When the Stars Begin to Fall
By Peg Keeley
"I cannot imagine what you are looking for," Lynette stated
nervously as Steve and Kono entered her home.
"We are looking for information that will lead us to your daughter's
killer," Steve said quietly.
"We have evidence that she was killed right here in your home."
"We would appreciate your permission to look around the house."
She barely managed a nod.
Kono began to take some careful dustings of fingerprints around door jams,
windowsills, table tops.
"Has the floor been vacuumed since Natalie's death?" Steve asked.
"Of course. The girl did it today," Lynette offered.
"I need the dust bag from the machine," he stated.
The door opened and Chin entered, Dan Williams in tow. "What is this
about?" Williams blurted immediately.
Ah, yes, the best defense is a good offense, Steve thought, recognizing
the tactic. "Thank you for coming, Williams. Were you here in this
house between 11 PM and 5 AM on the night of Natalie Hastings' murder?"
"Yes I was," he replied.
"And where were you in the house? Show it to me, if you would,"
Steve asked quietly.
He led the way through the house to the guestroom off the kitchen. "Right
Steve glanced at the spotless room with pink rose wallpaper, lace curtains,
and wicker furniture. The window opened onto the back patio. "And
you never heard anything that night."
"What time did you go to bed?"
"I don't remember," Danny replied, pausing to think. "About
"Was it midnight, or don't you remember?" Steve said a bit hardly.
"I remember now, it was about midnight. The dog was barking and I
went out to shut him up just before I turned out the light."
"What was the dog barking at?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. He barks at everything. I just tied him
"You tied up the dog?"
He was becoming flustered. "By his dog house! In the yard!"
"Did he bark after that?"
"Only for a minute or two. Then he stopped."
"You heard nothing else?"
"And you went to bed."
"Yes, I was really tired."
"I already said that," Williams retorted. "You have it
"No, Mr. Williams, I do not have it all," Steve said hotly.
"Miss Hastings was killed right here in this house sometime between
midnight and 4 AM. You were the only one in the house."
Danny's mouth dropped open and the color drained from his face. "My
God, you think -- but I -- Chin, he has it all wrong."
Chin looked miserable. "We're just looking at the evidence, Danny.
We have to check everything."
Kono had walked by them to the kitchen area to dust and the dog began
to bark at him from outside. "Nice dog," Kono remarked sarcastically
"He barks at everything, even us," she offered.
"Sorry about the dust, ma'am. Some degreaser stuff will remove it,"
Steve, Chin and Danny began to reenact Danny's steps on the night of Natalie's
death, but it was clear than the student was terrified that any move he
made might be implicating him further. Steve gazed out of the kitchen
door at the small dog barking wildly at them.
Following his tracks, Danny walked out, took hold of the dog's collar,
walked him to the doghouse and tied him up. Danny straightened. "Oh,
I fed him," he recalled.
"No, leftovers from the fridge. There was some pot roast I had just
warmed up for dinner. Mrs. Hastings had left it for me, but I didn't eat
it all, so I gave the last of it to the dog."
"Chin," Steve said quietly. "I want the dog poop tested."
"You want what?" Chin stared at him.
"Get an HPD officer out here to collect all the dog droppings he
can find and get them to Che Fong."
Chin gulped wondering how he'd get an officer to agree to this kind of
Steve turned his granite expression on Williams. "Will you submit
to a blood test? I can get a warrant if I need to, or you can do this
Danny frowned. "What are you looking for?"
Kono approached them. "Steve, I need to show you something."
He led McGarrett to the master bedroom and gestured to the recent repair
to the dry wall.
Steve estimated that the new drywall patch was about 18" x 12".
The repair had been made quickly -- and recently. The new paint did not
quite match. He noticed Mrs. Hastings spying on them from around the corner.
"Mrs. Hastings, do you know anything about this?"
"Certainly," she said quietly, her eyes diverting downward.
"It was an accident. Roger put his hand through the wall."
