The phone began to ring and Richard Quinn answered it before it even completed its first cycle. "Five-O, Quinn," he said curtly. He listened carefully to the voice at the other end. It was the call he had been awaiting. "When?" he asked. "Where?" He glanced at his watch. "Okay." He hung up the phone. He issued a deep sigh and sank back into the desk chair contemplating everything that was happening.
There was no one in the department he could consider a friend let alone a confidant. No one liked him here and it did not surprise him. Maybe the only surprise I ever had was the phone call from Max Connor two years ago asking me to come to Hawaii in the first place. My friends all told me it was the opportunity of a lifetime to get away from the filth and grime of Minneapolis and move to the tropics. Well, things are rarely what they seem. Although he'd been roommates with Connor in college, he had never really had the opportunity to restore the friendship before Connor had been shot to death. After that had come the time in hell working for McGarrett. Legendary in Hawaii, McGarrett had moved back into the department as interim chief like he had something to prove to these young guys. Everyone treated McGarrett like God himself - and maybe he was. It had been a relief when Governor Masakaski had finally picked a permanent new chief of Five-O - at least until Jackson DeWitt had arrived. Now Quinn found himself sneaking around his own office like a common PI, digging patiently away at the foundation of what was becoming an uglier Five-O everyday unable to trust a single soul in the department.
Richard turned away from the late afternoon sun in his window and dialed the phone. He got an answering machine and disappointedly hung up. He understood the value of backup and having an ally in such a delicate matter as he was embarking. If what I am about to do is discovered, I will be dead in minutes. But I will have to go it alone.
He rose from the desk and walked out into the hallway. The secretary had gone, but there was light gleaming from beneath the closed oak door of DeWitt's office. DeWitt was in. He almost always was. Quinn turned away and left the office. He hopped into the small Toyota and headed for his rendezvous; still wishing he could contact the only person he had trusted. Along the way, he tried the number again on his cell phone and got he answering machine again. He decided to leave a message. "It's me. The final piece is in." He hung up. No one but the intended would understand that - he hoped.
Two little girls skipped rope, chanting a song in time. Another little Hawaiian girl sat on the curb nearby pushing a stroller containing a sleeping baby back and forth. Quinn got out of the car and glanced quickly around. He didn't want to stand out in the open for long. He moved a little closer to the frame building to look less obvious.
As he did, the girl with the baby looked up. "Do you jump rope?" she asked him.
He glanced down at her, recognizing the password. "Not since I was five," he gave the response, hating the informant who had involved this child.
She smiled and pulled a manila envelope from behind the sleeping baby.
Quinn did his best to make it vanish inside his jacket, nervously glancing around again.
She still stood there watching him intently.
Richard pulled out the small business envelope and handed it slowly to her. Giving five hundred dollars in cash to a small child wasn't something he found easy to do.
She smiled sweetly, stuck it behind the baby and walked away pushing the stroller before her.
He stared after her for a moment, and then moved towards his car trying to look unhurried. He got in and drove away.
"He's in.," announced the quiet masculine voice and the phone hung up.
DeWitt carefully placed the receiver back on the cradle considering the options for a moment. It will be messy - unfortunately. How can I use the manpower to my advantage? There was, of course, Reggie Zito. Jackson did not like Zito any more than he liked any of the people working for him, but Zito possessed the kind of experience and talent that DeWitt needed. Short, overweight and balding, Zito fit the sterotype of a gangster which could be helpful when DeWitt needed a heavy hand played with the Kumu. Zito had brought with him an unpleasant and ill-tempered young man named Sergie Booth who, in addition to having no people skills whatsoever, had no taste in clothing. Loui Ahuana and Richard Quinn had been brought into Five-0 by DeWitt's predecessor, the late Max Connor. Loui was dumb enough to be useful, Richard was inept and troublesome. Gary Newman and Kono Kalakaua rounded out the team. DeWitt was looking for an excuse to get rid of Gary that should be not long in coming. Jackson had kept Kono around for looks. He was, after all, one of the original Five-O team - and full Hawaiian. But Kono operated on what Jackson had heard called "Hawaiian Time." Not detailed on some things, too detailed on others. Jackson was never quite certain how to use him. Most of the time Jackson just kept him out of the way. This time he could be the loose cannon -- the loose canon I must tie down.
