The Lion &
Garrison had read Bob's list of names to Interpol over the encrypted line, then burned the paper. Almost immediately, he turned her over to the FBI for arrest. As she was led away by her former comrades, she did not issue a single word.
Garrison and Steve sat for a moment, eye to eye. "We still have a crisis," Steve remarked. "Missing plutonium and a terrorist threat. If they can construct a nuclear powered device and detonate it we are talking about millions of lives."
"The list is a place to start," Garrison replied. "We should hear from Intelligence within the hour." As if on cue, the phone on his desk rang. It was the encrypted line. He answered it, then held the receiver towards McGarrett.
"McGarrett," he said into the phone.
"Steve, don't say a word."
He literally gasped in shock at hearing Danny's voice and it was only because of years of intense discipline he avoided saying his name.
"I need you to get to Newark International Airport, New Jersey. Meet me in terminal B by 2:00 today," came Danny's crisp voice.
Steve looked at his watch. "I'll be there." The line disconnected.
Garrison looked at him expectantly.
"We may be getting our break," Steve declared and picked up his now well used winter flight jacket. "I need a car."
Danny felt the tension slowly drain away as the large jet left the ground behind. The landing gear retracted and the craft slowly banked and began its long journey westward across the Atlantic. He reclined the seat and bunched up a flight pillow between his head and the window realizing that for the first time in days he was probably safe. If an unknown had tailed him onto the plane at least no one would take action until it landed and his hopping from Beirut to Cairo, making a last minute flight change to Madrid and now, at last headed towards Orlando where he would get onto a Newark bound jet via standby should have made his trail difficult to follow. I know Camp won't ever give up. Maybe I really am a dead man. No one is better able to complete his determined task than Camp and I will probably never know what hit me. Have I done the right thing? Should I have confided in Camp? Is it right to be dragging Steve into this? He is the only one I know I can trust. But what will he think? This is treason, after all, even though it was the only way to find these terrorists. I have got to have a plan by the time I reach Newark. I cannot lose the plutonium to them - but I cannot risk what they might do instead He drifted off to sleep in spite of his intentions to develop a plan.
The pilot's announcement that they were beginning their descent in to Orlando awoke Danny with a start. Bits of America were passing beneath him: tall hotels, freeways full of small gleaming cars, beaches of tiny multi-colored umbrellas and McDonalds' golden arches clearly visible as the plane's flaps dropped and it descended through the humid Florida air on a course for the runway. The stewardess passed through the cabin reminding folks to collect their belongings, but he had little to carry - just what appeared to be a one quart thermos bottle.
He exited the jet ramp still shaking off sleep, but already alert to everything around him. If Camp figured out where I was coming, there could be someone here - someone I could never identify until it was too late. He paused near the wall at the kiosk of the information booth. The terminal was packed with business men, parents and children, brightly colored Disney shirts and Mickey Mouse ears. He felt very out of place.
He grabbed a candy bar, but it did little to bolster his energy. In the restroom he examined the dressing on his wound - it had bled through and old red-black blood was caked on the outside of the covering that was now glued to the injury. No doubt infection was on the way, but it would be another day before it became a real problem and by then maybe it would not matter. By then I may be dead anyway.
He looked at the departure listing of flights for one that would bring him in to Newark close to the desired time. He did not wish to be standing around in Newark for long. There was an American flight he checked out. It was full, but he was welcome to see what happened. He gave them his fabricated name from Ian's counterfeit ID and checked three more airlines. In the tourist shop in the airport mall he bought two new shirts, one flowered and one plain blue, a pair of sunglasses and a baseball cap that featured Goofy's smiling face.
Steve pulled the black government tagged car into one of the reserved government spots in front of terminal B. The sky was beginning to cloud over, but the temperature was a moderate 47 degrees. Still cool by Hawaiian standards, it was a relief from the Midwestern bite of lingering winter. The air was filled with the noise of turbine engines and the smell of jet fuel and ground vehicle exhaust. He glanced at his watch - just past one o'clock, then entered terminal B through the large sliding doors. The terminal was large and although not crowded, a lot of people were milling about from place to place. He decided to roam and wait for Danny to contact him. He still had the telegram proclaiming Danny's death in his pocket and a small part of his brain wondered if this was a trick and that Danny would not be meeting him at all. His conscious self hoped for something different.