"How did he come to do that?"
"He, um, was impatient." She wrung her hands. "We have
been under a lot of stress, Mr. McGarrett. Our daughter has been murdered!
Tempers flare. He got angry, so he punched the wall."
"What was he angry about?"
"Things. Nothing. Everything."
I need to talk with Roger Hastings. It's time I paid a visit to the publisher.
Kono had marked six of the Nash Ramblers off his list. Considering how
wild the day had been, he felt pretty good about that. Five of them had
been colors other than red. The one red one he had seen had been up on
blocks awaiting parts from the mainland for two weeks. He now stood on
the front step of a small yellow clapboard home knocking on the screened
The middle-aged Hawaiian woman who answered greeted him in Hawaiian. Replying
in the same he stated that he needed to see the car. She waddled around
to the yard out back and pointed to a rusty Chevy station wagon. He asked
about the Nash and she gave a toothy grin, claiming it belonged to her
son, Kato and she did not know where he was.
Disappointed, Kono was just turning away with the convertible red Nash
Rambler streaked up before the house, Kato at the wheel. The carefree
smile melted away from his face revealing apprehension as he, accurately
determined Kono to be a police officer.
"You Kato Akia?"
He frowned. "You a cop?"
"Yup. This your car?"
"Yeah," he replied, hands on hips.
Kono walked around the passenger side. "What happened here?"
he asked gesturing to the damage.
"I don't know. Came out from the bar and it was like that. Somebody
just hit it, you know? Made me mad, too. This is a nice car."
"Uh-huh." Kono eyed the damaged right front quarter panel, trying
to decide if there was evidence to prove out the boy's story. "Did
you report it?"
"Report it?" He scoffed. "Hey, man, who's gonna care, huh?
A kanaka loco's car gets banged. No big deal. I got no insurance."
"Too bad," Kono commented. "Cause I'm gonna have to impound
Steve scanned all he could as he was led
through the front office of Island Publishers. The secretary was conservative,
professional, and neat to a fault. There wasn't a scrap of paper on her
"This way, please." She led him down the corridor to the office
of Roger Hastings.
Hastings' office was actually a cubicle. There were stacks of manuscripts
on the desk. There was a cutup copy of a picture book entitled Brother
Rabbit Wins the Prize spread out on the desk. Roger put down a red pencil
and turned to face Steve. "Good afternoon. My wife said you'd be
"I have just a few questions," Steve replied, watching the back
of the secretary as she retreated. "Is there somewhere private we
Roger led him to the conference room. "Is this better?"
Steve got right to his point. "I am told you and your wife were off
the Island when Natalie died. Where were you?"
Without hesitate Roger answered, "Booksellers Convention, Chicago.
They have a big one every Spring."
"You have lived in the Islands for six years."
"Yes," Roger agreed.
"And before that?"
"Where in Arizona?"
"Hastings, there are no records of you, your wife, your children
anywhere before six years ago, why is that?"
Hastings shrugged with a little laugh. "Who should have a record?
We're pretty normal people."
"Your fingerprints are not in file on the mainland."
"McGarrett, what are you getting at?"
"Is it like your whole family appeared out of nowhere. Why is that?"
Hastings face flushed red. "McGarrett, just what are you implying?"
"I'm not implying anything," he retorted, "I'm asking.
Now how can a family of four appear in the Islands with two half grown
children no history of address, business, schools, drivers licenses, birth
certificates -- nothing?"
Hastings color was gradually progressing to purple. "You're the smart
cop, McGarrett, you figure it out. No one could just appear like that
without help -- or a reason. We were transplanted here by the federal
government, that is all you need to know."
That is no surprise, but it does open the door wide to past enemies.
"So much for the innocent book editor, huh?" Steve remarked.
"May I ask again about people who would be trying to injure you are
"You can ask," Hastings snapped, "but I won't answer. I
"Not even to help us capture your daughter's killer!" Steve
demanded, clenching a fist.
