by Peg Keeley

The air was salt, fresh, invigorating. Danny had to admit to himself that he'd done this more on a dare than anything. Duke had challenged him to this sail two months ago over a beer and he'd managed to avoid following through--till now. It wasn't that he was afraid, it just seemed there were always more important things to do.

"You don't even know how to have a good time anymore," Lukela had insisted."When was the last time you just did something for the fun of it?"

 "I do things all the time."

"You do what? Racquetball? Tennis? You used to spend time with the earth, Bruddah. You always said primal stuff made you feel renewed. Something real spiritual or something."

 "Naw," He'd shaken his head while playing in the condensation on his mug. "I was still a kid then. I liked getting bit by mosquitoes and backpacking out on Maui. We all grow up, Duke."

"But we don't all grow old."

He'd just stared at Duke a long time, not entirely sure what response to give.

"Look, Danno, it's none of my business. You need a chance to reconnect with yourself. You've buried everything in this damned job. You deserve better."

 He grinned. "Well, you're right that it's none of your business, but I appreciate your concern. Duke, our lives are different. You've got a wife, kids, it's different for you. Some of us are just--different. I need my work--I like my work. I like myself just the way I am."

Duke had laughed that semi-chuckle of a laugh he usually reserved for McGarrett when he could see through his superior's stiff-necked-ness. "I challenge you, Danny. You've got a week off coming up with nothing planned, right?"

He shrugged.

"Ever sailed out to--I don't know--Nihoa?"


"Pick a nice deserted atoll."


"One hundred dollars says you won't pack out to Nihoa for a week."

 He shook his head, he protested, but in the end he somehow had agreed to the bet. Before the week was out it had grown into a three-ring circus at the office. He hated to be in the forefront of anything and was now actually relieved that the whole hoopla of the betting and send off was over. It seemed the whole department had to come down wish him bon voyage. The only sensible one had been Steve who'd good-naturedly reminded: "Bring back my boat in one piece."

Now, twenty miles northwest of Niihau, the light wind whistling through the rigging of the small day sailor, the sun massaging his back, he was glad to have gone. It was good to be alone with himself. The sky was clear and the forecast was good for the next several days. His plans were vague. He'd sail through the day till he saw an islet which appealed. He liked jungle and the wildlife. Since nearly all the atolls were uninhabited and protected by the government any one would be pleasant. Towards late afternoon, a squall line began to move from the west and he headed for the small island on the starboard bow. It seemed like a pleasant, protected shore. A reef and lofty palms guarded a small inlet. Looks like Gilligan's Island, he kidded himself and he tacked the sail. He guided the small boat gently through the reef and towards the shore.

He dropped anchor twenty feet offshore to compensate for the long keel. Most of what he'd need was in a backpack. Just as he strapped it on, the heavens opened and he was soaked in a downpour. He waded ashore and sought cover beneath the large palms. He'd left his large jug of water behind, but knew he could return in a little while. As quickly as the rain had started, it stopped and the sun came back out. Humid steam rose from the undergrowth.

It was a perfect spot. Birds with colorful plumage fluttered amongst the trees and branches, chattering and whistling.

 Danny casually set off to explore his small paradise. It seemed about a mile by a mile and a half and, remarkably, contained a small waterfall. Fresh water.

He was relaxed. Really relaxed. No pressures, no deadlines, no risk. As his muscles began to ease, he began realize just how tense he had been. It was tough to be a cop today.

There was a movement in the brush just ahead and he involuntarily froze. It took an extra moment before he could identify what he saw. Fifteen feet away was a Polynesian man dressed in cutoffs crouching before what looked like a row of shoeboxes. There was something in his hand. He hadn't seen Danny as his back was to him. The man pushed the small bright yellow bird into the tiny wire-fronted box. It gave a cry and flap of its wings as it lost its freedom.

Danny quickly squatted down into the brush, his feeling of relaxation and peace disintegrating. Poacher. Smuggling protected wildlife was a Federal crime. He was carrying his gun, the trapper appeared unarmed. He argued with himself. I have a duty.. And yet, to try to arrest this man, take him all the way back to Oahu by open sailboat--that's going to be lot of work, not to mention the risk. He shook his head. Let this one go. Tthis island isn't going to be big enough for us both. I need to get back to sea. It was a bitter disappointment. He started to rise and felt something touch his ear. He reached up his hand.

