up as FBI red flags.  The Feds have their eyes on three of them for suspicious ties to North Vietnam.”


McGarrett’s energy and expression heightened, he dropped the papers in hand to move back to the coat rack to retrieve his jacket, preparatory to exiting.  The first solid lead in this aggravating case had a name, a place, a direction.  He was in motion, his instincts knowing they had something solid and could finally move forward with momentum instead of drifting along in the wake of the blast of violence.


Williams grabbed his suit coat from the back of the nearest chair when Kelly stopped both lead detectives.


“Lots of people at this place been arrested for protests.  FBI has their eyes on the whole bunch.  Here’s the biggest news,” the Oriental smiled.  “This Troc dude, he’s on the Interpol list as Red Chinese Communist agent!”


The phone started ringing, but McGarrett was already trotting out of the office.  “That’s probably Sullivan from the FBI right now, trying to catch up,” he almost chuckled in derision as the team raced out of the office.


By the time the two Five-0 sedans rolled up to the two story house in Manoa, three HPD blue and whites were careening around the nearest corner.  Not waiting for back up, McGarrett raced ahead, confident his men and more were at his  back.  Offering a preemptive knock and announcement, McGarrett didn’t wait to be invited in, but tried the doorknob, which was unlocked.  Barging in, seeing from the corner of his eye that Kelly, Kokua and HPD officers had raced around to the back, he slammed inside, low, scanning with eyes and gun barrel as he assessed his surroundings in an instant.  Williams, just behind and to the right, made the same practiced move.


Evidence that snacks, a plate of eggs and rice, cups of tea were hastily abandoned, even spilled, were taken in at a glance as the two Five-0 detectives and three HPD patrolmen swept through the empty front room.  Warily, but quickly, moving through the bottom floor, they stopped when they came to the kitchen.  Through the narrow doorway they spotted Kokua wrestling a subdued suspect into the house.  A thin, short, Asian youth, he was no match for the former-football player, who indelicately smashed him face first into the square wooden table set in the middle of the kitchen.


Chin shook his head as he came in after the suspect.  He was shouting at the man in strident, clipped, Chinese.  After a moment, he looked at the boss.  “This is a small fry, Steve. Troc not here, but this guy might know something.”


“We caught him trying to go over the fence in the back yard,” Kokua shook his head in perplexity.  “He put up a fight!”


“Not so smart,” Kelly grimaced, telling the detainee something else in Chinese.


“We’ve got Mallory and Nick heading a search of the rest of the neighborhood, but no sign of Troc.”


“Read him his rights,” McGarrett snapped in disgust, resisting the urge to grab the sleaze by the collar and shake a confession out of him.  “Book him under a John Doe and keep him isolated at the Palace,:” he warned.  “We don’t want any slip ups on security with our only lead.” Kokua manhandled him out the door, Kelly behind.  McGarrett’s last command stopped them momentarily.  “And read him his rights. 
In English and Chinese and Vietnamese.  When we take this case to trial we want it all by the book.”


“You got it, Luna nui,” the new detective nodded.


McGarrett did a double take.


Without explaining to Ben, Williams provided the translation.  “Big boss.”


Ignoring the Hawaiian lesson, McGarrett vented his frustration by kicking the leg of the table.  Giving instructions for the other officers to do a careful sweep of the rest of the house, he paced, breathing hard, dissipating the tension, the adrenalin, the unfulfilled energy of failure.


“We had him, Danno!” came the sudden shout that rang through the nearly empty room.  “We had him and he was tipped, or he spotted us.”


His colleague almost shaking with rage, Williams stood back and allowed him to vent.  Close, but not fast enough.  It was frustrating and tough on McGarrett, who so desperately wanted to catch these fanatics.  Accustomed to the emotional tirades, he allowed his friend to blow off steam, then simmer.  In a few moments the brilliant detective would see it was unproductive to give in to anger, and he would re-focus on the priorities of the case.


A frequent witness to such moments, Dan knew if the tension became too great he would have to step in and offer more than just silent support.  He would have to talk his friend back from the tight frustration that often surrounded a harsh case like this one. 

They all dealt with the merciless violence to innocent victims, to the media attacks, to the pressure, in different ways.  Most of the rest of the staff had families to go home to and share the maddening elements of the job.  McGarrett had no one to talk to, to think with, to vent to, except him.  It had never been part of the job description when he came into Five-0, but it had developed through their mutual working hours, and as a side effect of their gradually established friendship. 


That was not counting all the times HE had vented to Steve over any number of crisis moments in his life.  It had been a two way street so far, and he knew the days ahead could be the worst they had ever weathered if they did not catch this bomber soon.


Judging that the silence was not going to be enough this time, he quietly offered, “We have a lot more than we did an hour ago.”  Glancing into the living room, he noted officers carefully prowling the room – without touching anything -- searching for clues.  “It won’t be long now, Steve.”


“Yeah,” came barely a breathed whisper.  “I know I promised we would get these fanatics,” McGarrett seethed.  “We need it to be soon.”


Williams was not surprised they were thinking the same thing, committing to the identical course, even down to practically the same phrasing.  Over the years they had come to read each other well, but more than that, to anticipate what the other would do, say, or even think – that was how in tune they worked.  While every law enforcement officer around them wanted the bad guys as badly as they did, he knew no one was going to work harder than the head of Five-0 to achieve that goal.


Sergeant Nick Kamekona leaned in the doorway.  “Steve, Danny, you better come upstairs.  There’s some things you need to see.”


Anticipation of a dire revelation filled him, and with a quick glance at his superior, as McGarrett raced from the room, he knew they were on the same track again.  Jogging up the stairs, Nick led them to a bedroom in the back of the house.  On a long wooden table, neatly laid out, were a dismantled clock, variously colored insulated wires, small tools – all the components for another bomb.


McGarrett issued orders for the other officers to do a careful search of the rest of the house.  Williams concentrated on the assembled items, dread growing quickly in the pit of his stomach. 


“Steve?” his heart increasing its rapid rate as he visually scanned the table.


McGarrett was leaning down beside him, studying the array on the table.  “Yeah.  These are just scraps aren’t they?”


“I think so,” he nearly whispered.  “And you’ve noticed what’s missing.”


“Right. The explosive.”


“Yeah.  That means they’ve got the makings, including the big boom factor, with them.”


“Already assembled maybe?”


“No, the clock is still here,” he shook his head.  “But by tomorrow they could have another clock and launch another attack.”


“Then we’ve got to stop them tonight.”


Duke had joined them, handing a half sheet of paper to McGarrett.  “Found this on the floor downstairs, like it had fallen under the chair when everyone took off in a hurry.”


Standing at his boss’ elbow, Williams read the hand scrawled ad for a protest rally at the Capitol.  “This afternoon at five,” he read aloud.  “Just in time to snarl up downtown traffic at quitting time,” he sourly assessed.


“Maybe we’ll see some familiar faces.”  McGarrett snapped his fingers as his anticipation and adrenalin quickened.  “Get the pictures of the Vietnamese we’re looking for out to as many patrolmen as possible.  To anyone who will be at the Capitol this afternoon!  I want them nabbed before they have a chance to take out the state government!”



* * * * *



The Five-0 team and plainclothes HPD associates hit the campus of the University of Hawaii to track down information on the Vietnamese students.  Going through all the proper channels had been a waste of time in McGarrett’s opinion, but it covered their backs so there was official sanction of their procedures while on campus.  On the surface, the South Vietnamese refugees were opposed to communists and wanted nothing to do with anti-war protesters.  In the case of a civil/same-race war, infiltrators were hard to spot, so the head of Five-0 suspected the refugee ranks had been peppered with spies.  McGarrett experienced this likely scenario firsthand from his experiences as a spy catcher in Korea. 


The best way to find the bombers was for the South Vietnamese to cooperate.  For this, Five-0 landed at the unusual venue of the local University.  When they arrived at the student activities center, unexpected and unwanted tagalongs appeared; Suzy, Tim, and David Kelly.  Assembled at the student quad, with his men, McGarrett flatly declared any involvement from civilians was forbidden.


“You are to stay clear of this operation,” he ordered the siblings, sternly stabbing them each with unquestioned resolve.


“We could help –“


“By staying out of the way.”  Not giving another thought to the trio, he turned to instruct his men. 


In the background he heard the family patriarch admonishing his daughter and sons to obey the boss’ mandate. 


“Suzy,” her father snapped, ill pleased at her comments.  “Steve knows how to run an investigation; he doesn’t need your interference.”


Satisfied the matter was in hand he ordered, “Let’s spread out.”


“This won’t be easy,” Williams warned the top detective as they briskly paced toward the center of the university.


“Maybe we should have put in an undercover operative,” Steve almost smiled.  “Think you could pass as a student?”  He didn’t give his friend any time to respond.  “I bet Suzy would have volunteered to show you around.”


Shhh,” he countered under his breath.  “You don’t want Chin to hear you.”


“You mean YOU don’t want Chin to overhear you being embarrassed about his daughter’s crush on you.”


Suzy chose that moment to look pleadingly at the younger detective.  She scooted over to his side.  “Did I hear you talking about an undercover operation?  I could –“


“Not a chance,” McGarrett nixed.


She smiled at Williams.  “Danny?”


