By BH and GM
Dedicated to Jan and all law enforcement dispatchers who provide the connective cords that bind together the thin blue line.
When the clock still hovered in the last quarter of the seven AM hour, Steve McGarrett had already finished the overnight reports couriered over from HPD earlier. Grimly digesting the unwelcome crime statistics along with his black-sludge coffee, the head of Five-0 read the latest on the law enforcement front. With the usual and expected updates on muggings, burglaries, drunk and disorderly accounts, McGarrett was dismayed to see the Waikiki Slasher’s latest episode had made front page news.
For the past several weeks, the determined robber had attacked women tourists. Coming up from behind, the ruthless and agile criminal used a knife to slash the handles of purses, grab the bags, and run away. His strikes were strategically set near alleys or narrow side streets for easy escape. The problem was annoying until yesterday when his swift stabs had resulted in physical injuries to the terrorized victim.
The cuts were non-lethal, but painful and highly publicized. That bumped up this brazen thief from the purview of HPD to that of Five-0. The mayor and governor had both called McGarrett within moments of each other, making it clear the Slasher was now a priority case.
Releasing a sigh along with a shake of his head, he knew it was going to be one of those days. The slam of the outer office door heralded the arrival of the next staff member, and he made an instant, silent bet with himself as to who it was. He called out a greeting before he could see the owner of the light, quick footsteps.
“Morning, Steve.” On the way, Williams had paused briefly to snag a mug of coffee. “Those the HPD sheets?”
McGarrett growled, “Along with the morning paper.”
“Yeah. I saw,” Williams sighed.
Another voice from the doorway concurred, “Me, too. They ain’t cuttin’ us no slack, boss,” Chin Ho Kelly told them.
Kelly turned back to pour two cups of coffee – one for himself, and one for Kono Kalakaua, who came through the door just ahead of the Asian detective. “We gotta get that bum, bruddah.”
Once the detectives were gathered around the desk, McGarrett remained standing as he targeted each man with a somber look and an assignment. “Chin, can you get those witnesses for the DA briefed today?”
The barrel-chested officer gave a shrug. “I’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Most of them are pineapple workers, remember?”
McGarrett glanced at the Hawaiian next to Kelly. “Take Kono. We’ve got to wrap that up.” The lead detective noted his subordinate’s silent acknowledgement as he focused on Williams. McGarrett suppressed a satisfied smirk as he noticed his newest detective’s attentive gaze. McGarrett’s expectations had certainly been exceeded when he’d brought the young officer on board.
“Danno, you’ve worked up a profile on the Slasher.” It was not a question.
“Yeah. I started with witness accounts of the earlier incidents…” The youngest member of the elite force paused momentarily. “And then I tried to get into the guy’s head…” Dan faltered again. He had not been a member of Five-0 for long. As the junior officer, and as an ardent admirer of the legendary Steve McGarrett, Williams worked overtime to get everything right. He had to be better than expected, and constantly labored to not only do his duty, but to exceed what he was ordered to accomplish. He could tell the get-it-done-NOW mentality of the boss did not brook extended explanations or tedious details. The chief wanted the bottom line, and so Dan cut to the end of his explanation. “If we add patrols along Waikiki, and have them watching for this guy’s pre-assault behaviors, we have a pretty good shot at netting him wikiwiki.”
With a nod, McGarrett accepted the ideas. He expected a good job with whatever he dished out to his protégé. Disappointingly, the lead detective was always surprised at the young man’s lack of confidence. Williams was better than he thought of himself. McGarrett had tailored situations in recent weeks so the rookie officer would grow into his new job.
“Good. I want you to get over to HPD and brief the patrol units before they head out on their morning assignments. I’ve got breakfast with the governor shortly, but I’ll meet you back here so you can help me with the monthlies.”
Williams sucked in a breath. “You want me to brief HPD?”
The stab of certainty in McGarrett’s steely blue eyes gave no quarter. “It’s your investigation, Danno. You run with it.”
There was no compromise. He knew for Danno to get over the nervousness of being a member of Five-0, he had to be thrown into tough situations and overcome his fear by trial-through-fire. Honolulu’s governmental hierarchy was still buzzing, along with HPD personnel, about such a young officer being appointed to the prized detective slot. Some thought Williams too young and inexperienced, and some believed he was promoted over veterans who were overlooked. Gossip was immaterial to McGarrett. He knew he had picked the right man. He had to convince the doubters – which sometimes included the self-conscious Williams.