Quinn had gone two blocks when he noticed the brown car following at a discreet distance. His heart quickened. Trying to tell himself he was over-reacting, he picked up the cellular phone and talked again to the answering machine at the other end. "It's done. I think I've been noticed." He tried to sound less frightened than he was. "Can't believe it - he's sent the company car." It was brazenly flagrant that Richard was being followed by a car he would recognize. The message was Richard would not live long enough to tell anyone about it.
He slipped off into a side street, increased his speed slightly and watched in the mirror as the brown car made the turn behind him. He dialed the phone again. "I'm going to try to lose this guy," he reported. "For the record, it really is the company car." He left the phone active on the seat beside him as he made another turn. When thirty seconds had passed, the answering machine cut off. He skipped around a moving van and made an illegal entrance onto the freeway. He hit the accelerator and the car shot ahead.
Quinn redialed the phone, watching his mirror. "I'm on the freeway, looks like I might have lost him. Maybe he broke it off." He knew the person tailing him was a professional. The pursuer would have activated someone lese less obvious to find Richard. Richard knew he could not stay on the highway for long. He took the first exit off and made a sharp right turn into a parking lot behind a Burger King, then bounced over the curb into the alley and through the back of a dry cleaner out onto the city street once again. Everything looked innocent.
"I don't know where to go," Richard admitted to the answering machine. He hesitated. "I'll use the wings." He kept trying to fabricate something which only one person could understand. Sitting at a traffic light, he dug out his wallet. There were only two first class stamps inside. Not enough, it would arrive postage due, but it would arrive. The light changed and he started to drive again, scribbling a name and address on the manila envelope as he did. Too many places to look: traffic, envelope, behind for pursuers. "If they've got me on the sly right now, I'll never know it," he reported to the machine. He made a quick left into the post office drive-through and dropped the envelope into the box. "I'll owe you something," he said into the phone.
He needed to get somewhere safe. If he could get rid of the car, he could melt into somewhere and wait till he could get help. He had not seen the brown car again, but didn't know if another he wouldn't recognize might be there somewhere. He pulled up to another light. He dialed the phone again. "I'm going to be at your old friend's place."
There was a tap on his window.
He turned and the silenced gun discharged, it's bullet shattering the window and Quinn's head.
DeWitt stood to one side, moodily taking in the pandemonium of the crime scene. The shooting of a police officer was always a media event and they were out in full force. HPD officers and Five-O men examined everything with grim determination. DeWitt watched Reggie Zito as he dug through the car, and over the body of Quinn that still lay slumped across the front bucket seats. Jackson turned as Kono's car pulled up. Even before the officer could speak Jackson ordered, "Go with the body and have the pathologist get me that slug. Right now it's all we have."
Kono glanced at Quinn's car. All he could see was Zito's large butt as he routed through the vehicle. It looked more like the man was looking for something in particular than for evidence. "How did this happen?"
DeWitt shrugged. "We'd don't know anything right now. Get that bullet and we have more."
Kono nodded. Jackson DeWitt was a cold, unemotional man and it did not surprise Kono that he had shown no emotion at Quinn's death, but it still bothered Kono. A life was gone; there should be something personal in the resolution of that.
Zito turned, holding up an open cellular phone with a handkerchief.
DeWitt's eyes lit up. "Better yet - trace any calls made on that phone."
Kono nodded. He was aware he was being kept away from the physical scene itself - he knew DeWitt did not like him anymore than he did Quinn. Kono turned away to comply with his orders.
Zito straightened his suit and smoothed his thinning hair as he walked over to Jackson.
DeWitt did not look at him when he spoke. "Well?"
"Has to be."
"I tell you, nothin's there," he persisted. "Maybe the shooter got it."
DeWitt shook his head. "The shooter did not hang around long enough for anyone to ID him; he wasn't going to go digging around in the car."
Zito shrugged. "So?"
DeWitt gave him a tolerant glare. "So, he hid the evidence, Reggie."