The PA seemed to present instructions constantly, then specifically called him by name. "Steve McGarrett, please go to a red phone for a message."
He hesitated, then spotted a wall phone near by. He picked it up. "This is McGarrett."
"Hang up," a voice beside him ordered.
He spun to face Marten Camp. "Camp. I - why are you here?"
"Come with me." Camp uttered, his countenance black with rage.
He had never seen Camp so determined. He followed the CIA operative to a small alcove that provided some degree of privacy. "Is Danno alive?"
"Very much so," Camp answered.
"But you reported him dead. Why?"
Camp's expression never changed. "That doesn't matter. I need to find him."
"Find -" Steve stopped. Camp doesn't know where he is. He is looking for him. Why would Danny not be reporting to him? Yet, Danny wanted me here.
"I can't find him, but I could find you. He contacted you, didn't he?" Marten did not seem very interested in Steve's reply. "I know you won't want to hear this, McGarrett, but Williams has the plutonium."
"He what?" Steve squinted.
"He has the plutonium and he's going to give it to the terrorists."
That is impossible. "I don't believe you," Steve replied.
"I don't give a shit what you believe," Camp snapped. "You are an officer of the law and sworn to uphold the laws of the land - and a naval officer. Williams is going to contact you and I want him. It is your duty."
McGarrett glared at Camp. I have always detested this worm. He is a self-serving power-grabbing opportunist, but he has always worked to protect Danny - until now. "I don't need you to tell me my duty. I'll see what Williams has to say. There will be an explanation."
Camp crossed his arms. "He put a gun to my head in a rest room in Lebanon and threatened to blow my brains out if I didn't help a girl and two children defect."
Steve forced a smile. "That sounds like Danno. Too bad he didn't pull the trigger." And without a doubt Danno will half expect Camp to show up here - so he won't be wandering in here without anticipating trouble. For now it is more of this horrific hurry up and wait. "I'm getting a cup of coffee. Care to join me?"
Camp took a step away from him. "Not right now. You report to me, you got that? Anything less will be considered treason."
Steve walked briskly into one of the airport club bars and placed an order for a cup of coffee and a scotch and soda. With the drink sitting before him on the counter, he proceeded to sip the hot black coffee and wait. He resisted the urge to check his watch, but did not need to. His internal clock was fairly precise - two o'clock arrived. Danny did not.
Danny had flown in to Newark around noontime. He'd seen Steve arrive - as he had anticipated Steve was intercepted by Marten Camp. He felt a little guilty about using Steve unknowingly to flush out Camp, but it could not be helped. He watched Steve go into the bar and order the scotch and soda. It was a clear message that Steve was on his side. It was a silent encouragement and he prayed he would not have to call upon the help.
The key had the locker number on it. He wished he knew better what he would do after depositing the plutonium. Under better circumstances he would have called ahead and there would have been government agents all over the building, but right now he wasn't sure who he could trust - except Steve - and he would bank on it that Camp was within visual range of Steve. The locker was on the lower level in the departure area. He carefully made his way around people carrying all kinds of luggage, guitar cases, camera bags and children and finally located the bank of lockers. He observed for a minute or two, then without looking around, walked purposefully toward the locker, inserted the key and opened the door. Placing the metal container inside, he closed the door and moved off. Having cleared the obvious area of the lockers, he huddled near the corner, quickly took off the flowered shirt, revealing the blue one beneath, and stuffed the flowered one into a trash can. He removed the sunglasses, pulled a newspaper out of the trash and sat down on the bench to wait. Time lingered. People moved in and out of the area. Twice passengers opened lockers and removed or put items inside. No one approached the locker containing the plutonium. An hour. Danny began to be concerned. Eventually Camp would realize that he wasn't going to meet up with Steve. He could not stay here much longer. Then a man pushing a custodial cart slowly made his way across the floor to the lockers. He dampened his mop and began to wipe it back and forth across the smooth polished floor. The man slowly worked his way closer and closer to the locker. Danny watched over the top of the paper frozen in anticipation.
The man glanced around, then put a key into the lock opened the door had the container in his hand and dropped it quickly into the trash container of his cart. As slowly as he had moved before, the janitor now, pushing the cart before him, nearly ran towards the service exit.
