Remembering Jack Lord

March 2014

Spring Break

Written by Barbara

Danno blinked furiously. Steam from the hot coffee cup in his hands was melting the ice crystals on his eyelashes. For a second or two he couldn’t see through the water droplets. Once his vision cleared, Danno’s gaze swept his surroundings. He shook his head and spoke softly to himself. I still can’t believe I chose to take my spring vacation on the mainland in the middle of a late cold snap in the Appalachian Mountains!

The late winter/early spring snowfall had swept the landscape only the previous night. In a few hours, the spring solstice would officially begin, but you would never know it. Danno had hoped to “get away from it all.” He wanted to hone and expand his amateur photography skills. His digital scrapbook was a monotonous blur of beaches and palm trees. He had caught the bug from his sometime girlfriend, Ann Waring, the actress turned photographer who had visited the islands the previous summer. He and Ann maintained a still friendly long distance relationship, and he wanted to impress her. Perhaps the addition of snowcapped peaks would do the trick. Or, I could simply freeze to death out here or break my neck from a fall and impress Ann that way, Danno thought wryly.

Well, at least he was off the clock. He was Citizen Dan Williams for the next few days. No police or any other kind of work. No stress, no excitement. Just good, old-fashioned peace and calm. He stretched out lazily on his sleeping bag. The only effort he felt like making was to raise his head to watch the camp stove cook boil water for his instant breakfast from a pouch.

He never saw it coming, but he felt it! Breakfast was his last thought before he landed several feet from his sleeping bag. A black bear also had designs on that breakfast. She had taken his place in line for breakfast with a mighty swat of her paw. He was on vacation and so were his cop instincts. “Know your surroundings” had been the mantra at the police academy ions ago. That was then; this was now. Where did he go from here? Weren’t bears supposed to be shy? He hadn’t moved in hours. He hadn’t even opened the food yet! Was the bear a coffee hound?

While the bear sniffed the food containers, Danno slid belly first over the ground away from the campsite. An outcropping of brush provided him with at least temporary cover. Out of sight, but probably not out of scent. Then his stomach growled. He never had gotten to eat that breakfast. He wondered if the bear could hear his stomach. Or maybe his heartbeat. It sure sounded loud to him.

Suddenly Danno felt a sharp jab in his back. “Don’t move!” The speaker was a young man with a gun.

Danno whispered, “Actually I was planning on doing a song and a dance to entertain the bear.”

“You’re a cool customer! What are you, a cop or something?”

“Yeah, right. And what are you, a birdwatcher or something?”

“I just robbed the lodge down the road. I took to the national forest to evade the cops, but I startled that bear. Look, I’m going to shoot that bear.”

Danno exclaimed, “You must be nuts! That’s all we need -- a wounded, charging bear on our heels! Think we’re going to outrun him?”

“I’m going to try.”

Danno thought, You really do have to be dumb to be a crook. He thought he’d try another tactic and said, “Now, you look. If that bear doesn’t get you, then the cops will. You don’t think they’re on your trail? You don’t think they’ll hear the shots?”

“Alright, alright. Now let me think.”

Meanwhile the bear began to turn away in the opposite direction. Danno noted that she had his breakfast in her mouth, but he wasn’t going to hold that against her.

“Hey, look! She’s running away.”

Danno expertly took advantage of the split second distraction to kick the gun away and subdue the thief. He used climbing rope to tie his hands behind his back.

By the time Danno handed his capture over to the local authorities and helped them scour the mountainside to recover the money, it was time to head home.

~

Monday morning, Danno walked into the “big office” at the ‘Iolani Palace. Chin and Kono were already seated, while Steve was standing at the chalkboard ready to outline the summation of the case at hand. He turned and asked, “So Danno, how was your vacation? How was it taking a break for once from being a cop?”

Danno smiled, “It was nice, Steve, really nice. Yeah, it was great taking a break for once from being a cop.”

Danno mustered up as much sincerity as he could manage. But this was Steve, the top cop of the islands, whose superior powers of observation never took a break -- not even during a casual, off-the-record conservation.

Steve asked, “Why is it that I have the feeling you’re not telling me everything, eh, Danno?”

Kono chortled, “You got that right, bruddah! Our boy was probably hard at work running after some wahine.”

“Who, me?” Danno’s smile had morphed into an impish grin.

“Yeah, you Danno.” Steve was now fully engaged in their conversation. Work and the chalkboard took a back seat.

“Someday, I’ll tell you, Steve. Some day, when we all have a minute to spare.”

Chin broke in, “In other words, Steve, ‘some day’ is never!”

Everyone laughed. “That’s right,” Steve finished. “Some day!”

 

An Unexpected Reunion

 Written by Steve's Girl

"Williams", Danno's voice reached Steve through the phone after the third ring.

"Danno? Steve."

"Come on, Steve. You don't seem to trust me with Five-0, even for two days!  Granted, Washington DC is a twelve-hour flight away, but it’s not out of this world! No need to fuss over me like a mother hen over her smallest chick!"

Dan Williams, Steve McGarrett's second - in -command, sounded annoyed.

Steve chuckled a little bit, then said, "No, Danno. I trust you. I really do. I'm just calling to inform you that I have to stay at least one more day. The hearing had to be postponed until late in the afternoon. The committee chairman obviously had had something spoiled for lunch. Besides... Mahalo, Danno."

"You're welcome, Steve, but what do you have to thank me for?"

"For suggesting that I pack my thick, warm, camel's hair coat. It’s 40 degrees, and there’s even some snow!"

"Oh, that's  too bad. Here, the sun is shining, and temperatures are in the high 70s. But remember: It's March 23rd. You can't expect much over there as far as the weather is concerned."

"Yes, you're right, Danno. See you soon. Bye."

"Bye, Steve."

͠

Around 10.30 the next morning, Steve gave his final statement to the Senate committee and stepped outside. Although still cold, the weather was beautiful. The sun was shining from a clear blue sky, and the flowering cherries, the grape hyacinths, the crocusses, and the daffodils which all had worn tiny snow caps during the days before now boasted pink, blue, and yellow blossoms and seemed to enjoy the warm rays of the sun as much as the people in the streets did.

Good! Steve mused. After all it's only five days till Easter. The children will be able to go easter egg hunting outdoors.

Steve had had to re-schedule his flight to Honolulu. Now, his flight would leave in about six hours. To pass the time, he strolled down Pennsylvania Avenue to visit the United States Navy Memorial. Lost in thought he looked at the bronze commemoration bas-reliefs, which paid respect to the men and women who had served in the sea services, from  Captain John Paul Jones, who had fought in the War for Independence to Navy Astronauts and Recovery Missions.

͠

"Steve McGarrett?"

