THE LEAGUE OF THE BLACK ORCHID

By

GM
 
 


Multiple crossover

Hawaii Five-0/Magnum PI/Island Son/Raven/One West Waikiki/Man From UNCLE/Bionic Boss
 
 

brief appearances from:

Jonathon Raven, Ski, Magnum, Higgins, TC, Rick, Kana Kulani, Mack Wolfe, Napoleon Solo, Oscar Goldman
 
 


 ISLAND SON CBS 1989
 
 

A series dealing with Daniel (Kana) Kulani, whose parents died during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Adopted by Hawaiians, he grows up as an "Island son" and leaves the islands for a mainland career in medicine. Years later when his marriage fails he returns to his homeland and family.
 
 

Dr. Daniel "Kana" Kulani -- Richard Chamberlain --

Kahuna and Tutu Kulani -- Kwan Hi Lim, Betty Carvalho
 
 


RAVEN CBS 1992 - 1993
 
 

As a young man Jonathon Raven lived in Japan with his diplomat parents. When they were killed by the dreaded tong Black Dragons, Jonathon secretly learns the martial arts from a master and infiltrates the gang, killing those who murdered his parents. Raven's wife (the master's daughter) is killed by the Black Dragons and his young son taken away. He searches the world for the son, finally narrowing the trail to Hawaii. There, with his friend Ski, they help people in need, hunt for the son, and try to stay out of the clutches of the Black Dragons.

Jonathon Raven -- Jeffrey Meek

Herman "Ski" Jablonski -- Lee Majors


 


 

 

ONE WEST WAIKIKI - 1994 - 1996
 
 

HPD has a rapscallion of a detective named Lieutenant Mack Wolfe. He's abrasive, conniving, and a push-over for any get-rich-quick scheme. He's also a handsome, clever and talented homicide detective. The main object of his flirtatious nature is a brilliant and charming Medical Examiner named Doctor Dawn Holliday. Together they bring a whole new meaning to the beautiful scenery of Waikiki.

Lt. Mack Wolfe -- Richard Burgi

Dr. Dawn Holiday - Cheryl Ladd
 
 
 



 

MAGNUM PI 1980-1988 CBS
 
 

PI Thomas Magnum -- the 'HUNK' in the Hawaiian shirt, tooling around Hawaii in a red Ferrari, is a PI who lives off the generosity of the mysterious and rich novelist Robin Masters. Supposedly Masters' security chief for his windward Oahu mansion, Magnum scrapes together a living doing small PI jobs with the assistance of his Vietnam vet buddies TC and Rick, and the grudging cooperation of Jonathan Higgins, the British major-domo of the Masters estate.
 
 

Thomas Magnum - Tom Selleck

Rick Wright - Larry Manetti

TC - Roger Mosely

Jonathan Higgins -- Jonathan Hillerman
 
 


The Man From UNCLE
 

This incredible series ran on NBC from 1964 -1968. The show set the pace for slick, fun, hip, and intrigue/drama for television spies. Using futuristic technology, The United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, an international crime-fighting organization, utilized James Bond-like agents in their quest for world justice. Leo G. Carroll played their irascible leader, Alexander Waverly. Napoleon and Illya, the two highest-ranking Enforcement agents, globe-hopped to exotic locales to romance a new girl of the week and usually battle their archenemy, THRUSH (Technological Hierarchy For The Removal Of Undesirables And The Subjugation Of Humanity). A reunion movie, The Return Of The Man From UNCLE; The Fifteen Years Later Affair, aired on CBS in 1983, with Patrick Macnee as the leader of the UNCLE organization.

Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo

David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin
 
 


THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN

THE BIONIC WOMAN

NBC

ABC

1973 - 1977

Oscar Goldman is the ubiquitous boss in both shows. Head of the OSI -- Office of Scientific Intelligence -- he funded a cybernetic, or bionic, rebuilding of Steve Austin when the ex-astronaut was seriously injured during a test flight. Steve's fiancée is later seriously injured and becomes the Bionic Woman.

Oscar Goldman -- Richard Anderson
 

 


1993

-- Kauai
 
 

Life on the windward coast of Kauai was quiet. Few houses dotted the surf line. Once off the busy main highway and along the private residential road (three residences so far), McGarrett's house nestled among the rough lava outcroppings of jagged rock that accented the white sand beach just a few feet from his back door. Closer to the main road was a small house owned by Ted and Marge Sanders, a retired couple. The first house on the 'street' was vacant, pending renovations. Few people strayed this far off Highway 56. When the dog barked, Steve knew someone was making the specific journey to his house.

Sailor was his black terrier-mongrel mutt who wandered onto the private dock one day when Steve was working on his boat. The friendly dog had no collar, and against his better judgement Steve fed and watered the scraggly creature. Phoning the local paper, dog shelter, and even police station, he found the mutt was not listed as lost. The first night the dog made himself at home. The second day he jumped on the boat, barking in expectation of a ride. The second night, after sailing around the coast and back, Steve called Oahu animal control and Ala Wai Harbor control, looking for owners of a black dog who liked boating. At the end of the week no one claimed the mutt, thankfully, because dog and man had adopted each other already and Steve named him Sailor.

Steve's big project was cleaning the deck of his boat on this warm spring day. Sailor jumped off the boat onto the dock, wagging his tail, then dashed off in a run. If it was a stranger he would have barked and growled in his protective terrier way. So before looking up from his work, Steve had a pretty good idea who was approaching. It could have been Agnes or Nicole, but from the playful, excited barking, he thought it might be a different ally. Putting down the mop and standing above the cabin, Steve smiled, pleasantly surprised at his visitor.

"Danno!"

Dan Williams, in casual aloha shirt and jeans, waved. Sailor met him far up by the house and was greeted warmly by the welcome friend. It gave Steve a chance to observe the visitor and contemplate the unexpected visit. Usually Dan and his clan notified ahead of impending visits. Only once before, years ago, had Dan popped over to Kauai unexpectedly. That was to announce the impending birth of his first child -- a matter of such importance that a phone call or waiting for a scheduled visit would not be good enough.

Occasionally Williams, his wife and two children, flew over for long weekends -- every few months or so. In between those times Steve and Sailor cruised over to Oahu and stayed at the guest house permanently reserved for them on Williams' estate.

Studying his friend, Steve decided it was not the birth of another child -- which would have lent bubbly elation to Danno's expression. This was a pensive, perplexed look on the familiar and easily-read face. So, not bad news either. This serious facial cast was more like the time Dan decided to bow out of their security agency to spend more time as a father and city councilman -- an uncertain, unsettled look. Curious, Steve quickly cleaned up and stowed his gear, climbing onto the dock to shake Dan's hand.

"I didn't interrupt, did I?"

"Lucky for you I'm done, or I would have put you to work."

Dan complimented the captain on the pristine maintenance of the sailboat. When Steve first owned it the boat sat in dry dock for years, then became a slow weekend project. Then it was seaworthy only part of the time once it hit the water. Once retired, Steve, the proud sailor, devoted a lot more attention to his craft. Like painting, boating was something Steve had never allowed much time for when running Five-0. When Williams worried if his friend was happy without a regular job, he reminded himself about how busy Steve now was with hobbies, civic projects and even a social life!

Settled at the lanai table with coffee and snacks, McGarrett leaned back and studied his friend. "So, Danno, what's the problem?"

In an effort to be casual Williams shrugged, but did not fool his friend. Seeing the question still on McGarrett's face, Dan smiled and gave in. "Man, this is ridiculous. You and Kelly read me like a book. I can't keep anything from you two." Accepting the curse with a sigh he asked how he had slipped up.

Steve outlined his reasoning, edged by his long-term knowledge of Williams' traits. Again he repeated his request to be informed of the latest ripple in Williams' life.

Taking a deep intake of breath Dan proceeded. "Syd Samuels, Taki Mochadomi and Sandy Tashimoto head a committee that -- well, they want me to enter the race for governor next year."

Already expecting something interesting Steve was speechless with the impact of the statement. Governor? Instinctively his first reaction was jealous rejection. How dare Danno think about such a position! It would take away Dan's time from the family -- of which he automatically included himself.

Since that first year of Dan's entry into Five-0 Steve had grown to admire and love his friend as if they were brothers. Years later came Dan's expulsion from Five-0 and Steve's mending of that breach by inventing a security agency for them to manage together. When Dan married and started a family Steve was considered the always welcome doting uncle -- closer to Kelly Williams (whom he considered a sister-in-law) --and the Williams' son and daughter than his own niece and nephew on the mainland. When Dan won the seat on the city council Steve was his strongest supporter, not threatened by the time away for civic duties.

When civic duties drew more and more of Williams' attention from the security business, Steve started a slow perusal for a buyer. Without Danno, Steve would find little interest in work. The logical choice for a take over was an old friend and slight competitor -- Thomas Magnum. The choice proved perfect for Magnum and his family, the Williams family, and McGarrett. Dan finally quit Aikane Security, Steve soon after sold the business, content to really retire this time.

Years ago McGarrett had been asked to run for governor and he had adamantly declined. Politics was not for him, and he would not have thought it right for Williams, either. But Dan's civic duties as a councilman had proved that theory wrong.

The threat of governor's responsibilities loomed like a sinister spectre over McGarrett's paradise and he did not want to have his world shadowed by the time commitment, the stress, and yes, the danger of such a high public office. What was Danno thinking?

From the open, anxious expression Dan obviously wondered the same thing about his friend. "You don't like the idea."

McGarrett liked being judged even less than Williams. "I didn't say that." The tone was plaudably neutral and even and Steve congratulated himself on the achievement. "I'd like to know what you think. Obviously the fact that you came here to talk it over means you're taking this seriously."

After all these years they were close -- fast friends and confidants. Danno had come to him when he needed help after every major crisis in his life in the last twenty-odd years. He had come, too, in the joyous times, sharing the expectations of happiness -- his proposal to Kelly, the expectation of the children, his yearning to involve himself with community issues. Steve at least owed him the courtesy to listen to him talk out his feelings before dashing them with his own one-sided and selfish opinion.

Dan explained that Syd, a top political mover and shaker in Hawaii, Moch, the lawyer representing the Rose Corporation, and Sandy Toshimoto, their long-time attorney and friend, had approached him on several occasions with this idea. Yesterday they came with a list of serious supporters who were ready to contribute big money to start his campaign. They wanted to form a committee to elect him on an independent ticket.

After Five-0, Dan volunteered time and money to environmental causes in Hawaii. After moving to Kauai, Steve joined in some save-the-whale projects and other worthy causes. Dan's ideas and engaging personality brought him to the attention of powerful people in Honolulu and Dan was asked to bid for city council -- backed by a number of citizen's groups. Running as an independent with no old-politics party ties, Dan soon became the most popular member of the council. Perhaps this next step was inevitable, but as in other areas, progress didn't necessarily mean a good thing.

Still playing the devil's advocate, McGarrett wondered, "What do you think? What good can you do as governor?"

Staring out at the ocean for a moment, Dan shrugged. "I'm without old political party supporters, so I don't owe favors. That would give me some freedom to step on toes."

Steve smiled at that. "Yeah, you've been pretty good at stirring up the city council."

"I'm passionate about saving Hawaii from too much, too quick progress. And I don't think we're doing enough to preserve our aina and our heritage."

A bit grimly Steve's jaw muscle twitched. "You sound like a campaign speech already."

"Sorry." Williams looked at his friend and noted the obvious disapproval. "Well, it was just a thought anyway. I could never be governor."

Habitually McGarrett came to his friend's defense. "Why not?"

"I'd never swim in the big pool with the old sharks, Steve. I'm too easy to read. You and Kelly can read me like a book!" Alerted to the excitement, Sailor came over and brought a ball to play catch. Dan tossed the toy a few times, finally giving up since Sailor never surrendered and played until the human in the game was worn out. Reluctantly convinced the game was over, Sailor curled up at Dan's feet. "How could I hold up against opponents?"

McGarrett quickly dismissed that. "We're ohana, so believe me when I tell you that's one of the least of your worries. You were a tough cop, a tough city councilman, and you'd be a great governor. The state and people would be lucky to have you, Danno."

Williams modestly waved away the praise. "You're my closest friend. Not everybody agrees with that high praise." He stared at the ocean. "The old stories and rumors about the shooting will come out." Clearing his throat, he rubbed at the scar on his right temple. "I'll have to go public with some kind of story. The no comment angle worked for the city council, but not for governor."

"If it's important enough to take that kind of risk, then you know what you should do."

"I guess. Does that mean I have your approval?"

"Always," Steve claimed quickly. "With anything that makes you happy, Danno. And my blessing as long as that's what you really want to do. I'll support you. I just want you to make the right decision."

"Stephen and Angel are so young -- it's not very fair to them, is it?" Dan studied his friend's face. "You don't want me to do it either. Neither does Kelly."

Confronted with an ultimatum, McGarrett couldn't deceive his aikane. He sipped his coffee and watched his boat bob up and down at the dock. "No, I don't. Jameson lived the office. It consumed his life. By choice, I have to admit. He was a born politician and his children were grown and out of the house." He turned and raised his eyebrows to Williams, inviting comment. "You're different."

Pinching his lip, Dan nodded. "Yeah, I've thought a lot about Jameson. And about my kids. They need a full time father. I'd be losing their childhood if I took this job."

"I'd be there to help," Steve reminded. "Always. And I'll support you in whatever decision you make. Do I think it's right for you? I don't know," he confessed, moving into total honesty. "Do I like the idea? No. Do you remember how many threats Jameson had? Times are even more dangerous now."

The reminder sobered Williams. To bring home his point McGarrett outlined the several instances when Five-0 had saved Jameson's life. A number of world crises had landed in the then governor's lap. In these escalating, perilous times the job now would be tremendously crushing to body, mind, soul and family. It had the potential of being deadly.

Added to that was the problem of Williams' exit from Five-0 -- still a mystery that surfaced occasionally by Dan's opponents. The public never learned about his brainwashing and self-inflicted wound as a result of that experience. It was literally a matter of life and death that the truth never surfaced. The secret ops spy involved in the case had promised fatal intervention before the government's secrets would be revealed by McGarrett or Williams. Added to that threat was the humiliation Dan and his family would suffer if the truth came out. With that black spot still in his past, it seemed unlikely he could ever reach the highest office in the state.

Self-consciously he laughed. "I'm acting like I'd actually win! Like the state would ever elect an independent with a shady past."

"They do it all too often in politics, Danno," was Steve's wry rejoinder. Somberly, Steve laid it out for him. "You're popular and fair. I think you'd have a good shot at it. You have to weigh your need to pursue your civic duties against the considerations of your personal life."

"You make it sound too simple."

"Then I must have stated it incorrectly," McGarrett returned with certainty. "It's anything but simple, Danno. Could be the most important choice you make for you and your family forever."

Dan scoffed. "Nothing like a little pressure, huh, Steve?"

McGarrett brushed off the doom and gloom. "I've seen you handle stress that would kill lesser men. Somewhere in there is the right decision, Danno. And as you always do, you'll make the right choice, I'm sure of it. Whatever it is, I'll back you all the way."

Staring down at the mutt, Williams scratched the dog's scruff. "If I never did anything else right again in my life," he gruffed in a thick voice, "the best choice I ever made was accepting your offer to join Five-0. Mahalo"

Throat too tight with emotion, Steve just patted his friend's arm in mute agreement. The best choice he'd ever made was bringing Dan Williams into his life.
 
 
  1994

-- Kauai
 
 

All day Steve's memory replayed the fateful morning when Danno had first mentioned running for the office of governor. As McGarrett stowed his gear in the sailboat cabin he placed a book on the table. An old, tattered copy of El Dorado, a Scarlet Pimpernel novel by Baroness Orczy. A little fun and adventurous reading for his brief visit on Oahu. He didn't plan on staying at the Williams' guest house for long, but the visits usually lasted longer than anticipated because it was so hard to get away. Once comfortably folded into the fabric of the family he loved, he could rarely leave in under a week.

