When the Stars Begin to Fall
By Peg Keeley


Part 7

Unflustered by Marten's display, Wo Fat commented emphatically. "Mr. Camp, do you understand the critical nature of this action? This residence is under temporary assignment to the Chinese consulate. You are conducting an act of war."

"Marten!" Steve called to him.

The front door of the house suddenly burst open, and half a dozen men in black camouflage flooded into the room armed with M16 machine guns.

"Drop your weapons! Everyone! Now! Orders of the Secret Service!" shouted a voice.

Steve turned, open-mouthed and in shock to be looking Dan Williams in the face. Good Lord, I thought he was a college kid!

Camp and his team lowered their weapons. "What the hell is this?"

"Disengage," Williams told him sternly. "By orders of President Eisenhower."

Camp glanced at his men and they quickly fell back and without a word, vanished through the back door.

As quickly as they had arrived, the six black garbed agents filed out the front door leaving Steve, Danny, Diane, and Wo Fat face to face.

"Please accept apologies on the behalf of the President of the United States," Danny said to Wo Fat, then without waiting for response, also turned towards the door.

Wo Fat raised an eyebrow towards Steve. "Until next time, McGarrett." He gave a slight bow.

McGarrett returned the bow. Taking Diane's arm, he also headed out the front door. It was a bit mind boggling how quickly this incident had escalated, then just as quickly disappeared.

"I don't understand," Diane was saying, "what happened?"

"I'm not sure," he replied hoping to get something from Williams, but when they got outside, he and Diane were alone. Steve hurried them down the long flagstone walkway towards the street, hoping to catch a glimpse of Camp or Williams, but there was no one in sight. As Steve and Diane approached the large metal gateway, it swung open as if on its own accord. Electric eye somewhere, no doubt, Steve surmised. As they exited, it clicked closed behind them.

Diane shivered slightly in spite of the warm tropic night.

Steve took off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders. "Are you all right?"

She looked back towards Wo Fat's compound. "I -- yes. No one hurt me," she stammered. "It is all so hard to understand. What happened? What did those men want?"

He shook his head. "They wanted something that had been taken from them. They knew I could get it, so they used you." He set his jaw as he began what promised to be a long slow walk back to Honolulu, arm still protectively around Diane. I love her, but I cannot risk her like this. She is a beautiful woman who needs to have a life of joy, beauty, peace, and security. I cannot offer any of those to her.

She nestled closer to him. "Thank you, Steve."

"What for? It was because of me you were placed in danger."

"That doesn't matter."

"Yes, it does, but we will talk about this later."

A car appeared on the road ahead of them, it's headlights illuminating the roadway before them. It slowed, coming to a stop and Steve already had his gun in his hand before he recognized the vehicle.

Chin Ho stuck his head out of the driver's window. "Thought you might be able to use a ride back to town."

"Chin! How did you know--" He paused in his questioning as they got into the car. "I need some answers, Bruddah."

He glanced at them in the back seat through the rear view mirror. Answers I probably cannot give.

"Did you know about the Secret Service?"

"The what?"

"Chin, that college kid of yours led a Secret Service raid on Wo Fat's hideout and disarmed the CIA. What do you know about this?"

"Danny? Secret Service?" He gave a laugh.

Steve's eyes narrowed. What's so funny?

"I did what you asked, Steve. I put the word out in a big way for Wo Fat's man. Came back with this address. When I could not find you, I came here. I figured you had already found out."

"And you didn't tell Williams?"

He shrugged. "He's in the loop, so to speak, Steve. People know I'm lookin' for something, somebody might tell him."

Steve was uncomfortable with the evasiveness of his employee. "Chin, I need straight answers."

"Those are all the answers I got, Steve."


Steve decided to sleep in until 6:30 AM and arrived at the office just past eight. He climbed the stairway to the new Five-0 office. It still felt unfamiliar as he stepped to the hallway door now bearing the newly painted golden lettering that spelled "Five-0." As he opened the door, Jenny looked up from her desk where she was putting file folders into her new desk.

"Good morning, Boss," she said cheerfully.

"Please, it's Steve," he replied realizing that although this was Jenny's second day, he' d barely exchanged more than ten words with her.

She handed him a message slip of paper. It was from Richard Garrison and requested he come to Kapiolani Park immediately.

Garrison was seated on a park bench feeding the sea gulls that flocked around him as Steve came over and sat down. "Morning, Steve."

"Morning, Richard. What do you want?"

"I want to give you an explanation. We owe that to you."

You owe me a hell of a lot more than that, he thought hotly. "Go ahead."

"This is classified. You may not discuss this, or divulge-"

"Yeah, yeah, Richard," Steve interrupted, waving a hand. "I know the routine. Stop stalling."

