Matter of Trust
McGarrett's reply was empty. "How's the body search going?"
"All recovered but one. Ballistics reports confirm they were all killed with the same gun, Russian Tokarev. Once in the head - except Lu."
Steve rubbed his chin in thought. "Except Lu. It is pretty safe to assume that Lu's death was an error." He walked over to the chalkboard of names and back. "Gorek did not even try to disguise Keaver's murder. This one thinks he's smarter than the rest of us."
Chin puffed his pipe. Every so often he enjoyed having the exclusive privilege of smoking in Steve's office. This seemed like a good time. "He certainly seems to have able to disappear."
Steve looked up as Marten Camp came into the office. The agent stopped upon seeing Chin. Steve waved him in. "I hope you have something to say."
Camp tossed a single page of text with a small photo paper-clipped to it onto Steve's desk. "Last of the group. Nailed him off a fingerprint in the apartment we sent to Interpol. Karl Drosnins -- KGB agent. Has a really bad attitude problem. His last known whereabouts before now was Berlin."
"KGB agent in Stasi country, huh? And we have Wilhelm Gorek and Jan Schroeder of the Stasi here. We have Kachan here. Now Drosnins. Anyone else?"
"Looks like that's total, but still working on that. Gorek is known for keeping his team small. He's not the brightest agent they have, but he is probably the most stubborn. Has a history of getting a lot of his team members killed -- I don't suppose they pass that on to his new help with each mission," Camp remarked.
"My guess is they don't," Steve agreed, examining Drosnins' photo. He handed it to Chin. "Get this circulated."
The door slammed as Ben nearly ran into the room. He noticed Camp, but ignored his presence. "They picked up Mason last night," he announced nearly out of breath.
"Are you sure?" Steve asked.
He nodded. "Milo over at the tattoo shop on King Street said some foreign guy was looking for him."
Steve handed him the photos. "See if Milo can ID any of these."
Chin tapped the pipe out on the edge of the trashcan. "Why don't we get the photos out to the news media?"
Camp's jaw dropped in shock. "You're kidding."
McGarrett glanced from Marten to Chin.
"They've been all over us about these dead bodies turnin' up," Chin continued. He gave a shrug. "Never know."
Steve gave a slight nod. "It would be nice to have them in support of us for a change."
"Jeeze, Steve. This isn't for real," Camp gasped. "We just don't go showing off KGB spy photos on the six o'clock news!"
"Why not, Camp?"
"You haven't even told them Williams is alive," Marten added.
"Then I guess it's bound to be a news filled day," McGarrett added as he picked up the phone trying to decide which news team to give the scoop to. "And pull Danny's latest publicity photo."
Marten muttered a curse under his breath.
"Ben," Steve added. "While we're at it, update the FBI and Interpol, will you?"
Ben blinked. "Interpol? How far do you think they've gotten?"
"I don't know. They may try to get to Russia or China. On the other hand, Danno could be around the corner with a bullet in his brain. We need to cover all the angles."
The yacht's huge engines pounded through the deep water as she headed south. Off portside, the purple coastline of Lani and Maui were silhouetted in the brilliant south Pacific sunrise. Out on deck, Gorek, his men and Mason were dining on breakfast.
"I am proud to say, Jan, that you are extremely useful in the galley," Wilhelm complimented Schroeder, jovially, taking a sip of strong coffee. He inhaled deeply the fresh , crisp sea air and patted his sides in a full, contented manner. "Quite good. This little trip is a delightful rest from the difficulties of the past two weeks."
Kachan did not comment that the two weeks had been constant failure. He wasn't sure that Gorek's idea to take the boat and run to an outer island was a good idea either. It seemed more like a waste of valuable time. This little gathering exercise was supposed to be simple. Lu was not supposed to be difficult. Certainly we never planned on killing seven Americans. Murder is always such a messy business. He glanced at Mason as the doctor speared another fried egg with a fork and rose with it on his plate. "Where are you going with that?" he demanded, he lack of trust is Mason plain.
"Williams needs to eat," Mason answered simply.
"Yes," Gorek spoke up. "I suppose he does. He will likely refuse, but you are free to try."
Mason walked down into the cabin where Danny lie on the bunk in the same uncomfortable position with his hands tied behind him.
"Good morning, Dan," Mason said with a smile in his best doctor charm.
Danny opened his eyes a crack. Most of the swelling was down in his face. He could open both eyes now and when he did, Mason noticed that the whites of both were blood red.
