Brain Teasers
(November 1978)
By Peg Keeley

Part 3


Danny did not know how long he was held prisoner in the small cage. He only vaguely recalled Frier returning, opening the top and ordering him out. He, of course, had been completely incapable of complying as the cramped, chilled muscles were too stiff to move. The guard had viciously kicked the cage over onto its side, slamming Danny against the smooth cement floor. Two uniformed men pulled him from the wire box and literally dragged him back to the cell where Perez waited.

It was warmer than it had been earlier, but Danny shivered uncontrollably, still soaking wet, curled up on his side in fetal position, trying to collect his wits. How much of that can I take? And why must I take it at all? What is the purpose in all this? He glanced at Perez who sat along the far wall in the same place he had been earlier.

Perez, sitting with his knees drawn to his chin, rocked back and forth slightly, just watching Danny. "You come back," he said. "For a time I think maybe -- maybe you not."

Trying to stop the shivering Danny muttered, "Did you think I had escaped?"

Perez gave a small laugh. "Escape? Only through death, friend. That is the escape for us." He suddenly scrambled across the floor to sild next to Danny and whispered. "Now you see? In here is bad; out there is worse."

"What do they want?" Danny asked.

Perez shrugged. "They never say."

The cell was beginning to darken as the late afternoon was deepening into twilight. I need to find a way to get dry before night sets in. Danny could easily remember how cold the night before had been. He forced his aching stiff muscles to action and sat up. He began to rub his legs and arms. The bruises from the beating the night before were painful now. I am hurting, cold, hungry, thirsty, tired, and confused. A pretty bad combination that, no doubt, is being deliberately engineered. But why? Is knowing so important? Maybe that is why it is the one thing Frier does not give -- reason.

Shortly after nightfall, the door of the cell was suddenly thrown open with a bang and blinding light from the hallway bathed the little room. "Bring him," came a two-word command and two guards grabbed Danny under the arms and literally dragged him out into the hallway, slamming the door shut behind.

Frier was sitting at his desk once again, a steaming bowl of stew before him with wheat rolls and coffee.

The guards dropped Danny once again into the straight chair facing Frier and the desk.

"Ah," Frier smiled and blew on the hot bowl, "good evening."

Danny did not respond. The aroma of the food was nearly maddening. His mouth watered and he tried not to inhale the smell. He focused on the warmth of the room and how refreshing it was to have these few moments to get the chill off.

"I have been told that you do not fare well," Frier commented as he took a spoonful of stew into his mouth. "That is most disappointing." He stopped speaking to chew. "Most disappointing. You know..." he swallowed, "...we have patrons who remain with us for months -- sometimes years." He paused to butter a roll. "Think of that now -- years."

Danny stared down at the floor during the silence that following thinking of that exactly. Years? I can't let him get to me. Help is coming. It has to be. Steve in here somewhere. Somehow we will escape this, we always do. But another part of him was fearful. No one knows where I am. I don't know where I am. This joker seems to be holding all the cards and I don't even know what the game is.

"Yes," Frier whispered, "you get my point. I can have them snuff out your life with the flick of my finger -- or set you free." He stopped and took a sip of soup. "You are helpless."

Danny raised an eyebrow. Never! There has to be a way! "At this moment," he acknowledged.

Frier gave a smile towards him and burst into laughter. "Spirit in you yet. Very well." He rose from the meal, hands behind his back. "Tell me: What is your name?"

Danny felt his mouth go dry and his hands shake. He tried not to look at Frier or the guard. "Williams."

The guard's rifle butt crashed again Danny's right shoulder causing Williams to cry out in pain.

"You still refuse to cooperate!" Frier shouted.

"What do you want?" Danny demanded hotly.

"What do I want? You have nothing to offer." Frier declared, fury in his dark eyes. "I know everything there is about you. I know where you live, where you were born, I know what you love and hate." He scooped up the riding crop and jabbed it at the waistband of Danny's prison pants. "I even know the size of your underwear."

Danny stared at him in real fear, realizing how vulnerable he really was and had been. He was overwhelmed with a ghastly sense of violation.