"Do not move, Friend," came a voice. "My knife is sharp."

 Danny turned to face another man similarly clad as his partner, standing over him, a gleaming machete in one hand. "Look, I'm on my way out of here," Danny offered.

 "You were," came the response.

By now the first man was there. "What is happening?"

"You were being spied upon," the larger man said.

Danny sought to control this situation before it got out of hand and before they discovered his identity. "I just was looking for a place to spend the night. My boat's in the inlet. I didn't come looking for problems, just a place to rest. I'll be on my way. I'm not going to cause you any trouble. I'm on vacation, I just want to be left alone."

"Koca, let him come and sit with us. We'll give him a drink, send him on his way," the one with the machete announced, with a large smile.

The younger trapper nodded eagerly. "Come on." He gestured towards their small camp.

Danny started ahead carefully, suspiciously, resisting the urge to raise his hands. His own weapon, still nestled comfortably under his shirt against his back, was reassuring. He could change the odds with ease if necessary.

"We come once a year, trap birds and sell them. Have money enough for rest of the year for our families," the bigger one explained. "Koca here, this is his first time to come. I bring my other brother before. But Koca has better sense of our past."

Danny was about to ask him more about what he meant, but as he started to turn to ask him, the man shot out his leg, tripping him and Danny sprawled onto the ground. It was reflex for him to roll and come up with his gun, but he only made it halfway before the large man's foot was hard against the back of his neck, pinning him to the ground.

"What have we here?" He pulled out Danny's gun and wallet. He laughed. "You take a vacation with your gun?"

Koca took the wallet from his brother. He quickly looked through the contents. "American currency, credit cards. Hobi, he won't leave home without them," he joked. He stuffed the cash into the pocket of his jeans.

The larger man, Hobi, grinned for a moment, his foot still on Danny's neck, then barked out hotly, "Why you carry a gun?"

Koca showed him the badge.

Hobi nodded. "So, you were sent to arrest us and take us back to an American prison?"

"No," Danny replied.

"Koca, tie him up."

Koca snatched up some heavy fishing line and securely tied Danny's hands behind his back and his ankles together. "What now?" he asked Hobi.


Darkness came not long after. Sitting where Hobi had placed him against a palm trunk, Danny could not see the sunset. Koca built a fire a few feet away and began to mix up a pot of roots and some kind of herbs that smelled moderately bitter. Hobi came over next to Danny and crouched down by him.

"Our ancestors lived from island to island for hundreds of years, accepting what the gods brought and using that. Sometimes good, sometimes, "he shrugged, "not good." He drew with a stick on the ground. "The Haole have beaten down the weak Hawaiian, but we are of stronger stuff. It was the weak Fiji who became Hawaiians thousands of years ago. Do you know what makes us strong?"

Danny didn't, but had no doubt Hobi would gladly tell him. He waited.

"We got strength from our enemies." He smiled. Leaping to his feet, he crossed the small area to where his belongings were and returned with something wrapped in a hand-woven cloth. Carefully, with reverence, he uncovered a six-inch knife with an ornately tooled bone handle and what seemed like a simple wooden fork with a carved handle. He studied Danny's face finding pleasure in the returned puzzled expression. He turned to Koca who had noticed Hobi getting the instruments and was sitting before the fire watching intently. Hobi fired off a few rushed sentences in a dialect Danny couldn't identify. He assumed it to be Fijian.

Koca didn't respond right away but when he did, it sounded like a negative remark.

Hobi laughed outright. He turned back to Danny. "Koca is not the first partner I have brought hunting. My older brother, he decided to become a lawyer." He said 'lawyer' like it was a bad word. "Koca will learn our heritage better." He brought his knife close and with one sudden quick motion, slit Danny's shirt up the front.

Danny flinched at the action, a rush of fear enveloping him.

Koca rose to his feet. "You wouldn't really do this."