“No thanks,” Dan winked at the Kelly girl.  “Being a cop is hard enough without sitting in classes again.”


“We’ll see you later, Suzy,” McGarrett dismissed, then led the policemen toward the center’s entrance.


The student hall was set up in casual groupings of chairs and tables. Everything in the large open areas reflected strong Oriental designs.  Bold art and sculptures adorned the shelves and alcoves.   Kokua and HPD uniformed officers remained outside to minimize the attention of the cops on campus.  McGarrett, Williams and Kelly drifted through the big, casual rooms.  Circulating, the boss was annoyed to see the Kelly children had joined in on the investigation at some point. 


Suzy wandered to a group of five students sitting on the floor in the corner, while Tim and David separated to drift to a young man playing a guitar.  With a practiced eye, McGarrett watched the Kelly youths work the room, but he was more interested in the reaction the law enforcement presence would generate in the student body.


A few heads turned, some people watched them with varying degrees of interest; irritation, curiosity, resentment.  A young man and a young woman, near the corner where Suzy was visiting with others, studiously ignored the police.  Their lack of reaction was like trying to ignore an elephant sitting on one of the sofas.  It was just too practiced and complete.


Turning toward the doors, he leaned closer to his colleague and told Williams of his observation.  He was not surprised the veteran officer already had noted the obvious attempt to ignore them. 


“Danno, I’m going out to alert Duke and the others.  In about three minutes I want you to amble over and ask Suzy to get away from that couple.  I’m guessing that our two suspects will get uncomfortable with you so close and they will make a move to leave. As soon as they do, get on the talkie and let us know and we’ll trail them.”


“Sure.  You’re hoping they’ll rabbit to their cohorts.”


“I’m hoping.  In case they try something, just make sure Chin’s kids are clear.”




McGarrett strolled back the way they had come.  Williams took his time to stroll around the room, heading slowly towards Suzy.  When he reached her side, he took her by the arm and in a quiet tone told her to leave the area.  When she started to protest, his voice became low and urgent.  “This is not a game, Suzy, just do what I asked.  Now.  And get your brothers clear, too.  Now.”


Looking into his eyes, hers reflected the terse orders were registered, understood, and about to be obeyed.  Without question, she casually walked toward her siblings.  Williams had to admire her calm.  When Suzy was out of the way he ambled over toward the isolated Asian boy and girl.  Within a few feet of them, he knew McGarrett had targeted them correctly.  Nervous, they seemed agitated and looked anywhere but at him, except with fleeting, scared glances, as if gauging his distance. 


At arms length, he zeroed in on the girl, who had her back mostly toward him.  Surprised they had not jumped up and fled already, he ruminated on what his questioning would be – tough or casual – as he stopped next to them.


The suspect girl was up in a flash, spinning toward him before he could react.  The flicker of something bright in her hand, he instinctively swerved aside to avoid a direct stab with a lethal blade that she swiped toward his midsection.  The boy dashed away to his left.  Williams belatedly grabbed for the girl’s arm as she pivoted to turn and run.  The action brought her back, swinging around to stab at him again.  He had her in an arm lock, Chin instantly at his side, before she dropped the weapon in a wrench of pain.


A wail from Suzy sounded beside him.  What was she doing back?  He noted she was staring at him in shock.  Where had Suzy come from?  Why was she looking at him and crying?  Glancing down, he realized the girl had stabbed herself and the blood was spreading on his tan jacket – no – the blood was spreading farther and farther, seeping up from his white shirt.  HE had been cut!  Only then did he feel the sting of serrated flesh as the burning pain sizzled along his side.


He hoped the intrusive stab wasn’t deep, but it hurt plenty; the warm, dripping blood trickling through his fingers the sharp ache, and made it bad enough.  His cop mind ricocheted irrelevantly in a micro-second to the recent reign of stabbings, wondering if he had just become one of those statistics.  What stunned him most was the alarm generated by Suzy, who was frozen, standing just outside the chaos, pale with dread as her father cuffed the criminal – no older than Suzy herself. 


Tim and David kept calm heads by trying to appease the crowd.  One of them asked a fellow student to call for an ambulance.  Tim took possession of Chin’s talkie to alert the troops of the emergency.  David grabbed onto Dan’s arm and gently guided him over to the nearest seat.  By that time, Suzy’s numb reaction had dissipated and she pressed her hand against his own to stay the bleeding.


“I’m fine,” he told them, but his voice seemed distant and distracted.  It wasn’t a serious injury – he could tell already it was more of a slash than a stab, but the sting was disconcerting.  “It’s just a scratch.”


The elder Kelly child was calm and cool in the crisis.  “I know,” David reassuringly told him and forced him to take a seat on a sofa.  The young man even managed a little humor.  “Just a flesh wound, right, Danny?”


The students surrounding him were upset, disturbed, and while he was not very happy himself, he knew David’s approach – humor – was probably the best way to play this.  Low-key and subdued.


“Looks worse than it is,” he reassured, dredging up a smile for both the kids.  “Let me outta here and I’ll go have Doc patch me up.”


Quietly, his aide confided, “It’s not bleeding too bad, but the more movement the more you bleed.   You don’t want to get dizzy and faint or anything right?” he asked, his voice a few octaves higher than normal, his hands shaking and cool against Dan’s.


This was a lot of pressure for a young man who was unaccustomed to seeing violence and medical emergencies right in front of him.  The shocking, yet magnetic sight of the wounded officer seemed to attract and repel the crowd of college people.  Even though he didn’t feel much like doing his duty, or taking care of others right now – his head was starting to spin and he was, indeed, feeling faint – he wasn’t about to admit that or let it show.


“I’ll be fine, David.  Just get the crowd dispersed and get your brother and sister out of here, please.”  Williams strove for a placid mask in expression and tone.  “Go on.”


“And let you pass out on the floor?  That wouldn’t do your image any good at all.”


“No,” he agreed, knowing the young man was doing his best to keep everyone from panicking, including his family. “Good bedside manner, David,” he complimented.


“Pays to be an Eagle Scout.”  He leaned close and whispered, “Besides, don’t want to upset my sister.  Just sit here and don’t be a hero.  Let the ambulance come and get you.”


He wanted to remind the kid that he’d been wounded before and wasn’t wont to lose his cool even under duress, but he just kept quiet.  David was right to be the center of efficiency and make sure there was no unnecessary distress over the unfortunate incident.  This stab wound was pretty mild he was sure, but even if it wasn’t he wouldn’t make a big deal about it in front of his ohana and a crowd of college students.  Glancing at Suzy, who was sitting beside her brother, he gave her a reassuring smile. 


“How bad, Danny?” Chin wondered, crouching down nearby.


Williams nodded, noting two patrolmen were taking the girl away who had stabbed him.  What happened to the second suspect, he wondered.  They had probably lost him.  Duke and Ben were outside on the grounds of the campus.  Had they stopped the kid?  Were they back to square one on this caper?


“Not bad.”  Light headed, he knew his thinking was just a little skewed, and grinned at Suzy, who crowded next to her dad.  “It’s okay, really,” he winked, noting her eyes were pooled with distress.  “I could walk to the car –“


“Oh, no,” Chin sharply denied.


David ordered, “You’re staying right here.”


A commotion at the edge of the crowd caught his eye and he noted McGarrett barreling through the masses, his face tight with anxiety. “Danno!  Danno, what happened!  Are you all right?” he was shouting before he reached his side and knelt on the floor next to the couch.


Embarrassed at the fuss, he sighed. “Looks worse than it is,” he assured, appeasing his friend who was clearly upset.


Steve held his hand on Dan’s shoulder.  “There’s an ambulance on the way.”


Grimacing, only in part from the pain, Williams told his friend he would rather just walk out. 


His tone was firm and denied the idea, his voice hoarse and terse when he commanded. “You are not going anywhere, Danno.  Just stay put.”


Dan strove for lightness.  “It won’t make the dean very happy.  Our little excursion is bringing about all kinds of bad publicity.  Let me just walk back to the car.  I’m fine.  It’s nothing serious.”


It had been a tense stand off in the dean’s office not long ago when McGarrett told him of the link to the bombers and the need to set a trap on campus.  The U of H was worried about adverse publicity and the highly liberal population of students that would protest the police presence.  An “incident” would cause negative exposure for all. 


Irritated he had become the “incident”, Williams hoped to minimize the damage.  “Steve,” he appealed.


McGarrett’s lips were in a firm line of controlled distress, his face pale, his eyes focused on the younger detective’s midsection, where blood was still trickling from between the fingers and hands of both Williams and David Kelly.  McGarrett lent his own handkerchief to stay the flow of red and shook his head.  “You’re not moving,” he ordered tightly.


Over his friend’s shoulder, Williams noted the room had been cleared of students.  He wondered about the suspect and McGarrett grimly stated the male Asian had been captured and was being booked as they spoke. 


“Hang loose, Danno.  Just a few minutes and this will all be over.” 


The younger detective relaxed and closed his eyes, leaning his head back against McGarrett’s hand.  Aware the Kelly kids were still hovering in anxious concern, Steve’s primary worry was for Williams.  This had not been the plan!  This was a simple tracking and arrest excursion.  The attack was a sober reminder of how fragile the life and safety of a cop; how desperate their adversaries.