"Are you hungry?" Mason asked.
"No," he mumbled through parched lips.
Mason extended a glass of water and supported Danny's head while he drank. "Now, try some of the egg. You must build up strength."
"Do you know how long it has been since you have eaten?"
"Two days?" Danny guessed.
"You have a severe infection. It is getting worse. You need to eat to heal."
"Why?" The hint of a smile crossed Danny's face.
Mason knew what he meant. "I want to help you if I can. Trust me. If you get your break, you shall need the strength to make it."
"I can't cooperate." Danny set his jaw against the pain in his leg. "How could I even have a break? How am I supposed to run? There won't be any breaks, Mason. My only hope is quick death. And you made yourself available to Gorek. Did you buy into his torture plans as well?"
Mason pushed the plate aside. "I made myself available to Gorek because you needed someone to keep you alive."
"No. Gorek needs someone to keep me alive." He tried unsuccessfully to shift to a comfortable position.
"I was reminded that I owe you a favor," Mason commented.
"So you pay me back by working for Gorek?" Danny muttered hotly.
Mason's normally quiet voice was almost inaudible. "McGarrett."
Danny looked back at him in surprise, not certain of a response. Of course it is possible, but can I believe it? Is this another of Gorek's ploys? Show the lure of possible survival then snatch it away? I want to live, no one chooses death while there is hope. He set his jaw against the pain and the inner indecision. There is no hope.
Schroeder cut back the throttle as the boat moved towards the berth in Kawaihai Bay Marina. Under his expert guidance, it nosed in beside the dock without touching and Drosnins leapt nimbly to the dock and deftly secured the lines to the horn cleat. Schroeder hurried from the flying bridge, down the short five foot ship's ladder to the wharf, then ran off up towards the parking lot.
From the foredeck, Kachan observed as a 24 foot Winnebago came into view. "Okay," he murmured to Gorek.
Gorek nodded, as if to double-check Kachan. "Get below and get Williams untied. Remember," he took hold of Kachan's elbow. "No attention. We have to cross nearly fifty yards to that motorhome. I want it done quietly."
Kachan gave a second nod a disappeared.
"Wilhelm!" Drosnins called.
He turned, irritated with the young agent before Karl could utter a word.
"I received a radio message. McGarrett is circulating our photos on the television."
"To what end?" Gorek muttered with a scowl.
"Hoping these silly civilians will see something and report us," Karl answered.
Gorek glared at the fifty yards of open area that now looked formidable.
"It is worse," Karl added. "Marten Camp is involved."
Gorek reacted like he'd been struck with an electric charge. "Are you sure?" he snarled, eye to eye with Drosnins. Is he creating this to get me off my guard? It is a big world. How could Camp be here?
"Certain," Karl stated without hesitation, but felt like he was trying to stare down a cyclone.
Gorek paced across the deck and back. "No matter. I will deal with him in my own time."
"We need to eliminate Williams and get out of here," Drosnins advised.
"You'd like that," Gorek muttered. "You'd like to see me shot for this mission's failure, wouldn't you."
Drosnins shook his head. "It's too late to stop that, Gorek."
"Not yet," Gorek muttered.
Below in the cabin, Kachan hesitated upon seeing that Mason had splinted Danny's bad leg with a life jacket and rope. "Who said you could do that?" he demanded of Mason.
"I'm the doctor," Mason said coldly, "remember?"
He thought another moment, recalling Gorek's order to not draw attention. He wanted to make Mason remove the splint, but had already been wondering how they were going to get Danny to walk across the open wharf to the mobile home. Maybe with the splinting he'd be able to walk. Kachan bent down and untied Danny's arms. "I haven't forgotten, Williams, I still have plans for you," he murmured close to Danny's ear. He stepped back. "On your feet."
Mason started to intervene.
"He'll make it." Kachan pushed Mason back. "Won't you? I've seen what kind of a mover you can be," he said towards Danny.
Williams was just grateful for the relief to his strained muscles after having been tied for so long. He made an unsuccessful effort to rise.
Kachan sneered. "Get him up." He ordered Mason, not willing himself to get so close to Danny again.
Mason took Danny under the arms, and he was finally hauled unsteadily to his feet. He felt dizzy, his vision blurred, he had a passing wave of nausea, but he stayed upright.
"Take care of those bloody things," Kachan ordered Mason, pointing to the pile of bloody clothes on the deck. "Get going, Williams."