Steve heard a deep familiar voice behind him. He turned around and looked into a pair of ice-blue eyes, which were beaming at him.

"Cholly M.D.!" Steve exclaimed. "Long time no see, eh, pal?"

"Yes, Steve, you can say that again."

Steve McGarrett and Cholmondeley Myers-Davis had become friends at the Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduated together in 1949. After Korea, Cholly had remained in the active forces,  stationed at Pearl Harbor. He had been transferred to Washington DC a few years earlier, after being promoted to rear admiral.

"What are you doing here, Steve? Chasing criminals from Honolulu to Washington? Can you stay for a few days?"

"Still bubbling like sherbet powder," Steve remarked, laughing. "No, I had to testify before Congress and am leaving on the 1500 flight," he said, using military time.

"Oh, yeah. Good old Honolulu! How I miss it! It may be an honor to be stationed here, but, just between you and me, compared to Hawai’i, Washington sucks."

"That comes with the territory, Cholly. Though Hawai‘i is our outpost in the Pacific, many on the mainland consider it the boondocks. And an Admiral Myers was thought to be wasted there."

"Bull, Steve, and you know that!"

"Of course I do. Say, can a Washington-based admiral take a few days off, just like that? How would you like to spend Easter in Hawai‘i? I talked to my second-in-command last night, and he told me temperatures are around 80, and, of course, the sun is shining. Does that suit you?"

"Does that suit me? You can bet anything you like on it, my friend. Let me make a few phone calls, and I'll meet you at the airport. Honolulu, here I come!"

The admiral hailed a cab and rushed off.

“Come to visit Hawai'i - but beware! You might get addicted and never want to leave.” I read that line in the magazine I browsed through on my flight from Honolulu, Steve remembered. How very true, even for a man, like Cholly, who did everything to rise through the ranks of the Navy.

Steve didn't consider it possible that Admiral Myers-Davis might not be on the 1500 flight to Honolulu. At the Academy, we certainly  didn't  nickname Cholly "M.D" for nothing: He could find an antidote for each obstacle that came his way, and I'm sure he still can today.

 

A Blast from the Past

Written by Jean

It was a perfect morning for a jog. It had rained a little during the night, so the air felt fresh and cool. Steve McGarrett always enjoyed jogging on days like this. It refreshed and cleared his mind. Kela, his little dog, ever the faithful companion kept perfect pace with McGarrett. She made his jogging far more pleasurable.

Today, however, McGarrett felt especially happy. His thoughts when jogging were usually about solving cases, but today he had spent his time thinking of something not involving work for a change. Ever since Valentine’s Day, when he had declared his love for Gina Lawson, he had known that, at last, he had found the woman with whom he wanted to spend his life. He was going to ask her to marry him but wanted to do something out of the ordinary. He had spent many an hour thinking of a way. 

McGarrett was different from most men. He’d had very few romantic interludes. He had been hurt badly fifteen years previously and made up his mind it wouldn’t happen again. McGarrett had dated several women, but he never stayed with anyone long enough to fall in love.

Then he had met Gina. The no nonsense head of Hawaii Five-0 had fallen in love at first sight, but it had taken him five months to actually admit it, thanks to the help of – he didn’t quite know who or what – on Valentines Day.

McGarrett was a very private man. He only had a small circle of friends, consisting of his three-man team, Danny, Chin, and Kono. He was also friends with Che Fong, John Manicote, and Governor Jameson, but only the Five-0 team knew what made him tick. They were his ‘ohana, his family. Danny Williams, in particular, was as close to Steve as a brother. The team always had accepted the fact that Steve was a loner and respected his privacy, although he did join in some of their crazy activities now and then. Particularly Kono, who was a real joke, just loved to wind up Steve. They had seen a change in him over the last few months, since he had become friends with Gina, but it still had come as a big surprise when he had told them he was in love.

Steve reached the Mercury he had parked on the edge of the beach. Opening the door for Kela to jump in, he stroked her head and spoke softly to her.

“Well girl, I think I have just the right idea how to propose to your mistress. We know how sentimental and romantic she is, so it has to be good.”

Kela wagged her tail at the sound of his voice and tilted her head just the way Steve did. He had noticed it lately. It must be true, how dogs get to look like their masters, he thought.

Steve let himself into his apartment and quickly showered and dressed. Today, he chose a light blue suit, a pale yellow shirt, and a matching tie. He always dressed smart as did his team. He fixed himself a bowl of muesli (Gina insisted that he eat properly before he went to work, as he hardly ate anything during the day). 

He decided to take his bowl of cereal and coffee out to the lanai. As he passed the table by the door, he noticed the light flashing on the answering machine by the telephone. Who would be phoning this early? His first thought was Gina, but when he pressed the play button, a worried frown formed on his forehead.

“Hi Steve. I guess you’re still on the same number,” a soft feminine voice said. “Anyway, it sounds like your voice on the answering machine. Sorry it’s so early. I guess you’re out jogging. I forgot you always get up at the crack of dawn. Oh! I should tell you who I am! It’s Nicole Wylie, a blast from your past. I hope you remember me; it has been ten years, after all, but you did say, if I ever took a vacation, I should visit Hawai‘i, so here I am. I have just arrived, so I will give you a call later. Bye, or should it be aloha?

Steve’s memory flashed back to the time he had travelled to Singapore to bring back Nicole as a witness in a murder case. They had spent three nights in a tiny cabin on a rust bucket of a ship trying to escape a murderer who was out to get Nicole. She had been through a lot and was a feisty, if rather hysterical, woman. He had found her extremely attractive, making it a difficult situation. He was there to protect her; as much as he had wanted her, he’d had to remember that he was on duty.

After they had returned to Honolulu, Nicole had stayed at Steve’s beach house to wait for the trial. They had become lovers, but Steve had not loved her. He had felt a little guilty, as he did not deliberately set out to use her or any woman he dated, but he had built a wall round his heart that could not be breached. They had talked a lot, and Nicole had seemed to understand, even saying that she did not think he would ever be able to settle with one woman, and he had readily agreed. She also had told him that she wanted a new life, a life away from crooks, crimes, and sleazy bars – like the one where he had found her. To help her start working toward her goal, he had arranged for her to take an adult college course in San Francisco. They had parted on friendly terms, and when she had asked him whether she would ever see him again, he had told her that, when she had a vacation, she could always visit Hawai‘i.

Steve was interested to know how Nicole had fared after ten years. Of course, she would still think him single as he had been adamant that he would never settle down.

Putting the call behind himself, Steve finished his coffee, put on his holster and jacket, and left his apartment, Kela following at his heel. He quietly let himself into Gina’s apartment, just three doors from his, to leave Kela, as he did every morning. He tiptoed through to the bedroom, where Gina was lying with one arm above her head, her silky auburn hair spread over the pillow like a halo. His heart swelled with love for her. He leaned over and kissed her very gently.