The ambulance attendants arrived with a stretcher and McGarrett gently shook Williams’ arm, quietly letting him know it was time to move.  Helping get the patient settled, he walked along with the attendants, encouraged that his observations and their initial report seemed positive.  Quickly thanking the Kellys and urging them to go home, he climbed in the back of the ambulance and silently, soberly, watched the attendant work on his friend on the trip to the hospital.



* * * * *


Bergman shook his head and offered no other comment as he studied the wound.  Speaking to the nurse assisting him, he gave orders for the usual tools needed to examine, cleanse and stitch a gash.  McGarrett looked on in grim silence.


“You’re very lucky, Danny.  This is your left side,” he lectured unnecessarily. "Away from vital areas. You lost some blood, obviously, but it looks like you avoided damage of any organs.  A little higher and that would have hit too close to your heart!”  He huffed again with impatience.  “We’ll check you out just to be sure.”


McGarrett’s release of tension was tangible.  “He’ll be all right?”


“I’m not even going to attempt to suggest he stay overnight.” 


“Doc –“


“Yes, Steve, he’ll be all right if he behaves himself!”


Niles, there is no need for shouting,” the nurse scolded. Dora Bergman tapped her husband on the arm in rebuke.  The slightly-built woman much shorter than her towering husband turned to Danny, then Steve.  “This is why he is a better coroner than a physician.


Ignoring his wife’s comment, he glared at the patient, then the lead detective, with hard eyes.  “Bed rest overnight and NO work!” he nearly shouted.


“Doc, we’ve got a bomber to – OWWW!” Williams hissed as Bergman jabbed him with a needle. 


“Local for the stitches,” he explained without mercy.


“Thanks for the bedside manner, Doc,” the patient groused.  “David Kelly is better than you.”


Which is why my best patients are already dead, detective.  Emphasizing his stance, he stabbed the hypodermic in the air toward both detectives.  “I mean it.  I know the world has to be saved.  That Danny Williams and Steve McGarrett are required to be on the front lines.  But if you don’t listen to me, young man, and Steve, you’re going to risk tearing the suture, cause more bleeding, and acquiring an infection.”


“You know the bomber –“


“Danny, there’s an entire police force out there!” Bergman shouted.  “I know how badly you need to stop these fanatics!  I’m the one who gets the victims, remember?” he argued, his tone as harsh as his expression.  “You’re the only living patients I have and I want you to stay that way despite your frequent actions to the contrary!”


“He’ll rest.”  The quiet, resolute words were nearly a balm in the dying echo of the chastisement.


Bergman cleared his throat, uncomfortable with his own outburst, apparently recognizing and accepting the grim demeanor of the man in charge.  Offering a supportive squeeze of Steve’s arm, Dora gave a nod of mute approval.  To the distressed patient, she winked and offered a gentle smile.


Giving a final huff of resignation, Bergman completed his task.  Instead of issuing any more ultimatums, he stood in the doorway, ready to leave, and considered both men.  “This is a tough one, boys.  Everyone expects you to stop the terror, but no one is a harsher critic than yourselves.  Don’t let it consume you, please.  I’ve seen enough victims this last week.  I don’t want either of you, or any of your guys, to be back here, or at my usual office.” 


“Take care, you two.  Danny, just rest, I’ll bring something by tomorrow.” Mrs. Bergman winked, quietly encouraging them and defusing the tension, then she preceded her husband into the hall.


Without making eye contact, he gave a nod and muttering of aloha and closed the door.


Knowing the doc was speaking in more than just physical terms, McGarrett absorbed the wise counsel.  The danger at the university had come out of nowhere.  Tracking down college students – he had been more worried about the aspect in political ramifications rather than jeopardy to his men.  Keep it a low key; subtle investigation.  Just a handful of uniformed men had joined the mission.  Colleges across the country were suffering from such confrontation. The anti-war feelings here in Hawaii – with so many servicemen in and out of the islands – were like a powder keg waiting to explode. 


The bombings had only exacerbated the high emotions.  The last thing the Governor, trustees, faculty and dean -- or he -- wanted was a comparison of storm troopers -- armed cops on campus.  Grimly studying Danno, he corrected that last thought.  The last thing he wanted, or expected, was his friend ending up in the hospital.  Grateful it was not a serious wound, mindful it could have been so much worse, his own emotions were running plenty hot. 


Staring at his friend struggling to don a borrowed hospital green shirt, McGarrett was stunned at how wrong he had been.  Not only were the student radicals dangerous, they were willing to attack an officer in a very public place, surrounded by many other officers, then flee rather than be captured.  Right now Chin and Ben were grilling the Vietnamese at HPD, and Duke and a team of HPD men were tossing the dorms where the kids stayed, tracking down friends and associates, hoping to catch more of the group.


Moving close to the table, he helped Dan get the shirt over his shoulder.  The younger officer would never say so, but the wound was smarting and was going to inhibit his actions for a little while.  More sobering was the attack, the unexpected emergency, the crisis that could have been far worse, striking where they least expected violence.  It was a metaphor, he thought, of the bigger picture; a type, signaling the layered dangers intrinsic to their investigation.


“Steve –“


“Don’t try to get around Doc’s orders, Danno.  I’m driving you home.  You’re resting for the rest of the night and probably tomorrow.” 


Williams gingerly eased off the table and McGarrett steadied him.  “Steve, you need me to 


“You’re right.  I need you.  I need you in good shape because even if we catch a lucky break on this bombing you are going to need to be in top shape to see it through.”  The demand was harsh and McGarrett knew it, but would not qualify the sharp orders.  “If we don’t get lucky, and this drags out, we are going to have more tragedy.  Then I’ll need my best man on the job and fit to work long hours.”


Knowing when not to argue was one of Danno’s best traits, and he chose this moment to capitulate and give in with a nod.  “So what’s new?” he rhetorically countered with a slight lilt of his lips.


“Yeah.”  Moving to the door, he held it open, signaling an end of discussion.


Accepting the conditions, Williams gave a curt, dissatisfied nod, and exited.



* * * * *


Five o’clock.  The time of the protest rally.  The time of the meet with Shorty at Hudson’s.  Williams knew it was a foolhardy risk, but he could not sit around his apartment while the solution to the killing sprees might be close at hand.  Shorty could have hot information.  This could be the break they needed.  He was the only one the informant would meet with – he had no choice.  At least that was the way he looked at it. That he was worried that Steve or one of his other buddies might find out he was escaping the recovery mandate – well – it was worth that personal risk, he determined.


Cruising into the parking lot at the restaurant by the wharf, Williams parked in a slot near the makai side and shut off the growling engine of the Mustang.  He could have brought the LTD, and would be feeling a lot better right now, since driving -- working the stick shift on the sports car -- did nothing good for his injury.  In fact, he was feeling a lot of strain and ache on his left side.  The delicious beauty of the drive, along the water, with the top down, the luscious warm sun on his face, the wind in his hair – it all compensated for the hurting.


Part of the reasons for his disobedience was that he truly thought he could help.  Some of it, though, was resentment that he was on the beach while his friends were doing the important work, facing danger, without him.  He did not easily or gladly counter Steve’s orders, or Doc’s, but this time he could do more good out working at least one source of information.  THEN he would go home


As an excuse, he told himself sometimes it was more important to medicate the emotional stress than the physical, and this was one of those instances.  If Steve found out he was driving his car—well – if Steve or Doc discovered he had run out on this little jaunt – either one or both would murder him.  Well, he could only break the rules on this once – or get killed once -- and he might as well make it a felony rather than a misdemeanor and drive the Mustang.


Shorty crossed in his rearview mirror and in a flash slinked into the passenger seat to slink down low.  “You didn’t tell me you were bringing a car without a top!”  he snapped.  “Anybody could see us!”


“Listen –“


“Never mind.  Just go.  I wouldn’t have come but this is serious, Williams,” he nearly whispered in an urgent tone.  “There’s an anti-war rally today.”


“Yeah.  Now.”


“Yeah, at the Capitol.”  He looked at the detective with a measure of some emotion Dan couldn’t define.  “Let your friends know it’s gonna be bad.”


“At the – a bomb!” Dan shot out.


“You’re looking for a guy named Troc.  He has a thin mustache and a scar over his right eye.  He’ll be dressed as a worker.”


Lao slipped out of the car and left so quick, it took Williams a moment to process it all.  Bomb.  He revved the car to life and sped from the parking lot.  If only he had a radio – there was no time to stop – only a few blocks to the Capitol.


Inappropriately called rush hour, the streets were clogged, many people just getting off work.  Added to that was the terrible crush of added bodies congregating around the Capitol and Palace square.  Breaking a number of traffic laws and all the speed limits, he raced around to come up on the Palace from King Street.  Screeching to a halt at the back of the Palace, he walked/jogged as fast as he could across the tree lined walkway to the Capitol.  He was already light headed from the exertion and pain when he spotted a man in blue.  The first cop he encountered was Nick Kamekona, who started a pleasant wave.  Dan stopped him by grabbing the walkie-talkie out of his utility belt.


“This is Williams, go to red alert.  The bomber is here!  He’s going to plant a bomb here at the rally!  We’re looking for a slight guy with a thin mustache and dressed as a maintenance worker or some other service kind of employee.  Remember, he’s armed!  Approach with all caution!”