Frier came close to Danny's ear. "You know, my guards are here for long periods of time. They are not super human beings, they have -- needs like we all do." He paused to make eye contact. "The big one with the scar, you know the one I mean? He has asked for you."

Danny tried to conceal the horror and panic, never taking his eyes off Frier.

Frier nodded. "Watch out for him," he said in a comradely fashion. He motioned to the guard. "Take him."

Danny shivered as he was again escorted to the room with the cage. The wire cage had been set upright again. Not again. Can I go through this again? What do they want from me? Again he was locked inside in a crouching stance. He cast a glance at Frier as the officer turned towards the door. "What do you want!!"

Frier did not look back as he shut the door behind him.

Danny looked at the young man who controlled the water hose. This time there were two of them, one on the hose, and one with what looked like a notebook. Neither met his gaze. I have to try to appeal to them. But how. "What is this about?" he called to them.

The first one opened the hose bib and the spray of water again slammed into the cage soaking Danny with freezing water.

God, I cannot stand this! Think! Occupy the mind. Capitol of Alabama is Montgomery. Capitol of Arizona is Tucson. Capitol of Alaska Juneau. Capitol of Arkansas...A jolt of electricity suddenly struck him, seizing his muscles and slamming him against the restrictive metal bars. It lasted just a few seconds, but he had been completely unprepared. His lower lip was bloodied from impact with the wire cage. He glared towards his tormentors, and made eye contact with one. "Why are you doing this?" he pleaded. "Please, help me!"

The young man looked away quickly and jotted something down in his notebook.

It's like I am some kind of lab animal. Is that what this is? Am I an experiment?


Duke did not doubt the abilities of Mi5 or of Strickland, but he was unhappy with turning Henderson loose on the streets of Manila. He insisted on joining Mi5 agent, Lochner, in tailing the stewardess. Not like I have much else to do unless Che finds something in all the rubble of the aircraft or the hotel room. And neither is very likely.

Both Duke and Lochner were a little surprised that Henderson did not high-tail it to the airport and catch the first flight "down under." Instead, she boarded a jeepney that took her across town to a nightclub. It was late afternoon and the greasy entertainment district was just beginning to come alive. The streets were cluttered with jeepneys; pedicabs, mopeds, and chalses as people were making their ways away from their jobs. Just keeping Henderson in sight proved difficult in the heavy traffic. Duke was glad he had insisted on coming along.

Henderson left the small jeep-bus and walked into the small bar with determination. She glanced around; the facility was still nearly empty, but smelled of yesterday's dirty bodies.

"Help you, lady?" asked the bartender in English.

"Looking for Downer," she said coldly. "He was supposed to meet me here."

He chuckled. "No Downer." He picked up a greasy rag and pushed it around the equally greasy bar top.

She came close to him. "I told you: he was to meet me."

He slipped the folded pesos that were nearly hidden between her fingers into his own hand and grunted. "You no show, lady. He gone." He smiled, then added. "He give me phone number for you." He handed her a slip of paper.

She checked the number. "You have a phone?"

"Not my phone. I no want no trouble. Public phone out dere." He angrily waved his rag at the doorway.

She went back outside into the darkening street where a fine mist was starting to fall again. She dialed up the number huddled close to the flimsy tin wall and waited for the ring.

A short distance away, Lochner read off the numbers that Henderson dialed to Lukela who jotted them down in his small pad. "She's not a professional," Lochner commented. "Good for us."

The phone was answered on the second ring. "'Ello," came a suspicious masculine voice.

"You've got to get me outta here," Henderson hissed into the receiver, hunching down even more by the payphone.

"Hold on here, Love," the man's voice replied. "Nothing's 'appening, nor gonna 'appen if ya keep your cool."

"I got taken back to the police a third time," she declared. "I just know they're wise onto something."

"They ain't, Darlin', or they wouldn't be pokin' round askin' questions, would they? They'd be lockin' you up."

"I tell you I want out of here. I want the money you promised me and I want to get out of this stinking place."