This time would be different. Either he would leave early because he would not fit in with the celebratory parties, or he would have to stay longer to console his ohana on a very public failure. In three days the election would be held for governor of Hawaii. In three nights either his oldest and dearest friend would be governor of the state, or a loser -- no never that -- a private citizen. Whatever happened, Steve was prepared to stand by in support and assistance.

Purposely Steve had distanced himself from the details of the election and any public notoriety. Dan didn't need the publicity McGarrett's controversial presence would have on a campaign. The history of Dan's resignation from Five-0 had caused enough political hurricanes. Despite the advice of his managers, Danno had given a story to the media at his initial press conference when announcing his bid for the governor's seat. There he admitted the suicide attempt was a matter of record, but refused to respond to any other questions about the incident. If people were not comfortable with that aspect of his past, they were free to choose another candidate to vote for. His records as city councilman and as a policeman stood on their own merit.

The candor won the hearts of many and Dan was off to a strong start in the race. Many media types asked if McGarrett would be a running mate with his friend. Steve had flatly denied any interest in holding an official position in the Williams' cabinet. McGarrett would be happy to support Kelly and the kids and watch politics from a distance. Saving the whales and dolphins was as far as he went in causes these days.
 
 

*****

Securing the boat at the slip in Koko Marina, Steve tossed his and Sailor's belongings onto the deck. Usually he hired a taxi to drive him the short distance to the Williams' house (formerly HIS house) in Aina Haina. This time Danno promised to send someone. Sailor started barking as soon as he trotted up onto deck. Steve emerged into the sunlight, surprised to see Dan, Kelly, Stephen and little Angel walking on the dock.

McGarrett swallowed a knot n his throat. Nothing in the world was as important to him as these four people and he loved them so much it filled him with the strongest emotions of care and protection. Their devotion to him was evident every time he saw them, but never so much as this moment.

Climbing off the boat he received hugs and Sailor received giggly pats as Angel fed him little treats. Steve handed his bags to eight-year-old Stephen, who always insisted on helping.

"Uncle Steve, you didn't let me tie up!"

He ruffled the boy's hair and felt like doing the same to the child's surprising father. To Dan he declared his amazement. "Danno, either you are the most confident person in the world, or you know something no one else does." He put his arm around Kelly. "Two days before the election and you're over at the marina picking up an old moocher." Shaking his head he winked at the woman. "I don't know about this guy you married, Kelly."

The lovely lady managed to herd everybody along, including the dog, as she walked with Steve. "Sometimes I don't know either, Steve. He's been impossible to live with today."

Dan just grinned at the usual teasing. "Well, if someone comes down here with a camera and shoots my wife hugging another man it's over. And that will probably make you two happy!"

Neither his wife nor his friend refuted the joke and it fell flat, to his discomfort. Well aware his decision to run for governor was a mixed decision he let the subject drop.

Angel stopped the proceedings by pulling at Steve's shirt. Obligingly he lifted the precocious five-year-old into his arms. "I always hug Uncle Steve, Daddy." She clasped onto his neck. "Is Agnes coming with you today?"

Smoothly, Steve responded, never betraying the uneasiness the question brought. "No, she's busy this week, honey. Maybe next time."

Agnes DuBois, his closest lady friend, had made herself scarce since Dan's announcement to run for governor. DuBois, because of an experience with death and back [fanfic --ASPECTS OF FALLLING STARS] possessed the psychic ability to occasionally see into the future. Mostly in the form of threats and negative impact, but occasionally (as with Dan and Kelly's bizarre courtship {fanfic -- MATCHMAKERS}), her talent extended to positive aspects of upcoming events. When she indicated she sensed information about Dan's campaign, Steve refused to hear it. The strain had been too much on their relationship and she rarely talked to Steve anymore.

Diplomatically Kelly steered the conversation into other channels and Dan made another bad joke. The adults laughed and continued to the car. As they walked along the pier, McGarrett noticed something oddly out of place with the idyllic picture. Dan Williams, former cop and gubernatorial candidate, was carrying a gun in a concealed ankle holster. Danno hadn't packed a revolver on a regular basis since they sold the security business. Steve tucked the unusual piece of information away, promising to get to the bottom of it later.

Surrounding the Williams vehicle were reporters and camera people who quickly crowded around the party. One of the group was Linda Lee Ellison, the top reporter for KSHL-TV Channel 3 News. To her long-time friends, including her neighbors the Williams', she was also known as Mrs. Thomas Magnum.

Thomas' wife was the most popular television newscaster in the Islands, which had made for a tricky relationship between Magnum, Williams and McGarrett. Back in '88 Magnum and his then young daughter had moved to the Eastern mainland for him to renew his Naval career. That had lasted only a brief time and soon they returned to the Islands where he married Linda Lee Ellison. Soon after that he bought the AIKANE SECURITYS business owned by McGarrett and Williams.

According to Dan, Linda Magnum had managed to tread a fine line during the campaign, offering her sharp probes to all three gubernatorial candidates, not sparing Williams as a family friend. Because she was a reporter, since the beginning of the campaign she was automatically suspect in Steve's eyes, regardless of her status as one of the inner circle of acquaintances.

Instinctively wary of the press, Steve gave her a polite nod; acknowledging her as a friend, but steering clear of her questions about the election. Ironically, she would be at the ohana luau tonight and probably the luau Monday night for campaign workers, family and the press. Steve hoped she continued to live up to his expectations as a person, not descend to the vile pit of sensationalism where the majority of media commentators resided. There had been rumors that her relationship with her husband started off pretty rocky thanks to her profession conflicting with his [episode -- FORTY -- Magnum], but Thomas had never elaborated and McGarrett was not interested in gossip, so he dismissed the stories. What counted now was her behavior toward Danno.
 
 

*****


The pleasant visit eventually turned into a strained, long day as Dan was absorbed more and more with political business. To distract everyone else, Kelly suggested an outing. Steve and Sailor joined mother, children and the Williams' dog Akamai on a walk along the bay and a picnic at the nearby park. It gave Steve a chance to talk privately with Kelly, something he hadn't been able to do since the run for governorship came into the final months.

The children and dogs -- little black and grey Sailor and big, tan Akamai, Kelly's Lab -- were running in the grass, playing ball. Even in the pleasant setting Mrs. Williams was not relaxing. Sitting at a picnic bench, Steve took Kelly's hand, giving her a smile.

"How are you holding up?"

Responding with a weak grin that faltered under his scrutiny, she surrendered with a sigh. "Not as strong as I should be, Steve."

Sensing more to the comment than the obvious, he assured he was there to assist in any way possible. Casually probing, he asked what the children thought of their dad winning the governorship. Kelly revealed they didn't understand it and neither did she, sometimes. Since Dan joined the race, they didn't comprehend the personal stress she had endured.

He squeezed her hand. "I don't believe it."

"I never thought it would be this hard. The public exposure, the schedule, the demands on Dan. It will only get worse if he's elected." With a brave, but faltering smile, she amended, "Don't get me wrong, he'd make a fantastic governor. Just sometimes I wish he didn't have to be the one to do it."

It was a sentiment he had frequently felt while ordering men into dangerous situations in the Navy, then later in Five-0. "I know what you mean."

Maintaining control, his expression gave away none of his surprise and disappointment. These people were his closest family -- closer than his blood relatives across the Pacific. Why had he stayed away on Kauai when he was needed here to help support these people he loved? He wondered why they didn't ask for his help, then realized they probably didn't know themselves how the strain was affecting them.

Watching the children play, he wished he could keep this moment forever, keeping the hard times and miseries of life far away. Something that had been puzzling him came to the forefront then when he realized there were no other children in the park. Of course, there wouldn't be on a Monday in November. So why were the Williams children out of school?

"Don't Stephen and Angel have school today?" It was a joke based on curiosity. "Are they already getting special privileges?"

"I -- well -- with the strain of the election and campaign I've taken them out of school. I'm teaching them at home till things settle down."

While the news surprised him, he thought it sounded reasonable.

Stephen threw the ball across the grass and near a sidewalk where a grizzly bearded, grey-haired man in a green hued Aloha shirt sat on a bench. Akamai and Sailor chased the ball that was picked up by the stranger and the kids chased the dogs. When the boy and girl stopped by the man, who played with Sailor, Suzy came to her feet, her hands clutched in tight fists of tension.

"Children! Come back!" Her voice was raw with fear.

Surprised at the alarm, Steve watched the scene across the park. The man smiled and pleasantly threw the ball back toward the ocean, and dogs and children raced back toward them. Shakily, Kelly collapsed on the bench.

Pressing her into a tight embrace, he held her trembling form, reassuring her everything was fine. Now worried, Steve calmly, but firmly, urged her, cajoled her, to reveal what was really upsetting her. Finally she admitted the family had been the target of harassment. Without revealing his alarm, he asked her to elaborate.

"Oh, little things at first." He noted her eyes rarely left the children, and now understood she was afraid for their safety. Chilled and disturbed, he listened to her unsteady voice. "Notes left on my car asking if I knew about Dan's secret past. Accusations that he was a corrupt cop." Even relating the lies made her cringe. "I gave the notes to Suzy -- she said it was a Five-0 matter since Dan was involved with a state election."

"What happened?"

"No clues, no fingerprints, nothing," she shrugged, staring at the children at play. "I mentioned the first note to Dan. After that I didn't want him to worry. Then they stopped."

Automatically his cop instincts kicked in; knowing the eerie intimidation would probably escalate. "When did they stop?"

"About two months into the campaign."

"And since?"

Turning back to look at him she seemed unsettled again. "Of course, the phone calls started getting . . . ." On his blank look she continued. "Didn't Dan tell you that's why we changed the phone number?"

"No." And he'd know the reason for that oversight as soon as he saw his friend again.

Fidgeting uncomfortably, she rose to leave, insisting it was just an election prank. Standing with her, Steve put an arm around her and kept her from leaving. Urging her to tell him the complete truth, she wavered.

Sometimes she was as easy to read as her husband. Casting another concerned glance at her children, she stared into Steve's eyes. "Dan probably didn't want to worry you."

Never did he like being kept in the dark about events concerning his life -- or his friends -- who were his life. When the misfortunes were personal he would not tolerate deception.

"I'm already worried, Kelly. Tell me everything. What else?" Impatient, clues started knitting together into some sense now. "That's why you took the children out of school, isn't it? What are you afraid of, Kelly?" He held her hands.

"The notes, and the calls, all threatened to reveal the truth about Dan's past if he didn't drop out of the race. Then last week when --" she cringed. "Well, I came out of the Kahala Mall to find my car had been wrecked. HPD and Five-0 considered it a random act of vandalism."

Not wanting to over react, the news really did alarm him. "Like someone ran into it?"

"No, the windows were smashed and the hood and fenders -- like with a sledgehammer or something." A faltering smile quickly faded. "I'm just jumpy. The election and everything is getting on my nerves. The police think it's nothing."

"And Danno?"

"He was worried, but doesn't think it's serious. Besides, Five-0 is on the case."

The tone lacked conviction and Steve wasn't persuaded either. The conversation was abruptly ended when Stephen ran up, followed by a breathless Sailor, trailed by Angel and Akamai. The kids clamored for money for shave ice and Kelly agreed. They walked to a vendor near the playground. The large, over weight Tongan-looking man with a ponytail tied at his neck seemed familiar. Fleetingly, Steve wondered if he was an ex-con, then shook off the suspicion. He was seeing criminals behind every palm tree now that he was aware of a threat to his ohana. Crossing the lawns they ate shave ice as they strolled on the beach toward the estate.

From the corner of his eye Steve noted a tall, lithe, man with dark, wavy hair watching them with covert interest. Just enough somber study from the man dressed in a dark blue Aloha shirt -- looking away when Steve eyed him -- to make the stranger seem suspicious. Knowing about the intrigue, even the man on the bench and the shave ice vendor with the ponytail seemed suspicious.

At the estate the children skipped around the two imu -- pits where the pigs were already cooking for the luaus. Sailor dug around in the sand and Steve ordered him away. The dog scurried toward the house, the kids chasing him. By the house the children met with a beautiful Amer-Asian teenaged girl -- Lily Magnum, Thomas' daughter and frequent babysitter to the Williams children.

From the corner of his eye McGarrett noted the man in the dark shirt observing them from down the beach. When Steve turned the man pivoted and strolled back down to the park.

When they reached the house Dan was talking on the phone as he strolled from one side of a long table to another, going over spread out charts. Syd was there along with most of the campaign staff, monopolizing the game room at the end of the beach house. Normally the strategists would have been at the campaign offices doing the work, but Dan was valiantly trying to sandwich in time with his family between the hectic-paced obligations.

Impatiently Steve managed to corner his friend away from prying ears, but knew it wouldn't last more than a few minutes. Trying to curb his irritation, he failed, his anxiety taking the lead.

"Danno, I want to know about the notes, the phone calls -- the vandalism. You've been holding out on me." The accusation was a little tougher than necessary. "What's going on?"

More perplexed than concerned, Dan shrugged. "Pranksters, Steve, nothing serious. Is Kelly worried?" Now he took the complaint seriously.

"Of course she's worried." The irritation subsiding, Steve tempered his tone and cooled down, seeing no reason to alarm his friend with so many other concerns on Danno's mind. "I am too. Why you didn't mention it?"

"I've been a little busy." The sarcasm was wry and light. "Look, it's nothing, Steve. And anything like that I let Five-0 handle. Don't worry about it."

Syd called him over and Dan waved, promising to return to work. McGarrett grabbed onto his arm. "Don't worry? Your children have been pulled out of school. Your wife is afraid. And you're packing a pistol in an ankle holster. Don't tell me not to be worried, Danno!"

"We'll have time to talk tonight at the luau. No interruptions, I promise."

"I'll hold you to that."

Williams held his gaze for a moment, the somber pact acknowledged by both of them, then the candidate left.

With the Williams' family occupied with preparations for the sunset luau, Steve called some old friends and arranged a meet at a favorite spot. Without notice he slipped out and drove into Honolulu.
 
 

*****


Cruising his big, comfortable Lincoln through the downtown traffic was fun, Steve decided. Premature of the quitting-time congestion, the big Continental was a pleasure to take through the streets. In Kauai he owned a versatile and practical -- if not very cozy -- jeep. In Oahu he kept his Lincoln for independence and nostalgia. Nothing like a big powerhouse for tooling around his old haunts.

Slowing as he passed the Capitol, he couldn't help but admire the sleek, curved lines of the unique building. For decades that was the symbol of power for his superior -- Governor Jameson -- who held the office for what seemed forever. Which many had also observed of McGarrett's tenure in Five-0, he sardonically reminded. The new resident in that building could be his closest friend and that gave Steve an unsettled, nervous ripple in his chest. No question he was opposed to Danno winning in three days, but he kept that hope to himself. McGarrett liked his life structured and just about the way it was now. A 'Governor' Williams in the family would disrupt that idyllic paradise.

Automatically he turned into the Palace driveway off Richards Street. Again, on pure instinct, he parked in his usual spot on the makai side of the lot, just under the window of 'his' corner of the Palace. Now a museum, there were few people around and Steve leaned on the side of his car and fondly studied the old building that had been his nest for the most fulfilling years of his life.

Parking was at a premium downtown and leaving his car across the street was not just a nod to old times, it was practical. Saturdays weren't so crowded in the government area as weekdays, but there was still plenty of activity. Determined not to slip into nostalgia, he strolled down the front drive and walked across to the King Kamehameha statue in front of the Judicial Building. Then next door to the Territorial Building, where Hawaii Five-0 was now housed. He had been here for a few trying months when the Palace was renovated back in '76 -- nearly twenty years ago! Glancing back at the Palace he thought it could probably use another face-lift. So could this old place.