Danny leapt to his feet in pursuit. Attention on the fleeing man, he pushed through the service door. The service area was deserted with various pieces of equipment scattered around. Dampness held a musty odor of cleaning supplies as he carefully moved about gun first inspecting every corner.
A door clicked shut at the far end and he dashed towards it. He crashed through the door into the narrow hallway. He ran forward hearing the footfalls of the fleeing man before him. The hallway ended with another door that opened into another winding corridor.
Danny stepped through the door swinging his gun to the left. As he did there was a motion as another person nearly on top of him spun towards him, weapon also drawn, and they were inches apart each staring into the barrel of the other's gun. Both of them shouted in unison in surprise.
Danny and Marten stared at each other, neither so much as blinking, each fingering the trigger, panting in stress. "So is this where we kill each other and some asshole blows up the country?" Danny demanded.
"You move and I will kill you, you treasonous bastard," Camp replied hotly.
"They are getting away," Danny commented.
"With the plutonium you gave them," Camp finished.
"I didn't have a choice," he replied.
"Neither do I," Camp muttered, more calmly. "As much as I wish I did. If they get that bomb together I need you to disarm it." But he did not lower his weapon.
Danny hesitated, panting from exertion and fear. "The guy was using a custodial cart," he said hoping to remind Camp of what they should be doing.
"Not to worry. I'm pretty sure McGarrett is on 'em," Camp replied. "By now he probably has the entire national security mobilized." He slowly lowered the Lugar and as he did, Danny lowered his gun as well.
Neither of them motioned or said anything that would sound like closure to the issue. Camp turned to start down the hallway and Danny followed behind. Marten suddenly spun back slamming the grip of his gun into Danny's chest wound, crashing him back against the cinderblock wall.
Danny gasped in pain, knees buckling and collapsed to the floor trying to catch his breath, hands on the wound that had just been torn open.
Camp hit him with the gun butt again across the right side of his face and he sprawled to the floor face down where Camp leaned down, the gun now pressed against the back of Danny's head. "Don't you ever again forget who is calling the plays here. You have that straight? I am in charge. I am always in charge. And I make all the decisions. Is that understood?!"
Danny did not answer, his face twisted in pain, gripping the wound that now seeped new blood through the dressing onto his shirt.
"Get the hell off the floor and come on. You've made one hell of a mess." Camp walked away from him.
As they exited to the outside, they were immediately enveloped in a police action that Steve, as Camp had predicted, had already set into motion.
A national security van was just pulling up and Steve was talking into a two way. He gave Danny a squeeze on the good shoulder, then concluded his orders before turning to him. "Good to see you, Brudder," he said, noting but not commenting on the obvious injuries.
"Same here," Danny replied, not totally taking his attention from Camp.
Steve turned his back against Camp, as if he could provide some kind of protection. "Danny, what happened?" he asked quietly. "The plutonium did you ."
Danny looked up at him. "Yeah, I did." What is Steve going to think? Does he really think I'd sell out my country? "If I hadn't they'd have done something worse."
"Worse?" Steve murmured. "What's worse that nuking the eastern half of the United States?" Good Lord, Danno, what have you done?
Camp suddenly interrupted. "Report," Camp snapped of Steve, but glaring at Danny.
"The currier was taken down - unfortunately not before he passed the material off. We have three birds in the air. They have the van carrying the package on visual - headed towards Route 1 North. State police in New Jersey and New York are moving in to seal off the bridges and tunnels."
"They've got plutonium, but what can they be using for a detonator?" Danny asked.
"The NRC says it would likely be some kind of a suitcase bomb. Probably wouldn't give a Hiroshima like result, but the resulting fireball will be about a half mile across, will annihilate Jersey City and with the winds from the west - likely everyone in Manhattan and Brooklyn will be dead from radiation pretty quickly." Steve gestured on the map along a section of Route 1. "Will probably plant it somewhere along this stretch - elevated if possible."
"NRC sending a disposal team?" Camp asked.
He nodded. "On their way, but they won't be here for at least an hour. They recommended we go with our own."
Camp rubbed his hands together in the cool air as a car pulled up. Inside were three FBI agents and the custodian, his arms handcuffed behind him. He looked remarkably unrepentant. Camp approached them.
