started for the drug store that was just a few blocks away from the pay
phone, careful of everyone around him. He knew that when Carrie came,
she would probably be tailed, but he hoped his plan would still work.
Each step brought new complaint as he limped on the leg and he pressed
his right elbow into his wound, trying not to let the blood stain show.
He got an occasional questioning glance from passersby and hoped between
his odd gait, dirty attire and unshaven face they would take him for another
Loui Ahuna stood petrified as stone before Jackson DeWitt totally astonished at the rage that spewed from his boss.
"Where did you get this?!" the chief demanded. He shook in anger and disbelief at the report in his hand.
"Lab gave it to me," he muttered. "Lab tech girl said that Ken told her to give to Kono. So she gave to me to pass on." He stopped talking.
Jackson laid it down on his desk. "And what about the leads on Quinn's material you were to check out?"
"Lots of people knew about a haole female mainlander who came throwing lots of money, asking questions -- you know -- deep questions. The expensive kind."
"Lady got a name?"
Loui shook his head. "One guy thought it was Taylor. Real common -- if it's not a fake. She's gone anyway. Nobody seen her in a week." Loui found himself wondering why Jackson was not addressing the unusual report he'd given him. Gary's evidence clearly indicated Williams had not shot McGarrett, but was running and probably injured himself. A new question arose -- who had perhaps shot Williams and why? And why was he running? To Loui the answers were plain. Zito was as dirty as the informants had cautioned him. It was all mind-boggling.
"Loui," DeWitt repeated hotly.
He jumped. "I-I'm sorry. Up all night. Tired."
"I said: 'where are Gary and Kono?'" DeWitt demanded.
"I haven't seen Gary all morning," Loui answered quickly. "I thought Kono was working up the memorial for Quinn."
"If Kono is planning a memorial, what's he doing down in forensics?" DeWitt scowled at the report. "Why is he keeping evidence like this a secret?"
Loui just looked at him open-mouthed. Does he expect me to know? "Um -- maybe he's scared of Reggie?" he offered weakly.
DeWitt shook his head.
"Maybe he's protecting Reggie. I want Kono and Gary in here. Go find
Reggie paced the floor in Queens General Hospital outside ICU in thoughtful silence. An observer would have quickly concluded that he was deeply concerned about a patient inside and rightfully, he was -- he was concerned that Steve McGarrett would manage to survive. The world had already been told of his death, but somehow the old cop held on. To the few doctors and nurses who provided his care, McGarrett was a "john doe" with enough bruises to his face to make him not quickly identified as the former Five-0 chief. The hospital staff were around Steve constantly, so Zito saw little opportunity to push the odds to a sure thing. He had developed a plan in his head, but hoped destiny would still complete the job for him.
He wondered if Sergie had found Williams yet. The five-0 cop turned professor was a bit hard to predict. Reggie wondered if Williams had created some kind of a psychiatric profile on him that kept Williams one guess ahead of them. He has got to go to Donagon or contact her. There is no one left -- or is there? And where is the boy? No one ever found him at the ranch. Little kids are pretty good at staying hidden if they want to, but they get hungry sometime. He'd left a two young innocent looking cops at the ranch with instructions to bake brownies. Maybe they could bring the boy to the surface. He still wasn't sure he could convince young Lonnie of his twisted tale. If I cannot, what happens then? This list keeps getting longer. Reggie was capable of doing whatever a job required without conscience, but was not happy with the job called for killing -- let alone the degree of killing that this was adding up to. Killings were messy affairs that did not go away easily. When a job went well, no one died, and no one was the wiser. Dammit, Quinn of all people. Who would have picked that little worm to throw a wrench into the works. Maybe the error had been in failing to see the danger he was. And it was DeWitt who made that mistake, not me.
The elevator door opened and Zito was mildly surprised to see Jackson DeWitt exit from the car and, with a glance, head in his direction. When they were within quiet speaking distance, DeWitt turned to gaze out of the same window that had had Reggie's attention the moment before. "How's McGarrett?" he asked softly.
"No change. He held on through the repair of a hole in his heart and cardiac tamponad. That old man has the constitution of an ox," Reggie muttered unhappily.
DeWitt continued to stare out of the window. They were alone in the hallway, but their voices were still hushed. "Can I assume that you met the demands of last night's workers?"
Reggie hunched his shoulders. "They have no complaints to voice. No one will find them."
Jackson handed Reggie the report Loui had presented.