Honolulu and Hawaii were in the crux of continual dilemmas over progress verses culture. How to accommodate for the increasing population and yet maintain respect for the old culture, while providing a good quality of life for the people? One of many knotty problems his friend would have to grapple with if Danno was elected governor.

Suzy Kelly, Chin Ho Kelly's daughter, now served as a detective with Hawaii Five-0 (obviously under new and not-well-known management). When Steve left his name with the receptionist, there was no recognition or flicker of interest from the young officer. The anonymity was a nice change. Still famous -- infamous -- in law enforcement and city circles, Steve really did prefer the refuge of privacy -- something he never achieved while heading Five-0.

Five-0 seemed fully staffed -- unusual for a Saturday, but a good sign that they were on top of the extra work from the election. The young man called Suzy on the phone and a moment later the trim, athletic woman with her dark hair tied in a pigtail emerged from an office. Hugging her old friend and mentor, she ordered the officer to hold all her calls, then took Steve to her office.

"So, what couldn't wait until the luau tonight?" The sparkle in her face was shaded by the caution in her eyes. "What's going on, Steve?"

"I want to know about the note and phone calls and vandalism against the Williams'"

The Kelly Hatsuyuki and Suzy Kelly friendship went as far back as their pre-school years, having been neighbors, roommates and best friends for as long as they could remember. Like a curtain drawn over her face, the detective instantly changed from open inquiry to closed secrecy.

"That's official -- "

"Tell me what's going on, Suzy." His tone deep, level with stern warning. "Don't shut me out of this."

Scowling, she lowered her voice and drew closer. They were in a private office, but the request unsettled her. "Lynd would have my head if he knew I gave you any information."

The new head of Five-0, appointed by the current and not very popular governor, was Thomas Lynd. A British ex-MI6 operative, Lynd was cool, competent and completely by-the-book. Because he had been politically appointed over a native born Honolulu officer, general public opinion of the stiff, stern Lynd was unfavorable. McGarrett had met the forty-ish, starchy, fit cop only a few times, and came away with a clear distaste of the man. Unable to cast aspersions, Steve discounted Lynd.

For one, Steve was no longer directly involved with law enforcement or security. For another, he and Jameson received a lot of heat back in '59 when McGarrett -- right out of Naval Intelligence -- had been appointed to organize and head up the new Hawaii Five-0 unit, bypassing numerous local cops of distinction. Now that Lynd and his staff were responsible for the safety and protection of his ohana, he was going to pay closer attention to the man and his officers.

"If you don't help me I'll do this on my own." Expression and voice underscored this was no idle threat. "Danno and his family are being threatened. I want to know who is doing it and I want them stopped." He stabbed the desk in emphasis. "What about Pauli Tanaka? He was a vocal opponent of Danno through this whole campaign. Did you check him out? And Danno still has plenty of enemies. What about the Kumu? What's Alika doing in prison? Are his connections still strong?"

Brushing strands of dark hair from her pretty face, she grimaced. "I'm handling the case."

As if he didn't hear her, McGarrett plowed on. "What about Hawaiian Nationalists? They've been very opposed to Danno and his running mate --"

"Steve!" Suzy held up her hands to stay the angry tirade. "I know you're upset. It's a very disturbing business. There are no suspects because there is almost no physical evidence. The notes -- three of them -- were left in Kelly's car on three occasions. Then the notes stopped. No prints, standard computer paper and standard computer printer." Her shrug -- an effort at casualness -- failed to achieve nonchalance. "The phone calls -- only two taped -- are of a muffled voice. Can't tell if it's male or female. The threats are vague and --"

The door opened and Thomas Lynd, the light haired, strong jawed, trim leader of Five-0 strode in. A smirk played on his face. Pausing, he almost seemed disappointed that he hadn't caught them trading secrets. From the smug expression, Steve wondered if the man had overheard anything.

"Well, I heard there was a celebrity in the office. I could have arranged a red carpet you know, McGarrett."

The sarcasm had just the right touch to be short of insolence dashed with a trace of humor all at the same time. A verbal art the Brits seemed to employ abundantly, Steve didn't appreciate it when aimed at him.

Steve had met the new head of Five-0 on several occasions. Governor Jameson's retirement gala, Aloha Week ceremonies, mutual charities. There had been little chance to get to know Lynd on more than a superficial level, and Steve wasn't sure he wanted the opportunity. Lynd seemed cool and arrogant, not deigning to have an interest in old legends like McGarrett and Williams. Curiously, Lynd was a generous supporter of Williams for governor, so he supposed the man had at least good taste on his side.

Over Lynd's shoulder a tall, muscled Islander, Aki Chase, glanced at McGarrett and gave him a nod of acknowledgement, then moved on. The new second in command of Five-0 -- Aki -- was someone completely opposite of the chilly Lynd. Chase was a native charmer who had as many relatives in and out of city government as Chin used to boast.

"Mr. Lynd." Steve's tone was frosty, if courteous. After all, no sense getting on Lynd's bad side. It would reflect badly for Suzy. And it would complicate things if Danno were elected in three days. "I wanted to drop in and see Suzy before all the commotion started in the next few days."

Lynd glance was skeptically cold. He stood aside, holding onto the door handle. "If you please, Ms. Kelly has work to complete. She will no doubt socialize with you on her own time."

Piqued, but cool, Steve took his leave, unsettled at the interrupted interview. Suzy had been uncomfortable talking about the case. No doubt he would find out more tonight at the luau, but he wouldn't wait that long. On the steps of the old building he stopped to offer a polite aloha to Chase, who was talking to a man and woman with badges hanging out of their jacket pockets.

"Mr. Steve McGarrett, this is HPD Lieutenant Mack Wolfe and his partner Sergeant Linda Kalama."

Shaking hands, Steve instinctively liked Wolfe's sharp, appraising eyes, firm handshake and professional bearing. "Lieutenant."

The female partner was less enthusiastic. The tall, athletically built red head offered a lukewarm shake and a silent nod as greeting. "Sergeant." Managing a warm smile to counter her apathy or disapproval, he couldn't tell.

"Heard a lot about you, Mr. McGarrett." Wolfe assessed him subtly. "Not re-enlisting are you?" The thought amused him. "That would give my pal Aki a few sleepless nights."

Embarrassed by the teasing which was probably all too close to the truth, Chase shot a glare at his friend, then apologized to Steve. "Don't let my friend's weird humor bother you, Mr. McGarrett."

Wolfe gave Chase a wink, then glanced at his partner. "It grows on you, right, Linda?"

The HPD woman shrugged, unimpressed with the teasing. "Whatever you say, Mack. We have to get back to court." Her curt nod was a farewell and she left.

"I expect I'll be seeing more of you if Mr. Williams is elected governor," Wolfe stated with a salute to Steve as he walked away. "I'm with a security task force for important people. Like you."

Chase's explanation, consistent with his easy manner and tone, came after Mack was out of earshot. "He comes off a little arrogant sometimes, but he's a great cop." Overtly studying the old veteran, he continued with a bold question. "So, what were you really doing here today? Checking up on us maybe? I think you'll find we're as sharp as your unit in your day. Just in case you're worried about security for Mr. Williams."

McGarrett studied the young Five-0 officer. Blunt -- he liked that in a cop -- and personable, Chase had no problem communicating to the heart of a subject. Steve generally found the man favorable, but wasn't going to give his questions equally forthright responses.

"Just dropping in on an old friend, Mr. Chase. I suppose I'll see you tonight in your official capacity?"

"You don't sound too happy about that."

McGarrett clamped a tighter lid on his expression and tone, becoming mask-like, to conceal the apprehension he felt about public servants intruding on his family functions. Something he would reluctantly have to accept if Danno was elected governor.

"I've had a lifetime of public life, Mr. Chase. I understand the need for security and intrusion without the desire to embrace it. Good day."

Strolling to his car, too preoccupied to appreciate the glory of the beauty of paradise, he drove over to his second meeting of the day.
 
 

*****


The swank, Twenties-styled restaurant THE BLACK ORCHID maintained a choice spot facing the harbor on Ala Moana Boulevard. Noted for excellent food, secluded dining areas and incredible service, most of Honolulu's resident and visiting celebrities, affluent and elite, frequented the expensive eatery. Owned by Rick Wright, formerly of the King Kamehameha Club, the place was perfect for people, like McGarrett, who enjoyed good food, tasteful atmosphere and privacy.

When he stepped into the foyer Kiki, the hostess, gave him a warm greeting. She indicated he was expected and his party was waiting for him in the private dining area. To anyone listening it sounded like a perfectly normal conversation. He slipped through some side doors and took stairs up to the second floor and opened the door at the top of the stairs without knocking.

"Steve, good to see you." Jonathan Higgins raised his glass from his comfortable seat in a tropical-designed sofa at the conversation area.

Stepping over, Steve shook hands with the short, mustached British subject. "Jonathan."

Returning the greetings of the others, he shook hands with Thomas Magnum, who, Steve noted, just put out a cigar in deference to McGarrett's dislike of smoking. Duke Lukela, his old colleague, was also there.

Sweeping into the room with a drink tray was Rick Wright, who called a greeting to the newcomer and handed out drinks. When McGarrett notified the others of a 'meeting' he had indicated the need for privacy. Only Kiki knew whom to direct up to the private office. No waiters or others in the establishment would know those who met here -- for all intents -- as informal friends gathering for cocktails.

"So what gives?" The short, blunt, tough, ex-Chicago resident Wright, was typically anxious to get down to business.

"Someone is out to cause problems for Danno. I want it stopped before it becomes more violent than it already has. It's connected with the election, but I'm not sure of all the ramifications."

McGarrett stared at each of the men. For years he had known most of them, conferred with them in his business of security, even employed them at various times. Some were colleagues from as far back as the Five-0 days. This loose association never seemed so needed as now, when unofficial channels were his only recourse.

Explaining about the notes, calls and vandalism, he admitted there was little evidence to work with. That would be their first priority, to find what they could in the way of clues. Then they would have to do a better job than the official police by discovering the culprit in less than twenty-four hours.

"By Monday we need to have our hands on the perpetrator. The threat is that If Danno does not drop out of the race they will go public with whatever they have and ruin Danno."

"Is that so bad?" Magnum's tall form leaned on the bar. "What if he doesn't get elected?"

"It's not just the election. Coloring the facts could damage Danno and his whole family. Besides, I'm worried about the escalation. If these fiends don't get what they want, I'm afraid they will try something really dangerous against Danno or his family."

Higgins wondered what was in Williams' past that could be so damaging. Without going into detail, McGarrett reminded them about the old stories of Williams' resignation from Five-0. Magnum and Higgins both had intelligence backgrounds and pretty much read between the lines on what Williams needed to hide about his exit from law enforcement.

Magnum managed to juggle the tough balancing act of security specialist married to a public figure bent on gathering information. Steve had no problem trusting Magnum with this inquiry. Thomas had proved his worthiness to be included within this circle years before, with no need to prove it again now.

"Okay," the security specialist agreed. "What do you have in mind?"

Steve singled out his former detective. "Duke, use your family connections to find out what Five-0 and HPD have on these incidents."

Lukela smiled cagily. "Already ahead of you, Steve. This is still a small island, remember?"

With children and in-laws in enforcement circles, and by keeping in touch with old colleagues on the force, Duke had already gathered information.

"Good, Duke, good."

Lukela informed, "Anonymous sources, or the coconut wireless, say the case has caused a lot of investigation into Dan's past. Someone wants to know why he really quit Five-0. They're questioning the suicide attempt -- which is an unpopular story anyway and has already cost Dan a lot of support."

Pacing, Steve glanced at the men in the room -- men he trusted. "You all know enough to surmise there was more to Danno's suicide attempt than came out in public. We were involved with classified investigations that prohibited leaking the truth." Grinding his teeth, it still made him ache with frustrated anger that Williams had been made the scapegoat of a spy operation. "To reveal the truth would be a very literal risk to Danno's life, possibly his family's, maybe even mine. That was why we could never tell what really happened -- why we can't allow it to come out even now."

Outlining their goals, he ticked off several points of investigation. Who had the means to know the truth? Only a few people knew the truth of what happened. Of those people, he would put former Governor Jameson and former State Attorney General Manicote beyond suspicion. That left only McGarrett, Williams, and the original agent working with them in Hawaii. Steve would handle that investigation personally. If the original five people were not responsible for these attacks, then it was someone who was guessing about the truth and using it for extortion. That could include anyone.

They would have to move to the area of motive. The first and most obvious was stated in the notes and calls -- get Williams to drop out of the race. Why? Because he had a real chance at winning? Who would he damage if he won?

Higgins quietly asked, "Then what are our first investigative avenues?"

"Dates of the notes and phone calls might be important." He glanced to Duke, who gave him a nod of acceptance. McGarrett continued issuing orders. "Rick, check out Kumu-kahi, Alekema Alika, Tomi Mano and Pauli Tanaka. They're old enemies and have big grudges against Danno."

"And the backing to cause problems," Duke reminded.

Steve looked at Higgins. "I want to know about Thomas Lynd."

"The head of Five-0 you want investigated?" The Brit seemed to momentarily loose his cool. "I play bridge with the man. He's a member of the club --"

McGarrett's interruption was sharp. "He's in the pocket of the governor -- one of Danno's biggest critics. This is politics, gentlemen and it's played with the same rules as dirty pool -- no holds barred." After an instant of thought he continued. "We also need to check out Governor Kuhio and have candidate Wilson investigated, too."

With a steady glare and ironic tone, Magnum became the only voice in the still room. "So when do we get our Five-0 badges to go with all the orders, chief?"

McGarrett's face transformed into a hard mask.

Duke literally stepped between them, standing by the now motionless veteran detective. "Steve, you're asking us to investigate public figures. Not everybody is an enemy. And doesn't it seem far fetched to think a governor or a bank president is involved with something like this?"

"Hey, Magnum's right, we don't even have badges," Rick reminded. "Like the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Only we're the League of the Black Orchid." He laughed and nudged the nearby Higgins. "Hey, kinda has a nice ring to it, huh?"

"You've been reading too much Scarlet Pimpernel," Steve dismissed, aware that, ironically, he had been reading one of the Orczy novels just this morning. Maybe his subconscious had developed the old idea into a new pattern to fit into modern day Hawaii.

"It is a classic," Higgins reminded.

"This is no adventure." McGarrett's countering prompting was somber. "This could be dangerous to all of us in our social standing in this community. Our tampering could ruin Danno's chances in the race if we slip up. Since we don't know whom we're up against, it could even prove physically dangerous, though I hope not. What I want to prevent is any evil befalling the Williams'." His tone was uncompromisingly grim. "And I will do anything to protect them. If you don't want to be part of this, you can leave now." With a dry smirk he glanced at Rick. "Or you can kick me out."

Rick shrugged. "Hey, I'm always in for a good cause. Besides, Dan's a good guy. I think he'd be a great governor, but that's not important. I want to make sure he has a fair shot at it, not having the election rigged by threatening him. That's too dirty."

"And I think we all agree we want to protect the family," Higgins confirmed.

Magnum suggested they also check out the Hawaiian Nationalist organization -- protesters who were opposing Williams based on his race and his Japanese running mate. Dedicated to reclaiming the land owned by the US government, the well-organized radical movement was gaining momentum.

"And who said Hawaii was racially tolerant?" Rick cracked.