Dan irrationally looked to his colleagues for help, but – no surprise – none was forthcoming.
“We better get going,” Kono told Kelly and nudged him toward he door.
With mild dismay gracing his expression, Williams reluctantly trailed.
McGarrett shook his head as he diverted his attention to the ringing phone on his desk.
Rushing through the halls of the police station, Williams barely avoided colliding with a young woman in uniform. With headphones resting on her neck, she was easily identifiable as a dispatcher. Observing the four mugs in her hands, he gave a quick smile.
“Looks like you drew short straw for the coffee run.” He skipped down the hall a few steps and obligingly opened the radio room door for her.
“Mahalo, Officer Williams,” the ginger-haired lady canted her head and smiled.
His brow wrinkled, and he glanced quickly at her name tag. Jenkins. There was something familiar about her. He knew only a few of the dispatchers by sight though. They were a vital, but nearly invisible part of the police ohana.
“Do I know you, Officer Jenkins?”
“Uh – no. I – uh – everyone knows you though, Officer Williams.”
He felt a slight warmth in his cheeks as he offered a crooked smile, and processed the woman’s voice. Within a couple of seconds, recognition filtered through Dan’s mindless check for a wedding band and corresponding flirt level. With passing dejection, he noted the gold encircling the petite female’s left ring finger as his thoughts pursued the memory. “Wait a minute – I DO know you. You’re the one on the other end of my ten-fifteen a few weeks ago.”
Demure embarrassment flooded the woman’s face as she modestly acknowledged the accusation. “It WAS me – I’m surprised you remember.”
“NOT remember the voice of my lifeline?” Dan smiled warmly. “I don’t think so. You had four cars on the scene to help me in less than three minutes. Who knew the entire gang would be hiding at the tutu’s house!”
Her eyes grew rounder. “I could hear the urgency in your voice.”
“Really? I thought I sounded pretty relaxed,” the detective joked.
Seeing the humorous glint in the attractive young officer’s blue eyes – and oh, my, were they blue – the dispatcher offered a hint of a wink as she smirked, “Okay – in reality, I knew that heads would roll if Mister McGarrett caught wind of a poor response.”
A woman just inside the radio room stepped out to offer Officer Jenkins help with the mugs.
Again, the heat rose through Dan’s cheeks to the top of his head. He took in a breath to retort, but noted patrolmen hurrying into the room at the end of the corridor. The briefing was about to start, and so – with a heart-melting smile at the two females in the radio room doorway – Williams headed to the squad room. Duty sergeant Duke Lukela spotted him and gave the go-ahead. Williams stepped up to the podium in the HPD squad room.
“Good morning. I’m here to brief you on our operation to nab the suspect the press is calling the Waikiki Slasher.”
He looked out over his colleagues, and the nervousness started to ease. He knew most of these men. They were friends. Most were happy for his amazing career promotion to Five-0. A few disgruntled ones were still a little sour with being overlooked. He hoped one day they would come around.
“McGarrett’s requested that I give you an overview of the plan, and alert you to some mannerisms that the suspect may show before he attacks.”
“I’ve never heard McGarrett REQUEST anything,” came the almost-heckling voice from the back of the room. There was no mistaking the acid sarcasm. Others reacted with surprise, some with embarrassment for the idiot. Glaring at Officer Mike Louder – commonly called Mike Loud Mouth by some -- Williams took an imperceptible breath. This was one of the cold-shoulder patrolmen who held some kind of resentment for McGarrett AND for Williams and his new position. While his impulse was to lash out at this clod, he was cognizant he represented Five-0 now, not just himself. Reining in his flash temper, he allowed himself a thin smile as he stared at the man.
“A request or an order from McGarrett – it’s all the same to me.”
Appreciative snickers rippled through the room as Louder’s nose twitched at the rapid comeback.
Dan relaxed marginally and refocused on the task at hand. “We’ll need two units on either end of Lewers, and three units spread out along Kuhio all the way to the park. You’ve all got a description of the suspect in your packets – keep your eyes out for a slight Caucasian male who’s walking a little faster than the rest of the crowd, then maybe slows down, and then speeds up again.”
“And is McGarrett going to send you along so you can report back on our progress?”
“I’m going to be out in the field working this case today, if that’s your question.”
“Of course. You’re just following orders.”
“And so are you, Mike,” Williams shot back.