“Danno, what are you doing –“


“Steve, I’m at the makai side of the Capitol by the Palace.  Nick is with me.  I just got word on this Troc guy and I believe it.”


“We’re checking the crowd,” came the hurried reply.  “I’m in the front.”


Where would they want a bomb?  Maximum impact.  Not the crowd.  Not protesters.  Statement.  Political statement.  Not sympathizers – political –


“Steve, I’m heading for the Governor’s office!”


“He’s not there!  I sent him home over an hour ago!” The voice was ragged, as if McGarrett was already in motion.


Williams scurried, jogged, holding his aching side as he hurried.  “Do the protesters know that?”


“No, they’re calling for the governor to make an appearance.” 


Nick was running along side him and he handed back the talkie.  “Get a bomb squad up to the Governor’s suite and get the top floor cleared.  Move the protesters away from that corner of the building.”


The elevator ran clear to the fifth floor and Williams drew the small .22 from his ankle holster on the short trip up.  When the doors opened he was already out of breath, with head spinning from the pain of his injury, but he could not afford to give up.  No telling how long it would take Steve and back up to get here.


When the doors opened he was ready for opposition, but the open hallway was clear.  Only a glance to the left assured him the lanai on the makai side of the volcano-shaped building – the side where the governor’s office held a spectacular view of Honolulu all the way to the harbor – was clear.  He swept into the interior where the governor’s reception office led to the private domain beyond.


A noise alerted him and he swung into the governor’s private office, coming up short when he spotted the skinny Asian man with a facial scar and mustache tinkering with something on the floor behind he huge, half-circle, koa wood desk.  The man ducked just as he fired.


“Another shot and you blow us both into pieces,” the thickly accented voice called out.  “Stay away or I explode Capitol and your governor!”


The ocean breeze brushed through the room and with it the faint noise of the protesters on the street five floors below.  “The governor’s not here,” Williams shouted back, the sweat making his grip on the small pistol slippery.  There were innocent lives down in the street, and probably office workers scattered on this side of the building.  Countless people would be killed or hurt if he did not stop this.  “Surrender now!”


“I would rather die!  A martyr to Ho Chi Min!”


Hoping to get an angle on the guy before the threat was fulfilled, the Five-0 officer edged slowly around the desk.  One shot was all he needed.  One clear strike at the head or the shoulder – anything to throw this guy off.


“You’re a fanatic –“


“A patriot!  You have brought war machines bombing deaths to my country so I bring to yours!”


Williams edged toward the side as the man raised the bomb in his left hand, holding it high, right hand bringing a wire close to the casing.  The madman sheltered behind the desk, the cop would not get a clear shot, but would be able to watch as the bomb was connected.  Could he drill a shot to the man’s hands?  As he rushed forward, intending to dive across the desk and tackle the bomber, a shot rang out from the open lanai doors.  A scream sounded from behind the desk, and Dan stopped cold, staring at McGarrett as he raced into the room from the open lanai doorway behind the desk, his revolver aimed at the crying criminal.


“Danno, you okay?” the chief asked, gulping deep breaths. 


Nick, Duke and Ben came in from behind the boss, grabbing the terrorist, dragging the shrieking prisoner, who was unceremoniously cuffed.  Dazed, Dan leaned against the desk.  After checking the prisoner and ordering Duke to give him his rights, Steve stepped over to his second-in-command.


“You all right?” he inquired as he critically eyed his friend, staring at where Dan was holding his side.


Aware his hand was moist, Dan grimaced and checkedto see his hand was indeed red with blood.  He must have popped a few stitches in his wild race to get here.   All he could do was nod, too tired to even speak.


“They will come!” Troc shrieked.  “My people follow!  Like the sands of sea!” he wept, then screamed as he was manhandled to his feet.  “You!” he spit at McGarrett.  “Death will find you!  All of you!” his strangled cry echoed before he passed out from the pain. None too gently, he was pulled away by the HPD men. 


Duke lingered, eyeing Danny.  “You need an ambulance?”


“I’m okay,” he brushed away.


McGarrett took his arm in an unrelentingly firm hold.  “He’s on his way to the doc’s right now.”  His look to his friend was grim, and for Dan’s ears only, he intently demanded. “I’ve had enough of fanatics for a while.”


Contrite that his plan to covertly work on the case had utterly failed, he knew he had been saved a tongue lashing only because he had managed to miraculously stop the bombing and capture Troc.  Or maybe it was because he was managing to keep his blood off the governor’s carpet.  He was already in enough trouble.


“Me, too,” he resigned as he slowly started out of the room.  “I know you’re not happy about me disobeying your orders, Steve, but I need to ask you a favor.”  Drained, worn out, he leaned on his stronger friend as they paused in the doorway.


“What?” came the guarded question, the senior detective obviously not sure he wanted to do anything to cater to the errant officer.


“I drilled a hole in the governor’s wall.  You think you can square it for me?”


A sputter turned into a dry chuckle and the taller man steered him out the door.  “I’ll see what I can do, Danno.”



* * * * *



The drive to the nearby hospital was complicated by the ongoing protests and still clogged traffic jams.  Williams said little, feeling bone-weary, sore and worried.  Troc’s threats still rang in his ears, and he feared what might happen next.  The captured leader could be isolated, but he could still deliver messages to his followers through various agents.  Perhaps there was a pre-standing plan in the event of Troc’s capture or death.  What worried him most was the utter vile spewing from Troc directly at McGarrett.


“Steve, that was a great shot, by the way,” he complimented, opening one eye and turned to observe the driver.  “It looked like you took out his elbow.  Won’t be making any bombs after your shot.”


Smirking, McGarrett inclined his head slightly, still concentrating on the traffic.  “Mahalo, Danno.  Coming from you that means a lot.”


“You’re a better pistol shot than I am,” he returned, closing his eye again.  “He was threatening you, Steve.”


“Hot-aired fanatic.”


“Some extra security wouldn’t hurt.”


“I can take care of myself, Danno, which is more than I can say about you.”


Williams sighed, not wanting to get into any debates with his boss about the infractions of the day.  He knew he would get enough lectures already.


Releasing a heavy sigh, McGarrett wryly commented, “You know, I’m not sure I want to know what happened to bring you to the Capitol.  You’ll probably get a medal for saving the day and snagging Troc,” he snorted.


Dan grimaced as he fingered the soggy material of his Aloha shirt under his hand.  “I’d rather have a few new additions to my closet.  This case is really costing me in wardrobe.”


“In more ways than one,” came the quiet aside.  “Hardly the kind of finale I expect when I send you home for recovery.”


“I can explain it.”


“I’m sure you can.  After Doc clears you to come back to work.”


“For once, I agree.”



* * * * *



Bergman’s reprimands and complaints were diminished by the congratulatory mood that Troc had been captured.  Many of the Vietnamese protesters had also been rounded up from the gathering, McGarrett learned as he waited at the hospital with Williams.  It might be hard proving conspiracy with some of them, but he was sure within the next few days – before he had to release some of them – they could get charges to stick.


“I don’t know if I can trust you to obey anything I say,” Bergman complained as he finished his stitching job, “but see if you can stay out of trouble for a few days. I need the rest.”


“No argument from me, Doc.”


“And any more injuries, Danny, and I’ll bill you for hospital greens,” he griped as he handed the patient a surgical shirt.


Bergman helped get the garment over his left shoulder.  “Dora will probably take pity on you and drop by tomorrow with some of her home cooking.”


“Tell her late, Doc,” Williams advised as he eased off the table.  “I’m sleeping in.”


“I’m taking him straight home,” McGarrett promised as they walked into the hall, the pace slow in accordance with the injured detective. 


The wound was relatively minor, but the bleeding and expended energy, atop the generally weary, overstressed condition from the heavy case, left Williams limp with fatigue.  He looked forward to a couple days off.  The feeling of completion and success was there, as he often felt after a harrowing case, but there was also the subliminal dread from the crazed threats of the fanatic Troc.


“Steve, you know Troc must have a whole gang of minions here.  I think maybe you should set up some guards at your place and the Palace.”


As he stabbed the elevator button, McGarrett scoffed.  “Danno, all fanatics rant after their master plots are foiled.”


The trail of misery was still tangibly fresh to him.  These animals preyed on the innocent, fuelling their fanaticism and violence with pain, blood and death.  That the flame of tragedy could extend to his own ohana – to his friend – was unthinkable.


“Steve, really –“


“Danno, I’ll be fine.  And you’re not to worry about it.”  The doors opened and McGarrett took him by the elbow and urged him inside the lift.  “The only thing I want you thinking about for the next few days is the girls on the beach.”


Unsatisfied with the expected response, Williams pondered how he could manage to get a better level of protection for his stubborn boss.  On the way to the car they discussed meal options – something quick – McGarrett wanted to get back to the hospital to oversee security for Troc, then HPD to check on the booking of the other prisoners.


At the black Mercury, Williams stopped.  “I need to get my car anyway,” he pointed out. 
”I’ll just walk over to the Palace –“


“I’m taking up home,” McGarrett countered unwaveringly, opening the door for him.


Williams stood his ground.  “I’m not leaving my car overnight in a parking lot.”


McGarrett seemed almost amused at the stubborn stance.  Almost.  “Not even at the state police building?”