"He's ours," one of the FBI men declared.
"Like hell," Camp replied. "I need what he knows and I haven't time to play around asking."
"No way, Camp," the man replied, taking the custodian by the arm and directing him towards a dark blue van with yellow FBI on the side.
Steve stepped forward. "I'd like to observe." He showed his ONI card.
The agent glanced from Camp to Steve, deciding that Steve represented less of a danger. "Okay, just you."
Camp slammed an angry fist against the car hood - denting it.
As Steve stepped into the van, the FBI agent pushed the prisoner onto a chair.
"You've got just one go round on this," the agent, his name badge claimed he was Levy, informed the terrorist. "You cooperate with us or I've let that guy outside come in here. Trust me, you don't want him in here. What is your name?"
The man did not seem very worried. He glanced at the clock on the data board. "My name is unimportant. I represent the oppressed peoples of the world that Imperialist America is crushing beneath its feet."
"Spare me the pep talk, okay?" Levy commented. "Where are they taking the plutonium?"
His eyes brightened. "We cannot be stopped. It is too late."
"Why is it too late?"
"The United States is a puppet of the Zionist killers. They wave an olive branch, but with the other hand they kill women, children all in the name of money."
"I won't ask again," Levy told him, his expression dark. "Where are they taking that plutonium?"
The man simply smiled. "You will know soon enough. A small demonstration of what is in store for the future."
"Small?" Levy uttered. "What future?"
Steve ground his teeth noting the man had glanced at the clock a second time. "They are going to set off a bomb. When?"
"You keep looking at the clock. You intend to die here. That bomb is going to go off close enough to take us all out, isn't it?"
The man gave another smile. "Maybe."
Levy clenched a fist and punched the man several times in the head. "Where are they going?!"
We aren't going to get anything from him, Steve thought, at least not intentionally. He has come to die. The mindset of the suicide terrorist - the goal is to die for the cause. "You want to make Americans suffer?" he asked, bringing his face close to the now bloodied face of their prisoner.
He looked coolly at Steve. "Suffer? No. I make them die."
"But to make them die is simple compared to suffering," Steve pointed out.
"Suffering is to purify the soul," he replied.
"Then is it your lot to suffer?" Steve asked. "Sounds like it can be over pretty quick in a nuclear blast. Have you already done your suffering?"
He shrugged. "You are ignorant."
Outside Camp was pacing back and forth, listening to the chatter between the police and choppers, wanting to get his hands on the terrorist and believing if he did he would have the answers pretty quickly.
Danny was finishing the inspection of the tool kit a New Jersey state bomb squad member had given him. It seemed fairly complete for the usual stuff - but a nuclear device was something none of them had trained for. He kept his attention in part on Camp. The only reason I am alive is because I'm the best qualified person to attempt to disarm this thing. What happens after that?
The radio suddenly squawked with an excited voice and everyone close by looked up. The ground commander of the New Jersey troopers was yelling back excitedly into the microphone as Camp grabbed a map and threw it across their work area.
"Pulaski Skyway! Are they sure?!" He was tracing the line down Route 1 towards the Passaic River.
A trooper threw open a text book that showed a photo of the 3.5 mile long bridge that spanned two rivers clearing the river by 135 feet. The old steel trusses seemed to be inviting hundreds of places to hide a device.
"I thought the bridges and tunnels were closed," Camp growled.
"Going into New York," the commander replied. "We can only do so much so fast. That bridge is just a couple of miles from here. The chopper is trying to narrow down the radioactive field."
"We need to evacuate the area," a trooper remarked.
The commander looked at him, a wry look on his face. "How do we evacuate half a million people out of Jersey City? Another half a million out of Newark? Not to mention the eight million plus in New York. You want to know the madness that would follow? The panic? We're not telling the public anything." He spoke into his radio. "Get the Pulaski Skyway shut down to traffic. I don't care what you say - I want all the cars out of there . Well stage a damned accident if you have to. Shut that bridge!"
Danny scooped up the tool kit and stepped into the harness.
"Chopper is on its way for you," Camp said with a surprisingly supportive voice. He reached out and tested the clips on the back of Danny's suit. "Good luck."