“I love you, honey,” he whispered.

Gina stirred, opening her eyes. She ran her hand through his hair. “Love you, too,” she murmured sleepily.

“You minx. You always like messing up my hair. Go back to sleep.” He kissed her again. “See you at the office when you have finished at HPD.”

“Mm... Might make lunch if you are around,” Gina said as she turned over and buried her head under the duvet.

“Some chance!” He laughed over his shoulder as he left, giving Kela a final pat on the head. He watched as she nipped in the bedroom and jumped on Gina’s bed. It was something her master never allowed her to do.

Upon reaching the ‘Iolani Palace, McGarrett parked his Mercury in its usual spot and sprinted up the steps. He was always first to arrive. He saluted to the night guard on duty and said, “Aloha, Matsu. Howzit?”

“Very quiet, Mr. McGarrett. In fact, it’s been a good couple of days. It must be the Easter holidays, everyone going on trips.”

“Yeah, I like it,” replied McGarrett as he headed up the Koa wood staircase to his office.

A little later, Danny opened the door to Steve’s office. “Hey, Steve. Have we got anything on for today? It sure has been quiet the last couple of days.”

“Don’t knock it, Danno. It’s not very often we get some peace and quiet. Let’s hope it lasts for the weekend. I‘ve got something really important to do, and I don‘t want it to go wrong.” McGarrett kept his head down and leafed through a pile of paperwork.

“Oh, really? Do I get a clue?” questioned Danny.

“No, Danno. I will tell you after, just in case it goes wrong,” replied McGarrett.

The rest of the team arrived a little later, each one looking in to say aloha with the exception of Chin; he always said Ni hao, a Chinese greeting.

Steve soon became caught up in his paper work. It was a job he hated, but it had to be done.

Around 11:30, Jenny buzzed him. “Steve, there’s a Miss Wylie here to see you. She doesn’t say what it’s about, just that you invited her to visit.”

“Oh! Erm… Yes! Just a minute,” Steve stammered as, suddenly, he felt his face flush. Upon arriving in his office that morning, he had taken off his tie and undone the top button of his shirt. Now, he quickly fastened his button and knotted his tie. Feeling more composed, he buzzed Jenny. “Send her in Jenny. Oh! And can you bring some fresh tea, please?”

“Yes, Boss.”

Nicole Wylie walked gracefully into his office. Her smile was radiant, and she still was very beautiful. Now, she exuded an elegance and poise that she hadn’t had before. Clearly, she had changed considerably in the past ten years. Steve supposed he had changed, too.

“Nicole, what a surprise! What brings you here?” he asked. He had stood up but remained behind his desk, not quite sure how to greet her.

“Your last words to me, if you care to remember, were, “If you ever take a vacation, why not try Hawai‘i.” So, here I am! Well, it’s not exactly a vacation. I am here on business.” She walked towards his desk. “Well, don’t I at least get a traditional Hawaiian greeting? I am after all an old friend.” She smiled sweetly at him.

“Of course, Nicole. How rude of me.” He immediately walked round his desk and stepped towards her, placing his hands on both her shoulders he kissed both cheeks in the traditional Hawaiian greeting. “Aloha. It’s good to see you, Nicole. You look amazing.” He felt he should give her a hug. Just as he did, the door opened. Did no one ever knock on his office door!

“Oh! Sorry. Am I interrupting something?” It was Gina bearing a tray of tea. “Jenny asked me to bring this in,” she said, looking curiously at Nicole.

Steve looked up, feeling his face flush. Crickey! (using the word Gina always used when surprised) How do I explain this?

“Gina, this is an old friend, Nicole Wylie. I err… she was… erm…,” McGarrett stuttered. “…In a witness protection program ten years ago. Now, she just happens to be visiting.”

Gina grinned at him and placed the tray on his desk. Taking his hand, she said, “Steve, you don’t have to be embarrassed just because an old girlfriend calls by. There must be one or two out there you are bound to come across at some time. I think I know you well enough by now to trust you.”

Nicole looked at Steve in amusement. “Oh, Steve, you didn’t think I came here to… Oh no. You did? I only looked you up, because I was here on business. I certainly didn’t expect you to be waiting for me after ten years.” She started to giggle, then looked at Gina and said, “Men… Aren’t they vain!”

“I agree,” replied Gina. “In fact, I have a special song for him; it’s called ‘You’re so vain.’ He can’t stand his hair being messed up. It’s nice to meet you.” Gina held out her hand and took Nicole’s.

“Likewise,” Nicole replied shaking Gina’s hand. “I remember when he brought me back from Singapore. We didn’t have a change of clothes for three days, and we had to travel on the back of an open truck in the rain. Boy! Was his hair a mess. We both looked like drowned rats. He surely didn’t look his usual immaculate self, then.”

“I bet he hated that,” Gina said as she grinned at Steve.

“Thank you, ladies,” said Steve, placing his hands on his hips. “When you have finished pulling me to pieces, maybe you, Nicole, can tell me what you have been doing all these years.”

“Oh, Steve. That’s why I came to see you. I have something to show you.” Nicole took an envelope from her handbag. “After I was set up with that college course you arranged, I studied real hard and earned a degree in Business Management. My professor just so happened to fall in love with me – which is more than you did.” She said with a laugh as she winked at Gina. She took a photo from the envelope and handed it to Steve. It was a photo of Nicole with a tall, handsome, silver-haired man and two beautiful children, a boy and girl.

“You see, Steve. I am married,” Nicole said, showing him her ringed finger. “I’m Mrs. Adam Carter, and these three are mine,” she added as she ran her finger lovingly across the picture. “I hope you don’t mind, Steve, but my son is named Stephen, after you.” On seeing the look of alarm on Steve’s face, she laughed. “Don’t worry. He is only six. My daughter is named Sally; she’s four. I am very happy, Steve. Still, if it hadn’t been for you, I would be dead. Adam knows all about me and what I was before you found me. He said to tell you thank you: thank you for saving my life and for sending me to him.”

McGarrett felt touched. It was good to know when a case had a successful ending. He was happy for Nicole. She deserved a good life after the rough times she had been through.

Steve took Nicole’s hand in his. “I’m so glad for you Nicole. I am flattered that you have named your son Stephen. They are fine children, and if they take after you, they can’t go wrong.”

“Thank you, Steve. Now, are you going to introduce me to this lady? I have a feeling she is more than just a friend.” Nicole smiled at Gina.

“Yes, indeed,” he replied. “Somehow or other she seems to have broken my resolve to stay single. May I introduce you to Gina Lawson, the woman I am going to marry?” On realizing what he had just said, Steve exclaimed, “Oh, damn and blast!” He hit his forehead with the palm of his hand as he added, “Now, I’ve gone and blown it.”