"Every place has its prejudices," Higgins pointed out reasonably. "Hawaii has less than most, but is not exempt to human failings." Glancing at Magnum, then McGarrett, his eyes narrowed. "There have already been blunt accusations from Kuhio and Wilson about Dan's instability and the suicide attempt. More subtle innuendoes have surfaced in the press lately."

Steve glanced at Magnum, but did not pull his punches. "The media feeds on rumors."

In defense of his wife, Thomas countered. "Linda is one of Dan's quiet supporters. But she has to remain as objective as possible in her business."

Duke shook his head. "We need to protect Danny and his family. What about when he's elected? I just hope winning will be the best for them."

The irony of the situation was not lost of the speculative McGarrett. He was fighting to clear his friend of scandal, thus opening the path for Williams to win the election -- something Steve did not necessarily desire. Not for the first time in his life, he was supporting what he believed to be right -- not what he wanted.
 
 


*****


When the others left McGarrett asked, and received permission, to use Rick's private office. The cell phone number rang several times before it was answered by a deep, mellow, non-committal voice.

"Yes."

"Napoleon, this is Steve."

"Aloha, Steve. How's paradise?"

"Sunny, warm and beautiful. And complicated. Can you talk?"

"No problem. I'm spending a night in Vancouver. Illya is having a little soiree up here. There is very little to do in the frozen north."

The task didn't sound like anything appealing and Steve wondered why the ex-spy put up with such disagreeable locations. Far from needing the money, he and his partner, Kuryakin, could pick and choose jobs any time, anywhere in the world. They rarely dabbled in the espionage business at any rate, instead concentrating on Kuryakin's (although Solo owned a piece of the company) thriving Vanya's -- an exclusive fashion empire. A veteran of the intrigue business, who later went into security consulting, Steve knew better than to ask for details.

"Winter in Vancouver? Napoleon, you'll just have to arrange your next job here in Hawaii."

Solo's voice dropped to a conspiratorial depth. "You know I try to head west whenever I can. I might have an in with the new governor. Illya volunteered Vanya's for Kelly's dress, you know. Think we'll get invited to the inaugural ball?"

"It's possible." Napoleon had ingratiated himself into the graces of one of Dan's relatives -- much to the irritation of McGarrett and Williams. Solo's past with women was legendary and he didn't like the thought of him dating one of the extended ohana. "We'll see."

"So what can I do for you, Steve, this sounds like a business, rather than a social call."

Without revealing too much, Steve expressed his concerns about the upcoming events and asked Napoleon to check on the whereabouts of an old colleague from their past troubles. Adept at reading between lines, Solo caught on quickly; concurring that Webb could be a problem in the circumstances.

"When do you need the information?"

"Usual time -- immediately."

There was a smile in the tone. "Yes, I should have guessed. Illya's not too busy, I'll have him help with some inquiries. We'll get back to you soon."

"Mahalo."

"Is that all we can do?"

"I'll let you know."

"Tell Dan good luck."

"I will," McGarrett agreed.

His tone became wry. "I'd tell you to give my love to Leilani, but that's too risky. Just tell her I'll be visiting as soon as I'm done with Illya's project."

"I will."

The former UNCLE agents knew the details of Dan's resignation from Five-0 and the shooting story that served as the cover up. If Solo and Kuryakin could track down the spy Webb, then how would it help? Webb had been the engineer of Dan's fake resignation and the creator of the fable hiding the real events with Jin Wu and government intrigue in the islands. {fanfic -- TALONS OF THE DRAGON/THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT} He could be behind this string of threats, but Steve didn't think it likely. Webb was covert only in the public eye. If he wanted to terrorize Dan he would come right up the front drive and knock on the door with his demands. Still, the possibility had to be eliminated or confirmed.

What about the possibility of Jameson or Manicote, now both retired from public life, being involved with Dan's enemies? Unlikely since both fervently and actively campaigned for Danno. So where else could these threats be coming from? Steve had only a few days to find out.
 
 

*****

When Steve arrived back at the estate preparations were in full swing for the evening luau. Kelly was caught up in the activities of directing the caterers and keeping things organized. With no chance to visit with Kelly, Steve searched for Danno, learning he had ended up in Honolulu at the campaign headquarters.

Suzy Kelly was at the house helping, along with some other familiar friends. Philanthropist Joseph Rose and his young wife Kimba. Both supported the tradition of the Rose Corporation's business and charity work in the Islands. They were healthy contributors to Dan's election fund and were frequent guests here as fellow members of various benevolent societies. The Rose Corporation lawyer Taki Mochadomi was one of the motivating powers behind the Williams campaign.

Shaking hands with Joseph and Kimba, Steve traded polite small talk while scanning the crowd. Sandi Wells, an HPD detective, and Aki Chase were there together. Their alert perusal of the crowd indicated they were there in an official capacity.

Dr. Daniel -- Kana -- Kulani, and his teenage son Pono, were setting up an area for a band and dancers. The vast Kulani clan was filtering in, providing the entertainment for the gathering. Renowned for their family-plus luaus in nearby Kahala, the Kulani extended family had been a backbone of Dan's campaign and insisted on organizing the luaus for the ohana and aikane tonight and the election team and family Monday night.

Working the crowd, Steve found himself distracted by pleasant conversations, but kept his focus on the attendees and their attitudes. Mostly he watched Kelly. Having a mother's instinct for protection of her family, Kelly had her own forces. She brought in her old friend Leilani Kulani to help keep an eye on the children. With all the security people, Kelly felt a close friend was still needed to help. Leilani was Kelly's partner at the travel agency that Kelly still kept an interest in. Lani's other connection with the Williams' was her status as an intimate friend of Napoleon Solo's. Steve's old friend hooked up with Kelly's old friend --wasn't life complicated enough? It wouldn't matter so much except McGarrett knew all too well the womanizing history of the former spy. He didn't want someone as nice as Leilani to be hurt. On the plus side, they seemed to care for each other very much and finding someone as beautiful, talented and strong as Lani seemed to calm Solo down a bit. Maybe it would all work out.

Sparing a glance toward Kelly, Stephen and Angel Williams, McGarrett nearly smiled. He harbored some similar doubts about the Romeo-of-Five-0-Williams settling down with someone as solid as Kelly. And that had turned out perfectly.

Joining McGarrett at the bar, Leilani grabbed some fruit drinks for the kids and leaned close to McGarrett. "I could call Napoleon to come and help."

Most of the friends of the Williams family seemed alerted to the invisible dangers around them. While that was good for security it was unsettling for McGarrett. Too many people helping might complicate rather than help. Besides, Napoleon was HIS friend! If Steve felt they needed help from really tough former spies he would call in Solo and Kuryakin himself.

Turning to the beautiful Polynesian/Asian woman, McGarrett changed the subject. "How is Napoleon?"

"Good. Illya needed his help with a project on the mainland, otherwise I think he would have been here for all the excitement."

From her tone it was obvious she had talked his old friend. "I don't think we need any more help," McGarrett decided curtly. "The wrong kind of help could be damaging to Danno's campaign."

"Ah, former spies and cops should be invisible supporters?"

She had a sharp wit and frequently used it to spar with those who clashed with her strong-willed nature. A perfect match for Napoleon, who needed someone to keep him in line. Danno and Kelly frequently kidded McGarrett in the same way about Agnes. With a pang of regret he again questioned his adamant rejection of DuBois until after the election. If she wanted anything to do with him after that.

Looking again at his ohana his eyes narrowed. "Whatever it takes, Lani."

Accepting his grim pronouncement, she gave a nod. "Yeah, I understand." She glanced at the Williams'. "They're too good to be hurt in all this craziness."

"From your mouth to God's ear."
 
 

*****

 

Mack Wolfe and partner Linda Kalama were at the ohana luau as an obvious security presence. Steve watched them warily circulate. Mack was personable and charming to the ladies -- even flirtatious. Sergeant Kalama remained professionally detached, but he overheard her mention to a few friends that she was taking bets on the election. When they stopped to chat with a scruffy, grey-bearded man in a green print shirt, and a tall, lithe man in a dark Aloha shirt, McGarrett stopped and watched. As soon as the police moved away Steve moved in and confronted the mystery men before they could duck away.

"I suppose you two were invited to this private party?"

"Sure." The short, stout, grey-haired man was full of bluster and boldly came face to face with the challenger. "Guess you were invited too?"

Ignoring the frontal assault, Steve focused on the quiet man with dark, dangerous eyes. "Why are you lurking around the Williams family?"

"We're friends of the family," the loud, shorter man intervened.

"So am I." He flicked his eyes toward the spokesman, then back to the silent man he instinctively felt was the coiled hazard waiting to spring. "And I've never seen you before. You were watching us at the park this afternoon." These men were stamped with the overt demeanor of military men or intelligence operatives -- perhaps both.

The wavy-haired man, nearly eye-to-eye with Steve nodded and offered a sardonic twitch of a smile. "Okay, Mr. McGarrett. I thought we had the high-ground advantage with intelligence, but we've been outflanked." Shooting a glance to his friend he addressed McGarrett. "My name is Jonathon Raven. This is my associate, Ski -- Herman Jablonski. Mrs. Williams invited us here to -- to observe."

"She seemed frightened when her children approached you, Mr. Jablonski."

Raven supplied the answer. "She's never met Ski, only me." Amused at the continued hostility from his inquisitor, he continued easily. "You can ask Suzy Kelly, she introduced Mrs. Williams to me."

Turning to find the two women in question, Steve spotted them across the lawn by Kana Kulani. When Kelly Williams glanced up and caught Steve's eye, her face crinkled with concern and she and Kulani walked over to join them.

"I see you've met my friends, Steve."

"You know them?"

Dr. Kulani seemed surpassed. "Kauai is isolating you, Steve," he gently chided. "Raven is rather notorious here, especially in cop circles. Just ask Suzy."

Kelly stepped closer to McGarrett, keeping her voice low. "I -- I hired Mr. Raven and his friend to -- as independent -- uh -- protection."

Immediately the implications hit him and McGarrett was incensed and insulted. "You hired them to investigate the notes?"

"No. As protection. For Stephen and Angel. I'm afraid for them, Steve."

Still unwilling to accept the outsiders in what he considered his personal turf, he tried not to lose his temper. Kelly gulped, seeing his building anger, and he calmed considerably at her crushed expression. It was unfathomable that she could ask strangers to protect her family -- his ohana -- instead of him! He had been the head of Five-0 -- what better credentials could he have!

"I needed someone on the outside, Steve, please don't be mad. You're too close. So is Suzy."

McGarrett wouldn't admit he was hurt with the bypass of this vital guardianship. "What about HPD or Five-0?"

"I tried going through official channels and they gave me the standard response. They're investigating. After my car was trashed I wasn't going to sit around and wait for something worse to happen."

The explanation was wise and Steve grudgingly accepted the reasoning if not the fact of intruders on his turf. He would ask later why she didn't call Magnum, or Duke or -- or him. Right now he had to deal with Raven and friend.

"I'll take care of things now."

Her eyes stormy, she refused to accept the overbearing command. "You could be in danger too, Steve. And Dan needs your help as a friend these next few days, not as a cop."

The blistering suppression would be ignored, of course, but he wouldn't argue with her now. Offering words of reassurance, he convinced her to not worry, he was sure Raven could handle things. Unsettled and doubtful, Kelly left when Kulani asked her to make some decisions about the band.

As soon as she was out of earshot he turned on the two newcomers. "I'll check you out, bet on that. If you're cleared, you can stay on the case."

"Hey, you're not givin' out the paychecks, pal, so you don't call the shots." Ski seemed ready to back up his belligerence with muscle, but Raven calmed him down.

"We are both after the same thing, Mr. McGarrett," Raven offered calmly. "Let's not fight each other while the real enemy is ready to cause more than enough problems."

"We'll see," Steve countered neutrally.

Secluded in his guesthouse, McGarrett put in a call to his friend Oscar Goldman in Washington DC. As always, the information was needed ASAP and Oscar received the information while the two were catching up on retirement stories. Steve didn't want to know how Oscar managed that extensive a check while on a home PC.

"Jonathon Raven is former CIA. Lots of action in Vietnam. A member of the Black Dragon tong -- that's not easy to do for anyone, Steve, but pretty impressive for a Westerner. Jablonski was Special Forces in 'Nam. The two met there and have been on and off partners in security related enterprises ever since Raven left CIA. Raven's been there in your islands for a few years looking for his son. Found the son last year and they live there in Oahu. Apparently freelance security work is lucrative, considering you and Thomas and Raven. And that's just the IRS reports."

Steve didn't want to know how the former head of the OSI was privy to confidential IRS and much more information. "So you're telling me he's a former spy who's made a lot of money."

"There's a vague notation here in his file about him tracking down a former associate who had gone sour. Looks like Raven's a good guy, Steve. So, are you going to tell me what all this is about, pal?"

"Not yet."

"Okay. Tell Danny we're rooting for him in the election."

"I will. Mahalo, Oscar. Will we be seeing you soon?"

"Yeah, I'm thinking of coming out for a visit near Christmas. I'll let you and Thomas know. Aloha, Steve."

"Aloha."
 
 

*****

As usual, Williams was running late and failed to make it on time to the luau. Allowing impatience to overrule good judgement, McGarrett drove into Honolulu to catch up with his friend. It was easy to track the candidate by following the distinct trail of media representatives. From the beginning Williams had distinguished his run for office by sponanteous occasions to get his views across, instead of staged media events. The press quickly took that to be a tactic to elude them. It soon evolved into a challenge for the camera crews and reporters to catch Williams, inadvertently giving him the most active and aggressive media coverage of the three candidates. His rather controversial past garnered an automatically negatively slanted impression from the press, but it also gave him more publicity.

While the other two candidates were attending events like a supermarket opening and a meeting of the Waikiki Business Association, Williams chose to meet people in front of the downtown Federal building. The handshaking event turned into a street corner meeting as people getting off work took the opportunity of one-on-one conversation with the underdog candidate.

The strategy was wildly popular and the growing crowd quickly turned the session into questions and answers, then a near rally for the novice politician. By the time Steve managed to get through the masses, Dan's people were directing the candidate back to the car. Pushing his way through, Steve came up to Mack Wolfe and Linda Kalama who were the ranking officers.

"I haven't seen you at rallies before," Wolfe commented.

"Because I don't attend them. I'm here to speak with Mr. Williams."

With a nod, Wolfe indicated Kalama should forge ahead, and she pressed through the knot of supporters and strategists, getting McGarrett next to his friend by the time the group reached the cars at the curb.

Edging Syd Samuels out of the way, McGarrett cornered Williams. "Danno."

"Steve?" Williams was amazed at the arrival. "What are you doing here?"

"We have to talk."

McGarrett took his friend by the elbow and steered him to his own car, telling Wolfe to handle security, and telling Samuels that the candidate was going home.

Once inside the car, Dan studied his friend with amused tolerance. "Are you going to tell me why you're kidnapping me?"

"Why didn't you tell me about the threats?"

The gruff reprimand sobered the younger man. "I didn't want to worry you." He sighed. "I knew you'd be disturbed and I wanted to keep things low key, not upset Kelly."

Some of the irritation dissipated. "So you're on top of it." The aggravation returned. "And you didn't think it important enough to tell me?"

Incredulous, Dan gasped out, "Wolfe and Lynd are on top of it -- both HPD and Five-0." On McGarrett's clouded expression he snapped out, "This is the safety of my family we're talking about, Steve! Of course I knew what was going on." Sighing, his reminder was gentle but firm. "But it is not your fight anymore. I didn't want you getting worried."

How typical -- with their over-protective instincts -- all three of them had taken measures to safeguard the others. If the situation weren't so serious the mutual deceptions would be amusing. When informed that Kelly had hired a private investigator to look into the threats Dan was annoyed at the information, but understanding, much more tolerant than Steve had been. To Dan, the intimidations were personal, but considering his position they had to be handled by professionals. To Steve, the jeopardy was also personal, but he remained in a position to act.