“Danno – “


“Steve, I’ll go right home.  You can take care of your business.”  McGarrett’s stare was clearly skeptical, even in the dying light of the tropical sun drifting down to twilight.  “And maybe talk to Duke about some extra security –“


“Danno, don’t push your luck.”


The tone was sharp and out of patience. While he had been playing a game of give and take, mostly, Dan now grew somberly serious.  “Steve, Troc was not kidding.”


“I know.  We’ll watch ourselves, trust me.”  He patted Dan’s shoulder.  Which applies to you, too, aikane.  He’s not going to thank you for your role in his capture.”


“Then it makes sense –“


“For you to go home and stop worrying.  I WILL alert HPD and they can coordinate stepped up security for all law enforcement personnel.  I won’t feel we’re done with this fanatic until all of his gang are behind bars.”



* * * * *



Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, the sun breaking through pastel clouds over Diamond Head.  The fresh sunrise cast a pinkish glow over Waikiki as McGarrett jogged along the firm sand of the tide-damp beach.  The air was crisp and fresh, the breeze gentle on his skin, the sky a perfect blue behind the colorful clouds.


On a day like this it made every sacrifice and every hardship worth the effort.  As his tennis shoes paced tracks in the golden sands, he knew his perspective had everything to do with the end of the violence.  There would be much ahead for legal details and hunting down any errant radicals from Troc’s insurgents. Spies infiltrating from a hostile country might be many, but he questioned it.  This was probably an operation sanctioned by the North Vietnamese government, although he doubted they could ever prove that.  FBI and CIA reps had been conferring with him late into the night, but the meeting was a mere detail.  What happened now beyond the borders of Hawaii was not his concern.  His job was to make sure they had the evidence necessary to keep these animals in jail for life.


An elderly couple at a fruit stand stopped him to thank him for catching the mad bomber.  A little embarrassed at the public praise, he was waylaid for several moments by other shopkeepers who shook his hand in recognition of the arrest.  It wasn’t all that unusual to be recognized by the public he served.  Head of Hawaii Five-0 WAS a high-profile job, but it was unusual for the comments to be positive, let alone effusive. After handshakes from three more people he cleared the crowds and returned to jogging. Getting back on track, he had to smile.  Today was definitely a good morning.


Curving up the sand to the sidewalk on Kalakaua, he steered automatically toward the end of the long, tree-lined street, where he would usually rendezvous with his friend.  Smiling slightly, he knew Danno was probably still asleep at this hour.  He had been pretty done in last night, and McGarrett had felt serious misgivings about sending the younger officer home on his own – a slender element of mistrust still simmering after the disobedience yesterday.  Much had been forgiven, though, in light of the heroic and timely arrival of Williams to literally save the Capitol and many lives – the Five-0 ohana and his own included.


Coursing along the sidewalk toward the Ala Wai, he had to stop for a red light.  Jogging in place, he noted his shoe was untied and knelt to tie it.  Straightening again, he jogged in place until the light turned green, but now he was on automatic pilot, his mind working full time in cop-mode.  As he had bent down, he had spotted a slightly-built Asian woman in short shorts and a t-shirt, watching him from the beach.  Not unusual, except he had spotted her twice before, he realized in hindsight.  On different stretches of Waikiki, she had appeared, only noted by his subconscious.  The third time was the undoing, he felt, as he kept his pace, but used store windows and reflections from big bus panel glass to keep track of the woman who was following him.


Unarmed as he usually was for a jog, he felt the creepy stirrings of apprehension dance across his shoulder blades as he took to heart Danno’s tenacious warnings of the night before.  He did not dismiss the concerns, but felt they did not apply to him.  He was immune to the rantings of fanatics.  He was the head of Five-0 and felt any threat could be easily dealt with.  Now, though, that the danger seemed possible, he recognized the first flush of anxiety – not for himself – but others.  Danno, mainly, but Duke and Nick and others had been there last night at the arrest.  He could take care of himself, but Danno was on his own, injured.


Two patrolmen at the corner were making their morning rounds and McGarrett slowed to a walk, then stopped to talk to them.  When he glanced in the window of the nearest shop, the Asian woman was not to be seen.  Casually, he scanned the street on both sides, but could not spot her.


Distracted, he tried to focus on the legitimate reason to talk to the HPD men.  He asked that the Waikiki beat officers stroll down to the end of Kalakaua a few times during their shift and check on Williams’ condo, just to be on the safe side.  He was still concerned about his second.  HPD had been alerted to the events of the night before, and such a request was almost expected.  Most of Hawaii was breathing a sigh of relief this morning, but cops were not letting their guard down yet.


The rest of the jog went with a slightly increased speed and a great awareness of his surroundings.  He resisted the urge to call Danno as soon as he reached his apartment, telling himself he was imagining a threat and there was no reason to wake his recovering friend.  The logic lasted until he reached the empty offices of Five-0, the shadows stretching with sinister shades and the loneliness a tangible weight as he passed through the still rooms to his own office.


Snatching up the phone, he dialed the familiar number with impatient stabs, and drummed his fingers in a sharp tap as he waited.  One.  Two.  Thr --




Sleepy, but a welcome and reassuring sound.  McGarrett sighed with relief, now feeling foolish with his worry.  “Morning, Danno.  How are you doing?”


“Hey, Steve.  I actually slept in.  Was trying to think of a reason to get out of bed when you called.”


Chuckling, smiling at the commonplace security of knowing his friend was well and safe, he settled into his chair.  “Good.  Listen, just hang loose today and I’ll drop by with dinner tonight.”


“Great.  If I’m not here, I’ll be on the beach.”


“Don’t get burned.”




“And no surfing.”


“No surfing,” the younger officer laughed.


Hanging up, McGarrett kept his hand on the receiver, smiling with profound relief.  The imagined threat was as wispy as the sea wind brushing the palm fronds outside his window.  All was right in his kingdom.


The usual caseloads had not disappeared with the arrival of the more urgent bombing violence.  Today, although it was Saturday, was the time to clear up paperwork and see to investigations of lesser crisis.


Jenny did not come in on weekends unless there was an ongoing crisis.  The detectives fended for themselves with phone calls and coffee, taking messages for each other in lieu of the secretary.  When the ringing of the outer office line continued for what seemed like an extremely long time, McGarrett recollected Chin and Ben were out on a call to Aiea.  With extreme irritation, he dropped the pen scratching out notes and grabbed for his phone, pounding the pulsating button connected to the main line.


“McGarrett.”  His eyes canned the digital clock, amazed it was after Two in the afternoon!  Where had time gone today?


“Oh, Steve!”  A young, female voice.  “Is my dad there?”


“Suzy?  No, he’s out on a case.”




Nerves sizzled with alarm, and as he spoke, his mind correlated it was the raw tone of fear in the girl’s voice that grated on his senses.  There was no question in his mind the young woman was distressed – afraid.  “What’s wrong?”


“This is going to sound silly, Steve – I’m sorry – we were at the zoo and these two guys – two Asian guys – they’re scary, Steve – they were following us.”




“I tried to lose them and they won’t go away and with five little kids –“


“Suzy, you are NOT a cop!  Find one!“


“There’s none around.  As soon as I said something to the security guard at the zoo he couldn’t see the two guys so I thought we were safe.  But now we’re on our way to the car and the two guys are back!  I’m at a pay phone –“


Standing, he pounded his fist on the desk.  “Are there any policemen in sight?”




“Where are you?”


“Over by the tennis courts at Kapiolani Park.  Our car is over in a parking lot way over by International Marketplace!  Our mom is having lunch with the ohana moms!”


“Stay in the open.  Try to keep with the crowds.  Get over to Danno’s.  I’ll call him, alert him you’re coming and I’ll call a patrol car.  Just take care of the kids!”  He hung up and quickly dialed his friend’s number, cursing his lack of caution and foresight as the second ring died away and the call was answered.




“Danno, Suzy and the kids are at the Kapiolani tennis courts and they’re being followed.  I’m sending a unit over there, but find them as fast as you can!  Two suspects! Asian. No other description!” he realized.  There had not been time!  “Back up will be there as quick as I can get them!”




The phone went dead and he punched in HPD’s number, demanding patrol units converge as quickly as possible on Kapilolani Park.  He was out the door, running through the Palace, mentally reviewing the next steps he would have to take care of via the car radio.  Notify Chin – the rising panic was translating into the shakes as his trembling hand gripped the mic and he barked commands at the dispatcher once he was in the Mercury. 


Fear was so palpable he felt insulated from the normal level of being as he spun the car around corners and screeched through yellow lights, some red lights, conscious of the temporal act of driving only in the most remote plane.  Livid, searing rage crackled at the edges of his mind, seeping like a red river of lava melting through the senses of relief, justice and triumph – all the emotions that had played out last night after the capture of Troc.  Wrath – burning, scalding hatred that an animal who had already butchered innocent victims with indiscriminate violence was now preying on HIS ohana!


He was going to settle everything in Waikiki – make sure the Kelly kids were safe, make sure Danno was safe.  Then he was going to go to the hospital and wring Troc’s slimy neck –


Waikiki.  What had Suzy said?  Something about her mom.  The ohana moms?   The ohana moms were in Waikiki! He snapped the mic button again, issuing a blanket alert that ANY dependents of Five-0 staff were to be tracked down and protected immediately!