Gina laughed, “That wasn’t the way you had planned it, was it, Steve? But that’s all right. I know how you feel. You see, you have a tendency to talk in your sleep. Now, would you two like to join me for lunch? I would just love to hear about the Singapore escapade.”

 

A Second Chance

Written by Honu59

Chicago, IL

She stopped her nervous pacing and stared out the apartment window at the wind whipped snowstorm that attempted to block out the city’s skyline. Suddenly cold, she pulled the sleeves of her wool sweater over her hands and crossed her arms over her chest while she attempted to muster her courage.  It was so long ago…another time, another place.  Should I really do this? Or am I just going to embarrass myself? 

She turned away from the window and glanced at the clock for the umpteenth time.  There was no need to wait any longer; he would certainly be in the office by now.  Time was no longer an excuse.  Now the only excuse for further delay was her nerves.  Her eyes came to rest on the black telephone on her desk.  Lined up next to the phone were her hotel reservations, traveler’s checks and plane ticket along with a very old, faded and wrinkled business card.  Just go ahead and do it, she told herself.  She took a deep breath, picked up the handset and dialed.

~

Honolulu, HI

Steve McGarrett lifted the handset of his office phone and punched the blinking intercom button.

“Yes, Luana?”

“Mr. McGarrett, there’s a long distance call for you on line two.”

“Thank you, I’ll take it,” he replied crisply.

Steve pressed the appropriate button to make the connection and issued his standard, clipped business greeting, “McGarrett.”

“Mr. Collins?” The feminine voice sounded tentative.

“No, this is Steve McGarrett, Hawaii Five-O,” he corrected the caller before a long buried memory told him that there was something familiar about that voice.

“Steve,” the voice addressed him more firmly. 

In an instant, the past came flooding back for the dark haired cop:  Singapore, fleeing for their lives aboard ship under assumed names, the chase, the trial and finally putting Ravasco behind bars where he belonged.  Then their parting at the airport, the warmth of the beautiful woman he held tightly in his arms, the fragrance of her hair, the wetness of her tears against his cheek.  It was a moment that he didn’t want to end, but it had to. He had his life and she deserved a chance to make a life for herself. 

“Nicole?” The business-like tone was gone. Steve’s voice was now relaxed and intimate. “My God, what has it been, ten years?  How are you?”  

“I’m fine, Steve.” With the awkwardness of the initial greeting out of the way, Nicole also sounded more relaxed. “I wasn’t sure that you would remember me.”

“How could I ever forget you?  We were married for four whole days!” Steve gently teased.  “To what do I owe the pleasure of hearing your voice again?”

“I’m coming to Honolulu next week for a conference.  I was wondering…”  Nicole hesitated.

“What, honey?” Steve’s tone had now taken on a rare tender quality.

“I was wondering if you’d like to get together…for dinner perhaps.  I’d love to see you again.”

“I’d enjoy that too… I really would, providing the criminal element doesn’t force me to work overtime.  When will you arrive?”

“Next Saturday.  I’ll be staying at the Ilikai.  May I give you a call after I check in?”

“Please do.  I’m looking forward to seeing you again…Mrs. Collins,” Steve added affectionately.

They said their goodbyes and McGarrett hung up the phone then allowed himself a few minutes to daydream about the woman to whom he had been so attracted ten years earlier.  It had taken all of his strict discipline and self-control back then to keep his mind on the case and not give in to his physical and emotional desires while they were on the run.  Their lives had depended on him keeping a clear head.  But then afterward, once the trial was over…   A smile lit up Steve’s face at the memory of that particular evening.

A knock on his office door broke him out of his nostalgic mood.

“Come in.”

“Steve, Manicote called back and there’s going to be a delay with that search warrant,” Dan Williams announced on his way into the private office.  The boyish face of the forty-one year old detective seemed incongruous with the greying curls on his head. 

McGarrett studied his second-in-command for a moment.  Nicole is about his age, Steve mused. I wonder what she looks like now.  

After the intense pain of Cathi Ryan’s murder two years earlier, Steve had all but given up hope of ever having a permanent meaningful relationship.  He had completely immersed himself in his job and had almost successfully put all thoughts of women out of his mind.  That is, until now.  Nicole…  Was it possible for him to have a second chance at his age?

~

One week later…

The owner of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel was a friend of Steve’s and as such, the head of Five-O was able to reserve the best table in the restaurant, close enough to the open doors to view the moonlit beach and catch the cooling breeze yet private enough for intimate conversation.  The couple started their meal with nervous small talk over the appetizers, but the awkwardness quickly vanished and they fell into a comfortable dialog like old friends.

“…then I moved to Chicago, became certified as a physical therapist and worked for a while at Mercy Hospital. After that, I finished my master’s degree so I could teach,” Nicole explained, trying to condense the last ten years of her life for her handsome dinner companion.  He did look older, but still dashing in the dark blue suit that brought out the color of his eyes. 

Steve looked across the linen draped table at his lovely guest.  The candlelight made her warm brown eyes sparkle. A simple strand of pearls accented her lilac silk dress and her hair was arranged in a stylish French twist, adorned with a single plumeria blossom.  The hints of silver blending in with brunette only enhanced her classic beauty.  Steve dared to risk a more personal question. “What about relationships…anyone special in your life? I don’t see a ring.”

“Good work there, detective,” Nicole joked as she glanced briefly at her left hand that rested on the table. “No, there’s no one special.  Occasional dates yes, but no one steady.”  Even with the breeze off the water, the dining room suddenly seemed warmer.  “What about you, Steve?”

“Oh, you know me.  I’m a twenty-four hour cop, never off duty,” Steve replied glibly, evading the uncomfortable question.  It was his attempt to be humorous, but in a way, it was the truth.

Nicole shot Steve an exasperated look. “Okay, then tell me about work.  How are Danny and Chin?”

At that, Steve’s eyes dropped to the table for a few moments and he swallowed hard. It was still a raw topic. 

“Steve?”

“We lost Chin last year, Nicole.” Steve’s voice was almost a whisper and each word seemed difficult.  “He was murdered while he was on an undercover assignment.”

Nicole reached across the table and grasped Steve’s hand tightly.  “Oh Steve…Steve, I didn’t know.  I’m so sorry.”  Still holding on, she stroked the back of his hand with her thumb then added quietly, “If Chin hadn’t shown up when he did at that temple in the Philippines, we might not have made it out alive.”

Steve nodded at the shared memory.  “He was a good man and a good friend. And one great cop. You know, I haven’t even had the heart to replace him on the team.”  He squeezed her hand one more time and then let go, easing his hand back onto his lap.