"From the beginning I made it clear to Lynd that my family came first," Dan explained. "If things ever got too dangerous I would pull out -- even now -- before I'd risk any of you."

When they were with Five-0 they would never consider giving in to coercion. Even when held hostage, they did not give in to terrorists. The rules were different now and Steve did not blame his friend for the concern for his ohana.

McGarrett assured him there would be no need for dramatic resignations. Everything would be fine and the family would remain safe. Almost hopefully, he added a probing question. "If you still want to go through with this."

"I must be crazy, but yeah, I do. I'm excited and leery -- afraid my life is about to change forever. But I still think I can do a lot of good for this state and if so, then I need to try my best to do that." Self-consciously he laughed. "Do I sound like my own commercials?"

Steve was serious. "You can do it, Danno. You'll be great, I don't doubt that. I'll even vote for you, I think."

"Gee, thanks."

Arrival at the Williams estate was unusual, with the candidate in the lead car with McGarrett, trailed by police and staff members. Remaining casual, Dan greeted friends and ohana, at last manipulating Kelly into the house where Steve was waiting. Apologizing for his poor communication skills, he explained that the police were on top of the investigation. Relieved, Kelly confessed to hiring Raven as an investigator/protector.

Insisting on being in on everything concerning his family's safety, Dan insisted on meeting Raven. The mysterious, dark-haired, lithe man and his stocky, almost slobbish companion arrived to a guarded reception. After explaining a little of his background and his measures of protection Dan was more accepting of the defensive team.

Feeling a bit more secure, McGarrett returned to the guesthouse after the luau and studied the notes gathered from reports by the League. A meeting of the covert group would have been too suspicious at the luau, so Steve had requested Duke to collect the summaries and leave them at the house for Steve to study later. It was late when McGarrett finally fell into bed, too tired to read anymore, but more unsettled than ever. Something was afoot, something sinister against Danno, and McGarrett was going to find out what.
 
 

*****


Groggily McGarrett blinked open tired eyes, stretching sore, cramped muscles. Curled on the couch, Steve turned, dumping papers that were lying on his chest onto the floor. It had been a while since he'd fallen asleep at work. He was getting too old for this. The sun was well above the eastern horizon and McGarrett felt guilty about sleeping so uncharacteristically late. Trudging through his morning routine, he sat down with coffee and toast, once more studying the notes from his unofficial investigators.

The weekend had passed quickly with visits with old friends, visiting with the Williams', and keeping in touch with members of the League. Investigations were slow because they were trying to remain covert in digging up facts against leading figures -- including law enforcement officers. Frustrated, Steve has stayed up all Sunday night to study the reports and on this bleary Monday morning felt no closer to having answers. Who was trying to intimidate the Williams'? Why try to bump Dan from the race? Those vital questions had to be answered by the end of today. If they didn't find the perpetrators by this evening, the unseen enemy might do something extreme to disrupt the election. In the back of his mind Steve knew what he feared most was overt violence against Danno. America had a bad history of assassination of political figures and Steve wasn't going to let his friend be a tragic statistic.

Sailor's urgent, stentorian barking at the side of the house was enough to drive him from the comfort of the cushy chair and check out the window to yell at the dog. A word just forming in his throat died as he froze. Sailor, tenaciously snapping and barking, was pouncing in front of a man on the beach. The man was advancing on a hysterical Angel Williams, who was running along the seaside.

Racing out of the house, Steve wondered where Kelly or some other adult was -- why was a five-year-old left unsupervised on the beach? As the distance quickly closed between them, Steve recognized the man as the pony-tailed shave ice vendor at the park.

Calling for Angel to come to him, the little girl turned and ran toward him, Sailor maintaining a rear guard action. Backing off, the man tripped over a surfboard lying on the beach. Stephen's gold and blue surfboard. The man scrambled off into the thick underbrush of trees and bushes separating the Williams estate from the next property.

Angel ran into his arms. "The man took Stephen away, Uncle Steve! Leilani went after him!" She gulped for air amid the sobs. "He hurt Akamia! They're all hurt!"

Longing for a weapon, Steve couldn't waste time going back to the house for a gun or a call for help. He would have to go after his godson and the recklessly brave Lani himself.

"Angel, run back to the house and tell your mother to call the police. And you stay in the house."

Sailor followed him into the trees where he found the unconscious, but alive body of Leilani Kulani. Not far away was the still form of the Lab Akamai. Emerging from the foliage, Steve was nearly tackled by Stephen, who breathlessly fell into his arms. The eight-year-old was stammering, pointing to a departing primer-grey van. Only part of the license plate was visible through mud stains, but he got a partial read. Sailor followed for a few yards, then gave up the one-sided race and returned to McGarrett.

Steve could hardly speak from the tight panic clutching his throat. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah." The boy nodded into his shirt. "They killed Lani! And Akamai!"

"No, they're alive. They'll be okay. We'll call an ambulance right away. Let's get you to the house first."

"Will they take Akamai in the ambulance, too?"

Keeping a careful eye on the surroundings, Steve never realized how far a journey it was from this end of the property to the main house. Trying to keep the details fresh in the victim’s mind -- keep the boy's thoughts off the injuries of their friend and the family pet -- McGarrett slipped into cop-mode and asked for details -- a statement.

"This guy came out of the trees and just grabbed me!" The fear was wearing off and Stephen allowed the threats to turn to adventure. "There was nothing I could do! And another guy went after Angel. Is she okay?"

"Fine, yeah, she's fine."

Rushing toward them, a tearful Kelly raced along the sand. When she saw her son was safe she threw her arms around Stephen and McGarrett, sobbing, collapsing to her knees. Angel and Sailor soon joined the little knot of distraught family members. Trying to keep an eye out for any more threats, McGarrett also fought to keep his own shaky emotions at bay.

Consoling and being comforted, Steve didn't release his grip on the trembling loved ones. When Sailor started barking again he snapped back to alert guard and only slightly relaxed when Sergeant Kalama appeared through the trees. In the distance sirens echoed along Kalani Highway.

"Is everybody all right?" She knelt down by the boy. "Everyone all right? You okay, son?"

Stephen nodded.

"Leilani Kulani is hurt. In the bushes," he gestured. Then McGarrett growled at the officer. "Where the hell were you? Are you security?"

"I couldn't get here in time," she told McGarrett angrily. "I was on the other side of the estate. There was a disturbance on the beach -- a suspicious looking man --"

"Nevermind." McGarrett was accepting no excuses, but he would very certainly deal with the lapse in ability later. Relating a description of the van and the license number, he snapped at her to get someone after the escaping criminals. Right now he would see to the comfort of his ohana. "Is the house secure?"

"I'll check."

"And the injured --"

Kalama looked back into the brush. "I'll handle it, Mr. McGarrett."

"Did you call an ambulance?"

"I will as soon as I see to your safety."

Herding the group back to the main house Steve saw Kalama and other officers were bustling around in the chaos mode. Directing Kelly and the kids into an adjacent family room, which would provide privacy, he took charge of the situation.

"Has anyone contacted Dan Williams?"

"I've had no ti -- "

"I'll do it."

"We need statements --"

"Leave the family alone for now, let them calm down." He went to the phone in the kitchen and dialed Dan's cell number, taking a few deep breaths to regulate his breathing. He sounded almost normal when Dan answered the phone. "Danno, you need to come home. Everybody's all right, but you need to get back here. Now."

Naturally, the summons instantly alarmed Williams. "What happened?"

Knowing the truth was better than concealment, thus feeding Dan's dreading imagination, Steve still found it hard to deliver the terrifying news. "Some thugs tried to grab Stephen, but he's okay, Danno. Everyone is fine. Just -- just get here as soon as you can." Belatedly, he realized his friend could also be a target. Williams still fought to maintain a casual, normal-based lifestyle and frequently drove his old Mustang around, claiming it was a stress-reliever to still cruise around with the top down. Steve now realized he should have called Moch or Syd to make sure Danno didn't jump in the car and race out here on his own. Who was on security there? "And have you got protection there? Get Wolfe or somebody to drive you -- I don't want you behind the wheel right now."

The responding voice was tight and curt. "I'll be right there."

When Steve hung up Kalama was at his elbow. "Mr. McGarrett, we need to speak with the children and --"

"Not now. We'll be in the other room. When Mr. Williams returns he'll decide when you can take your statements. What about the perpetrators?"

"We've got APBs issued, but the description was vague . . . "On his sharp glare she cleared her throat, her lip twitching, obviously irritated at his overbearing domination of the situation. "We're doing the best we can."

"So far that hasn't been good enough," he snarled viciously. Taking a breath, striving to hang onto his perilously erratic temper, he rubbed his eyes. "How's Leilani?"

"I don't know. She's been sent to the hospital."

"Find out. She's the one who was doing your job! Who's on her security?"

"Security?"

McGarrett's temper snapped. "Two violent perpetrators are at large! Your single adult witness is alive and at the hospital -- one of the most notoriously open, public spots possible! You better have HPD officers at her side at all times until these monsters are behind bars!" He studied her with the utmost contempt. "As for your security here, I'll have plenty to say to Lynd about that!"

Glaring hatefully at the former cop Kalama left, bustling around providing the necessary action to set the investigation in motion and catch the assailants. Providing and receiving comfort was the limit of Steve's abilities for now, so he left the police to their tasks.

Joining the family in the more private side room McGarrett was grateful for the respite of doing nothing but holding onto the trembling children and Kelly. Shaken more than he expected he closed his eyes and leaned against Kelly. Hugging the children and dog huddled close on the sofa in the comfortable room overlooking the bay, his sizzling temper simmered as nerves settled. Calm settled over their shredded nerves and eventually he was able to disengage himself enough to talk quietly with the three, further settling everyone's spirits.

From the level of noise through the closed doors the house seemed to quickly fill with HPD officers. Steve wanted to grill them on their progress and get the details of the suspects, but Stephen and Angel held on with death grips. He tempered his impatience with the rational of how close he came to tragically losing these beloved ohana. He could stand to sit here with them a little longer since he was no longer an official police officer and this was not his case. Yet.

Above the general murmur of voices a door slammed and Dan Williams' muffled voice reached them through the closed doors. "Kelly!"

By the time he stepped into the room the kids were zipping over to meet him, Kelly just seconds behind. Inundated, he stood there comforting his family, finally glancing up at Steve with tear-filled eyes. A lump caught in McGarrett's throat, again cognizant of how close he had come to losing nearly everything precious to him. In his friend's vivid blue eyes he read the suppressed rage, the sense helplessness, the vulnerable anguish they shared.

Behind Williams came Kalama, Wolfe, Aki Chase and several patrolmen. McGarrett pushed them out to the living room, insisting the family be left in privacy for a few moments. Chase objected, but Steve's authoritative demands silenced the official representatives. Hissing with vexation he reminded them that he well knew standard procedure and would deal with their requests only when the family was emotionally ready.

Back in the private room, he saw Dan had sunk to the floor, settled in, sitting on the steps leading to the sunken room and asked for details. Cop instinct never far from the surface, Williams' voice was calm and he lent an air of composed patience, but Steve could see in his controlled expression the vestiges of fear and anger. For his family, Danno was masking his emotions, presenting a necessary example of tender but placid distress, decreasing the level of hysteria bubbling in his family.

Sitting there with the children and Kelly, Dan forced himself to be controlled and level. Panic from him would only send his family into more agitation and then they would all be wrecks. The drive over, in Mack Wolfe's Camaro, had been raced in record time, but it had seemed an eternity to Dan -- not a former cop, not a gubernatorial candidate -- but now a shocked father dealing with direct menace to his children. Fear had turned to rage and had settled into a molten knot of vengeance-lust simmering in his heart. His tendency for impulsive violence had not surfaced in many years, but he knew if he ever confronted the monsters that tried to harm his children he would like to murder the perpetrators.

Now, holding his family in his arms, the fury and outrage receded to the back of his mind. He would still murder the men who were responsible for this, but not in hot, volcanic rage. Now it would be in cold blooded justifiable revenge.

Taking a deep breath, he reached for some hidden level of rationalism and started his investigation. "Do you want to tell me what happened?" The question was asked of Stephen first.

McGarrett paced near the long picture window and listened to every detail. He wanted to take notes, but didn't want to disrupt the flow of the conversational setting. This was an informal statement of a victim and it was important to get the first impressions right. It was unlikely he or Dan would forget anything the youngster said.

"Me and Angel were playing near the water."

"In the water," Angel corrected, raising her hand but not waiting to be called upon. It didn't matter since she was nestled in her dad's lap. "You were going to go out on your board even though Daddy told you not to unless there was an adult around."

Scowling at his sister, he would have normally started an argument, but was unusually subdued due to the incident. "I was just getting the surf board in the water. Leilani was there. This big dude that had a whiskery beard came out of the trees and Akamai and Sailor attacked him. He hurt Akamai. Will he be okay?"

Shooting a helpless glance at McGarrett, who shrugged, Dan held his son tight. "I don't know. We'll find out as soon as we can."

"Then the bad guy punched Lani, and then he grabbed me. I didn't have time to fight back or anything, Dad."

"I'm sure you didn't." Dan's voice cracked, but his face remained placidly serious. "He surprised you."

"Yeah. Otherwise I would have tried the tae kwon do Pono's been teaching me." Dan cleared his throat, about to say something, and Stephen hurried on. "Leilani was yelling and she got hurt again. Is she going to be all right?"

"I think so."

"Good," Stephen sighed in relief. "Then the big monster guy -- he had his hair tied back in a pony tail -- he traded me off with this other big monster guy in a van, and the van -- it needed a paint job -- and it smelled like fish."

"Yuck." Angel wrinkled her face.

"And they locked me in. But the van was really old and I tried opening the door and finally I did. Then I ran out and found Uncle Steve. Then he scared away the bad guy."

Dan shot a grateful look to his friend. "Uncle Steve is the best, isn't he?"

McGarrett offered a warm smile of thanks.

A knock on the door preceded Lynd stepping into the room. "Excuse me, Mr. Williams, but I would like to take statements from your children now. You know the sooner we can get on the right trail, we can catch those men."

Steve moved to slam the door in the man's face, but Dan's hard rebuke saved him the trouble. "Not now, Lynd. Please leave us alone."

Unhappily, Lynd closed the door behind him as he left.

With a glance at McGarrett, conveying his irritation, Dan looked at his son and daughter. "Do you want to go upstairs and let me talk to them?"

"Danny!" Kelly, still shaken, was shocked at the idea of official interrogations. "Let us have some peace."

"No, I'm okay, Mom," Stephen insisted, pulling away form his parents in a show of eager independence. "I can help the Five-0 officers. Let me talk to them." Stephen was on his feet, demanding his rights as a victim. "I have to give them the clues to go get those bad guys."

"And me!" Angel jumped up, insisting on equal justice. "I saw the bad man take Stephen. And Sailor and Akamai saved my life. And Uncle Steve, too."

That managed to coax a brief grin out of Williams and he shot McGarrett another glance, this time one of amusement. "Well, we'll have to give Akamai and Sailor all the bones they could ever eat for the rest of their lives."

Knowing he was the center of attention for a moment, the terrier mongrel sat up and barked. Tension subsiding quickly, Angel went to pet the little scruffy dog.

"What about Uncle Steve's reward?"

Dan's face became grim and he exchanged a knowing, shared expression of mutual wrath. "I'm sure he'll think of something." He gave a nod to the children. "All right, kids, let's go talk to Mr. Lynd."

Holding Angel's hand, Stephen preceding them, they went out to the living room where their home had been turned into a police auxiliary. Uniformed HPD officers, Five-0 men Lynd and Chase, and plainclothes officers Wolfe and Kalama had gathered.