"If I knew that, I wouldn't need you." DeWitt started for the car. "Wrap this up here. See what Kono turns up at the phone company."
"I'll only be a minute," Lonnie Williams promised Steve McGarrett as he hopped out of the old pickup. The door creaked when he slammed it.
Steve watched the boy go up to the cottage, unlock the door and disappear inside. The retired cop rested his elbow on the open window ledge. I've come a long way from my black Mercury Brougham days. Steve still enjoyed the nightlife, but the small ranch had really given him an insight to physical work he'd never known. He liked it. He enjoyed cleaning the horse barn and hauling feed out to the cattle. There were less than fifty head, which was fine. Ranching was, he kept reminding himself, his retirement hobby. Having Lonnie with him the past week had been great. The boy was an aggressive worker, loved to work outside, had no fear of the large animals, and was a natural horseman. A little sadly, Steve wondered how much longer he'd see much of Lonnie. Once Carrie and Danny married, Lonnie would have a second parent in her. Lonnie had had a lot of change in his life the last year, first when Audrey came to live with them, then when Danny and Carrie began dating. There were times Steve, like Lonnie, wished for the old days when the three of them used to sit on the porch of the cottage and swap cop stories while the breakers rolled in. Steve glanced at his watch and wondered what was keeping Lonnie.
Lonnie burst into the warm, semi-dark cottage and hurried back to feed his goldfish. He stood patiently watching as the four small carp swam up to the water surface to eat the flakes he had sprinkled into the tank.
"Hungry, guys?" he asked them. He looked around for his baseball mitt. He had a game in two hours. The closet was a mess. Shoes, dirty socks, old broken toys flew as he searched. At last, the baseball mitt was unearthed and, snatching it up, he raced back towards the door.
The light blinking on the answering machine caught his eye. Twelve messages. Yesterday there had been none. Curiosity overcame him and he pressed the play button.
McGarrett could tell right away that Lonnie was agitated as he dashed towards the car - no baseball mitt, but something else in hand. "Steve! Steve! You gotta hear this tape! There's the same guy over and over - saying stuff like a code. Then I think somebody shot him!"
Steve felt himself stiffen as he shifted into the old instant alert mode he used to live in. "Slow down, Lonnie, what tape?"
Lonnie caught his breath as he repeated. "The answering machine tape. I think I know the voice. I think so."
"Did you lock the house?"
He shook his head.
"Get your glove, lock the house. We can play the tape back at home," Steve instructed, calmly, but his attention was on the small cassette.
Lonnie nervously bounced around as Steve placed the small tape in his machine and rewound it.
"All right. Now, let's see." He punched the button.
The voice was slightly static filled. "It's me. The final piece is in." There was a beep as the message ended.
Steve searched his memory. He knew the voice.
The tape continued. "It's done. I think I've been noticed ... I can't believe he sent the company car." Beep. "I'm going to try to lose this guy. For the record, it really is the company car." Beep.
"That's Richard Quinn," Steve suddenly said, finally recognizing the voice.
The next message was noisy with engine sounds like Quinn was traveling at high speed. "I'm on the freeway. Maybe I lost him. Maybe he broke it off." Steve could hear the fear in the voice. He knew Richard was always prone to panic anyway, but this was different. Quinn was definitely trying his best to supply information and keep his wits. There were several messages with a few cryptic comments about turning and no one in sight. Two had nothing but background car noise as though Quinn had just wanted to maintain the contact for security. "I don't know where to go," the desperate voice admitted and Steve felt pity for a man who would resort to an answering machine to keep from losing his nerve. "I'll use the wings."
What did that mean?
"If they've got me on the sly, I'll never know." Beep. "I'll owe you something."
Another obscure message?
"I'll be at your old friend's." There was the sound of a tap on the glass window, then of breaking glass and a short guttural cry. There was a long silence until thirty seconds had completed and a benediction of the find beep.
Lonnie's eyes were large and round. "Is he dead?"
"I don't know," Steve said quietly. He needed time to think this through. "If a police officer is killed, it isn't a secret for long."
"Call Five-0!" Lonnie announced.
Steve turned on the television. A commercial about mouthwash was running. "Was Quinn seeing your dad?"