Hobi grinned. "I have before."

Koca stared at him. "With Kanu?"

"Of course. Why do you think he became a lawyer? He was too weak to know the power of his strength." Hobi looked back at Danny. "Before the missionaries, before your so called civilized world conquered our people and made them weak, our warriors would get their strength from the consumption of their enemies. It was the secret of our society. Now, too many of the Fijian have become weak."

"Consumption of..." Danny stopped talking, his heart racing in panic.

Hobi stuck out his belt buckle. "Like my belt? Notice the fine texture of the hide?" He ran his hand along the pale tanned leather of the belt that resembled deer hide. "Human hide."

Danny just stared at him and his belt, his head swimming. This has to be an elaborate hoax. Cannibalism just doesn't exist anymore.

"You don't believe me." Hobi looked wounded. "You will soon enough." He rubbed his thumb up and down on the skin of Danny's chest.

Danny swallowed the panic that threatened to choke him. "Stop the games, Hobi. What do you really want?"

Hobi just smiled. He got to his feet and crossed to the fire. He glanced at the pot of cooking herbs and took a deep sniff of the fumes. He tossed a few more random elements into the pot, stirred it.

Koca came close and spoke in Fijian. "Will you really do this?"

"You never know when the time is right. I carry the ceremonial tools wherever I go. The gods bring what is good in their time. This is good."

"But we're not living in the 1700s. We're not superstitious, naked savages. We're well educated. I'm working on my thesis in chemical research," Koca protested.

"Yes," Hobi said slowly, this time in English, "I know. It is time you have a Fiji heritage as well as a western one. You are as white as he is on the inside. We will now make you Fijian."

The pot of acrid herbs began to boil and Hobi sniffed deeply a few more times. It had a mildly hallucinogenic effect. Danny could notice a glaze come over Hobi's eyes momentarily. He couldn't quite believe that Hobi was serious, but he dare not assume he wasn't. There was something naturally horrific about this situation. He pulled against the fishing line around his wrists and could feel it slice deeply into his flesh.

He heard a chuckle and glanced up to see Koca was watching him. "Be careful or you shall cut an artery and bleed to death of your own doing."

"Koca, you can't really let him do this. You seem like an educated person. You know this is foolishness."

Koca gave no outward emotion. "Hobi is a person of strength of character. He feels our heritage strongly. He knows ancient ritual. I believe he knows the reality of the gods of the Fiji better than any man alive. The western ways are not good for us."

Hobi called to Koca and tossed him Danny's backpack. In Fijian he instructed Koca to tow the sailboat out into the ocean where the current was strong and make it look like an accident had occurred. After Koca left, he sat down before the fire and the steaming cauldron, his back to Danny.

Danny tested the nylon tying his wrists again, then examined the line on his ankles. The fishing line was tied over his socks offering protection for his skin. For several minutes he rubbed his legs back and forth loosening the tie some. He speculated that if he could remove his Nike he could pull his right foot free. Watching Hobi who seemed ignorant of his action, he began to work his shoe off. It was surprisingly easy. As soon as it popped off, his foot came free of the fishing line. Hobi still did not see. He quickly rolled left, then was on his feet running. With the fishing line on his left leg dangling behind and his arms still tied behind him, he fled for the darkness.

Hobi turned at the sound, just in time to see Danny run. Instantly, he was on his feet racing after him.

Danny'd only gone about twenty yards when the loose line snagged on brush. With his hands tied behind him, he had no way to break his fall as he tripped and plunged headlong to the ground striking his forehead against a palm tree trunk.


Danny drifted in and out of consciousness several times before he could actually register where he was and why. It was still dark. Both Hobi and Koca were before the fire, both had designs across their faces, arms, and chests of white, black, and red paint. To one side lay a few jars of child's poster paint. If the situation hadn't been so desperate, it would have been amusing to think of Hobi using poster paint for his war paint. Hobi was humming a chant, rocking to and fro before the fire. The fumes from the boiling pot had a bitter scent. Both Hobi and Koca had been breathing deeply into it for an unknown length of time. The knife and fork lay before the fire, flower petals scattered over them.