"Especially not to help you capture her killer. Don't take this personally,
McGarrett, but if someone out there is looking for me, you won't be able
to stop it. And anyone I can think of would not have been interested in
Natalie, they would have gone for me or Lynette."
Lynette? Am I dealing with the Federal Witness Program or an All-in-the-Family
spook team? I have heard of husband-wife agents, but never quite believed
it. And didn't Mrs. Hastings play the role. They are willing to sacrifice
their daughter for this -- whatever it is.
"Look, McGarrett, the little charade is over, okay?" Hastings
said quietly. "I cannot bring back Natalie. I would give anything
if I could. I want her killer to pay, but I was in the business too long.
You won't solve your crime."
"Was? Have you retired?"
"Of course," he said with a blink. "That was why we relocated
to Hawaii. I thought I had made my last sacrifice in the service of our
country. I guess I was wrong."
Steve started to turn towards the door then paused. "Oh, one more
thing. There was a wall repair in your bedroom."
He smiled calmly. "I am certain Lynette told you that I lost my temper,
"Did she? I guess she did," he replied with a smile. As Steve
left the office, he gave a final glance around. I'd bet the ranch that
this guy is anything but retired. And the publishing office was too neat,
too clean. The book he was editing did not have one red mark. I was just
in a CIA front office.
Kato found Mali as she headed up the walk to her mother's modest home,
an armload of shopping bags in her arms. Mali!" he called in relief.
"I've been looking all over for you!"
She grinned. "I been shopping, Bruddah! Pay day and I needed new
threads for that agent man. He's gonna make a real tape of my singing
and get me a big record deal in California. He gonna call me tonight and
we're gonna make plans! Mama is so proud!"
He barely listened to her. "Mali, I need your help."
"Are you proud of me, Kato?" She said, ignorant of the urgency
in his voice.
"What?" His face squinted.
"Me and Danno gonna go to the mainland and make it rich!" She
giggled. She dropped the bags. "Wait, let me show you what I got."
"Mali!" Kato implored, grabbing her arms. "Please, be quiet.
Listen to me!"
His anxiety finally registered and she mellowed. "Okay, Kato,"
she said more slowly, concern showing, "what is it?"
"A cop came to my mama's place lookin' for the Nash."
She scowled. "So?"
"I know he knows, Mali. He asked questions and stuff."
"What kind of questions?"
"Where I was and stuff. I told him that somebody hit the car in a
"Did he believe you?"
"I don't know." He licked his lips. "They impounded my
car to look at it. Mali, we were just having fun. I didn't mean nothing,
you know that. We didn't mean to wreck that car. I'm worried."
"There's nothing to worry about, Kato. We just stick to what we said.
We left the club, drove over to the University to see Danno. That's it."
He was not so easily calmed. "But, Mali, if he asks Danny, Danny
will tell 'em that he didn't see you till nearly midnight. And he didn't
see me at all."
She giggled. "We looked for him, right? That took a while. Don't
worry, Kato. It's cool. Danny will say what I tell him. It will be okay,
Mali planned her strategy well. She picked her clothing with care to be
provocative. She checked her tight shorts and the thin shirt she'd selected
to wear braless. Whoever said 'The way to a man's heart is through
his stomach' was about 12 inches too high. Her next step was to buy
several bottles of wine, cut up some fruit, crackers and cheese. The blanket
also had special meaning; she and Danny laid on it the first time they'd
made love. Their small hideaway of a beach cove seemed to be theirs alone.
They had never encountered another soul in all their visits. At last she
had him by the hand and was leading the way to their little cove as the
stars began to come out.
Danny poured the wine as the half-moon rose over the ocean.
"We should build a house here someday," Mali whispered accepting
He chuckled. "I thought you were headed for the mainland."
"You'll wait for me, won't you?" she replied. The breeze caught
her hair, lifting it away from her shoulders for a moment.
He stopped himself from promising to wait for her forever. How could
I promise that? There is something bewitching about this place. The
perfume she always wore filled his mind.