Lonnie shrugged. "I don't know. Not at the house."
He shrugged again.
Steve realized that if Quinn and Williams had ended up on some kind of investigation, Danny would never have permitted any part of it to come within miles of his home. If they were. Danny had been called away with Audrey on an emergency trip back East. Lincoln Adair was dying. Would Danny have left in the middle of an investigation? Maybe. Without telling me? That bore a little more thought and McGarrett had to admit to himself that it was DeWitt now calling the shots in Five-0. If DeWitt had asked Danny to advise on a case, that was their business, not Steve's. And what of Carrie? It was no secret that Carrie did not want her fiancé in law enforcement. Danny had pledged to keep his law enforcement in the classroom. Is he doing covert work for DeWitt?
Steve stared at the screen silently as two more commercials played, then cartoons came on. Lonnie picked up the remote and began channel flipping. At last they found a reporter talking with a black-banded badge on the blue board behind him.
"...makes the first officer killed in the line of duty this year. We can only hope he is the only one." It was the end of the report.
Lonnie shook his head. "He's dead, isn't he?"
McGarrett flipped quickly through the pages of his small address file, then picked up the phone.
"You calling Five-0?" Lonnie asked.
He did not reply. It was ringing. "Hello?" answered a sleepy voice.
"Gideon?" Steve called into the line. "This is Steve McGarrett in Hawaii. May I speak to Dan Williams please?" He glanced at his watch; it was nearly midnight in New York.
Gideon fumbled around with the phone for a while. It took three tries to get him to understand. Then there was an intolerably long silence while the old man walked to the other end of the huge mansion. Finally Danny was on the phone, sounding remarkably alert for the late hour.
"Steve? Is Lonnie okay?"
"He's fine," Steve assured him.
"Hi, Dad!" Lonnie yelled over Steve's shoulder.
McGarrett winced. "It's Richard Quinn. He's been killed."
There was silence at the other end.
"Danno? You there?"
"Yeah," he answered carefully. "What happened?"
Steve detected the hesitation and knew instantly Danny had been working on something with Quinn - something very hot. "I don't have a lot of the details, but he left messages on your answering machine - including one as he was shot."
"Good Lord. Do you have the tape now?"
"Steve, bury that tape deep - and don't go anywhere near the cottage. Call the real estate gal and have her cancel all showings. I'll be on the first flight I can catch. There are no safe people there for you."
"Yeah," Steve agreed raising one eyebrow. "I'd sort of gathered that."
"I'll be there tomorrow. One more thing, Steve. Don't let Lonnie go to school tomorrow - keep him with you at all times."
"Done," Steve replied. It seemed a little odd to reverse the roles. For over twenty years Steve had been issuing the orders to Danno and now he was receiving them.
DeWitt paced his office like a prowling lion, impatiently awaiting word from his detectives. The death of Quinn was important only in that the valuable information he had received was missing. Jackson was certain the shooter would not have taken the time it would have required to look for the evidence, so Quinn must have ditched it somewhere before he was hit. But where?
There was a knock at the door and Zito entered, looking very nervous. "Nothing, Boss. No clues in the car and no goods either."
DeWitt ground his teeth. "I want the shooter."
He nodded. "Can do. Alive or dead?"
"I want all he knows any way you can. Then he can have an accident - no long court battles about police brutality. Understood?"
"Sure," Zito answered simply and left.
DeWitt spotted Kono coming in the office door. "You'd better have me a phone number."
Kono handed him the phone company's listing of all numbers called off the cellular phone for the day. DeWitt's attention was drawn like a magnet to the twelve entries to one number listed at the end. "You check out an address on those?"
"Didn't need to," Kono answered. "It's Dan Williams' place."
Jackson scowled in surprise. "Why would he be calling Williams?"
Kono shrugged. "Want me to call Danny?"
DeWitt waved him off. "You get that slug to ballistics yet?"
"Was on my way now."
"Get on that then."
Kono turned away, following orders, but could not explain a sudden sensation of concern he felt. Why would Richard Quinn have been calling Williams? And what had Zito been looking for in the car so earnestly? And why am I being kept out of the case?
End Part 1