* * * * *



“I still don’t know how you’ve managed it,” Doris Lukela smiled across the table at her friend Mai Kelly.   “I would have gone mad with eight children and married to a cop.  A Five-0 cop!”


It was a beautiful day in Waikiki.  She didn’t always like to come here to the tourist center – too much traffic and slow moving on the streets – but the beach was pristine and lovely; the silvery sun making the cerulean ocean seem filmed with millions of glittering diamonds.  The colorful shops were always fun to cruise with the girls, and the atmosphere bright and cheery.  Despite all the commercialism – or perhaps because of it – this was a happy place. 


All of the wives felt especially cheery and bright today and had spent a bit frivolously in what had turned out to be more than window shopping.  They were all relieved and nearly giddy that the past terror was over.  Their husbands had helped to bring down a horrendous terrorist and, thanks to the police, Hawaii was safe again.  Crowds were out in the sun and surf in record numbers and the extra congestion didn’t bother her at all this time.


“Just keep organized and happy,” the wise, stocky Oriental woman winked at them, ending with a fond gaze at Mrs. Kokua.  “The mother sets the tone in the house.  No matter how long hours the husband works, you run things smooth at home and everything works out.”


“Your kids are so good,” Sarah smiled, “Especially the girls.  Not every teenager would give up a Saturday to baby-sit their little siblings, plus my little girl!”


Doris glanced at the newest and youngest member of the extended Five-0 ohana – Sarah Kokua – and smiled.  “All our families are very understanding that we need to have time off from mom duties,” she nodded at the woman who seemed much too young to be the mother of a girl, expecting another next spring, and married to a Five-0 detective.   Doris had been young when Duke and she were married, too, she reminded herself, so Sarah was going to be able to handle things.  They would give her plenty of kokua – help – she translated with wry amusement. “That’s the kind of ohana we have.”


Mrs. Kokua sipped her ice water, then poured more from a frosty pitcher in the center of the table.  “I’m so glad to be part of it.”


“She’ll manage just fine,” Dora Bergman assured as she leaned back in the chair, the afternoon sunlight catching her gray hair and turning it iridescent silver in the bright glow of Waikiki’s rays.


The oldest woman in the group, Dora was a trim, slim, short woman who didn’t seem affected by all the talk about babies and children.  She had none of her own, and that could be why she took such a special interest in the Five-0 ohana hui.  She had particularly adopted Steve and Danny – well – they all had, Doris considered.  Feeling they had to go the extra mile in pampering the bachelors.  Their husbands thought it was because they all thought the single men were missing out on domestic amenities.  It was really because the women knew if they didn’t do it, it would not get done.  Men just didn’t think of those caring, little things as being important.


Sarah, a beautiful Polynesian-mixed race girl with long, slender fingers and luxurious, long, thick hair, smiled sweetly.  “I don’t know how any of you do it.  Steve warned me, when we met the first time, that this would be a demanding job.  He was right,” she laughed.


“What an understatement,” Dora smirked.


There was no rancor in the statements, for which Doris was glad.  Their husbands all respected McGarrett like no other cop ever, and she was pleased Sarah would not add any sour strain to the growing hui.  They all admired the top cop and felt grateful he had invited their husbands into what was the career choice of a lifetime.  Even though Bergman and Duke were a little on the outside of the unit, they were treated like true insiders, and dearly loved by McGarrett. 


“That’s why we’re here to help,” Mrs. Lukela reminded.  This was the second of their monthly chat sessions with the Five-0 girls as they called themselves.   They had taken on an unofficial cabal as the fringe support of the cop unit.  Little did the men know how much structure and stability came from what seemed to outsiders like an informal girl-chat routine.


Sarah glanced at her watch and took another sip of ice water.  Mai smiled and patted her hand.  “We’re not supposed to meet the girls until three. Don’t worry.  Suzy and Kelly know how to take care of kids.”


The oldest Kelly girl was taking the younger children, and the Kokua toddler, to the zoo while the moms had lunch in Waikiki.  It had been a fun day for all around, Doris was sure. She had tried to talk Tom, her youngest, into helping out, but the surf was too nice up at Waimea today to worry about girl’s work.


The other missing person was Jenny Sherman.  She usually joined the girl’s day out, but was busy catching up with errands.  The stress at the office this week had been horrible, and she had spent a lot of time at the Palace riding herd on the officers.  She had too much backlogged duties at home to attend to and opted out.  


“We better start working on splitting the check,” Dora suggested, ever practical.  She already had a pencil and paper out to divvy up the bill. 


Doris looked around for the waiter, and saw a man in a dark shirt and dark pants coming straight at their table.  There was something about his intent look from his dark, slanted eyes that made her skin chill.  They made eye contact, and she could swear his face transformed to something sinister and evil.  She thought she saw something in his right hand glint in the afternoon light.  The news reports of the terrible stabbings seared into her mind, yet she knew there was nothing she could do in the next second to make a difference.  Or could she?  When he was almost in back of Mai Kelly, she saw it was indeed a knife in his hand.  He raised it, and could have easily plunged it into Mai’s back, but he advanced to her – the next seated person – drinking in the malicious intent of his deadly mission. 



* * * * *


The narrow, two-lane highway curving toward the north shore wound through picturesque fields of sugar cane and pineapple.  Tom Lukela had a tendency to speed in the flashy yellow convertible as he headed toward Laie.  All the cops on patrol up here knew the bright car, knew it belonged to Sergeant Lukela and, without telling him, always looked the other way when his youngest son exceeded the speed limit.   He didn’t do it all the time – just when he was running late.  Like today.  Not that the surf and wahine wouldn’t still be there when he arrived twenty minutes past his scheduled time, but he was in a hurry anyway.


A black pick up truck appeared suddenly in his rearview mirror and when the vehicle roared around him on a blind curve, Tom slowed, wondering if it was locals sucking up too much brew too early in the day.  When they took their time passing – he noted the Oriental guy driving was so short he barely cleared the dashboard – Tom flipped his foot off the accelerator and the yellow Chevy dropped away from the truck.  Within seconds, the truck swerved into his lane.  Had he been in his original position he would have lost the front fender for sure.  Honking, irate at the lolo driver, Tom breathed out a deep, nervous sigh, recognizing the close call he had with avoiding an accident in his dad’s prized sports car. 


The truck braked suddenly and Tom had to swerve into the red dirt of the pineapple field on his right, the heavy convertible swerving and fish-tailing in the soft earth.  He barely regained control enough to bring it to a stop in the shoulder.  Clouds of red dust billowing around, he coughed, muttering angry Hawaiian words at the pupule driver!  When the truck slammed on it’s brakes and backed up toward him, Tom wondered if the guy was going to apologize or what.  Not wanting anything to do with the nut, he waited until the guy was closer before he pulled out – no -- the truck was coming right at him!


Throwing the stick into reverse, Tom floored the pedal and swerved out of the soft soil and onto the blacktop.  Hands flying, he snapped it into drive when the truck hit the shoulder, and Tom popped back onto the asphalt, missing the kamikaze truck by mere inches.  Flooring the gas again, he flew along the dipping road, taking the curves way too fast as he raced to get away. 


When he spotted an HPD patrol car at the Waihiawa circle, he waved at them to stop.  For once upset that he was immune to being noticed by law enforcement, he sped up to catch them.  He was almost around the round traffic rotation when the black truck appeared, crossing two lanes and coming right at him in an attempted head-on collision.  At the last second Tom twisted the wheel and braked hard, sending the yellow Chevy spinning into the dirt again.  The truck crossed just ahead of the sports car and hit the soft red, volcanic clay too fast.  The right side wheels clogged in the earth and the left wheels kept racing on the blacktop, twisting the truck and flipping it over several times, finally coming to rest upside down in the pineapple field.


Tom leaped out of his car and through the neat rows of spiny green plants.  The two patrolmen were right in back of him. 


“Hey, he tried to hit you,” Paul Nakamura shouted out as the short officer joined him.  “What was he trying to do?”


“Hit me,” Tom told him, a little breathless, and plenty upset, the shaky nerves were just starting to surface.


Officer Raymond knelt down at the open window on the driver’s side.  Checking for a pulse on the occupant, he shook his head.  Pau.”


Feeling sick to his stomach, Tom gulped a big piece of air and looked away from the wreck.  “Hey, I need to call my dad,” he told Nakamura.


Paul checked him out.  “You okay?”


“Not really.”


Paul patted his back and led him over to the patrol unit.  “I’ll get you connected.  Why would somebody want to hurt you?” he wondered.


“I’m hoping my dad can tell us,” he sighed, determined not to turn around and stare at the smashed truck with the dead body.



* * * * *



The short Asian was only two steps away when Doris grabbed the pitcher of ice water and threw the chilled liquid into his face.  Close enough that the icy beverage stunned him, she followed through by smashing the glass pitcher into his face and pushing him down to the cement of the outdoor café.  Before anyone could react, especially him, she knelt on his back and twisted his arms up to his shoulders until he cried in pain.


“Somebody call a policeman!” she shouted, to no one in particular. 


Dora Bergman was already moving.  She stomped on the man’s hand, forcing him to drop his weapon on the ground.  Then she called to the head waiter, shouting orders and calling for someone to notify the police.