“Well, then it’s no wonder you work such long hours; you’re short-staffed,” Nicole commented sympathetically. “Ever think about retiring?”

Steve smiled wistfully.  “Sometimes; but I’ll need to stay on for at least another year.  Danno’s taking a leave of absence next year to care for his elderly aunt back east.” Steve sighed before he continued.   “I’m not sure what I’m going to do without him.  It’ll be like losing my right arm.   And I’ll have to hire a new team, at least temporarily.”

“Time marches on, whether we like it or not,” Nicole replied philosophically.  “You’ll survive, Steve.”

“I suppose that I will.  But retirement is starting to look attractive…lonely, but attractive.”

Lonely? Nicole thought.  Guess that it’s time for me to lay my cards on the table.

“Steve, I have a confession to make.”

“Oh?”

“I told you that I came to Hawaii for a conference.  What I didn’t tell you is that the conference also included a job interview.”

Steve’s eyebrows arched in surprise and a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.  “That means…”

“That means that if I get the job, I’ll be moving and settling in Hawaii,” Nicole finished his sentence.  She blotted her lips with her napkin then folded the cloth and laid it beside her plate.

“Dessert?” Steve asked.

“Not for me, thank you.  But it was a lovely dinner.”

“Well then, Mrs. Collins, how about a walk on the beach?” Steve asked warmly.  “I think we have more to talk about.” 

At Nicole’s nod, Steve dropped some bills on the table to cover their meal and a tip then rose from his seat, offering his hand to his date. 

The couple walked hand in hand at the water’s edge, talking and laughing in the moonlight.  The ten year gap melted away like the waves washing the shore, revealing a strong attraction that had never really died.  When they finally ran out of words, Steve took Nicole into his arms and they shared a deep, lingering kiss. Steve felt a new warmth filling his heart as his mind began spinning with happy possibilities for the future. Suddenly, retirement didn’t look so lonely.

 

A Large Case of Murder

By Vrinda Rao

I

The site of airplanes rolling down the runway, and zooming up and away as they took off, only further reminded Steve McGarrett that he was on his way home. He had spent the past two months in the nation’s capital, helping Congress’s Committee on Transnational Organized Crime. He had been putting together information, sitting in on deliberations, and listening to one expert and witness after another testify. Now, Steve just wanted to be on one of those planes, heading back to his home in Honolulu, Hawaii.

When he heard a voice that had been constantly engaging his ears all this time, Steve cringed. He turned to see Herbert Gabel, a chief investigator for the state department.

“I knew you’d still be here,” Gabel said.

“I wish I wasn’t.” Steve didn’t hide his scorn. He didn’t dislike Gabel, but because of Gabel’s investigation, he had to take time away from his job and leave the Happy Isles for the dirty cesspools of Washington, DC, and trip he was not keen to undertake again.

“Just what’s eating at you now?” Steve asked.

“Let’s have a seat first,” Gabel said. “This will take a while.”

“My plane leaves in an hour,” Steve replied.

“We rescheduled you for a later flight,” Gabel replied as they entered the waiting area, found two empty chairs away from any other passengers, and sat down.

“Just how much later?” Steve asked.

“You’ll soon see.” Gabel took out a cigarette and lit it.

 

II

Steve protested, but Gabel was adamant. When they went to meet Jonathan Kaye in his office, the head of the State Department’s Intelligence Division greeted them men with a somber look.

“What can you tell me on Freddy Donovan and how you got involved with him?” Kaye asked.

Freddy Donovan was one of Hawaii’s most notorious organized crime bosses, who had since taken his ventures to the national and international level.

“He had his hand in practically every gambling, prostitution, and drug-running operation in Hawaii. He was responsible for murdering one of the key witnesses against him, Bernice Chrystie. Bernice could name several higher-ups in government and business who were on Donovan’s take,” Steve replied. He then added, with a tone of regret, “She was under my protection.”

He remembered how Donovan’s boys ambushed Bernice and the two HPD cops who were guarding her in a safe house – the location of which no one except a select few knew. All three were killed.

“Two police officers died with her,” Steve added. “We did the investigation on that end and found evidence to prove Donovan ordered the killing. We had the hit man’s bank records showing ten thousand dollars was deposited in his account, and Donovan’s bank records showing that a matching amount was taken out a few days earlier, and the hit man himself. The Committee knows all about this.

“They heard you were leaving and wanted to bring you back in to testify about your investigation on Donovan,” Gabel replied. “He and his organization has been plying their trades overseas for a while, and we’ve built up a strong case on that end, which could help the Committee’s cause.”

As much as Steve wanted to believe the two men, he knew there was a catch somewhere. Jonathan Kaye didn’t just ask Steve to do something unless there was a dire need, something which would result in serious ramifications for everyone if it was not done.

“What’s your angle, Jonathan,” Steve said, looking the Intelligence Chief squarely in the eye.

“Just testify before the Senate on Donovan, and we’ll be able to bring him in on federal charges,” Kaye said. “You’ve wanted to get him for a long time.”

“I also know that it won’t be easy, since we have to find Donovan,” Steve replied. “My testimony may give further cement the Committee’s case on international organized crime, but it’s not going to produce Freddy Donovan.”

“You leave that to us,” Kaye said.

Steve glared at him in disbelief.

 

III

The courtroom was filled with spectators, reporters, congressmen, and other experts who were testifying. Steve walked in, slowly and steadily, aware of all the eyes on him. He stopped at a table before a panel of senators, ranging from the young and eager Sen. Snowden to the older, more methodical Sen. Cobb.

“Please repeat after me,” the court clerk said, raising his right hand. Steve raised his right hand.

“I, Stephen J. McGarrett,” the clerk began.

“I, Stephen J. McGarrett,” Steve repeated.

“Do solemnly swear.”

“Do solemnly swear.” After he finished taking the oath, the clerk told him he could be seated.

“Mr. McGarrett,” Sen. Snowden began, “we called you here to ask you about your case against Frederick Donovan, an organized crime boss who has fled the country. Specifically, we want to know how Donovan’s activities in Hawaii could have outspread to the South Pacific. The State Department’s Intelligence division has tracked down Donovan to Hong Kong …”

Before Snowden could finish his sentence, Steve heard the blast. He sprang up out his seat as everyone made mad dashes in every direction to get out. The front left corner of the courtroom was in blazes, soot and smoke emanating and coloring the walls black.

 

IV

The keys on the teletype machine at Five-O headquarters clicked and clacked at a rapid pace as Luana, the secretary, watched. The minute she saw the first line which read, “ALERT: WASHINGTON, D.C.,” she watched and waited for it to finish printing out the message, then ripped out the sheet and ran towards Danno Williams.

“Danny!” she called. “This came from Washington!”