Lynd proved to be a gentle, competent if cool, interviewer. Allowing Chase, Kalama and Wolfe to take the notes, Lynd asked the standard questions of descriptions and detailed items such as clothing, facial features, etc. Admirably, when giving his statement, McGarrett kept concisely to the facts and refrained from editorializing or making suggestions.

The children proved remarkable in memory of specifics considering such a trying ordeal. As they talked, McGarrett found some paper and a pencil and made drawings. Their descriptions were enough for Steve to sketch out rough images of the two men and the van. When he finished, Steve IDed the man with the pony tail as the shave ice vendor they saw the day before at the nearby Kawaikui Beach Park.

Lynd promised to get right on the case. Also, he vowed increased security for all members of the family and top priority for this investigation. Being a veteran of such cliché phrases, Dan was unimpressed. Assuring he would be staying home for the rest of the day, he asked the officers to keep a low profile and let his family try to return to a normal routine.

Back in the family room, Dan told the kids they could go up to the game room and play. No more outdoor activities for the day.

"I'm going to play with Sailor." Angel decided instantly -- having kept the dog at her side since the attack. Usually enamored of the scruffy mutt, the little girl now seemed to consider him a constant companion. "Can I teach him some tricks, Uncle Steve?"

"Anything you want, honey."

"I don't want to be stuck inside! Can we go out to the shooting range today, Dad? The three of us?" Stephen challenged his dad and McGarrett. "We'll be safe. No one's going to hurt us with Uncle Steve and you around."

Dan hugged his son. "I'll be up in a few minutes and we'll talk about it. Right now I need to talk to Uncle Steve."

Kelly gave both Dan and Steve kisses and tight hugs. "I'll go up with them." Before leaving the room she gave Steve another hug and for what must have been the twentieth time thanked him for saving her children.

Once alone, McGarrett resisted the impulsive, the natural urge to take charge. This was Danno's ohana and he was still enough of a cop to take the next steps. Not pressuring his friend, Steve quietly waited for Dan to say something. Williams remained by the door, leaning against the wall, eyes closed, head back, and tears streaming down his face.

After a moment Steve joined his shaking friend and gently took Williams by the shoulders. He held onto Dan until the heart-breaking emotions spent themselves. Danno had stayed in control for his family, for the necessary police procedures, but now the terror and fear could not be contained and it spilled out with someone he trusted -- a friend he had always confided in. When the trembling ended, Steve only slightly relaxed his hold.

"Come and sit down, Danno."

Dan collapsed into a chair facing the ocean, the sweet breeze flowing in through the open windows. Wiping his face, he stared at the sea for several moments. "I don't know how to thank you for saving my children."

"No thanks needed, you know that, Danno." McGarrett didn't want to say more, still shaky and heartsick over the terror. He would do anything for this precious family and until this morning he had not considered that such devotion could mean putting his life in danger. Again. After so many years, it seemed strange to be in a situation where violence could shatter his now peaceful world. But being in a position to help protect those he loved was instinctive and automatic. Patting his friend's arm, he sat on the arm of the chair and released a deep sigh. "I'm glad I was there to help."

"This is my fault." His broken whisper barely carried in the still, quiet room. "I should have leveled with you. Maybe I wanted to diminish the threat -- pretend it wasn't real." He shook his head in misery. "I hoped Five-0 could handle it. I didn't want you and Kelly to worry."

"It's not your fault. You took the right steps." What scared Steve was that his friend was right -- he had taken the correct steps, handing everything over to the authorities. Danno might have misjudged the depth of the threat, but he had made the accurate decisions. "It's not your fault that Five-0 wasn't in the right place this morning."

"You were. As usual." Dan almost smiled. "Like every other time in my life when I've needed help. I should have confided in you --"

"Everything turned out fine. Sure, if I would have known I could have been armed to the teeth, but things might have turned out just the same anyway. Stephen and Angel and Kelly are okay. You're okay. And we're going to keep it that way."

Dan nodded, wiping his face, breathing in some calming inhalation. "I can't let this continue, Steve. I'm going to withdraw." The voice so shaky, from anger, pain, or both.

Gritting his teeth, he knew Dan quitting was the wrong decision, but who was he to tell that to his friend? Many years before McGarrett had been faced with a terrible crisis: Danno kidnapped and held by hostages. All Steve had to do was give in and his friend would be set free, unharmed. Steve could not do it then because of principles that dictated ideals were more important than a human life. To give in would be to show that terrorism and lawlessness worked.

As a cop he could not do that. As a private citizen? For the safety of the Williams family? Steve would probably do anything. But now, as he looked at his suffering friend, he knew if he let Danno quit because of this, their family would be scarred and feel victimized the rest of their lives. They would be more vulnerable to the fear and terror of any stranger on the beach, any implied threat. How could he explain that to his friend now?

Standing behind Danno, he patted his friend’s arm. "Whatever you want to do, Danno. Your family's protection comes first."

Taking a deep breath, slowly exhaling, Dan looked up at McGarrett. "You don't think I should quit."

A mirthless laugh came out as a sigh. "Of course I do. I never wanted you to run in the first place. I just don't know if it's what's right."

"For who? What would feel right this minute would be to wrap my hands around their necks."

Steve slowly stepped away and paced. "What's right for you. Your family. Giving up -- quitting the race -- that's one thing. Giving in to terrorists . . . ." he sighed, pausing to grip his friend's shoulders. "Will your conscience let you walk away?"

Dan wrestled for a rebuttal. "Five-0 will catch these guys."

"Yeah, they will. And they'll go to jail. Not for long enough," he added ominously under his breath. "But they'll spend time behind bars."

For a moment Dan shook his head. "Damn, sometimes I hate it when you're right."

"Me, too, Danno."

"I'm going to go talk this over with Kelly. You want to come?"

"No, this should be between the two of you. I need to go into Honolulu. Unless you want me to stick around?"

Williams studied him, obviously curious about what would take him into the big city during such a crisis, but refrained from asking. "No, go ahead. I'll see you tonight."

The luau for the staff and media was scheduled for this evening. McGarrett asked what Williams would do. The party would go on. Uncertain, about his decision, Dan promised not to make any announcements until they had a chance to talk again. He wasn't at his best to be making life-changing choices at the moment. Steve suggested he wait until tonight when the terrifying events of the day were muffled by time. Once Dan withdrew there would be no going back. His public career would be over. Accepting that McGarrett's head was more level than his own, Williams agreed to wait.
 
 

*****


Steve went to the guesthouse and called Duke, but the former detective was not home and was old fashioned enough to not own a cell phone. Next, McGarrett called Rick and assigned him to gather members of his unofficial League. Lastly he called Napoleon, who was now in LA. The former spy took the news of his girlfriend's injury, and the very real threat to the Williams family, personally. He promised to be out that night to assist McGarrett.

At the Black Orchid a somber Rick and Magnum traded insults and threats about the attackers, then settled down to work. Making it clear that their independent investigation would proceed whether Williams stayed in the race or dropped out, Steve reminded this was possibly a matter of life and death now, not a mild concern about harassment. They could not rule out danger to Dan himself, and Steve promised to handle that matter personally.

Only briefly did McGarrett go over a summation of the information gathered the previous days from all his sources. No obvious enemies to the Williams family emerged. The other two candidates seemed to have no shady ties, so far. And Magnum's information on Raven was consistent with Oscar's -- Raven was an independent investigator who took on cases beyond threats handled by the police. His business had altered slightly -- less violent cases since Raven was reunited with his missing son. But Rick assured him the unique ninja fighter still lived well and kept his hands in many intrigues in the Islands.

Giving a description of the attackers to his colleagues, neither seemed familiar with the pony-tailed man Steve felt sure was an ex-con. He called Duke again, who was still out, and wondered whom else he could call with good police connections.

"Go for your best contact of all." Magnum seemed to think the choice obvious. "What about Suzy Kelly? She's Five-0."

"Kuhio is Lynd's sponsor and appointee for Five-0," Steve accused bluntly. "He's watching her every move, he's suspicious of her connection with a rival to his friend Kuhio. I doubt I could contact her today."

Rick was adamant. "Who stands to gain by bumping Dan out of the race? Kuhio and Wilson. The polls say Dan's got an outside chance cause it looks like he's gonna split the race three ways.

Steve nearly growled. "If there was someone I would distrust in Five-0 -- which is far-fetched -- it would be Lynd." At several sets of silently raised eyebrows he surrendered a grudging smirk of chagrin. "Okay, maybe that's because we have a mutual dislike. When it comes to Danno's safety no one is above suspicion."

The rush of the morning crisis had pushed a lot of things to the back of Steve's brain. One of those niggling items that now surfaced, was his curiosity about where Suzy Kelly had been during an emergency with her close friends. Deciding to get around any roadblocks at the state police office, he had Rick place the call to Five-0, asking for Officer Kelly. When he was connected with Suzy, Rick handed the phone to McGarrett. It was obviously she was reluctant to talk with him on the phone. He all but demanded she take an early lunch break and meet him at the Black Orchid.

As he hung up, Kiki knocked and entered, saying a man named Raven knew McGarrett was here and asked to talk to him. Intrigued, Steve agreed and Raven was shown into the room.

Again dressed in dark, but expensive casual wear, the lean, athletic-moving man entered the room like a tiger warily assessing another tiger. Friend or foe? He greeted each man by name, obviously knowing who they were. Rick offered him a seat on the sofa but Raven chose a chair closer to the door.

His dark eyes singled out McGarrett. "I heard you've been asking questions about me."

"Does that make you nervous, Mr. Raven?"

"I have nothing to hide. Presumably you have the story from Mrs. Williams or Detective Kelly?"

Wary himself, Steve was in no mood to play games. "What have you found out?"

An easy smile played on the angular face. "I thought we had this settled already. I was hired by Mrs. Williams."

Instinctively feeling this man was not the enemy; Steve refrained from going so far as to offer his trust. "There was an attempt to kidnap the Williams children this morning."

Shocked, Raven openly displayed his distressed surprise. "Are they all right? Mrs. Williams?"

"Shaken up." The honest reaction helped Steve decide what to reveal to the free lance investigator. "Everyone's all right. But this means the gloves are off, Mr. Raven. I'm going to find out who wants to hurt my friends and if there's any threat to Dan Williams. Are you willing to share what you've learned?"

A moment of silent study between the two men made the room sizzle with silent tension. Surrendering a sharp nod, Raven smoothly launched from the chair and paced. "I've learned nothing useful from the police reports. No clues from the notes or calls, which were untraceable."

"How do you know?" Magnum asked.

"My inside connection with the police."

The door, which had silently opened, now loudly snapped shut. Everyone turned to Suzy Kelly, who walked over to sit by McGarrett. "That's me. I've been feeding information to Jonathon. Lynd has frozen me out of the investigation. He says I'm too personally involved." She asked about the Williams' and Steve gave her brief reassurance that everyone was fine.

The theory to keep away from emotional involvement looked good on paper, Steve granted reluctantly, but sometimes an officer's personal motivation to solve a crime was the edge needed to succeed. Knowing he would be running things differently at Five-0, Steve moved on to things he could control.

"What do you know?"

Looking at Suzy, then McGarrett, Raven's expression soured. "After the first few notes left on Mrs. Williams' car, she and the rest of the family were under some kind of surveillance." Suzy confirmed with a nod. "Even yesterday at the park, HPD had an officer there."

Steve mentioned he now recalled seeing a patrol car parked by the playground.

"Here's the curious thing. Even under surveillance, even with the phone bugged, there's no progress. Now this attack. I think it's an inside job. Someone with access to HPD or Five-0 information."

"That's pretty far fetched," Magnum countered doubtfully.

Rick expressed no surprise. Corruption happened everywhere. McGarrett silently pondered the possibility. It made him angry and worried that the people assigned to protect his friends were the ones they might need to worry about. It was sickening to think those sworn to uphold the law would break it like this.

Lukela entered the room, a bit startled to find a new member added to the group. Giving Duke clearance to speak with Raven present, the former Five-0 detective gave them a startling report.

"You're not going to like this any more than I do. Suspicion leads to HPD." The former Five-0 officer over rode a general murmur of displeasure as he continued. "Wolfe and Kalama are with the security task force for Danny," he told them. "Other officers are assigned to the other two candidates. Wolfe and Kalama have access to Danny and the family at all times and organize all official security."

Steve gave the others a dangerous look. "Let's rattle some palm trees and see what kind of coconuts fall out."

*****


Insisting the police presence be kept to a minimum, Dan reclaimed the house for the most part, allotting a guestroom as the control central, leaving the main rooms of the house free of strangers. Checking with the hospital, the family was relieved that Leilani was recovered enough from her knock on the head to be sent home.

Dan and Kelly helped the kids with lunch -- Sailor continuously underfoot as Angel's shadow. Declaring a school break for the day, Kelly had the kids pick a movie and soon the two children and dog were fast asleep, flopped on the family room floor pillows. Motioning for his wife to come with him, Dan took her upstairs to their room.

Settled on a window seat overlooking the sea, he held both her hands in his. "I'm pulling out of the race. Steve suggested I wait until the luau. I'm going to announce it tonight."

"Why?"

Incredulous that she could ask such an obvious question, he stuttered, "What -- how can you ask why? After what happened I have no choice."

Solemn and subdued, Kelly stared into his eyes. "Answer me something. Why did you want to be governor?"

"When I started in public office I did it to make Hawaii a better place to live." Guessing at where she was going, he anticipated her argument. "It should never be a threat to the people I love."

Rubbing his cheek, she gave him a sad smile. "As bad as things were this morning, how has that changed your goals?" Curling into his arms, she held him tight. "I've never been so terrified in my life. Part of me wants to run away to the most remote island we can find and hide forever. I know we can't do that."

"I won't let my family be at risk."

"I don't want us to be either. What did Steve say?"

For a moment Dan hesitated. "The same thing you did. He never wanted me to run in the first place."

Knowing her husband well, she could read his prevarication. "So he wants you to quit?"

The corners of his lips twisted. "That's not what I said." Sighing, he came clean. "No, he warned me not to quit unless I was sure I could live with it." Leaning back, he studied her face, her eyes. "How can I live with myself if I don't quit? What would I tell the children if I kept trying to be governor when it had placed them in danger?"

Kelly's lip trembled. "When they're old enough to understand, what will you tell them when they ask why you gave up?" Uncertain about what was right, what she thought was right, she shrugged. "Why don't you wait and talk to Steve before you make a final decision. Just do that."

"All right. But I'm quitting. Steve isn't going to talk me out of it."

"Whatever you say," she smiled as she leaned on his chest.
 
 

*****


Suzy Kelly returned from lunch and worked on candidate security reports. Usually handled by HPD liaison officers on the task force, she quickly came up to speed on the latest assignments and incidents connected with the election. The covert work went quickly since Lynd was out of the office and she was not under the watch of anyone else.

While Mack Wolfe had a checkered career with moonlighting jobs to support his once heavy gambling debts, his record as a cop was beyond impressive. Usually a cop with debt problems and ex-wife problems would never be given a high-profile case like protecting a candidate, but Wolfe's detection and case-solving statistics were too solid to ignore.

Going through the logged reports Suzy scanned Wolfe's, then Kalama's. After several sheets Suzy realized there was an odd discrepancy. Three times Wolfe mentioned a suspicious-looking, large, hefty local with a long ponytail being spotted near the Williams family or by Dan Williams. Mack mentioned that the last time the person was spotted -- a rally at Kaimuki -- Kalama interviewed the man. There was no corresponding report on that day for Kalama interviewing anyone.

When Lynd and Kalama returned from the Williams estate, Kelly made a quick call from her cell phone. A few minutes later, Steve McGarrett stormed into the Five-0 offices.