He tisked lightly into the phone. "Okay, mate. I'll do this your way. No skin offa my nose. Meet me at the docks nine o'clock I'll have your money." He hung up before she could reply.

Henderson spent the next several hours wandering around Manila to use up time. Duke and Lochner were never far behind, knowing that she would either lead them to the next contact or he would come to her, they only needed be patient. The mist had changed over into a drizzle and they both buried themselves in London Fog trench coats making it easier to be unnoticed. As the late twilight shadows deepened into night and the occasional streetlight illumined the swirling misty droplets, Henderson, at last began to move off in what appeared to be a focused direction.

Lochner pressed his elbow against his side, to reassure himself that his beretta was there. "'Ere we go, Lukela."

They closed the distance a little as the darkness made her harder to follow, but it was easy to tell she was moving towards the docks. Her heels ticked lightly along the wet asphalt as she approached the wharf. She stopped and looked around, then moved back against a brick wall near the waterfront.

"If she gets picked up, where can she go from here?" Duke whispered.

Lochner gave a single chuckle. "There are over 7,000 blooming islands out there, mate. If someone makes to take her off, we'll have to nab both of them."

That was not the answer Duke would have preferred. He'd have rather followed the pair, hoping to be led to Danno's abductors. He recalled Sanchez' haunting comment that he believed the kidnappers were not on the island.

Henderson looked at her watch, then out towards the harbor. She moved away from the wall and walked towards a piling.

"There she goes," Duke said, pulling his snub nose. Both officers started forward.

Ahead of them, Henderson suddenly stumbled and collapsed.

"What the -- " Lochner ran ahead, no need for secrecy any longer.

They reached the dead girl's side in moments, then ran beyond to the dock edge. There was nothing but smooth night black water with no signs of another presence. They turned back to the body.

"Blasted bad luck," Lochner remarked.

Duke glanced up at him from where he knelt over the body of the now dead stewardess. Her knowledge of Danny's disappearance, and maybe Steve's also, had just died with her. The term "bad luck" seemed, somehow an understatement.


The two detectives entered the small bar Henderson had visited earlier. Unlike Henderson's encounter, the place was alive with loud, drunken men, the stale smell of bad cigarettes, alcohol, and loud rock music. Through the tobacco fog could be seen several extremely young women, on stage performing in very little attire.

Lochner's gaze lingered, but Duke focused his attention on the man behind the bar. The chubby Filipino man accurately figured they were authorities the moment they entered his tavern and now he was worried.

"May I help you, gentlemen?"

"You met this girl earlier," Duke said coldly, showing Henderson's picture. "What did she want?"

He squinted at the photo. "Yeah, she here, lookin' for her john."

"Guy have a name?" Lochner asked.

"She say he Downer, but I dunno."

"You know this Downer?" Duke demanded.

He shrugged. "Everybody come here, but no names."

"You gave her his phone number."

"Did I?" He scratched his head. "No remember that."

Lochner picked up a bottle of beer and broke it across the bar counter. Foaming contents spattered across the wooden surface and spilled onto the floor. Only a few patrons looked in his direction. "Perhaps I can help you remember." He dug the broken glass deeply into the wooden bar top.

"Hey, don't go messin' my place!" the man shouted.

"Name was Downer, right? Give us a description." Lochner continued to stab the top with the glass.

"He trouble, man. No friend a mine!"

"Description -- and anything else you know," Duke demanded.

"He white guy," the man said hastily, his attention on the damaged bar top. "Tall. He talk like an Aussie. Good dresser."

"Can we get a police artist in here?" Duke asked.

Lochner gave him an incredulous look. "You are in Manila, remember?" He turned his attention back to the bar owner and played with the bottle. "Keep talkin'."

He shrugged, wringing his hands. "No more."

"He come around here much?"

He shook his head violently from side to side. "I have a good place, a clean place."

Lochner glanced back at the dance floor. One of the girls was topless. "Very clean, chum." He and Duke walked out.


It was late, past midnight, but Strickland leaned back in his leather chair listening to Duke and Lochner. Strickland reminded Duke a little of McGarrett. Not in appearance for Strickland was approaching sixty and extremely overweight, but in his patient way of looking at the collection of clues and deducing a conclusion and plan of active.