Danny dragged himself forward using the door jam and his good leg. Even the splinting did not help him put weight on the left leg. As soon as he stood, the throbbing pain felt like it would blow his leg apart.
The sun was bright. All three of them squinted as they came out on deck. Drosnins helped Mason pull Danny over to the ladder that dropped to the wharf. Mason remained above while Drosnins jumped down to the wharf at the foot of the ladder.
Gorek arrived at the ladder's top, displeased that Danny apparently needed help to get off the ship. He looked around. "Get down there," he muttered his voice filled with hostility.
Danny had also given a quick look at the surrounding marina and noticed two men working on the rigging of a sloop a short distance away. He started down the ladder using his hands and one good leg. I need attention called to us. Maybe someone will remember! Holding his breath and uncertain what the result would be, he suddenly let go and crashed to the dock below, startling Drosnins and the two workers.
As Danny had hoped, they looked up. "Need help?" one called.
Kachan was quick with a casual laugh. "No, no problem. Our friend is a little unsteady. Too much party last night."
The sailor turned back to his boat.
From the wooden dock surface, Danny looked up at Gorek whose eyes were aflame as Drosnins pulled him back to his feet. His left leg shot new pain through him with the act and he bit off a cry, wondering what new damage he might have done.
Mason, Gorek, Kachan and Drosnins virtually encircled Danny swept him across the wharf to the running motor home. Once they were all inside, Drosnins, the last one up the steps, closed the door and Schroeder, who'd seen all from the driver's seat started the vehicle moving. Mason steadied Danny who still balanced on one leg in the narrow kitchen walkway of the motor home.
"Clever, Mr. Williams, but ineffectual," Gorek commented to him, wrath seething in his tone and expression.
Danny forced a confident smile in spite of the pain. "Maybe too early to know."
In a sudden explosion of action, Gorek slammed his right fist into Danny's stomach and he bent double with a grunt. Mason stumbled out of the way. Before Danny could recover, Gorek yanked him up by the hair a smashed his face against the Formica counter top, then threw him back against the closet opposite the counter, head first. The thin, laminated plywood shattered. Danny sank to his right knee, encumbered by the bulky home-made splint on his left leg, in a daze as blood ran down his face. The motor home slowly turned the corner out of the marina onto the highway headed north.
Get up!" Gorek roared at Danny.
Instead he fell over, stopped by his elbow against the cabinetry. He made a weak attempt to protect his re-injured face with his right arm.
His actions seemed to enrage Gorek all the more and the East German viciously kicked Danny in the abdomen with all his might. The force threw Danny onto his left side against the remains of the closet. Gorek kicked him again and again, but Danny was so stunned by the pain, he barely comprehended it.
Drosnins started shouting and came flying back from the co-pilot's seat. "You're killing him, Gorek! Stop this!"
Gorek spun and slammed a fist into Drosnins' face, knocking him backwards to the floor. But the change in Wilhelm's focus had given Kachan the moment he needed and when Gorek turned back to face Danny, Kachan stood between them.
"You promised me," Kachan said quietly. "You said he was mine. Don't you remember?"
Gorek stood there, breathing heavily, sweating from his effort. He gradually came under control and, at last, patted Kachan's arm. "Very well, very well," he murmured. "You make wise counsel," he added in Russian. He lifted Danny's chin with the toe of his shoe and murmured hotly, "Unkluger. You take too many chances." Blood drizzled from Danny's face onto Gorek's shoe and in mild annoyance, Gorek rubbed the shoe off on Danny's already grossly blood-stained shirt. He stormed to the front of the motor home, stepping over the sprawled Drosnins and sat down in the co-pilot's seat next to Schroeder.
Mason motioned to Kachan. "Help me get him up."
They lifted Danny and moved him to the rear couch of the motorhome. As they laid him down, he, at last, passed out from pain and shock.
"Immensely stupid," Gorek grumbled to himself glaring out of the windshield.
Schroeder stole a look towards him as he navigated the large RV. "You think so? He wanted you to kill him. Not immensely stupid - immensely brave."
Robert Temple whistled as he finished up the rope he'd been splicing. "Want a beer?" he called to his friend who was still half way up the sloop's mainmast.
Grant gave a half nod.
Tossing the rope aside, Robert jogged up towards the small shop near the parking lot, pausing to watch a cute girl pinning up a bulletin on the corkboard outside. Nice set of legs. He flashed her his best inviting smile, then glanced at the notice hoping to use it as an icebreaker. Upon recognizing the photo, he stepped closer…
…An hour later, Robert was sweating in the hot sun as he faced the anxious McGarrett, both the girl and the beer long forgotten.