He nodded. Camp is the hardest guy to figure out. He hurried across the parking lot to where the helicopter waited, blades spinning. He jumped into the back of the Huey and the craft shot skyward.
Just as they disappeared, Steve exited the FBI van with Levy.
"The whole damned focus is some stupid anti-Semitic statement. The idiot told us there are more Jews in New York City that in Israel," Levy remarked.
"He's right," Camp replied. "So what."
Levy, to whom this had much greater personal significance frowned. "The bastard is just trying to kill Jews. No rationale, no deep statements - just genocide."
Camp did not seem impressed. "People have killed a lot more for less. A chopper has picked up a hot spot on the Pulaski Skyway," he told Steve. "We've sent Williams to check it out."
Steve blinked. "Is there cover for him?"
"Cover?" It was the New Jersey commander. "Damn - if I was setting a nuke, I wouldn't be hanging around to watch it go off."
"What's the status of the National Guard?" Steve demanded. "These terrorists aren't interested in their own survival - they want to be sure that bomb goes off. They are going to defend the site."
"There are units on route. The CO D 2-113TH infantry is coming out of Jersey City," a military officer explained. "They'll be at the east end of the bridge. The coast guard is on its way to The Narrows out of Jamaica Bay - it's going to take them about 50 minutes to get there."
Danny watched through the open bay door of the chopper as it closed on the Pulaski Skyway. Already traffic was snarled and backed up below for miles. The brown tinted atmosphere was difficult to comprehend. Most of the city below and the massive sprawling metropolis for miles and miles beyond seemed a depressing color of gray, not only due to cloud cover, but what seemed related to the compacted existence of tightly packed humanity. A lover of the out-of-doors and nature, this environment made him feel like he was withering away.
The airman beside him pointed to the enormous truss bridge ahead.In spite of the surroundings, it was an architectural thing of beauty as the metal networking of beams reached out from the shore of Newark, hundreds of feet, seeming to pause over the central finger of land in Kearny before continuing their journey to the western edge of Jersey City.
Another chopper was circling near the bridge, dipped down, passing under the expanse between the large concrete supports and back up the far side.
"Roger that," the pilot said and called back to his passengers. "They have isolated the hotspot to the eastern end of the first span. Let's go take a look." With a nearly nauseating turn, he dipped the chopper down to circle the eastern side of the bridge, running beneath the expanse as the other chopper had done, spinning about after passing through the expanse so that it was again facing the bridge.
"How close can we get it?" Danny asked. There were refineries with huge storage tanks on the bank of the river. He wondered if they might be shielding snipers. Hopefully those responsible for the bomb were headed away from the terror they were attempting to create.
The airman was gazing at the bridge through a pair of field goggles. "I think there's something square - maybe about three feet across - there, about twenty feet in from the concrete pylon. He passed the glasses to Danny.
He could also see the shadow, but could not be certain.
The pilot was chatting with the other chopper that was armed with the radioactive detector. It ducked back down, hovering in closer to the bridge, trying to get a good look at the abnormality. The wind off the river through the trusses was made it difficult to hold position.
Suddenly the chopper close to the bridge erupted into flame, exploding in hot flash, sending pieces of metal and flames in all directions. One blade of the rotor slammed into the steel grid work of the bridge before spiraling down to splash into the river.
"They were fired on!" The pilot yelled, yanking back on his stick to create distance between himself and the bridge. "Somebody down there is shooting!'
It was the worst case scenario.
"We need to get reinforcements up here," the airman declared. "I can't even tell where that came from!"
"We may not have time," Danny replied. "They must have the bomb on a timer. It'll be almost an hour before we can have people in position."
"What if it's not a timer?" the airman asked.
"If it's a remote they would have already detonated it," he replied. "It's on a timer and I have to get in there."
"I'm not getting my ship shot up," the pilot remarked.
"What will your ship look like if that nuclear weapon detonates fifty yards away from it?" Danny asked.
The pilot's sigh could be heard over the radio com. "Well, if we're gonna drop you in there, how do we do it and keep you alive?"
Danny knew there was no fail-safe way. "The top. We can use the line with a quick release."
"Quick release. We don't make it just right and it's a long way done," the pilot remarked.
"I think that's all we've got."
End part 9