"We have a man on the bar?" he asked of Lochner.

"Two men in three shifts round the clock -- but we haven't much of a description," Lockner replied. "Traced the telly number the girl had and it goes to a pay phone in a grocery. Got a man there, too."

"As long as this Downer doesn't think we are on to him, he probably won't disappear," Duke offered.

The phone rang and Strickland answered it. "Manila, Inspector Strickland." He glanced at his watch. "Gutten tag, Herr Himmer. Ya....ya. Bitter schoen." He turned from the phone. "Interpol came up with something on an Aussie named Ted Downer. Two aliases. Sending it down the telex." He glanced at Lochner. "Would you excuse us, please?"

Lochner rose. "Been a good evening in all, Lukela. We're making headway here," he said cheerfully on his way out.

Are we? Duke wondered. We have a dead stewardess who assisted in the kidnap of Williams and maybe a man named Downer with no hard proof.

As the door closed, Strickland gave Duke a sideways glance. "You all right?"

He scowled, uncertain of an answer. "I wish my forensics expert could have found more."

"This isn't America, Lukela. It's not even the Islands. We are doing this in a less than perfect world. Manila has her own problems. Kidnapping is too common place -- it just does not usually happen with Americans. President Marcos likes the US military dollars too much to allow that."

"This is not a Filipino issue," Duke declared.

Strickland's eyebrows lifted. "No?"

"Obviously. I am not sitting here talking to Sanchez, I am talking to you -- the top British intelligence agent in the Far East," Duke said quietly.

Strickland nodded. "Quite. I always said McGarrett knew how to hire the best." He unlocked a drawer in his old wooden desk and pulled out a file he laid on the desk between them. The sticker on the front bore the emblem of Mi5. "There was a foreign security breach in Taiwan. Three deep agents uncovered plans to build nuclear missile silos in Northern Vietnam. Two of those agents had their identities revealed and are now dead. The third has disappeared."

The telex in the corner began to hum as it began to eject a report.

"That will be on our man Downing," Strickland said in a jovial manner. He instantly reverted to his serious demeanor. "A Chinese operative was able to deliver the information regarding how this leak occurred to a contact working out of Hawaii. Until this security issue is contained we could not use our usual couriers. McGarrett is a close and trusted ally and not English. He was to deliver the message to me -- he was taken from a hotel room that should have been secure. Even more baffling is why Williams was also taken. He had nothing agents would want. " Strickland rose and walked to the telex. "Well, well." He handed Duke a slightly fuzzy photo.

The man looked evil, glaring angrily into the camera. His wavy long blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail. His features were wrinkled enough to have been about forty-five years. Duke read the short word of explanation. Ted Downer also Doug Towns also Ted Mack also Tom Towns. Mercenary for hire. Australian. Family in Brisbane, Queensland, but no known contact with them in eleven years. Responsible for two assassinations in Mozambique and one attempt in India. Was last sighted leaving Tokyo two weeks ago. "Leaving for where?"

The telex was still cranking out sheets. There came a total of three. Strickland stood silent looking at the third. "Well, well," he muttered to himself again and walked over to the file on his desk. He opened the dossier, then showed Duke the page off the telex.

Duke scowled at the grainy image that had obviously been taken by an extremely good telephoto lens, but at a great distance. Downer faced the camera, wind blowing his long hair across his face. His mouth was open speaking to the profile of the thin Polynesian man. "Who is this?" Duke finally asked.

Strickland pulled a photo from his file and offered it. "Ming To Chu. Name may be Chinese, but he is Malaysian. Brilliant man, genius mind. Works for China -- sometimes. Also has done work for the Soviets. Ironic that he was trained in the US, UCLA I believe."

"What kind of work? What training?" Duke demanded.

Strickland sighed. "A professional on bending the mind. The world's foremost brain washer." He pulled a photocopy of a magazine article from the file. "Kidnapped a Japanese military advisor just for purposes of experimenting with his latest mind control techniques and had the audacity to publish an article in a research journal about it. My suspicion is that he is being underwritten by China to get the information out of Steve."