Richard paused. "You are just as difficult as ever. Does Hawaii know what it is in for?"

He grinned. "Right now the state of Hawaii is not the issue."

"Off the record NIS is thankful for your support in this matter. We were not -- completely informed regarding the Stars operation."


"Code name Stars."

"As in: 'When the Stars Begin to Fall'?"

"You know that much, huh?"

"I know that it was a trigger phrase induced by hypnosis or something into an agent to make him-- her?--perform -- a service."

"Hum," Richard remarked.

"There are lots of holes in there," Steve added.

"Lucile Franks was a spook for CIA and IMF. She and her team were to sneak a well-known rocket scientist out of Russia in 1953 by way of Korea. The Russian contact was a double agent, Lucile was captured, tortured. I never liked using women for this kind of work anyway. Well, it looked like she never cracked. But emotionally she was such a shambles, John wanted her out. She needed intensive debriefing when we got her back."

"Debriefing? You mean brainwashing?" Steve corrected coldly.

"Not exactly." Garrison crossed his arms. "Apparently, in the process the agency discovered the Russians had placed a hypnotic suggestion into Lucile."

"And instead of curing her, they took advantage of it."

He hunched his shoulders. "After a fashion. They modified it."

"She did not know."


"Her husband know?"

"No. Hell, Steve I didn't know this until last night. It was a real hush-hush CIA classified thing. The first Chinese intelligence report said John had taken the plan. They went after him, threatened him. He put two and two together and figured that Lucile had been used. He just didn't know by whom. He tried to get her some help."

"Is that where they were when Natalie was killed?"

He hesitated. "I think they'd gone on vacation to Connecticut then."

How much else in this story may be a lie? "The 'Stars' project was designed to take advantage of Lynette's hypnosis. So when the time was right they just -- pushed the button," Steve supplied.

Garrison nodded. "The Chinese were developing their own missile system. We needed to check it out. So, she was used to retrieve a copy of the plans. Almost worked except the Chinese found out and sent Wo Fat to get the copy back."

"So the CIA dropped the story that the Chinese were trying to steal our technology to tighten security," Steve guessed.

He nodded. "But they didn't plan on the Reds using Bart Polski to try to get the daughter to steal the plans. He must have known the plans were at the house, but couldn't find them. The girl went in on it, they drugged the kid at the house, got the plans out of the wall, then Polski killed her to cover his tracks."

Steve shook his head. "Hard to know the good guys from the bad guys."

"It was a matter of national security, Steve. And because of you, we lost the opportunity. Technically it isn't treason, but there are people screaming. It's a good thing you left NIS cause you'd be shot for this there. As it is, you are a local lawman doing what he thought was right."

"The Secret Service supported the decision."


"The Secret Service," Steve repeated. "They pulled the plug on Camp last night."

Garrison shook his head. "There is no Secret Service unit in Hawaii. Camp did not mention them in his report."

"But…" Steve stopped. I guess there will always be a hole or two in this story. I should be glad that Garrison told me all he has.

Garrison rose and extended a hand. "I wish you all the best here, Steve. Hope Hawaii appreciates what a good man they have."

"Thank you," he said shaking Richard's hand. "And good luck to you, too."


Steve returned to his office, still thinking about the confusing tragedy that had claimed the life of Natalie Hastings-Frank. It most likely had cost her father his life as well since the man had not been found by either NIS or CIA. To disappear without a trace was not uncommon in this dangerous line of work. He reflected on the future for Lynette-Lucile and hoped, where ever she was there would be someone waiting for her with her true best interests at heart. His line of thought was interrupted as he entered the office.

"There is a Diane Rodman waiting in your office for you," Jenny informed him.

He hurried through the door to see Diane co-incidentally occupying the same chair that Wo Fat had the day before. He hurried to her side. "Diane, how are you doing?" He was well aware that she had had no more sleep than he had.

She forced a smile. "I wish I could say fine, Steve." She smiled bravely, but it was transparent she was not at all in good spirits. "I-I can't get it all out of my head. I couldn't sleep, it kept all coming back to me. Those men, the fear…"

"I wish you had not insisted on returning to your apartment," he said gently.

"I know, you told me not to, but…." She shivered. "Steve, I want my life back. My nice, simple, normal, quiet, schoolteacher life." Her voice shook. She attempted to speak again, but struggled to clear her throat.

Steve put an arm around her. "It's all right, Diane," he said gently.

"No," she managed, "it's not all right and it's not fair." One tear slipped out of her left eye. "Oh, I wasn't going to do this. I was going to be so brave!" More tears fell. "I love you, Steve! This hasn't changed that! I want to be with you."