From the fear and anxiety in her voice, Danny knew it was serious. His eyes opened wide in terror as he read the fax. “A bomb exploded in Senate Committee hearing room. Injured and dead are unaccounted for yet. We will contact you with more details as they available.”

“This is just lovely!” Danno exclaimed. “Luana, get Chin and Duke. Tell them I’m in Steve’s office.” Luana hurried away.

The worried expressions and Chin Ho Kelly and Duke Lukela’s faces as they entered indicated to Danno that Luana had already told them about the teletype.

“What do we do now, Danno?” Chin asked.

“If Steve is all right, he’ll contact us,” Danno replied. “I’ll call Washington’s police department and ask them what they know. Otherwise, we worry, and we wait.” Danno sat on Steve’s desk, hunched over on his left side, burying his chin in his hand, and his deep sea-blue eyes trembling with a fear he did not want his colleagues to see.

 

V

Once the last of the injured was evacuated, Steve went back to assess the damage and speak to any witnesses. A secretary, her blonde hair covered in soot, tried shaking off the black ash to no avail.

“Mr. McGarrett!” she called.

“Yes,” Steve said.

“I don’t know if this helps, but I thought I saw a janitor in this building this morning that I hadn’t seen before.”

“Do you remember what he looked like?” Steve asked.

The woman nodded.

“Good.” He took her to where some uniform patrolmen stood and told them the secretary had information for them. “Give these officers the description,” he told her. The woman nodded and the officers took over. Steve ran to Sen. Cobb, who was not badly injured except for a cut on his forehead.

“Steve,” he said. “Where is Arnold?” referring to Sen. Snowden. “He was not in the wreckage, and I didn’t see him walking away.”

“I’ll find him, Senator,” Steve promised.

 

VI

Freddy Donovan pointed the smoking end of a cigar at the wall as he spoke into the telephone receiver. The look of delight on his face could only come from one source, and it emanated from the words the person at the other end spoke.

“That is the best news I have heard in months,” he said. “Well, killing some birds with one stone is better than none at all. They’d never get me from here anyway, since there’s no extradition treaty, but it’s just a matter of time before they find me and get the local government in on it, then they’d send me back to Uncle Sam to stand trial. You keep your eyes and ears open, and try to tie up that loose end. … Thank you. Bye.” He took another puff of the cigar and laughed.

 

VII

Steve had completely forgotten one very important thing. He ran to the nearest pay phone and dialed long distance, Honolulu, Hawaii Five-O Headquarters at Iolani Palace. The phone rang three times, each ring sounding like an eternity. Then he heard the familiar voice of Danny Williams.

“Hello, Danno,” Steve said gently.

“Steve!” Danno cried. “Where are you? Are you all right? We were on pins and needles. We didn’t know what to think!”

“Now you can think that I’m alive and we have a large case of murder on our hands,” Steve replied. “I need to take care of some business here and then I’m coming home. We have to nab Freddy Donovan, once and for all.”

 

VIII

Danno waited with anticipation as the plane landed. When he saw Steve get off and stop to have a greeter girl put a big purple lei around his neck, he was filled with relief. His heart started to beat at a normal pace and a smile came across his lips. As Steve approached, Danno ran to him and put his arms around his boss in a rare public display of affection. Given the circumstances, Steve understood.

“Did you get that information I asked for?” Steve asked.

“I sure did,” Danno replied. “We did some checking, and asking around. It wasn’t easy getting those people to talk. They were afraid of repercussions.”

“How did you get them to talk?”

“By promising them police protection should they want it, and a lot of kala.” The last word was Hawaiian for money.

“And they were ready to give him up, just like that?’ Steve snapped his fingers. “I hope the next part of our plan comes along as easily.”

They walked to Danno’s car, and on the way back to headquarters, Steve told Danno all about the bombing, the death of Sen. Snowden, Sen. Cobb’s cry for vengeance, and Steve’s suspicions.

“They didn’t just pick a date at random for that bomb to go off,” Steve told his partner. “They picked the day for a reason.”

“You think it was to kill you?” Danno asked.

“It just might have been,” Steve replied, “but then again, as long as enough people were killed, the bomb would suit its purpose. Let’s take a look at what you found first, and if my hunch is right, we’ll have Donovan in our hold very shortly.” Steve clenched his fist.

 

IX

Donovan was enjoying his round of luck at the blackjack table. The liquor flowed, the women were laughing, and the ambiance was inebriating to all the senses. With a setup like this, he did not miss home one bit. He complimented himself on investing in this casino in Macau. Donovan walked amidst the shouts of the dealers, shuttling of dies, glasses clinking, and bachelor pad music towards his office. He was just in time to hear the phone ring.

“Yes?” he said. “McGarrett is in Hong Kong? I’ll be on the watch for him. Thank you. Good day.”

He hung up. The feelings of serenity were over, replaced by apprehension. Knowing how Steve McGarrett worked, he could strike anytime, anywhere. The best idea was for him to get out of Macau. He could easily get to another country where he had connections. He could use a charter plane. He went into the bedroom next to the office and began packing.

The footsteps from the lanai did not try to hide their sound. Donovan turned around to see the angry blue eyes of Steve McGarrett. Several Hong Kong police officers came out from behind the Five-O chief, along with Danno Williams.

“You might as well continue packing, Donovan,” Steve said. “You’re going on a long trip.”

“How did you find me, McGarrett?” Donovan asked, not hiding his contempt.

“You thought that bomb you had the phony janitor plant was going to get rid of all your problems, including me, but you forgot that it would only get us more suspicious,” Steve explained. “In any crime investigation, we check the background of all victims, witnesses, and suspects, and the insistence that I come back and testify against you was brought on by Senator Cobb, not Snowden. Cobb was one of the men Bernice Chrystie would have identified, if she had lived. Cobb told us. If I had been allowed to leave when I was going to, I would not have been there when the bomb went off and, the there might not have been a bomb to begin with. No one else was originally supposed to testify that day, so your man was sent there to plan that bomb for the specific purpose of killing me. It didn’t work, and Senator Snowden and several others died instead. Senator Cobb confessed to everything, including taking bribes from you and allowing some of your people into some very high positions in government. The bombing was meant to get rid of Snowden and me, because we had the knowledge and the means to put you away, plus my contacts in Hawaii could have easily given you up for the right price, which they did anyway.”

“You think you’re so tough and slick,” Donovan said. “Watch. I’ll beat this one.”

“I don’t think so,” Steve replied.

“You’ve got several counts of murder, attempted murder, and one count of evading justice, and that’s just the start,” Danno said with a smirk. Donovan was at a loss for words this time.

Steve turned to the Hong Kong police captain. “May my associate take over?” Steve asked.

“Yes, Mr. McGarrett,” the Hong Kong captain replied.