Mali popped a cracker into Danny's mouth. "I love you, Danny."
She draped her body across him, her breasts easily visible through the
Danny could feel the passion exploding within him. "I love you, too,"
he replied. Do I? I wish I knew. Sometimes she makes me so angry, then
there are minutes like this when I'd give her anything. And I usually
Mali calculated her timing well. Waiting until a better part of the second
bottle of wine had been consumed and until she knew she had Danny in a
frame of mind where he'd agree to anything. She desired his touch, his
caress and adoration. But tonight she wanted even more. As they lay entwined
together on the soft blanket in the hollow of sand she whispered, "You
do love me, right?"
"Yes, Mali, you know that," he whispered back, kissing her neck.
"You'd help me, right?"
"Help you do what?" He thought she would ask him to move to
LA again. Every time she asks, it's harder to say no. Right this minute
I could stay with her forever.
"You remember the other night when I met you in the library, right?"
He grinned. "And you tried to seduce me in the psych section? How
could I forget?"
"Kato just needs you to tell a cop that."
Danny would never have imagined a romantic mood could be shattered so
quickly. "What?" He sat up. His own present police problems
rushed to mind. "What do you mean?"
She hastened to pacify him. "Nothing, Danno, it's nothing. Just tell
them we were there. Wasn't it about 10:30? Yes, I'm sure it was 10:30."
He frowned. "It nearly midnight and it was just you. What's all this
about?" She brought me down here, did all this, as a trick.
"Kato needs somebody to give him an alibi. He didn't do anything
wrong, but he just needs you take say he was with us."
Danny's anger bubbled. "God, Mali, you thought you could offer me
sex and I'd just jump for whatever you wanted?"
"Kato's my second cousin. He needs my help."
"So you're trying to buy my help with sex? Selling yourself like
a common whore!"
"Jeeze, Danny. It isn't like we never got it on before. I just thought
you might be helpful if you were in a better mood first."
"Better mood! You want me to lie for you!"
"Yes, I do!" She shouted back. "Kato is my friend. He just
needs us to account for him!"
"Yeah? Where was he really, Mali?"
"I know where he was. He was driving home! He just side-swiped a
car and he was a little drunk."
"And my guess is he left the scene," Danny added.
She nodded. "He said someone whacked the car and that he was with
you. How can he defend himself if you won't agree?"
He jumped to his feet, collecting his clothing. "I don't know, Mali.
But I can't lie for him."
Mali scrambled to her feet. "Where are you going?"
He picked up his shirt and shoes. "Home. I'm walking home."
"Danno! You told me you loved me!"
He pulled the shirt over his head and stuck the shoes under his arm. "I
won't do this."
"If you loved me, you'd help us!"
He turned his back to walk away.
"It isn't just Kato! It's me and Leah, too! You're hurting us all!
How can you be so evil!"
He turned back to face her. "It's not me, Mali. Kato did this. You
can't blame me because he hit a car. I've got problems enough right now.
I don't need any more."
"But Kato already told them! Please, Danno. It isn't such a big thing.
He was scared Danny, scared of the police!"
I know well enough how that feels. There was a fleeting hesitation
in his expression.
Mali did not miss the reconsideration. "Please, Danno," she
repeated, coming towards him. "Do it for me?"
His brows knit as he glared at the ground. "I'm sorry, Mali. I just
She wondered if she might still get him to change his mind if she let
the subject drop for a few minutes. "Okay," she said quietly
and placed her arms around his neck again. "We still have the night."
He gently broke her grip. "I need to get back," he mumbled and
turned away in the dark.
This time, he did not glance back, but kept walking.
On another beach, on the west side of the Island, Steve strolled with
Diane through the gentle low tide waves that lapped the shoreline.
"Do you ever miss the mainland?" she asked him.
"Not often," he replied. "There isn't anything for me back
there. This is where I'm needed."
