When the Stars Begin to Fall
By Peg Keeley


Part 3


"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.

"But here?"

"We have evidence that she was killed right here in your home."

She gasped.

"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 here."

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 midnight."

"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 up."

"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?"

"No. Nothing."

"And you went to bed."

"Yes, I was really tired."

"Nothing else."

"I already said that," Williams retorted. "You have it all."

"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 to Lynette.

"He barks at everything, even us," she offered.

"Sorry about the dust, ma'am. Some degreaser stuff will remove it," Kono offered.

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.

"Dog food?"

"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 a job.

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 voluntarily."

Danny frowned. "What are you looking for?"

"Your innocence."

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 door.

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 your vehicle."


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 desk.

"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 by."

"I have just a few questions," Steve replied, watching the back of the secretary as she retreated. "Is there somewhere private we can talk?"

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?"

"Flagstaff, why?"

"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 your family?"

"You can ask," Hastings snapped, "but I won't answer. I can't answer."

"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, didn't she?"

"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 parking lot."

"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, trust me."


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 the glass.

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 thin linen.

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 do.

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 can't."

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 you?"

"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?" Steve asked.

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 is."

"They have lots of prints to go through, Steve," Kono reminded gently.

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 and Interpol."

"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 timidly.

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 again."

"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 pretty heavily."

"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 something."

"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 the receiver.

"McGarrett," he said into the receiver, taking it from the young man's hand.

"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."

"Already have."

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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