When Danny tried to raise his head sharp pain shot through his skull. His vision kept blurring and when he instinctively raised his hand to rub his eyes, he discovered his hands were now retied in from of him. His shirt was now gone and he'd been spattered with red paint in odd triangles and circles on his chest and arms. His feet had not been retied. He moved slowly, trying to find a way to turn his head without the pain. It was hard to recall how he'd gotten hurt.

Hobi's chanting was getting louder and more intense. Koca having learned the words had joined in with him. His look was still a mixture of disbelief, fear, and something else, perhaps a drunken stupor. Hobi rose to his feet, carrying the knife and came to Danny.

"You wake up." He grinned. "Maybe better if you not."

"This is crazy," Danny murmured.

"Yes--to you." He walked back to the fire and scooped a small amount of the bitter brew into a plastic cup. "Here, it will go better for you." He waved the cup beneath Danny's nose.

He pushed his head away--a painful act. "If you're going to kill me, I'm not going to make it easier for you by being drugged. You'll have to look me square in the eye as you do it." He stared at Koca.

Koca merely grinned. His intoxication had been total.

Hobi shrugged. "It doesn't matter to me. I do not hate you. You have been brought to me by fate. I will just do what I must."

He readied his knife close to Danny's chest, taking aim for his heart. Just as he started the plunge, Danny brought his hands up, catching the knife between them against the fishing line. The knife sliced through it and instantly Danny was grabbing Hobi's hands. They struggled with the knife for a moment before Danny broke free and was up a running.

Every running step jarred his injured head, but the adrenaline thundering through him made him barely aware of it. As soon as he darted into the darkness, he kicked off the other shoe and was free of the fishing line that had kept entangling his legs. Both Hobi and Koca were after him and he knew it would be difficult to hide from them on such a small island when the sun came up.

He stole his way to the small waterfall and washed his face and head wound. He kept having dizzy spells and lost his balance once, plunging into the cool water, but it felt good. There was a small hollow behind the waterfall just big enough for a man to crouch behind where he huddled in the dark night trying to think.

He reasoned that if he waited till just before sunup, he could get to his boat and get away from here. That had to be the only escape. They'd be hunting him and they had his gun. The way these guys are, they probably won't need a gun. Poison blow dartsis moret Hobi's style.


The lightening of the sky in the east wasn't long coming and Danny was stiff from the cramped position behind the waterfall. Slowly, cautiously, he crept out. His ears strained for the sounds of anything. All was still. Slipping silently through the brush and avoiding open areas he worked his way towards the western beachhead.

Birds were beginning to serenade the approaching day, otherwise there was no sound. Each step was one of care, thoughtfully accomplished, toes gripping the loose sand, his body passing through the undergrowth without brushing a leaf.

Duke wanted me to be one with nature, he thought, well if this isn't it, nothing is. The Fijians would be expecting him to come for his boat, they had to be around here watching, waiting, perhaps in one of the trees. He glanced up, but saw nothing. He parted the last of the underbrush to see the lagoon and froze in dismay.

The inlet was empty. For a few quick seconds, he hoped he was in the wrong place, but he knew he wasn't. Cowering under the shrubs, he tried to think of something else, but his head still throbbed, he was tired. A wrong turn brought agony, nausea, and dizziness.

"Dan Williams!" Hobi's voice called, a short distance away. "I know you out here somewhere. I can smell you, haole man. We gonna find you, you know that. You nowhere to go." A laugh. "Koca and me, we're rested. We slept all night. Bet you did not, huh? You hide somewhere and shake all night. You are weak, tired, and hungry. You want a hamburger, Dan Williams?"

Danny tried to shut out the words and just focus on the location of the voice. If Hobi kept bragging enough, he could stay clear just avoiding the direction of the voice. He began to slip in the opposite direction, then stopped. What if that was what Hobi hoped for? He knew that in India tiger hunts were conducted by banging loud drums the tigers would run away from--and right into the hunters guns. If Hobi is to the south, is Koca to the north? He carefully stole through the undergrowth due east. But he knew it was merely a matter of time before they would entrap him. His only hope to was to get out to sea. The Fijians had arrived somehow, they had to have a boat out here somewhere. If he would use that, they'd be pretty effectively incarcerated until he could send the authorities back.