“Book ‘em, Danno,” Steve said. Danno stepped forward to arrest Donovan. Outside, the scents of roses, jasmine, and magnolia sifted into the room, giving Steve a feeling of peace – and justice.

 

 

Where in the World is Stephen McGarrett?

By H50 1.0 FOREVER

 

Saturday, 25 March 1978

“Is Steve here?”

The question came from Che Fong as he walked into the Five-0 office.

“No, Che, but I’m expecting him at any time,” came Jenny Sherman’s pleasant reply. “His plane landed at noon.”

“And he’s still not here?” Che asked as the detectives emerged from their cubicles.

The question and the detectives’ approach caused Jenny to look around at the clock that hung on the wall behind her desk. To her surprise, she saw that it was after 2:00.

“I’ll call the airline,” she offered. “Perhaps, the flight was late in leaving Washington.”

The chief of special investigations for the Hawai‘i State Police had been called to the nation’s capital to testify before Congress. According to his itinerary, Stephen J. McGarrett had testified at 2:00 on Friday afternoon and had a reservation on a flight to Honolulu, leaving Dulles airport at 6:00 on Saturday morning.

Jenny flipped through the Rolodex on her desk in search of the telephone number, which she dialed on the new touchtone call directory on her desk. Minutes later, she told Che and Kono what she had learned. “The flight took off on time, but Steve wasn’t on it.”

“And he hasn’t called to say he was delayed?” Dan Williams asked as he walked into the suite.

“No, he hasn’t,” Jenny replied, “not unless someone else took the call.”

All heads shook to indicate that they had not taken such a call.

As the acting chief, Dan said, “Chin, you call the hotel in Washington. See if Steve checked out this morning. If so, see if you can find out which taxi company took him to the airport.”

“Done, Danny,” Chin replied.

“Kono, you contact Dulles airport to see if they saw Steve. If they didn’t, contact National and Baltimore-Washington airports. He may have changed his reservations,” Dan said.

“On it, Dan,” Kono replied.

Dan looked at Jenny. “You have Steve’s itinerary, don’t you?”

“Yes, Danny.”

“Was Steve stopping in Los Angeles, or did he have a direct flight?”

“A direct flight. He insisted on it,” she replied.

Nodding thoughtfully, Dan turned and entered his own cubicle. Sitting at his desk, he placed a call to the congressional liaison to see whether Steve had appeared before Congress and where he might have gone after testifying.

͠

The detectives’ findings were mixed. Yes, Steve had testified, as scheduled. No, the liaison did not know where Steve had gone after leaving the capitol. Yes, he had checked out of his hotel just after 4:30 that morning. No, the desk clerk did not know how he had traveled to the airport or to which airport he had traveled. Yes, his reservation had been for travel to Honolulu. No, he had not been seen boarding any flight at Dulles, National, or BWI.

“So, where is he?” Che thundered at no one in particular. “He didn’t just vanish off the face of the earth!”

“No, he didn’t just vanish off the face of the earth, Che,” Dan agreed. “Since Steve checked out of his hotel, yet did not fly out, he is probably still in Washington – unless... Kono, check Amtrak to see if he caught a train. Chin, check the car rental agencies.”

“Amtrak? What’s that?” Kono asked tongue-in-cheek as he gave a sly smile.

“It’s the O‘ahu Railway wannabe,” Chin stated in somber tones. His words had the desired effect of easing the tension they all felt, and everyone broke out in laughter.

“Do they have rental cars on the mainland?” Duke asked, feigning surprise.

“Yeah, Duke. Washington is a high-tourist area, too,” Dan replied. “Okay! Let’s get busy. Has Steve merely made an unexpected stop before coming home, or is it time to call in the Feds?”

The laughter subsided, and the smiles fell from the men’s faces as they turned and walked back to their cubicles.

͠

“He took the train!” Kono exclaimed. “This morning, after leaving the hotel, he went to Union Station and caught the 6:00 Metroliner going to Penn Station in New York City.”

“What is a Metroliner?” Jenny wanted to know.

“It’s a train but runs faster and makes fewer stops than traditional train service,” Duke explained. “Amtrak offers the service only between Washington and New York.”

Kono continued, “Anyway, Train 2 arrived at Penn Station just before 10:00 their time.”

“Okay,” Dan acknowledged. “So, we know Steve reached New York. Good, Kono. Do we know what he did there?”

“We do,” Kono replied. “He purchased a ticket on the Long Island Railroad.”

“Thank goodness, we can trace people through their credit card purchases!” Chin remarked.

Kono nodded and said, “He took the train to the Atlantic Avenue station, in Queens.”

“That’s where I found him,” Chin said. “Five Boroughs Taxi Company says they took him to the Atlantic Avenue Flower Shop and then to St. Joseph’s Cemetery.”

Jenny gasped. “He went home to put flowers on his parents’ graves!”

“The hearing in DC must not have gone well,” Chin remarked as he lit his pipe. “Okay, then. We know that he’s safe and that he’ll be home when he’s ready.”

Duke said, “Yes. At 3:00, the same Five Boroughs taxi took Steve to the Transoceanic Airlines terminal at JFK. He asked about flights leaving this afternoon or tonight, but Transoceanic couldn’t find him a seat on any flight with any airline before tomorrow morning. He is scheduled to fly out tomorrow morning at 6:00 on Transoceanic. Allowing for a twelve-hour flight and a six-hour time difference, his flight should arrive here at noon tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Dan acknowledged. “Do we know where he is now?”

“He’s at the Madison House Airport Hotel,” Duke related.

“He could pick up the telephone and let us know these things,” Jenny snapped.

“He’s on his own time,” Dan pointed out. “He doesn’t go back on the clock officially until 8:00, Monday morning.”

“Still, he knows we worry about him,” Jenny insisted.

“I’m not so sure about that,” Dan disagreed. “Well, you all go on home. I’ll stay here until we get word that Steve made the flight out of JFK.”

“You won’t get word about that until at least 1:00 tomorrow morning, Dan,” Chin noted.

“In that case, I just may put Steve’s sofa to good use,” Dan replied. “Good night, all. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Call us if you need us before then,” Duke said.

“Thanks, Duke. I will,” Dan promised.

͠

 Sunday, 26 March 1978

Some ten minutes before Transoceanic flight 3 was scheduled to depart, Steve boarded and made his way to his seat. It was a first-class seat, the only seat available. Despite the high cost and the fact that he’d already lost the cost of his original return reservation, Steve had paid the fare. After stashing his black leather carry-on bag in the overhead compartment, he gave a polite nod to the woman seated in the window seat and lowered himself into the broad leather aisle seat.

“Are you going to Honolulu?” she asked him.

“Yes. You?”