The restaurant was abuzz with alarm and chatter.  Tourists were snapping pictures and waiters were standing off to the side, uncertain what to do. The man was writhing, shouting and spitting what she took to be curses in some foreign language.  Mai grabbed another pitcher from a nearby table and smashed it onto his head, chattering back to him in Chinese.  For good measure, she stood on his shoulder.


With a triumphant look she smiled at Mrs. Lukela.  “Police self-defense training came in good, didn’t it, Doris?”


“Sure did,” she smiled.


The stiff gesture kept her lips tight so she wouldn’t cry from the horrible fear that was just now seeping into her breaking nerves.  What had she done?  She was sure he was there to attack them!  It didn’t make sense!  What was Duke going to say/?  What would Steve say?


Sarah moved over and, using a napkin, picked up the knife from the cement and placed it on the table.  “He was coming right at you with this,” she shakily reported.  Roughly wiping tears from her eyes, she said with embarrassment, “I think I’m going to cry.  I hate that about pregnancy.”


“It’s all right,” Doris heard herself say with amazing calm.  “We’re all fine.”


Mai reached over and patted Sarah on the shoulder.  “I hated that part of pregnancy, too.”  She gestured toward the covered knife.  “Now you’re thinking just like a cop’s wife.”  Mai looked at her cohort, still kneeling on the perpetrator.  “She is gonna do all right.”


“We all are,” Doris sighed, relieved that two patrolmen were jogging toward her to take this creep away so she could go sit down and fall apart.


* * * * *


Grabbing his .38 and his keys, Williams barely had time to slip on decks shoes, no socks,  before he raced out the door.  Jogging down the hallway toward the elevator, he hugged his side.  His immediate thought was of the reprisals from Troc, of course, and was a little shocked that threats he had warned McGarrett about just the night before might actually be coming to pass with none of them prepared for the onslaught.  Not like this.  Not the innocents!  Kids!  Stalking kids!  Was that so surprising from the same group of fanatics that bombed women, children and civilians as targeted enemies in their twisted political statement?


Knowing this might having nothing to do with the terrorists – hoping it was something stupid like a couple of wayward teenage boys trying to make time with Suzy, he emerged from the elevator at a run.  Flying into the garage, zipping the LTD out of its slot in record time, the car jolted out of the drive.  Racing down the tree-lined avenue along Kapiolani Park, he spotted Suzy, Alia, Kelly, and the little kids jogging along the side of the street by the corner of the tennis courts.  Behind them were two Oriental men in dark clothes, closing the distance fast.  A glimpse at the assailants convinced him these were not kids, they were killers.


Sharply turning right, he jammed the LTD past the knot of fleeing kids, over the curb and onto the lawn.  He kept the car aimed toward the strangers. The surprise assault startled the men and they turned and ran.  He SO wanted to ram the car right into them, ending their career as terrorists for good.  The desire was so strong.  They had attacked kids!  Murdered innocent people!  His conscience, and the thought of how upset Steve would be if he turned as criminal as the bad guys, surged in his mind.  Racing across the grass, he whipped the car into a tight turn, groaning as his side burned from the movement, then he slammed on the brakes.  In the next instant the jarring THUD of two running bodies striking the car rocked the LTD. 


Leaping from the car, training his revolver on them, he ordered, “Freeze!  You’re under arrest!”  Behind him he heard the screech of vehicles and shouts – assuming that was back up and someone seeing to the safety of the kids.  His focus was on the two suspects.  “Put your hands up and kneel on the ground.  Now!”


The thugs exchanged looks and Williams knew they were going to do something stupid instead of surrendering  It was an instinctive conclusion based on years of experience with criminals – that moment when the perpetrator thinks he can outsmart, outgun, outmatch the armed cop.  It was a bad decision every time; for the cop, for the suspect, one would lose, maybe both.  Knowing he could not just pull the trigger and murder men who appeared to be surrendering and appeared unarmed, he allowed the tense drama to play out in strained, painful seconds as he waited for them to make their move. He could not give in to his passion to take them out.  Not unless they resisted.


The man on the right flicked his hand, pulling a shiny object into his palm.  Williams fired, the bullet striking, he was sure, right in the heart.  At the same instant, the man on the left also made a movement of his hand, pulling something gleaming from his sleeve.  Dan angled his revolver to the second man just as a knife cleared the cuff.  The bullet struck him in the shoulder, throwing him back and to the ground.


Keeping the weapon trained on the second subject, he crossed to the first and kicked the long knife out of reach of the suspect he was certain was dead.  The second man, writhing in pain, was rolling on the grass.  The officer approached expecting trouble.  Grabbing the man to turn him over, he was not surprised to find a blade swing at him, catching/pulling him in the pant leg.  The detective went down, rolled, and fired at the suspect, blowing a hole in the man’s chest.


Before he could move to relieve the enemy of his weapon, two HPD men were there, one stepping on the man’s hand while the other snatched up the knife and checked the perpetrator for a pulse. 


“Danno?”  Strong hands gripped his shoulders.


“Okay,” he breathed unevenly, catching much needed air.  “Kids?”


“Okay, Danno, okay.  What about you?”


Steve helped him to stand and it was a good thing the taller man retained his grip.  He was suddenly crushed by teens and children, hugging him wherever they could grab – an arm, a leg, his waist.  A few of them shifted to include McGarrett in the embrace, kisses and tears.  As he traded touched, humbled looks, with the taller man, he knew the tough, lead detective’s heart was cracking from the narrowly averted disaster and the emotional aftermath.


“Let’s get you kids to the cars,” Steve thickly ordered, and started prying them loose.


“Blood.  I’m bleeding!”  They stopped, staring at the oldest Kelly daughter who was shocked at the scarlet stain on her clothing, wiping at the red smear on her blouse.  She checked herself, frantically searching her siblings for wounds, finally turning to the officers.  “Danny, you’re hurt!”


McGarrett stiffened beside him and Williams brushed at the second Aloha shirt that had been ruined in so many days.  “No, it’s okay.  Belongs to the other guy,” he smiled reassuringly.  “Let’s get you guys home.” 


“We’re going to take care of everything, don’t worry,” McGarrett assured, panning from the frightened children and teens, to his friend.  He ordered the kids to be placed in his car and a patrol car.  Holding onto Williams’ arm, he stalled the younger officer so they could confer privately.  “We can’t take them home, Danno.  They’ve been targeted.  Tom Lukela was nearly taken out, I heard it on the radio on the way over here.”


Williams sucked in a deep breath, outrage and dread coursing along his spine.  “Like coordinated, well planned military strikes,” he breathed out, shaking his head at the enormity and evil of the attacks.


“Exactly.  We are dealing with strategists in murder, Danno.  I want no one in danger any more.”  He critically eyed the worn officer, eyes lingering on the blood stain on the blue, Hawaiian print shirt.  “Are you sure that’s all someone else’s blood?”


“I’m fine, really.”  He watched the frightened kids pile into the cars.  “What are we going to do?”


“We’re going to protect our people first.  Secondly, we’re going after Troc’s remaining army.”


“Doc was right all along.  This is war.”


“Yeah.  And we are about to take offensive measures.”


“What’s our plan?”


“First, we draw the wagons into a circle.”


Shaking his head at the quizzical non-answer, the boss guided him by the shoulder to the cars, ordering the officers, and Danno, to meet at his apartment on the Ala Wai Canal.



* * * * *


McGarrett knocked on the guest room door and was admitted by Williams just as the younger officer buttoned a large, long-sleeved aloha shirt grabbed from McGarrett’s closet.  The boss leaned against the door frame, staring out the open window as Williams bundled his soiled shirt into a ball and placed it on the dresser. Given the chance to regroup from the frantic action of the afternoon, both officers had emotionally retreated to a calmer state, but the anger and insult still hovered in the air.  The tension was evident from McGarrett’s clenching jaw and his fists that tightened and released in rhythmic stress.


“What are we going to do?” Williams finally asked, easing himself onto the corner of the sofa bed.  It hurt to move much and his posture was as straight as he could manage with redressed bandages taped to his side.  “We can’t let the ohana be exposed to these terrorists.”


“We won’t.”  The terse vow was low and deadly. 


Williams stared at his friend.  They would both prefer to hunt down the remaining anarchists and kill them with their bare hands.  That wasn’t going to happen, but the motivation was more than sufficient for such renegade actions.  The heart of their unit had been attacked in the most obscene way – the innocent women and children!  That could not be allowed!  With criminals, masterminds, even mobsters, there had always been an unwritten law that even the most heinous bad guys had never crossed.  No one had messed with the families before.  This could not stand.  By whatever means necessary, McGarrett would not allow the violence to go further.


“We have to protect the ohana.”


The curt statements were starting to worry Dan.  His friend had a tendency to show a blind side to personal protection.  Troc had screamed threats to Steve when captured.  Not just the ohana were at risk.  Whatever kind of personal sacrifice Steve had in mind he already knew he didn’t like.


“I want to make sure YOU’RE protected,” he point-blank clarified to the leader.  “You’re more at risk than anyone, Steve.  Whatever your plan has to take your safety into consideration as much as anyone elses.”


The dark head nodded.  “And I want you to be safe, Danno.  I think what I’m proposing, though, no one will like.”