She gave a gentle laugh. "Spoken like a man of dedication. No family,
no past, just the present and the goals of the future." She gazed
into his eyes. "Have you always lived such a lonely life?"
McGarrett was not comfortable discussing personal issues with others.
Diane was no exception, regardless of how attracted to her he found himself.
"Tell me about your interview at Kamehameha School. Will they hire
"Aha," she whispered, "changing the subject -- but delicately.
That's okay. Yes, the interview went well. No, I haven't heard if I get
the job or not. I think I will though." She swung the shoes she carried
in her left hand. "I would so much like to stay here forever!"
He smiled. "I should take you sailing soon," he promised. "The
Islands have a very special beauty when seen from the water."
"I would love to! When?"
He lifted an eyebrow. "I guess I'll need to see when I can get a
day away." I've only had this job for five days and I'm looking forward
to a vacation! "Do you know the constellations?" Enveloping
her in his arms, he pointed towards the heavenly bodies flickering in
the night sky. "Orion's belt. And there are the Pleiades, Bellatrix,
and Rigels. According to the Greeks, Orion was a mighty hunter. One day
while hunting, he was stung by a scorpion and died. The gods felt sorry
for him so they lifted him up to the heavens; hence, the constellation
of Orion. And they also placed his two dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor,
Taurus the bull, and Lepus the rabbit for him to hunt." He pointed
out each cluster of stars. "But they made sure that Scorpius was
on the far side of the heavens so that Orion would never be stung again."
She rested her head back against his chest, relaxed and at peace.
It was a natural thing to simply drop his head and place the kiss on her
lips. They gazed into each other's eyes for a moment, each seeking the
thoughts and feelings of the other. Then they kissed again with intention
and commitment. She is so marvelous, beautiful, gentle, but I cannot
afford a relationship right now. There are too many pressing matters.
But could I let her go? Would she go? I would be a fool. I only met her
yesterday but I feel as though I have known her all my life, waited for
her all my life. And now she is here. And here I shall stay.
Chin arrived at 6:15 AM, stole a cup of coffee from the report room of
the station and at 6:30 sat through the morning briefing of the day shift.
The night before had been unusually quiet for a Friday, so everyone was
in a good mood this morning. As he left, the City Desk officer handed
him an envelope.
"You in Five-0 right, Kelley? This for you guys."
Noting the postmark from Utah and the air mail special delivery, Chin
opened the envelope on route to the office. By the time he was coming
through the door, he already understood the new wrinkle in the Hastings
case. He stuck the photo towards Steve. "New trouble, Steve."
McGarrett examined the driver's photo of Tim Ottman. Only, it was not
the face of Tim Ottman that Natalie's roommates had given him. "Our
Tim Ottman is a fake."
Chin nodded. "Looks like it, Steve."
"How could he get away with that?" Kono asked. "He told
the girl, her mother, the roommates who he was."
"How many girls you know ask for an ID when you pick them up?"
Kono grinned. "They're too dazzled by my good looks."
Chin issued a chuckle. "You date near-sighted girls?"
McGarrett gazed again at the real face of Tim Ottman. "Well, he must
have left fingerprints registered somewhere. Kono, see where the report
"They have lots of prints to go through, Steve," Kono reminded
McGarrett's expression revealed his impatience. "Get the results,
Kono." He pulled the 3x5 picture of Natalie and her boyfriend the
roommate had given him. The now nameless boyfriend wore a baseball cap
and sunglasses, so an identity would be more difficult. "Get back
to the two roommates. Take them through the mug files. Include federal
"That will take forever!" Kono blurted. "I thought I was
tracking down those Ramblers."
"Assign it to HPD."
Yeah, just like that, huh? "Do I have that authority?" he asked
Steve glared at him. "I do. Do it."
Kono decided it was time to leave without further question. He passed
Chin Ho in the hall. "Stormy weather in dere, bruddah," he murmured.