General smirks from around the room assured him he had bested the untactful heckler again. Williams stood back and allowed Duke to finish the specifics of the assignments. The men filed out. After a brief conference with Duke, Williams hurried out to the parking lot.
Already in his car, Mike Louder was reporting his status into the mic when Williams walked past. Staring down the man, Dan veered over to confront the patrolman. They needed to have this out now so it would not affect performance in catching the Slasher.
Louder threw down his mic and jumped out of the car to face off with the shorter, younger detective.
“I don’t know what your problem is, Louder, but knock it off.” Williams referenced a lesson from the McGarrett Field Manual of Strategies – offensive tactics are always more profitable than defensive ones. “We need to work together to get this creep off the streets.”
“So you can get a gold star from your hero McGarrett?” the man snapped back. “You worship the ground he walks on. If he told you to jump into Kilauea, you’d grab your snorkel and head to the rim!”
“You’re lolo! Of course I follow orders! Nothing better could’ve happened to law enforcement on these islands than Steve McGarrett! He’s a straight shooter who lives what he preaches – duty, honor and justice-”
“A real John Wayne –“
“You bet he is, and I hope I’m smart enough to learn a few things from the man!”
There was some chatter coming from the radio, but Williams ignored the noise. Hot over the argument, he needed to get this out. It was bubbling over now in a flow of molten lava – the need to defend his mentor to the detractors who resented the ex-NI officer taking over a Hawaiian cop shop. He wanted it known loud and clear that he stood behind McGarrett all the way, in everything, no matter what.
“We are HPD and you are Five-0. Your boss makes that very clear,” Louder was saying.
Jan Jenkins covered her forehead with her hand and groaned. As loud as she could she shouted into her microphone, “Bravo Four-Eight! You have an open mike! Repeat, you have an open mike!” She pounded the desk when the officer continued.
“You think you’re better than us, but you want us doing the dirty work for you!”
“I’ve got to tell Officer Williams the mike is open!”
Jan started to leave, but her friend, Lani, held her arm.
“Don’t you dare!” the older woman demanded. “I want to hear the rest of this!”
The rest of the dispatchers were dashing around the desks between calls. They were making a pool. Who was going to throw the first punch? Jan couldn’t let it come to that! She couldn’t stand the thought of that darling Danny Williams getting hurt because she failed to stop that idiot Loud Mouth Mike from making a fool of himself!
Tempted to really let this guy feel his wrath at attacking his hero, Dan took the better course. “You know, Mike, I could really get down on you over this. But I’m going to use the example of the man you seem to hate.”
“McGarrett believes in what he says and lives it. He would be the first to defend your right to say all this garbage even when you’re wrong.”
Chin could hardly keep his eyes on the road! He kept glancing at the radio, then at Kono in the passenger seat, then back to the road. He could not believe what he was hearing! Didn’t Danny or Mike realize it was an open mic?
“Dat boy sure knows how to defend Steve,” Kono whistled/sighed.
“Yeah,” Chin proudly agreed.
May had called him in to the front reception area with an urgency Steve had not seen in a while. With a finger to her lips she pointed to the HPD receiver. It only took a moment for him to grasp what was happening. The dispatcher’s voice was being broadcast to all stations, but the oblivious party did not hear. For some reason Officer Louder’s mic was stuck in the open slot. It was too late to save Louder from embarrassment.
“…Because we are legally and morally bound to allow that. But you’re just too pig headed to not see how much good McGarrett does.”
Almost blushing, McGarrett had rarely felt more pride in anyone than he did for Williams.
“Now – no matter how you feel about McGarrett OR ME - get out there and do your job, and THAT is an order!” Williams nearly shouted.
Stalking away to his car, he was surprised when patrol cars emerging from the driveway slowed as they passed him. Inside the vehicles, the officers cheered, offered thumbs up, or waved a shaka sign to him.
Wow, he must have done really well at that briefing this morning! Whew! He’d grown a little worried when that jerk, Mike, had started in on him. When he returned to the Palace, May leaped from her desk and came over to squeeze his arms. Before he could ask what was going on, he noted McGarrett inside the private office. The chief was leaning on the edge of the desk, arms and ankles crossed. There was the most enigmatic smile on McGarrett’s face. That almost worried him. Except even at this distance, there was such an affectionate expression on the usually hard face that Danny felt no compunctions about entering into Steve’s office. Guess the boss thought everything went fine at HPD. Good. When McGarrett was happy, everyone in the office was happy - McGarrett Principle #10.