Stiffening at the near challenge, the younger officer girded himself for an argument.  “What do you have in mind?”


Turning his gaze to silently scrutinize the shorter man, McGarrett stared at him with unnerving, deep contemplation for a moment.  “Something that is necessary, but will be universally unpopular.”


“As long as you don’t include me, I’m with you, Steve.”


Emotions played across the taut face.  McGarrett looked away, but reached out and patted his friend’s shoulder.  “This time your loyalty is a double-edged sword, aikane.  A double-edged sword.”



* * * * *



Several patrol units were stationed downstairs in the parking area of the white apartment building facing the Ala Wai Canal.  Steve McGarrett’s large and roomy condo sported a living room spacious enough for the crowd assembled there this evening.  The Palace had been the logical first choice, but most of the participants had been in the Waikiki area anyway.  After briefly pondering the attacks, the old Palace had been deemed too difficult to secure, so an unusual and unexpected location was chosen for availability and secret sanctuary.


Scanning the faces filled with high emotions- fear, hope, loyalty, McGarrett flexed his fists, flushed with anger and pain.  His ohana had been attacked.  Not just his men, who were armed and well prepared to fight back.  Families.  Children and women . . . . It sickened him like never before to know HIS ohana was vulnerable and afraid and targets.  Huddled together, hugging each other in family groups, it made him supremely wrathful for vengeance, and humbled that they all looked to him for intrinsic safety and emotional courage. 


Sarah and Ben Kokua sat close together, the big Samoan tightly wrapping an arm around his slighter wife, plus, holding hands, their daughter Mele strolling between the parents and their new found babysitters, the Kelly girls.


On the end of the sofa, Doris was under the protective arm of her husband.  Their youngest son sitting cross-legged on the floor at their feet until everyone settled in, then he moved to join his older brothers, Sam and Jake, who were sitting at the dining table with David, Tim, Susie and Alia Kelly.  They were conferring in quiet tone, but the teens were more animated than anyone else in the room. 


Like the other adults in the large space, Chin Ho and Mai Kelly were subdued.   They sat sandwiched by their little children clinging to them, sensing the import of the gathering. 


The Bergmans sat side by side in two matching chairs, with Jenny Sherman in a chair next to them, Officer Nick Kamekona standing behind her.


All the concerned parties were gathered on the sofas or chairs or floor, attentively awaiting guidance and reassurance, from him, McGarrett considered as he surveyed the group.  All were ragged, upset, dressed the way they were when the crisis events came down.  The Lukela boys in trunks and t-shirts, and the Kelly boys were in baseball uniforms.  All of them snatched out of their normal lives, disrupted – uprooted.  Troc and his gang had a lot to answer for and would pay for all of the anguish they caused his ohana.


Incongruously dressed in one of Steve’s oversized shirts, Danno stood in the back, somewhat cleaned up from his tangle in the park.  Leaning against the wall, watching in silent anger, the younger officer appeared pale and worn, still not recovered from the slashing of yesterday, but his raw, desperate emotions, which were clearly readable, stood out more than the physical weaknesses. 


The fear phase had been replaced for all the men with determined reprisals.  Yes, they were going to seek justice.  Yes, they would follow the dictates of the laws they were sworn to uphold.  But with the most minor excuse or slip by the terrorists, justifiable retribution would be served by any one – or all – of the officers here.


“We’ve all been targeted.  None of us can afford to take safety for granted.”  He was used to being blunt in his business, and found it difficult to dance around the truth of the facts with so many children present.  “For the sake of the families, I am giving you officers leave to take your ohana to safety.  I want them off Oahu and someplace safe.  Not obvious.  There will be around the clock guards provided no matter where you go, outer islands or mainland.  Until the threat is over, no one is to be unprotected or on their own.”


“Steve, that doesn’t include me, right?”


His glare was unwavering.  “Yes, it does.”


“You’re going to need me to keep things organized,” Jenny spoke up quietly, timid to break the stunned silence, but used to going against the boss.  “I can’t leave.”


“I’ve got autopsies to finish –“ Bergman interrupted.


“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Chin chimed in.


Ben’s anger was evident as he snapped out, “We want to catch all of the creeps who are responsible, Steve.  That’s the only way our families will be safe.”


The stern mask on his determined face must have alerted them that he was not going to debate with anyone.  “You’re leaving.  All of you.”  It was not an option.  The harshness in his tone assured this was a royal edict that would not be overturned.  “Five-0 is going to have to function without it’s top people. It won’t be smooth, but the staff will be replaced with temps from HPD – armed and able to protect themselves.”  The woman he had thought was trailing him, he now believed as he had time to think about the photos they had on the terrorists, that she was one of Troc’s gang.  “There are still two terrorists at large.  I will not risk any one of you.  I’ll want your locations given to me so I can contact you.  Give them to NO ONE else.  Do not go home.  Do not contact any friends or family members about your specific whereabouts.  If I could I would put all of you up in safe houses, but we just don’t have enough to go around for this kind of operation.”


“So you and Danny are going to go it alone,” Bergman sighed, shaking his head.


“You’re not abandoning us, Doc,” Williams quietly supplied from the back of the room.  “You’re freeing our anxieties about your safety so we can put all our energies into catching Troc’s terrorists.”


McGarrett only glanced at his friend, directing his gaze, instead, out the glass, at the clear blue of the serene sky, the deep indigo of the rugged mountains, the billowy, cotton-candy clouds sailing into view through the wide picture windows.  As it sometimes seemed destined to be, it was down to Danno and him. 


If he could compel his friend to leave, he would, but there was no use bothering to even broach the subject.  Danno would never abandon him no matter what he said.  And if something happened to Danno in all this?  He would never forgive himself, of course, so he would have to make very sure his friend was protected.  That had not been so easy yet.  The stabbing yesterday, the pell-mell flight to the Capitol to save them last night, then the insane rescue in the park today.  Danno was in this whether Steve wanted him involved or not.  In truth, he NEEDED him.  As much as he wanted Danno safe, his need to have his right hand man at his side now was greater than his personal fear.  He didn’t think he could pull this off alone.


Nonchalantly holding his side, making it look like he was just crossing his arms across his torso, Danny mostly ignored the throbbing of his wound.  There was so much more to think about than a little bit of physical discomfort.  He listened silently to the ultimatum from McGarrett, hurting in a way far more profound than his physical injury.  His friend was emotionally pained and deeply troubled by the attacks on their friends.  If these terrorists wanted war, then that’s exactly what they were going to get now.  Steve – all of them – would not give up.  United against a common foe as never before, all of Five-0 and HPD would tirelessly fight to preserve their loved ones and defeat the thugs threatening their lives.  This was one of those all-for-one-and one-for-all situations where the crisis bonded them together tighter than ever.

Discussing it only briefly with McGarrett before this group meting, Williams was not surprised they were going to disperse the team and send them away to care for their families.  Leave only the two of them – elua pu – two together – to stand against the threat.  Kaikaina and kaikua'ana against the world to protect their ohana.  It warmed him that Steve had not asked, just expected, that he would want/need to be included in manning the fort with his big brother.  And in supporting Steve, in helping the ohana – including Steve – he would not fail.


Clearing his throat, as if to slide away the profound emotions catching there, McGarrett continued.  “As of now, when you leave here, you’ll be escorted to your destinations by undercover officers who will assure you are not followed.”  Steve bore his intensity into each one of them, staring into their eyes so they would feel his determination and pain at the terrible place he had been cornered.  “I promise you,” he vowed, his voice shaking, “that we will get every last one of them.  And you will be safe.  I promise.”  Turning quickly, he left the apartment, unable to face them for any kind of pleas or farewells.


Wishing them all luck, exchanging emotional hugs with the women and handshakes with the men, Danny could hardly speak from the knot in his throat.  Ben traded a quick hug and a muttered warning that Danny better keep in touch.  The Samoan was angry, hurt that he could not stay, and upset at the danger to his family. 


Duke patted his shoulder and took him aside.  “Danny, if it looks like more than you can handle, you better get us back on the first plane.”




Jenny clung to him in a long and desperate clinch.  He sucked up the moan of pain from the pressure on his wound as she scolded him.  “You take care of Steve.”  She sputtered out a hiccough of a grim laugh.  “That’s the last advice I need to give you.  I know there’s no one better to have at his side.”


Dora Bergman was more emotional than he’d seen her in a long while.  She hugged him tenderly, mindful of the recent injury, and wiped away a tear sliding down her face.  “Be careful,” she whispered, touching her lips to his cheek.


“Just take care of yourself, my boy,” Bergman ordered with a pat on the back.  “You’re both too noble for your own good.”


As best he could, Danny made quick work of getting them organized with escorts and packed away.  It was a tough job and he understood why Steve could not handle it.  Too emotional, too heart-breaking to see the fear, gratitude and censure in the faces of people they loved.


This was one of the hardest parts of his role as the second for Five-0 – as Steve’s friend.  The shielding, the protection of a man who wanted to be invulnerable, but was not.  The support of someone so deeply admired by friends, yet who had such a difficult time dealing with the depth of emotions generated by those closest to him.  It was not a task Williams regretted or resented, but it was not an easy job to act as a buffer between McGarrett and a world that did not really understand him.