Chin merely smiled. In spite of his placid demeanor, he was rarely intimidated
and almost always one step ahead of every boss he'd ever had. He accurately
deduced McGarrett's frustration was not related to his team, but to a
lack of progress. I'm going to help some there. "Got your
collaborative effort of Bergman and Fong here," he said handing over
the two pages of lab readouts.
Steve accepted them commenting, "I thought you all said this would
take a week."
Chin grinned. "Good lab people always take the outside estimate and
add two days. Makes them look better."
"I'll have to remember that one," Steve mumbled, but his attention
was on the information. "Jackpot time, huh?"
Chin agreed. "Che says it's amazing the dog didn't die. Enough barbiturate
in there to knock out an elephant. Someone wanted to make sure Williams
slept through something."
"Yeah, Chin, but who?" He tapped a finger on the edge of the
desk. "Williams' blood test was almost clean. What kind of drug will
take some down someone down that fast but clear through the kidneys in
just four days
"Che supposed it was a compound that the CIA was working on last
year. They got good results with it."
CIA again. This whole thing smacks of CIA. McGarrett picked up
the phone receiver and dialed a number. "Put me through to the Field
Director of the CIA," he snapped to the person at the other end.
That impressed Chin whose eyes widened. Is there a Field Director in
Hawaii? I suppose so, but do they put the phone number in the white pages?
"Marten this is Steve," McGarrett said into the phone.
Chin blinked again. He's on a first name basis with him to boot. We
may really have the right man in McGarrett.
"How's your slice?" Steve asked in a pseudo-friendly manner.
"We'll have to do a few holes soon. Listen, I have a small matter
I need to discuss with you...Okay, that will be fine." He hung up
and picked up his suit jacket from the back of the chair. "Chin,
I'm going over to NIS to see Che Fong. I need you to go back to the Hastings
"And do what?"
"Go through that place again. There has to be something more there.
See if you can find out who repaired the wall."
Che had three aides crawling around, under and through the red Nash Rambler
when Steve arrived at the NIS lab. "You are keeping me pretty busy
here lately," Che kidded. "Uncle Sam is going to ask you to
pay for me at this rate."
Steve smiled without voicing his thought, I wish I was. "Chin told
me about the drugs."
He nodded. "No question but that both the boy and the dog were drugged
"How long would that drug have stayed potent in the food?"
He shrugged. "If I recall from the notes it was pot roast with gravy.
The drug might have started to break down once the food was heated, but
it got eaten then, so -- I don't think I could say that it had to have
been added just before it was eaten or anything, but someone with access
to the kitchen added it."
"How good are your boys at fingerprints?"
He gave a small smirk. "I heard you are creating a mountain of stuff
for the guys in HPD."
"Getting anything off the Rambler?"
"Well I can tell you that this was the vehicle and the evidence will
stand up in court. Paint is right, the flat tire is in the trunk. Damage
is appropriate. We're processing the prints for you. As you'd expect,
there are a ton."
"I owe you on this one, Che."
"Well, since you say that..." Che hesitated, "there is
"Name it," Steve replied, interest piqued.
Che seemed mildly embarrassed. "Oh, that's okay. Never mind."
"No, really. What is it?" Steve insisted.
"Would you have enough influence to get me a position with the State?"
Steve stared at him. "What?"
"The civilian jobs are being phased out," Che explained. "There
aren't too many jobs for criminologists in Hawaii."
"Well, I can try. We could maybe squeeze you in somewhere,"
Steve said seriously. I cannot believe this! Just when I thought I'd
have to sweet talk him away from NIS! What a stroke of luck!
"Mr. McGarrett, you have a phone call," reported an aide, waving
"McGarrett," he said into the receiver, taking it from the young
"This is Kono. I've got a positive ID on the guy Natalie's friend
says is Ottman. He's got an outstanding federal warrant for smuggling
arms to the Middle East. Real name is Bart Polski."
"Put out an APB."
Good, you are thinking ahead, Kono. "Then pick up Kato Akia. I'd
like to talk to him."
"Will do, Steve."
End Part 3
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