“I’m going to Kona,” the woman replied. She was an attractive Hawaiian woman, perhaps in her early fifties. “It’s home.”

“Then, you’ve been here on vacation?” he asked to be polite.

“To visit my children and grandchildren, yes. They live here. Are you going over on vacation?”

“No. I live and work in Honolulu.”

“Then, you came here on vacation?” she asked.

“I went to Washington business. Came up here on personal business.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be nosy,” she told him.

“Not at all,” he replied.

As the doors of the aircraft were closed and a pushback tractor began pushing the plane away from the terminal, conversation drifted off. Steve put away the book he planned to read, gave a tug on his seatbelt, and made sure his reading glasses were secure in his pocket. Soon, they were airborne and banking away from the Atlantic Ocean and toward the southwest.

“We’re going home!” he remarked with a smile.

“You seem like you’re anxious to get home.”

Steve nodded but did not elaborate. How could he without divulging the fact that the woman to whom he had proposed marriage on Friday night had turned him down without so much as a by-your-leave.

Natalie Woodward had fairly snapped at him: “I’m the artistic director of the Washington National Theatre Company. Do you honestly expect me to give that up to go and live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?”

Ever since the sharp words had penetrated his ears, Steve’s heart had felt as though it were shattered into a million pieces. In a move he had not allowed himself in more years than he could count, he had gone home to New York to visit his parents’ graves. There, he had laid yellow roses for his mother (her favorite) and red chrysanthemums for his father. There, he had wept, but only briefly before he had been prompted to realize that he was fortunate to have learned what Natalie was really like before he had made a permanent commitment to her.

“Yes, fortunate,” he murmured to himself as he realized the stewardess was speaking to him. She was taking orders for breakfast. Yes, he would have the full breakfast with orange juice and black coffee.

“What kind of work do you do?” asked the woman beside him. “By the way, my name is Lani.”

“I’m Steve,” he replied. “I lead special investigations for the state.”

“You’re Steve McGarrett!” she exclaimed.

“Yes, I am,” he replied simply. No doubt, she had seen him on the evening news.

“My sister and I think it was wonderful the way you lassoed that evil Chinese spy and saw him off to Leavenworth, where he belongs.”

“Wo Fat,” Steve said with a chuckle. “Yes. He’s finally someone else’s problem.”

They continued to visit. Steve learned that Lani taught the third grade at St. Thomas More School in Kona and that she and her late-husband, Manu, had reared three sons. Poto lived on Staten Island and worked in Manhattan. Paulo lived and worked in Honolulu, while Keoni lived and worked in Kona. And, then, Lani brought out a deck of cards, and the two began playing gin rummy. Lani knew the game well and was a stiff challenge for Steve, who gave her a wary glance as he surveyed the hand he had been dealt.

“Okay, lady. If that’s the way you want it . . .”

They were playing their seventh hand when they heard a whoosh followed by a thump.

“What was that?” Lani asked.

“Sounds like we lost an engine,” Steve replied.

“Flameout!” cried someone across the aisle and three rows back as he came up out of his seat.

Steve arose and restrained him before he could rush toward the flight deck. “Settle down!”

“We’ll crash!” the man cried.

“We’re not going to crash. We have three more engines, and this plane can fly on one engine. Now, settle down.”

The man swung, intending to hit Steve. To his surprise, Steve grabbed his arm, spun him around and slapped a pair of handcuffs on him.

“Do you have the authority to do this?” the man wanted to know.

“I do,” Steve replied as he showed the man his Five-0 and Naval Intelligence identification cards, “and you have the right to remain silent.” As he continued to “read” the man his Miranda rights, he shoved him into one of the stewardesses’ seats and belted him in. He took a seat beside him and said, “We’ll ride it out here.”

“Damn! You’re McGarrett!”

Steve did not reply. Instead, he looked up at the stewardess who approached and told him, “We’re diverting to Kona. That will cut an hour off our flying time.”

“Suppose we crash?” the man cried out.

“You won’t die unless the good Lord is ready for you, so pull yourself together,” Steve replied.

Sure enough, the remainder of the flight was uneventful. No one felt at ease, but everyone sat quietly until the aircraft set down in Kona. As the plane came to a stop away from the terminal, Steve unbelted his would-be assailant and propelled him to the door, where he handed him over to local authorities. He returned to his seat to find Lani smiling at him. She had witnessed it all and felt renewed admiration and respect for the top cop.

“Care to go to lunch?” he asked her.

“I’ll do you one better than that,” she replied. “Let’s stop by the market and go to my house. I’ll grill you the best ahi you’ve ever tasted in your life.”

His smile intensified, and he said, “You’re on!”

͠

“What do you mean Steve didn’t arrive with the other passengers?” Dan asked.

“All the passengers flew in from Kona on two Inter-Island Airways planes – all except Steve,” Duke reported.

“Didn’t anyone see him?”

“They saw him debark in Kona, but he didn’t board one of the connecting flights.”

Dan threw up his hands in despair and exploded, “Where’s he gone, now!?!”

“I don’t know,” Duke replied. “There’s been no new credit card activity. No other flight, no rental car, no restaurant, no hotel.”

“Leave him alone,” Chin advised as he gave a chuckle. “He’ll come home when he’s ready.”

͠

 Monday, 27 March 1978

Shortly after 7:00, the outer door to the Five-0 office opened, and Steve walked in. He carried his large leather Pullman suitcase and his smaller carry-on bag.

“You just getting in?” Jenny asked him.

“Yeah. Caught an early flight over from Kona.”

“Why didn’t you fly in yesterday with the other passengers on one of the Inter-Island flights?”

“I had something better to do.”

Jenny cocked her head and studied him. “What’s her name?”

Steve ignored her and asked, “Is the coffee ready?”

“If not, it soon should be,” she replied. “Your mail is on your desk.”

He went into his office, closed the door behind himself, and set his luggage in a corner. Then, going behind his desk, he opened the French doors and looked out over the palace grounds, which glistened in the early morning sunlight. It was good to be home.

The door opened, and Jenny entered with a cup of coffee, which she placed on Steve’s desk as she said, “You should know your detectives are going to want some sort of explanation.”

“Explanation for what?”

“Where you’ve been. We were expecting you back at noon on Saturday.”

Changing the subject, Steve said, “Tell Danno that we’ll have a full staff meeting at 8:00.”

Jenny shook her head in frustration. “I’ll tell him, but I suspect he’ll have the most questions for you.”

Steve refused to be drawn into an accountability of his actions and asked, “Did you get that letter out to the governor?”

“It went out ten minutes after you left on Thursday.”

“Good girl! Have we heard any more from the Maui County DA?”

“It’s on your desk, Steve.”

Without another word, Steve sat at his desk, took a sip of coffee, and began looking through the stack of papers that awaited his attention.