Zito quickly scanned the incriminating sheets. "Damn. I don't believe this."
Jackson turned a cold eye on him. "So now what? Do we add Ken Edwards, Newman and Ahuna to the list? And what about the boy and Donagon? She's a well known reporter, Reggie. How many more bodies have to fall to protect you? Your people said you did clean work."
Strange, Zito realized I'd just had these same thoughts, but somehow it was DeWitt at fault.
"Following Donagon. I think Williams will contact her."
"What's she done?"
"I don't know. Sergie hasn't got a phone. I guess he'll call in."
"I want him called off now."
Zito started to protest.
"Look at these findings!" DeWitt's voice rose and he shook the folder. "With these findings, how do I justify a manhunt on Williams?"
"The file of Quinn's--"
"It's too late for that now, Reggie. This whole thing is caving in. I sent Loui to find Kono and Gary. I want you here keeping an eye on McGarrett. If Williams shows up, call me but don't touch him -- you got that? He did not see you at McGarrett's."
"What about McGarrett?"
Jackson shook his head slightly. "You'd better keep praying that old coot kicks the bucket, huh?"
"And the evidence?"
DeWitt gave a small sigh and broke eye contact with Zito. "When I was a chopper crewman in Vietnam we did rescue operations. We'd go in and pull out trapped troops. Sometimes we'd have them hanging from the helicopter by ropes cause there were too many to get inside." He stopped talking for a moment, took another deep breath, and still staring at nothing continued. "A few times there were so many men that the ship couldn't fly -- it was too heavy. To save everyone else, we had to cut a few ropes and let them fall." He turned to face Zito. "It was a hard thing to do, but better to lose one or two than the whole ship." He turned on his heel and left.
Zito stared after him understanding full well his meaning knowing that there was little hope, but any there was lie in the death of McGarrett.
Carrie arrived at the Rexall Drug in Pearl City and gave quick consideration to the strategy of where to park. The diagonal spot in front closest to the side alley was available and she took it. Trying not to look around, she exited the vehicle. She did not have to look to know that the brown Mercury that had followed her at a distance from Honolulu was still at the corner. Danny is right, I am being watched. It was a frightening prospect. What happens next? Trying to appear natural, she walked into the small pharmacy and browsed among the isles of greeting cards and small ceramic knickknacks, her mind racing in fear. She wasn't sure what to expect, but was confident that when she returned to the car, Danny would be there - somehow. How long to do I wait? Five minutes? Ten? An hour? She stole one quick look through the front window at the brown car parked half a block away - the stalker had full view of the pharmacy, but not of the drivers' side of her car. Maybe I should just call 911 on the phone a report a stalker. Somehow she was skeptical that they would be of any help. How did I get into this mess? How did Danny get into this? He promised me he was out of police work. He promised me! She paused near the greeting cards the congratulated the couple on their marriage. Marriage, tears gathered in her eyes, we are supposed to be married. Will we live to see it?
At last, twenty minutes after she entered the drugstore, Carrie walked back out into the heat having purchased nothing, got into her car and started the engine. She resisted the urge to look over the back seat.
"Head for the highway. We're going to the FBI," came Danny's weary voice softly.
"God, Danny, what is happening?" she managed to get out around the fear in her throat. The tears sprang back to her eyes in relief that he had actually made it - apparently undetected - and in dread of the Mercury that had just pulled away from the curb a short distance behind them.
Sergie watched from his brown Mercury as Carrie's car turned out of the shop and headed east on Kamehameha Highway towards Highway 1. He wanted to keep his tail tight, but was afraid of spooking Donagon. The lady reporter would be alert to anything. He knew she had not come all the way to Pearl City to wander about a drug store and buy nothing. Although he'd not seen it, he was pretty sure she had somehow picked up Williams.
"He's back there," Carrie murmured through tight lips, feeling her heart pounding.
"It's okay," Danny replied from the floor of the back seat. "Don't worry about him."
"Don't worry!" she snapped. "What the hell is going on?"
He considered telling her everything for about a milli-second. I got her into this mess as much as I tried not to. But if this doesn't work, she will be better off not knowing.
"You know that they think you killed Steve."
He did not reply. He'd been trying hard not to dwell on McGarrett's death by convincing himself that it was a ploy. "They don't think anything, Carrie. Reggie Zito is trying to cover his tracks - and doing pretty badly."
"Tracks about that?" she demanded sounding more like a reporter. She made the entrance onto Highway 1.