He tried to stay near the beachhead and circumvent the island. As the tropical sun reached its zenith, his parched mouth drove him back towards the fresh water spring. He watched it carefully from seclusion several moments before approaching. His memory flashed back to his childhood and Disney's Bambi where the young fawn is cautioned to look carefully before going into the meadow. "Well, Bambi," he muttered to himself, "better get a quick drink."

He knelt by the water's edge and scooped a handful up to his mouth, then massaged his sore forehead with more water. There was a sudden whiz as a makeshift lance struck the ground beside him. He jumped up and was facing Koca on the opposite bank. Koca let out a truly primal war hoop and Danny bolted away into the brush. It took Koca a few moments to cross the water and giving Danny the time he needed to escape. With a good head start he ducked under some brush and, moments later, Koca ran on by him. He was thankful it had been Koca; Hobi would not have missed.

It took him nearly the whole day of dodging and backtracking to finally locate the other boat. He wasn't at all surprised to find it an open outrigger with sail, about twelve feet in length. It was pulled up on the shore and looked so inviting but was separated from him by almost fifty yards of open sand. Caught in the open, he was certain either Hobi or Koca could outrun him. Before he'd risk the open beach, he would need to be certain of where they were. He began to consider the options of offense.

The sun was setting. As he watched, Koca and Hobi appeared on the beach and began to set up their evening fire, the boat in plain view. Danny wondered how well they'd sleep tonight.


McGarrett stepped down into the day sailor as soon as the Coast Guard tied up. They'd already notified him that they'd found his boat and were towing it in. He'd been waiting at the dock. He noticed immediately that both Danno's backpack and water supply were still on board. Three life preservers were accounted for.

The Coast Guard commander approached him. "Steve McGarrett?"

"Yeah," he responded with a nod. "Were the sails up?" He cut right to business, trying to ignore the obvious meaning of the evidence.

"No, they were stowed just as they are right now. I didn't do anything but tow it in."

"One life jacket is missing."

He held out the soggy fourth. "Found it floating a short distance away. Looks like your friend went overboard."

"With the sails down?"

He shrugged. "We conducted the thorough sweep and didn't find anything."

"Any islands in the area the boat was found?"

"Three pretty nondescript little things. One was little more than a sandbar. The other two a bit farther away and not on the prevailing current. It wouldn't have drifted off of one of them. Nor would it be likely for a person to make a swim to one. They're not visible from the location and even if someone had a bearing--" He shook his head. "--well, it'd be easier to swim the English Channel."

"But you did search them?"

"I'm assigning a chopper to a flyby."

Steve dropped the soaked life vest into the boat. "Danno wouldn't just fall off a boat. He's an experienced seaman."

The commander didn't reply. "We'll conduct the usual 48 hour search, McGarrett. Maybe something'll turn up."


The night breeze was cool blowing across Danny's back, but not unpleasant. If what Hobi had cooked up last night stank, what he whipped up tonight was almost irresistibly wonderful.

Danny was well aware the feast was in his honor. Hobi knew he was hungry and was probably hoping to tease him out. He was certainly persistent at any rate. It was difficult to believe the man would be so insistent on capturing him. Why doesn't he just take his silly stolen birds and sail away, sell them somewhere, and leave me alone on the island to find my way off? Why go on with this manhunt? Danny gave up trying to find the logic. He came to the difficult resolve that his only way out might be to rely on his ability to eliminate them first.

He discovered he still had his Swiss army pocketknife in his pocket and was disappointed in himself that he hadn't thought of it sooner. The concussion still slowed him down and he never knew when he'd suddenly lose his balance. No asset for a man who'd need to fight hand to hand. He selected two thin reeds about 24 inches long each and carefully sharpened one end of each to a sharp tip.

As the sun began dawn, he knew that this charade must end today. He was too exhausted and weak from hunger to allow it to go on any longer. At any cost, he would make an end. He moved into the heavier jungle to plan an attack.


Part 2

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