"Well, have you caught the kidnappers?" McGarrett didn't waste time on civilities or politically correct phraseology. He confronted the boss without preamble.

Lynd was not impressed and coolly looked down his nose at the intruder. "I don't believe you have an appointment, Mr. McGarrett. Even if you did, you are not cleared for information on a current police investigation."

"I was involved -- "

The glacial mask did not fracture with any kind of understanding. "Then you are too closely involved on an emotional level and I wouldn't tell you anything at any rate."

Barely containing his sizzling temper, McGarrett clenched his fists and glared at the current Five-0 boss. "You might control this office, Lynd, but not me! You're not getting me out of the way so easily!" Steve stormed out of office, leaving everyone stunned at his exit. Suzy buried herself at her desk to avoid Lynd, which didn't last long. Lynd, silently fuming, left after a few minutes. Glancing out the window, she was curiously amused to see that Thomas Magnum's Mercedes pulled out just after Lynd left the parking area. She smiled to herself. You can take an old cop out of official office, but you can never take McGarrett out of other people's lives. She bet everybody on Steve's personal suspect list had acquired a tail from members of the unofficial McGarrett's League of the Black Orchid.
 
 

*****


The ho'olaulea -- the gathering, celebration -- was a roaring success. Marked by plenty of ono kaukau -- good food -- and happy friends, few assembled would guess at the emotional events leading up to the luau. Akamai was back with a part of his head shaved for stitches, but otherwise in a partying mood. He and Sailor trailed after the Williams kids like they were attached with glue.

Security was obvious with the numerous plainclothes officers and alert members of the League. Napoleon Solo made a brief appearance to check in with McGarrett. Before returning to Leilani's beach cottage to stay with her, he dropped in on the party.

"You don't need me as back-up?"

McGarrett gave him a grim smile. "Everything is covered, my friend. Should I ask if you're secure down the beach?"

With a typical Solo smile of mischief, his face momentarily brightened at the verbal opportunity to tease his old friend. "Very secure, thank you, Steve." He patted the shoulder holster under his left arm where he kept his Walther P-38. "Lani is in good hands. And HPD is still keeping an officer there on stake-out, too."

The last few days had been too intense for McGarrett to find much humor in anything. "I know you'll keep her safe."

Sobered, Solo gave a grim nod. "You bet I will." He patted the older man's shoulder. "Good luck, Steve. Let me know how it goes. Oh, I'm still working on finding Webb. He's kind of slipped into the woodwork. Deep cover ops I guess. I'll keep you posted."

"Mahalo."

Coursing his way through the people Steve finally managed to corner Williams. There were many who wanted to talk with the candidate and it took some time for Dan to join his friend in a secluded corner of the yard.

"Was that Napoleon?"

"Yeah, he's headed over to Lani's."

"That's supposed to make me feel better?"

"Who would you rather have protect her?"

Williams grimaced and shrugged. "Okay, he's a pro, he's very good. Haven't you noticed how close they are? You know his reputation.  And he's so much -- older than Lani.  You think I want that kind of guy hanging around a member of my ohana?"

Smirking, Steve thought it amusing to hear such comments from someone who was probably the recipient of such observations when he married Kelly.   After this morning McGarrett had a different take on life in general and his friends and family specifically. "I think she's happy and so is he. You've got bigger things to worry about, aikane."

Exhaling a deep breath Williams nodded. Commenting he had noticed a lot of security people at the luau, he was feeling pretty protected.

"Good." Moch waved at them and Dan sighed. McGarrett gave him a little nudge. "You go play politician. I'm going to shake some palm trees and see what kind of coconuts fall to the ground."

"Why won't you tell me what you're up to?" Williams smiled at the people who still managed to find him to shake his hand and wish him luck.

"No need to know, Danno. Sorry. All we need is the sacrificial lamb," was his aside to his friend. "That would be me." When another knot of people crowded around Williams, McGarrett took the opportunity to slip away.

Pensive, Williams coursed through the well wishers and friends with grim determination. Someone snagged his elbow and he turned to face an anxious Kelly. She steered him over to a tree where they could speak quietly.

"You're going to quit, aren't you?"

Visibly upset, Dan was confused at her emotions. "I thought you would be relieved."

"I am. But it's wrong, Dan. You could do so much good as governor." Hugging him, she held him in a merciless embrace. "I don't want you to be in danger, or to be gone from us so much, but you're in a position to do a lot of people a lot of good. You should take that opportunity."

Returning the hug with a firm grip with one arm, he stroked her hair with his other hand. "I've been at risk, I've been a public servant before. This time the cost is too high, Kelly. I won't do it at the price of my family."

She pulled away and stared into his eyes. "Do what's right for your family, Dan. We'll be fine. I trust Steve and Aki and Suzy. You need to trust them, too." Slowly he shook his head, but his refusal was no longer adamant. "It's what you want -- you know it's what's right, Dan. Go and ask, Steve. He'll tell you I'm right."

For several moments he held her close, hating to admit that she and Steve -- and the inner conscience he heard -- were right. This was what he should be doing with his life -- once more throwing himself into the service of the people of Hawaii. If it endangered his family, though, he would not do it. And none of his friends, or Kelly, could assure him that the threats were over.

"I'll go find Steve, " he conceded reluctantly.

"I saw him over by the side garden a few minutes ago. Talk things over with him. You know that always helps you see things a little clearer."

Yeah, it always clarified things when he talked to Steve. And Steve could help him see things obscured by Dan's own confusion or emotions. Sometimes those conclusions were not what Dan wanted to hear, and he worried that that would be the case this time.
 
 

*****

Along the wall of plumeria and bird of paradise, McGarrett paced a small circuit near the back gate. Lighting, reflected from the yard lights on the other side of the gate, was subdued. When he heard the crunching footfalls of someone approaching from the path along the beach, he stopped and turned.

As an investigator, he always strove for objectivity in an investigation. Sometimes instincts would propel him forward to identify a suspect ahead of concrete evidence. When he turned to confront the surprise guest he really was surprised. All along his impressions had led him to suspect Mack Wolfe as the inside man working against Williams. A sharp intake of breath was almost unnoticed, but automatic, when Sergeant Linda Kalama stepped into the light near him.

"Looking for something, Mr. McGarrett?"

Just in the off chance this was a coincidence, he gave her an opportunity for a way out. "I'm waiting for someone, Sergeant. What are you doing?"

She pulled the .38 from her holster. "Coming to silence you, McGarrett."

Shaking his head, he backed away. "You're the one behind the threats to the Williams family. Why? What did they do to you?"

"Nothing. But my gambling debts were too much for me to handle anymore. So a rich relative stepped in to help. All he needed was a little favor. To get Williams out of the race."

Steve glanced at the gun. "So you're going to kill me? Why?" He needed to keep her talking, get her to spill everything, but he wasn't sure her tenuous hold of reason would last that long.

Her face was sheened with sweat and the arm holding the gun was unsteady. "You've ruined my career. Thanks to your terrible complaints to Lynd I've been bounced out of the special task force and back to HPD Vice." She sneered with vile hatred. "You've been on my trail. You didn't know who was behind it, but I could see you were closing in. So you've got to be eliminated. Funny," she laughed with a brittle cackle, "the tragedy of your disappearance will be enough to send Williams over the edge and out of the race."

Gently, persuasively, Steve tried to reason with her. Was murder really the answer to gambling debts and anger? Did her oath as a cop mean nothing to her? His entireties were met with a cold refusal to answer, but her anger was building. His own rage was mounting, too. How could she threaten children for the sake of money, he finally accused?

She raised the revolver up to his face. "You don't know what addiction is, McGarrett. I'll do anything to save my life and be free to gamble with impunity." Her smile was lecherous. "Guess you weren't as bright as you thought, huh, McGarrett?"

Footsteps crunched behind her and she quickly slipped around behind McGarrett, holding the gun against his back. Dan Williams came into the light and stopped in his tracks at the scene.

"What's going on?"

Kalama brought the gun up to press against Steve's right temple. "Mr. McGarrett is going with me. If you make a move or a sound I'll kill him right now."

Darting a glance at Steve, who was tense but not afraid, Dan felt a little calmer. Steve had something up his sleeve and he needed to play along for now. From McGarrett's alarmed expression he didn't know if this was part of the plot or not. "What do you want, Kalama?"

"My freedom. And you out of the race."

Dan nodded slowly. "All right. I'll drop out."

"Just like that?" She shook her head. "I don't trust you -- either of you." To Steve she accused him of undermining his friend, never wanting Dan elected. "I don't understand you."

Steve countered reasonably. "I would never undermine my friend. I support him completely. You're right, I never wanted him to be governor, but I'll back him no matter what he wants."

To Dan, she incredulously asked, "And you'll quit?"

A slight, ironic twist twitched at his mouth. "It's easier than you think. I don't want my friend hurt. But you have to let him go first. Then I make a public announcement right here and now."

"Not a chance. I leave here with McGarrett as my hostage. You make your withdrawal announcement and then I let him go. But later, when I'm clear."

"You think I'd trust you?" Dan's voice was ice. "You'll have to do better than that."

The revolver snapped out to aim at his chest. "Okay. I'll just shoot you, then McGarrett."

Dan read the alarm in his friend's eyes, and felt a long dormant sensation of fear rippling along his insides. These desperate, life and death moments should have been behind them. Holding his life, his friend's life in his hands was not a responsibility he wanted again. They had everything wonderful in life, he didn't want it to end -- for either of them -- now.

"Why? Why are you so desperate?" came Dan's reasonable request. Surprisingly, his voice was calm and even.

"You've boxed me in." The pistol was placed back on McGarrett. "Everyone on the force knows there have been threats against you." Nervous, desperate, over the edge, she was rambling almost incoherently now. "They'll never trace my gun. Kuhio is my second cousin, did you know that? He's got all the money I'll ever need. And once I've eliminated you two he'll owe me."

Gasping out a breath, Steve blinked in surprise. "Kuhio? He's the one behind this?"

Quickly, distracting, Dan pleaded. "Don't kill us. I'll do anything --" His eyes rolled back. "I --" desperately he gulped for air, sinking to his knees.

"Danno!"

Kalama pressed the gun back to McGarrett. "Stay still!"

Williams reached up with his left hand, as if trying to grab for Steve. Kalama twisted McGarrett away while Steve bent down toward Williams. Dan reached under his right trouser leg to the ankle holster, brought up his .22, aimed at Kalama's head and angled for a clear shot. At the same time Steve grabbed her arm and torqued the gun.

A gunshot startled them all. Holding the pistol steady, Dan's heart nearly stopped when Kalama fell at McGarrett's feet. Steve's hands were covered with blood. Dan jumped up to check him.

"Are you hit?" He held onto Steve's arm, easing the .38 long barrel out of Steve's moist hands.

McGarrett numbly shook his head. "No -- no -- it was -- the gun went off."

Doors slammed and the sound of people running toward them filled the night air. Someone was pounding on the other side of the gate. Williams' gun dropped to the ground and he held onto his head, swaying slightly. Steve put a gentle hand on Dan's arm.

"It's okay, Danno." He glanced at the still woman. "I'll make sure."

Keeping a steady aim on the woman, Steve pocketed Dan's revolver and checked for a pulse on Kalama. She was dead. Backing away, Dan stumbled into McGarrett, who held onto his trembling shoulders in shaking hands.

"Don't ever-- ever do that again." McGarrett's voice caught. "I have never been so terrified. I didn't know if you were fainting or dying or --"

The gate crashed open and Magnum, Rick, TC burst into the scene. Seconds later, from the beach side, Raven, Wolfe and Lynd ran up. Steve wished there could have been a little more time for recovery, but that never seemed to happen. He and Danno would have to deal with it later, as usual.

"Did you get it?" McGarrett asked the PI.

Magnum smiled, holstering his .45 once he assured himself that Kalama was dead. "Yeah, in living color."

"What is going on"? Lynd demanded.

McGarrett looked at Wolfe, who was staring at the body of his partner. "Sorry, Mack."

Numbly, the cop nodded. "I saw the whole thing in the news van. In living color." He shook his head. "Never thought of her as a dirty cop." Fighting down a chill he looked at McGarrett. "Guess it's a good reason for cops not to have bad habits."

Magnum stepped to the flower bushes and pulled aside a branch of plumeria. A TV camera, the red light on, looked out at them. "We just filmed the confession of Sergeant Kalama."

Dan's mouth dropped open. "I -- the whole thing was on tape?" Shocked, he turned to McGarrett. "You never told me that!"

Grimacing with discomfort at the surprise, McGarrett briefly, quickly, explained he had everything planned. It just didn't work out quite the way it was intended. "Danno, you weren't supposed to find me here." To Lynd he confessed, "I killed her -- "

"You saved my life," was Dan's instant defense. "She was going to kill me."

"I don't want to hear anything until I've read you your rights --"

"You're not arresting Steve!" Williams' shout snapped Lynd out of an official mind-set and into a combative stance.

Magnum shouldered in between the policeman and his friends. "This was all on air. Live. The whole state saw what happened. Kalama tried to kill Steve, and Dan, and Steve fought with her. The gun went off and she died.

Lynd angrily glared from McGarrett to Magnum, livid almost to the point of speechlessness. The image of a man not in control of various crises. "You -- I demand you not broadcast that!"

Magnum shrugged. "It's out of my hands. My wife is at the station, but I can assure you it ran live. If you flip on the news, you might catch her exclusive recap. But it's already aired, Lynd. Kuhio is cooked kalua pig right now."

As a last resort Lynd turned to Williams. "You must have control over your own people. How could you stoop so low to pull a dirty political trick like this?"

McGarrett came instantly to his friend's defense. "Danno had nothing to do with this. I was --"

"My family has been terrorized and threatened!" Dan shouted back, his temper unleashed and sizzling with rage. "You were supposed to protect us! We were nearly killed by an officer under your charge! Working for your friend!" Dan pushed the Brit to emphasize his point. "Don't talk to me about dirty tricks!" Backing away, still livid, he glanced at Magnum and McGarrett "Do you think Linda would mind if I came down to the station and gave her an exclusive -- cleared the air before it gets distorted by too many reporters?

Slowly Magnum nodded. "If that's what you want to do." With a slight smirk he nodded at the camera. "It's still on, Dan. This is live." Magnum gave a little wave to the camera and shut it off.

Nodding, Williams stepped away, McGarrett following. "Then you're going to stay in." The statement was not a happy one, but rather a grim realization of what had to be. McGarrett patted his friend. "Given the startling revelations of the last few minutes, you'll probably win this, Danno. You don't need to go through any more tonight." He glanced almost accusingly at Magnum. "There's no need for you to make any confessions."

Stopping, glancing back, staring at Kalama's body for a moment, Dan looked at his oldest friend. "You mean Linda will ask about my past? Steve, I don't want to win by reward, or default, or even because of Kuhio's stupidity. I want to win because the people of Hawaii are convinced I'm going to do the best job for them. I can't do that without being as honest as I can. If I need to, I'm going to level with them -- as much as possible -- about the past." He breathed out a long sigh. "I need to do this for myself as much as for everyone else."

As they walked toward the cars in the drive Raven and Ski raced up to them. "We thought we had that big guy with the pony tail, but he gave us the slip."

Dan gasped. "He was here? What about my family?"

Raven gestured toward the oblivious luau attendees. "Everybody's accounted for and is covered. They're safe. This guy's probably heading up the beach. We'll track him."

"Up the beach?" McGarrett looked at the security specialists around him. "Toward Lani's?" He glared at Raven and Ski. "She's a witness!

Wolfe assured there was at least one officer on security to protect Kulani. Glancing at the body of his partner he speculated, "Maybe that's not enough now. She had at least two accomplices. I better go check out our witness."