The increased engine noise bought Danny a little time. "Carrie, this isn't a good time -"
"Danny, there is a guy back there. Why is he there?"
Danny bit the inside of his lip. "Richard Quinn obtained incriminating evidence on Zito."
"He was killed over it," Carrie pieced in.
"But Zito must think you have it. Why does he think that? Is that why he was at my place? At Steve's?"
He did not answer.
"Is that why Steve died? Protecting you?"
"Not now, Carrie," he insisted quietly.
She gripped the steering wheel, her knuckles whitening, and pressed harder on the accelerator. "If we are caught, will that guy back there kill you?"
Danny gave an audible sigh. "Most likely."
"You don't think he's going to just let us drive all the way back to downtown Honolulu to the FBI, do you?"
"There is a curve about another mile up where the highway bridge is. Will he lose us from view for a few seconds?"
She glanced into the rear view mirror. "He's about thirty seconds behind. We should be out of view about twenty seconds of that."
Danny had hoped for more. "As we hit the curve, slow down. I'm going to hide out in the brush. You continue to town, go back to the station and call Mark Lawson of the FBI. Tell him where I am."
"You are not jumping from a moving car, Danny."
"Get it down to about 10 miles an hour," he insisted.
"No, Danny, you can't - this isn't some super cop movie!"
"Carrie!" he shouted. "Slow it down or I'll jump at 65 miles an hour. Your choice!"
The curve was upon them. Cursing under her breath, she hit the brake hard and the speedometer dropped from nearly 75 to 10 in just under six seconds. "Hurry, Danny!"
Danny popped open the back door. "I love you, Carrie!" Even at ten miles an hour, the force of hitting the pavement rolled him several times. The tires burned as Carrie floored the gas. As Danny came to his feet and turned towards the guardrail he needed to clear before Sergie spotted him. As he moved, his left leg suddenly twisted under him causing him to stagger. He nearly fell. The stabbing pain caught his breath and his mind screamed at his limbs to obey. He made three limping, nearly hopping steps in the direction of the guardrail that divided the highway from the hundred-foot drop-off before Sergie's car came around the bend fifty yards away.
Sergie grinned. This was better than he'd hoped. No other cars in sight, a simple hit-and-run fatality. Pedestrians weren't supposed to be on the highway. What a tragic accident. He steered for Williams.
With no time for other considerations, Danny leapt from his good right leg for the guardrail and pulled himself over. The loose ground on the other side was less than four inches wide and he missed his footing. Dirt kicked away from the edge of the hundred-foot cliff and he was left dangling over the chasm as he clung to the backside of the guardrail.
Moments later, Sergie's car hit the metal rail with a scream of burning rubber and sparking of metal against metal. The car traveled another forty yards down the curve popping and snapping rivets, tearing away fiberglass and sheet metal from the car itself.
Danny pulled himself back up over the railing, wanting to make it to the dense brush only twenty-five yards down the road before Sergie could collect his wits enough to chase him. But as he tried again to run, his left leg refused to take the weight and he stumbled again. There was the blare of a horn and he spun as Carrie's Toyota appeared from the far end of the curve traveling back the wrong way on the highway at top speed.
Sergie was still in his car attempting in vain to start his engine.
Carrie closed the distance in seconds, spinning the small car with the deftness of a racecar driver so that it stopped between Danny and Sergie.
Danny, thankful that Sergie seemed too stupid to realize he could easily outdistance his quarry on foot, hobbled towards the Toyota, each movement of his left leg bringing agony. He noticed a blood stain just the below his left knee - the pin had twisted free in his leg, taking part of the partially healed bone with it.
Just as Carrie brought the car to a complete halt, she saw Sergie pull his gun. "Danny!" she screamed, laying across the front seat to open the passenger door. "Hurry!"
There was a sudden popping and twanging of bullets hitting the side of her car. Danny had less that thirty feet to cover, but the pain was so great it seemed like a mile. Just as he finally dragged himself into the car, there was a loud pop of an explosion.
"The tire!" Carrie gasped.
He pulled the door shut, still staying low. "Drive on the rim!"
The shooting at stopped for a moment, Sergie was reloading as he climbed out of the car window and ran towards Carrie's car.
Carrie sat up, threw the car into reverse and hit the gas. A gray cloud of burning rubber billowed from the good right rear tire.