He did not give a response. She is going to leave. I know it is coming. Let her go; do the truly loving thing and encourage her to leave. His heart was breaking as he swallowed once, steeling his feelings, his thoughts. "I understand, Diane."

She started to brush away the tears as they fell. He handed her his handkerchief. "Steve, I talked with my father. He says I should come home for a little while."

Steve managed a nod, denying the pain that enveloped him.

"Just for a little while," she whispered. "They live in Montana. There is no ocean, but the mountains and the open sky are so clear and clean and…..you need to come there."

"I would like to," he managed to say around the lump growing in his own throat. "When do you leave?"

"I have a flight out in just over two hours. I need to get to the airport."

He was a bit surprised that she'd gotten a flight so quickly, but maybe it was just as well. They would not have to endure the inexorable moment for a day or two. It will be over quickly and maybe the pain will not last too long. Maybe it will last forever. "May I take you to the airport?"

Her face brightened. "I had hoped you would."

He nodded. It is the least I can do. I will cherish every second between now and the time the plane leaves the ground.


Steve stood rooted to the large window until the spec of the large jet had vanished into the mid-morning sky. I told her I would come to Montana, but I know it will not happen. She promised to return to Hawaii, but that shall not happen either. Reality is a bitter companion the makes me understand the world for what it is. Diane was a bright star in the vast night sky of my life. He forced a small smile at himself. I do not usually think in such romantic terms. Perhaps she was my star that fell. There was a hollow spot that ached for her loss already although it had been merely a few minutes of time. Does time help this pain? I think not. There will always be a Diane shaped emptiness within me. At last he turned away from the window, consciously making the decision to close the door to this chapter and move on.

He started for the other end of the airport then stopped. Seated in a gate waiting area less than twenty feet away from him was Dan Williams looking at a paperback novel. A piece of Steve wanted to pretend he had not seen and permit himself one more minute to dwell on Diane, but his curiosity won out. He walked over to Williams and said, "Hello. Are you meeting someone?"

Danny looked up. "Hello, McGarrett. No, I'm not meeting someone, I'm leaving."

"That sounds a bit permanent," Steve said.

Danny looked up. "Yep."

"Any special reason why?"

He shrugged. "Nothing to keep me here anymore. Did you hear that Mali's charges were dropped in the hit-and-run? Record contract people had a big name lawyer." He gave a smirk. "Justice, huh?"

"Are you going to join her?" Steve asked.

"Are you kidding? Hope I never see her again." He closed the book. "If you must know, I am transferring to Berkley because University of Hawaii doesn't offer a Police Science major. I figure I might be able to land a summer job to handle of the loss of the baseball scholarship."

"Police Science?"

"I don't think I'm quite cut out to be a shrink."

"Or a spook either, huh?"

He grinned.

Steve sat down beside him. "You never gave me an opportunity to thank you the other night."

"Looked like your guy Camp was about to push us into World War III."

"He wasn't my guy." Steve gave a quiet smile. "So, do you care to fill in some of these holes for me now?"

"What holes?"

"Secret Service?"

He laughed. "Chin was looking for that Wo Fat guy. All his cousins and stuff were beatin' the brush. His nephew told me when they found the address. We started out to spring Diane, but ended up breaking up Camp instead."

"The we is whom?"

"What? Oh, that, no. Those guys weren't real Secret Service. We took the props from the drama department at the University."

"You did what?" Steve stared at him.

"It was a trick. It worked."

"You pretended to be the Secret Service?" Steve shook his head. "Unbelievable." Inwardly he cringed at the thought of the astronomical risks. "Well, Dan Williams, you are certainly a bit unorthodox. When you get your degree, would you give me a call? I'll have a position waiting for you." They shook hands and Steve rose.

"This is first call for flight 4960 to San Francisco boarding gate 9A. Ticketed passengers, please prepare to board."

Danny headed for the doorway down to the plane.

Steve turned to him. "Hey, one more question?"

Danny glanced back, but did not stop walking. "What?"

"You knew where to find the Hastings when Natalie died. How is that?"

"I told you, I was house sitting."

"Where were they?"

He was at the doorway. He flashed a quick grin. "Good-bye, Mr. McGarrett."

Reality Check (What is factual and what is not in this story)

The first election of a four year governor in Hawaii was held in November of 1960

The tension regarding the missile race was real as were the missiles named in the discussion

James Michener wrote the historical novel "Hawaii" that was copyrighted in 1960

The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors do play the Pepperdine Wolvarines in baseball

The constellation of Orion and and the myth story both exist

The USS Arizona Memorial was constructed and dedicated over the battleship Arizona in 1962.

There was a tsunami that struck Hilo May 23, 1960, killed 61 people and destroyed most of Hilo.


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