Dan's face was pale. "Suddenly I'm glad Napoleon is there."

"Let's get over there." McGarrett started dialing on his cell phone as they ran to the cars. There was no answer on the phone. "Hurry," he urged Wolfe as he and Williams jumped into the officer’s convertible Camero.
 
 

*****

The pleasant-looking, secluded beach cottage seemed quiet, only one light on at the back of the house when squad cars screeched up to the front. The HPD officer in the squad car in front was knocked unconscious in the front seat. As the rescue party emerged from the vehicles three successive shots echoed in the night. The policemen and civilians ran forward, announcing themselves and kicking in the front door. Following right behind the officers, McGarrett and Williams stopped when they saw a big, scruffy, beard-stubbled man bloodied and lying still on the living room floor.

"Don't shoot," came a familiar voice from the back. "I have someone here I'd like you to take off my hands."

A hefty pony-tailed man stumbled and fell from the hall doorway. Just behind him, in obvious surrender, Napoleon Solo held a pistol, with one finger, by the trigger loop. "Don't shoot," he reminded. "I'm one of the good guys."

As the suspect started to stir Dan rushed forward and grabbed him by the hair. Sure it was the man who tried to kidnap Stephen, Dan grabbed the much larger man by the collar. "You tried to hurt my son!" Before the man could respond Williams slammed a fist into the big face, knocking the man back against his captors. Dan yelped, clutching his hand.

McGarrett steered him away. "I hope that made you feel better."

"Only in one aspect. In the more physical sense it hurts like hell," he admitted with chagrin, tenderly holding his hand.

The police had the suspect and Solo against the wall, ready to handcuff both. Asking after his calabash cousin, Napoleon assured Dan that Lani was fine. Calling for her, she cautiously crept into the room, then became alarmed at Solo's treatment.

"What are you doing? He saved me!"

"Are you all right?" Dan helped her to a chair. She was pale and her head was bandaged.

"Yes, just make them leave Napoleon alone."

McGarrett pulled Lynd aside and after a few minutes the Five-0 leader reluctantly released the handcuffs on the former spy. Lynd, unable to arrest anyone that night it seemed, was livid, but unwilling to fight with McGarrett. He agreed to not arrest Solo. For now. Insisting on confiscating the Walther used to kill the suspect, Lynd promised everyone would be at Five-0 in the morning -- with the exception of Williams, of course, since it was election day -- to straighten everything out.

"Against my better judgement," McGarrett wryly whispered to Solo, "I'm vouching for you." He nodded toward Miss Kulani. "Don't make me regret this."

"My intentions are honorable," he vowed sincerely with a hand over his heart.

Solo knelt down by Lani and assured her everything would be fine. With a promise to be by soon with the family, Williams reminded the others they had one more stop to make.
 
 

*****

The television station was manned with only a few people. Makeup had been hastily applied to Dan and Linda Lee Ellison by the anchorwoman herself. Two cameramen and a director had been rushed to the station. Glancing slightly off the news set, Dan smiled at Kelly and McGarrett, both anxiously watching. Neither of them thought he was doing the right thing, but defying them in an unusual act of rebellion, he was going to do this. He would let the people of Hawaii decide if they wanted him as a governor. He did not feel he could let them make the choice with Kuhio's conspiracy hanging over their heads. His nerves were too rattled and his emotions were anything but objective. To be honest, right now he didn't know what he hoped the public would decide.

"As most of the viewing public knows, I've been friends with your family for several years, Dan. I hope I've been an impartial reporter during this campaign. Right now, I'm sure my shock and disbelief over the events of the evening are as profound as every other viewer's. Can you explain to the viewers what your family has been going through these past few months?"

In a remarkably calm tone Dan described the notes, the phone calls, and the vandalism. His voice trembled slightly when he came to the kidnapping attempt only that morning -- which seemed like years ago to his strained nerves. Careful not to look off stage, he felt the terror might seep through his tenuous control if he glanced to see how Kelly and Steve were taking this recap of horrors. He thought he was doing fine until he saw compassionate tears in Linda Lee's eyes, and felt moisture drip down his cheeks.

Wiping his face, he cleared his throat. "I didn't know how the investigation had progressed until I surprised Linda Kalama holding a gun on Steve McGarrett."

Mrs. Magnum explained the shocking scene, including Kalama's death, had been aired live to all of Hawaii. "You've also heard the confession she made that Governor Kuhio -- her cousin -- put her up to the intimidation to get you out of the race," she continued. "That's yet to be proved, of course, but what is your next action going to be?"

A camera moved around to get a more frontal angle of his face. He didn't want to look into the camera, he wanted to keep this interview as informal as possible, like he was chatting with Linda Lee in his living room. It kept his nerves more settled to imagine that, and it helped him dig deep into his soul for that inner validity needed to finish this grueling night.

"I'm going to let appropriate law enforcement officials deal with Kalama's allegations. However they should realize the shooting was an accident in self-defense. Steve McGarrett should not be prosecuted. He saved my life. Again." He dared a glance toward his friend and a breath caught in his throat at the obvious emotion rippling on Steve's face. "I'm still going to insist on protection for my family until I'm sure the danger to them is over. As for the election, which is what I think you're getting at, I'm going to let the people of Hawaii decide that tomorrow. I will remain in the race. If they want me as governor, I'll serve them to the best of my ability. If they don't, that's their choice."

Keeping level eye contact, she leaned forward and boldly asked another probing question. "Now that I have this opportunity, I can't let it go, Dan. This is your chance to clear the air completely. What about you leaving Five-0 more than a decade ago? We all know the rumors. I'm going to ask you if you left because of a failed suicide attempt."

Despite his best efforts at discipline, Dan flinched. He could hear a sharp intake of breath off stage and knew it was Steve. He wondered if his friend was going to charge up here and he didn't look over to see, afraid such eye contact would precipitate McGarrett's impulsive protection.

"That's part of my private life, Linda. For years I have insisted that was no one's business. I will tell you something I've never revealed before, and that is I left Five-0 because of events involving a case I was working on. During the course of that investigation I was badly injured and could not return to police duty. More than that I can't reveal because it involved national security -- something that I dealt with frequently as a member of Five-0. If the public doesn't trust me about the incident, then they shouldn't vote for me. But what happened in the past will not effect my duties as governor, I promise you that."

Startled and pleased at the candor, she quietly thanked him, and apologized, as his friend, for taking advantage of him in her professional capacity. "Why didn't you just reveal this before?"

"There were reasons," Williams countered crisply. "But tonight seems to be the time for honesty and I can't hold myself above that. Not after what happened with Sergeant Kalama."

"Thank you, Dan. And best of luck tomorrow."

They shook hands and the lights of the cameras went off. Linda hugged him, apologizing again. Kelly raced up and hugged him, too. A more subdued McGarrett patted him on the back and glared at Mrs. Magnum.

"She was just doing her job," Magnum defended of his wife, though he did not look pleased as he came up behind her. "We'll just never be invited to another Williams luau."

The flat joke brought smiles to most of their faces, except McGarrett. His expression was a grim mask and Dan knew he would hear about his impulsive confession later.
 
 

*****

Election night festivities in the upper rooms of the Black Orchid felt more like an extended ohana party than the end of a tough, even tragic political race. After a surprisingly decent night's sleep, Dan had kept his advisors and politics away from family activities. Rick brought his cabin cruiser over to the bay and the Williams family, including McGarrett, of course, and dogs, had motored to the windward coast to spend the day at the secret, secure and secluded Robin's Nest.

In the evening they returned home. While Pono Kulani stayed with the kids, McGarrett, Dan and Kelly, escorted by Wolfe, Aki and two other HPD officers, went to the local polling station to vote. In the evening the group was driven to the Black Orchid where they would spend the time with staff and friends watching the election returns.

The DA would pursue no prosecution for Solo or McGarrett due to the unusual and extreme circumstances. The news didn't surprise McGarrett, who figured for once he was on the good side of the press, the public and law enforcement all at the same time! With the possible exception of Lynd -- who never approved of him. All in all, a very pleasing situation, Steve smiled to himself.

Dan purposely avoided news about Kuhio, Kalama and public speculation. He refused to listen to commentaries from the media or the public. At this stage he wanted only to get through the election. There was very little speculation in his own mind about what would happen after tonight. That would be taken care of tomorrow. Now he enjoyed the time with his friends, enjoyed the pampered treatment by Rick and his staff, and knew what he did with the next four years of his life was no longer in his hands.

Everyone in the several rooms of the top floor of the restaurant seemed anxious and preoccupied. A little smugly, Dan realized he was probably the only one feeling above the nerves. His had been rent thoroughly yesterday -- last night -- no wonder he had none left to fray today.

"You seem happy, Danno. I guess that's a good sign."

Smiling at his friend, Dan realized he must be pretty easy to interpret right now. "Just content. We're all alive and well and after everything that's happened, I don't really care what happens tonight. Either way I'll work it out for the best."

Pleased, Steve offered a slight grin. "A lot more confident than the others in the race."

"Yeah, I'm glad I'm not in Kuhio's shoes right now."

Covertly observing his friend, Steve was pleased at Dan's level of self-assuredness. So easily, Dan could slip into doubt and discouragement in a crisis. The intimidation of the past few months had worn on his friend, but, Steve proudly assessed, Dan had come through tougher and better than ever.

That didn't mean Steve was entirely pleased with Williams. Danno revealing so much to the public about his shooting incident and leaving Five-0 -- that could get the CIA and the evil Webb down on Danno pretty fast. Steve had already made calls to Oscar and a few others to head off any retaliation in that direction. Still, Webb was a renegade and posed a threat.

Certainly Steve would never forgive Danno for the fake-out last night when he pretended to collapse. It nearly gave Steve a real attack. He couldn't argue with the results, but he had laid into Danno big time for that.

Rick rushed into the room and told everyone to gather next door -- a conference room with a big screen TV, where Syd, Moch, Sandy, and proposed Lieutenant Governor Shimimoto had camped out most of the night watching predictions and media coverage. The startling turn of events in the election had brought worldwide focus on the Hawaiian election, much to everyone's consternation. CNN and all of the networks had reporters crowding the Black Orchid, the polling booths, and the other candidates’ homes. Fortunately, Kuhio was generating most of the notorious attention. Steve unpleasantly worried that should Dan win the election that unwanted spotlight would turn onto his friend.

"Early returns have held strong all night, consistently giving Dan Williams almost a landslide lead in the election." Linda Lee Magnum reported from behind her news desk.

Dan had banned even her from the party tonight. He promised full media coverage at campaign headquarters downtown where most of his workers were watching the returns.

"Therefore, this station believes Dan Williams will be the next governor of the state of Hawaii. No word on an acceptance speech, and Governor Kuhio and candidate Wilson have yet to give speeches to concede the election, but it seems clear who the winner will be. Typical of his public career going all the back to his days in Hawaii Five-0, Governor elect Williams will start his term amid a swirl of controversy . . . ."

Dan slipped out of the room, wrestling with the ramifications of this conclusion to an incredible race. A landslide victory. Was it sympathy votes, or did they really think he would be a good governor? Did he win because of what he stood for, or because he was the best of a bad lot? Wandering over to the window he looked out at the dark sheet of ocean across Ala Moana boulevard. Now that it looked like he would get the job, was he qualified, or ready to take on such awesome responsibility?

"Having second thoughts?"

Smiling at the reflection in the window, Dan gave a slight incline of his head to McGarrett. "Wondering what I've gotten myself into."

Steve was sober. "Couldn't be worse than yesterday."

Dan laughed dryly. "Yeah. There's the bright lining." Turning, he looked at his friend. "You never wanted this, I know. But do you think I can do it?"

"I know you can do anything you want, Danno. You've proved it to me hundreds of times, including last night. Whatever these politicians and legislators throw at you, it won't ever be as tough as facing Kalama last night. Or what you've endured with Wo Fat, or Jin Wu."

Gratefully, Dan smiled. "Sure you don't want in on a cabinet appointment? I'll never have a better advisor than you."

"And lose my unofficial status? Never."

Kiki snagged McGarrett's attention and he made his way through the crowd to join her at the side of the room. "There's a call for you, Mr. McGarrett. You can take it in Rick's office."

McGarrett expected it to be Napoleon or Oscar with some congratulatory message, and was surprised when a familiar female voice came through. "Congratulations, Steve, I'm so glad everything worked out."

"Thank you, Agnes." After a moment's hesitation his voice lowered. "It's good to hear your voice."

"And yours." He could hear the smile. "Although you've been pretty hard to miss lately. Your picture is on every station on the telly." She laughed. "You're so popular you might get elected to something."

"My past is too shady, love." Until now he didn't realize how much he had missed her bright personality, her infectious laughter, her quirky wit. Everything but her damn psychic mumbo-jumbo. "Listen, love, why don't you come down to the Orchid and join us."

"You mean the wizard is no longer banished from Camelot?"

"The kids will love seeing you. They've missed you." With longing he released a long sigh. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you, Steve. Terribly." She sighed heavily. "You know if I had known anything clear cut about any dangers to Dan or the family I would have said something, Steve. I would never want any harm to come to them."

Of course she would have come forward -- despite his censure -- if she had known any danger threatened the Williams family. Did that mean her astrology and psychic gifts were bogus or unreliable, as he'd always believed? Or that Agnes had foreseen not just the danger but the ultimately safe outcome? Just to be safe shouldn't he allow her to discuss her nether-world mysticism with Danno -- just to cover all the bases and make sure everything was going to be okay for the next four years? Some open-minded new-age member of the 'new' Five-0 might be willing to do that, but never Steve McGarrett.

"I know that." It was easy to confess now. In his heart he knew the stars would never keep her from protecting the people she loved -- the Williams' or him. Why had it been such a source of contention between them -- with him -- before? Why did her mystic gifts fill him with suspicion? "I guess everything is all right now?"

"Are you asking for my professional opinion, Mr. McGarrett?"

"No!"

She laughed. "Well, I'll give it to you anyway. I see nothing but clear sailing for Governor Williams for years to come. Now, let me get ready and I'll meet you at the Orchid shortly."

"I'll be waiting."
 
 

*****

Before joining the others at the post-party gathering, Steve made a quick call to Napoleon. Just to be on the safe side, he wanted Agent Webb located soon, and Solo promised to speed up the search. There have been enough nasty surprises already getting this far in the election. Steve didn't want Webb appearing in Hawaii and causing problems for his friend. Governor Williams would have more than enough to keep him busy. And out of McGarrett's life. Trying not to feel too bitter about the victory, McGarrett consoled himself with the knowledge that his work was not finished.

The gathering folded quickly when the Williams', friends and the staff left for campaign headquarters. Wilson had conceded and Kuhio was in front of the camera now with a long-winded thank you list before his final capitulation.

In front of the big TV, McGarrett, Raven, Ski, Magnum, Higgins, Duke, Rick, TC watched Kuhio finally give in and end his race for re-election. Almost immediately the picture switched to Williams' campaign HQ where Dan gave a brief and gracious acceptance speech. When he looked into the camera and thanked his friends who had made the victory possible, Steve glowed with warmth, certain that message was directed specifically at him.

"Well, this has all kind of re-defined the electoral process." Ski was over at the bar indulging in more free liquor. "Makes me almost want to get out there and vote again."

"I'm glad that everything worked out okay for Dan and his family." Rick gestured at McGarrett. "And for you, too, Steve. But things won't be the same with Dan as governor."

Higgins cleared his throat. "If this experience has been an indication, I'm not so sure of that."

"I agree." Steve's tone was sober. "I want the League of the Black Orchid to stand by. In case we need to help the governor again." He looked at the happy televised scene -- Danno's victorious moment. A chill wriggled down his spine. "And I have a feeling we'll be needed again."
 
 

PAU