"Steve would never give in," Duke answered boldly.

Strickland lifted an eyebrow. "I know him as well you do, Lukela. And so do the Chinese. Who better to employ than Ming looking at this as both a mercenary and research opportunity? He is a prideful man. In his circle to be the one who broke McGarrett would be quite an accolade. If he and Downer are together…." He paused and gazed out of the window into the deep black of night. "….our friends are in serious trouble."

Duke stared again at the photo of the man Steve would have called Dr. Sakar and Danny would have known as Commander Frier.


Day Seven.

Subject A still has brief periods of doubt, however it is evident that he wants to accept his new history. As planned, the female remains central in this therapy. Hypnosis will commence today. This must be voluntary participation. Reluctance may set the project behind one more day.

Subject B is showing a better resistance to traditional brainwashing than I would have anticipated. He may have had a background in brainwashing resistance we were unaware of. For our purposes this is excellent and provides a better control. Physical symptoms consistent with exposure and emotional symptoms of paranoia are within limits. Cortical stimulation through strobe light therapy will complete the planned protocol.


Downer finished shoving his few personal clothes into the duffel and glanced at his watch again. He was confident his identity was secret, nevertheless, hitting the girl while the police were having her watched had been a daring stunt and he was now glad to be getting out of here. The first half of his reward had already been posted to his Swiss bank account. There was one more duty left to perform back at the citadel and then he would be on to the next job in Europe. He enjoyed the comforts of the castle-like citadel -- if one could forget its true purpose. None of Ming's patients ever lived to complain. This job would be different though. An employer who terminated the co-workers could also terminate you. Downer had little conscience, but he had a desire to live.

"Let me get this straight. You want me to dispatch your -- subjects -- and ice the help?"
Ming's tight smile seemed like that of a patient mentor. "Is that difficult for you?"
Downer had laughed. "Difficult? Damn, I don't care. It's just a bit irregular."
"It is vital to the success of this research that this be accomplished and in the proper order."
"Like a bloody recipe, huh?"
Ming nodded. "A recipe of good fortune for you. Your payment will be doubled."
Downer laughed. "Do you have trouble getting employees?"
Ming did not laugh. "This is serious research, Downer, and sometimes sacrifices must be made."
"Yeah," he commented, "as long as you ain't the sacrifice yourself, huh?"
"Be on time."

Well, I'll be on time, okay. I'm a day early. He picked up the bag and headed down the narrow stairway to the jeepney at the corner.


"'E's movin' out," the British agent reported over his radio. "'E's on the right bus."

Agents ran for posts. Throughout Manila there were suddenly non-descript men and women lounging on benches, looking at shop windows, reading papers, keeping watch for the green jeepney.

Duke and Strickland headed towards the US Naval compound, sirens blaring. They were met by a commander who delivered them to the radar center. An ensign handed Strickland the phone as they entered. An Mi5 agent on the other end gave an update. "He's just left the bus and is on foot headed for the dock area," Strickland reported.

A graying man in naval officer's dress extended a handshake towards Duke. "Admiral Garrison." He introduced himself. "I'm an old friend of Steve's. I want to assure you, every piece of technology on this planet is following this guy."

Duke licked his lips. If we lose this man, there will be no second chances. This is all we have. He knew there were agents on the wharf just waiting for Downer to select his craft so they could manage to attach a homing device as it left port, but what if they missed? Minutes dragged by. Duke glanced at the clock, just past 2:00 AM.

Another phone rang and it also was handed to Strickland. The British intelligence officer now stood, a phone to either ear. "You should have him in just a minute," he called to the radar officer.

"Aye, sir," the American sailor acknowledged as the small blip showed up on his screen. Duke, Strickland and Garrison crowded around.

"Headed north," Duke murmured in just a moment.

"Right," Strickland nodded. "'E's not going for Indonesia or Malaysia. China maybe. Time will tell."

Duke watched the blip, not even daring to blink. Time may be the one thing we haven't got.

End Part 3

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