Sergie, still running towards them, fired three rounds into the engine of the Toyota; it gave a hideous whine and a gasping cough and was silent. A little wisp of smoke floated from the grill.
Carrie stared at Sergie, his gun leveled on the windshield aware that her mouth hung open in an undignified manner. "What now, Danny?" she whispered.
A slight smile curled Sergie's lips. "I don't want you, lady - just him." He shifted the target through the windshield from Carrie to Danny. "Keep your hands where I can see them," he ordered Danny as he carefully walked around to the passenger side of the car.
"I am unarmed," Danny advised, raising his hands anyway. Unbidden Images of Lani's death flooded his mind.
Sergie yanked the passenger door open. "Out."
Danny slowly got out, hands still raised. He was ready to do anything to protect Carrie and Sergie knew it.
"Okay, Danny, where's the stuff?" Sergie demanded.
"Safe," he replied. "I want you to guarantee her safety."
Sergie grinned. "I don't think you're in a position to demand anything, do you? What the hell, sure - I don't want her."
"Danny!" Carrie interjected.
"Be quiet," he snapped hotly.
"So, where is it?" Sergie got back to his subject.
"I told you. Safe. We have to go to it. You don't think it's in the car, do you? Doesn't look like either of these vehicles is running to me," he added sarcastically.
Sergie did not reveal that he had hoped the evidence was in the car. Danny's sarcasm brought Sergie's anger to the boiling level. He punched Danny across the side of the head with his gun hand, knocking Williams off his unsteady feet.
As Danny hit the ground hard, his head thumped against the doorsill of the Toyota.
Carrie gave a cry of shock. "You don't have to-"
"Shut up!" Sergie snarled, waving the gun at her.
"Sergie!" Danny shouted, trying to get the attention off Carrie. If she would only stay quiet!
Sergie looked back down at him and gave a humph of a chuckle. "Okay, Williams, you want your woman safe? Where's the papers? No more cute stuff, just tell me. You are dead no matter what - you know that. Tell the truth and Carrie and I will go get them. Once I have what I want she goes free. Lie, or I don't find them and I kill her. Real simple. And time is up." He pointed the gun at Carrie.
"Okay," Danny whispered, raising one hand. "Okay." He pulled out his shirttail, then tugged the manila envelope of evidence from under his belt.
Sergie gave a weak laugh. "Son of a bitch," he muttered taking the envelope. He noticed the bloodstains and hole through one corner.
"You're next you know," Danny commented. "Zito won't let you live with what you know."
"Save it," Sergie remarked with a grin. "Reggie and I go way back. He won't shoot me any more than you'd shoot McGarrett." He laughed at his own joke.
There was the hum of an approaching vehicle on the highway from the other side of the freeway. Sergie hesitated, licking his lips, gun still on Danny.
Carrie glanced back hopefully, and felt a brief moment of elation - it was a police car.
The squad car pulled to a stop and turned on his bubble light. "Hey! Sergie!" The officer exited the car and hurried towards them.
"Hey! I need some help here!" Sergie shouted, trying to quickly formulate his next step. "I've got Williams! He was trying to escape!"
The patrolman jumped the divider and hurried towards them. "That's what I needed to tell you! DeWitt cancelled the APB! There's been a break on the case. Williams isn't a suspect any longer."
"He - what?" Sergie shook at the news, trying to decide what to do with the large Hawaiian officer before them. Something has gone very wrong. I hope Reggie has a way out of this for us. What am I supposed to do now? Is this a trick? He glanced at Danny who wore a cautious smile and resisted the urge to kick him. "You need to call Reggie Zito," Sergie tried to sound authoritative. "This could be a trick of some kind. Williams has lots of friends in the department."
"No trick, Bruddah," the officer replied. "Mr. DeWitt said he's on his way out here. You to stay put."
Sergie stood there, feeling uncomfortably foolish, gun still in hand. The officer stood near the roadway, motioning the occasional car to keep moving and not rubberneck at what an unknowing driver would think was an accident.
Carrie remained in the driver seat of the Toyota, still gripping the steering wheel of the now useless vehicle. "What are we waiting for?" she murmured to Danny. Until things had come to this sudden anti-climactic halt, she had not even seen Danny, let alone assessed his well-being. The delay was giving her plenty of time to determine that he could certainly use some medical intervention. "Shouldn't they be calling an ambulance or something?
From where he continued to sit on the ground beside the car he muttered: "You only call an ambulance for someone you intend to keep alive."
End Part 8