"You are sure this is the man you saw?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, he was with a bunch of guys." The picture he'd identified was Kachan's.
"How many men?"
"I don't know." He shrugged. "It didn't seem important then. I didn't notice. One of the guys fell I think. Made a loud noise. I asked if everything was okay -- just trying to be friendly, you know. That guy said they were fine -- their friend was drunk or something like that. They all went away together." He bit a lip. "Guess that isn't much." He felt embarrassed that the head of Five-0 had flown by helicopter all the way down here to interview him over such a small piece of information.
The expression of Steve's face indicated this was anything but small stuff.
"It's plenty," Steve assured him. "Where did they go?"
"A RV picked them up -- not sure what kind. It was white with brown striping. A Winnebago maybe?"
Robert squinted shaking his head. "Hard to know. Twenty feet maybe? They just got in and left."
Robert flushed, wishing he'd paid better attention. "I really don't know."
Steve left the young witness with a Hilo police officer taking down his name and address, hoping that if he had a few moments, the boy might remember more. Che Fong and Five-0 members were crawling all over the Luhr yacht that Gorek had abandoned.
"Yacht belongs to a Paul Hathaway, lives back in Honolulu," Chin reported.
Ben approached them from where he'd been checking out the trashcans. He held several bloody bandages and a square of bloody khaki fabric in a gloved hand. At the same time, Che stepped down from the yacht and joined them.
Che glanced at Ben's find. "There's blood on the fore bunk, too," he commented. "We're getting lots of fingerprints, several used syringes. I'll check them for contents. I think this was left for you. It was stuck under a cushion of the bunk." He handed Steve a gauze wrapper.
McGarrett unfolded it. There were three 'x's drawn in blood. He clenched his jaw. "Let's get looking for that RV."
"This island has to be crawling with Winnebagos," a Hilo officer remarked.
Steve spun in anger. "Then we'll check every one. Get some roadblocks going. Check out campgrounds -- the works."
The officer hurried away.
"He doesn't understand," Chin said in quiet defense of the cop.
Steve accepted a cool bottled water from Chin. "I know," he muttered. "I feel like we are always one step behind them. What's Camp up to?"
Chin shrugged. "He wanted to draw Gorek out -- don't know if it's working or not."
"We haven't much time," Steve said with a sigh.
The motorhome rolled gently back and forth as it hummed along the asphalt top of Route 11. Danny lay conscious with his eyes closed, hoping to gain some time to think. The camper couch was anything but comfortable and his chest hurt when he took a breath -- probably a cracked rib or two. He no longer had any feeling in his left foot, but the thigh was sending fiery shards of pain throughout him with each bounce of the vehicle. The swelling was still increasing in his leg. Both the shoe and sock had disappeared somewhere along the journey and Danny could see that his foot was turning a grayish blue color. He tried to think. He needed an escape plan. Anything that included survival required two good legs. He figured escape by death shouldn't be too hard to accomplish or be very long in coming. Kachan had again tied his arms behind him but much looser than earlier. His legs had not been tied at all. Sadly, he did not think it would make much difference now.
Gorek, Drosnins and Kachan huddled over the small table of the Winnebago.
"I know I can get him to talk -- not with drugs," Kachan was promising. "It will be my pleasure."
Gorek gave a thin smile. "We must get the information from him soon. Otherwise we will be taking him out of the country."
"You can't do that," Drosnins argued. "I will not sanction that. It would create an international incident!"
Gorek raised a hand to silence him. "I will not go home like this! This entire mission has been a disgrace." He threw the file of information on the table and paper slid across the surface. "We have nonsense! Williams knows that pass codes to gain us entrance, or he knows the construction well enough for us to disable them. Without that information, we have nothing! I will not fail."
Drosnins snickered. "Williams may not give you a choice if he up and dies on you. You just about beat him to death back there."
"What of Camp?" Kachan asked.
"What about him?" Gorek snapped.
"Is he here?"
Gorek shrugged, trying to act unimpressed.
"Don't you think he knows what you want?" Kachan asked.
Gorek slowly shook his head. "Don't tempt me, Andrei. If I ever came to face to face with Camp he would be dead in moments. If he is here, it will not matter. I don't intend to be on this island for long."
Mason had been sitting on the other couch near Danny. He began to wipe away the blood from Danny's face with a kitchen towel he'd moistened with water.
Mason glanced at the leg wound, then touched a finger to Danny's swollen foot. "Can you feel that?"
"No," he whispered, hoping those at the table would not notice them.
Mason reached up to Danny's face, gently placing a finger to either side of the bridge of his nose.
"Now, that I feel." Danny winced again.
"Well, you have a fractured nose to add to your collection," Mason commented.
"Matching Kachan, huh?" he whispered, trying to sound a little comic. The RV hit a pothole and he gritted his teeth.
"This isn't funny and it isn't getting any better." Mason tugged up Danny's shirt and examined the bruising. He carefully pressed on Danny's right side.
Danny gasped and the new source of sharp pain.
Mason's already concerned look deepened. "That, my friend, is probably a lacerated liver -- one more cause of blood loss. Depending on how bad it is, you may have only an hour or two. Your face looks like you used it to stop a truck. This cannot go on."
"I'm open to suggestion," Danny answered. An hour or two. Many just an hour or two. God, I don't want to die - but he's right, this cannot go on.
"If I give you something for the pain, you will at least be comfortable." Mason reached into his bag.
"Let me sleep forever," Danny requested.
Mason's eyes narrowed. "I hear you, but that cannot be considered."
"Since when did you get ethical? Torture is okay, assisted suicide isn't.," Danny whispered back at him.
Mason glanced back at the others. Their heated debate continued, they did not seem to have noticed his actions. He quickly jammed the syringe into Danny's right thigh right through the clothing. "If they knew I gave you a pain killer, the next death would be mine," he whispered. "I tell them it is antibiotics. They do not know any better. But do not give up yet -- all is not lost."
Danny merely shook his head, anticipating what relief the narcotic would provide.
Mason broke down his improvised splint and examined the leg wound. "The bone moved again. New bleeding. If you do not get to a hospital soon, you will lose this leg."
Danny gazed at the roof. "If Kachan has his way, I shall lose a lot more than a leg."
There was movement at the table and Kachan rose. He and Gorek walked over. "My turn now, Gorek." He turned to Mason and Danny. "Doctor, I want to speak to him. Is he alert?"
"Yes," Mason answered. "Let me finish this dressing."
Kachan shooed him back. "Leave it."
Mason obediently moved towards the opposite couch, nervousness plain on his features.
Kachan smiled in his direction, then focused on Danny. "A man of ethics -- after a fashion." He leaned forward. "It would do you well to consider your situation. Here you are: lame, bleeding, maybe dying." He shrugged. "And I haven't begun -- yet. How can you hope to hold out? I can wait until you are delirious with pain and fever of infection and you will tell me anything I want. Or you can tell me now."
Danny looked away from him. "No bargains."
"Even for your life?" Gorek interrupted from where he loomed over the couch.
Kachan blinked, displeased.
Danny managed a brief smile. "Didn't expect that, huh, Andrei? Wanna see me dead? Stick around. I shouldn't think you'll have long to wait."
Gorek crossed his arms. "It is I who have the authority. I could choose to have you live. Just drop you and Mason off along the road. All I need is how to bypass the security of that little minimum-security facility. Certainly that toilet paper cannot be worth your life, can it?"
"My life?" Danny murmured. He was beginning to feel the effect of the narcotic. It was like a slow sinking into a deep, soft, fluffy nothing.
Gorek bent close to his ear. "What is your life worth? You don't believe me, do you? I admire your stubbornness in the face of your odds." He paused for a moment. "I can arrange for you to live. This is not your issue. You do not work for the spy network of the United States, I know that. You are just a humble officer of the peace, right? I want to give you back your life."
"My life?" Danny whispered again. "Bargain for my life? Yes, I have what you want and you've got nothing. So, you take my life and you still have nothing." He managed a smile that faintly suggested victory. "No bargains."
"That is nice talk -- Danno, but that is all it is, eh?" Gorek motioned to Kachan.
Kachan stepped back before Danny gave a broad smile. "You choose not to disappoint me," he cooed. "I told you I would get you. Now is my turn." He flipped off the dressing Mason had partially reapplied. He scooped up a partially drunk bottle of whiskey that Drosnins had left sitting in the sink and pulled off the top. "Let us see how tough you are now, huh?" He jammed a handkerchief into Danny's mouth. With a look of mild curiosity, he drizzled the alcohol into the gapping leg wound. The cloth muted the shriek of agony.