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Steve McGarrett unlocked the door to his condo. The trade winds which usually kept Hawaii’s climate wonderfully temperate were in abeyance, and the city was locked in the grip of a heat wave. He immediately shrugged out of his suit jacket and pulled off his tie and was unbuttoning his collar button when his partner, Danny Williams, came out of the kitchen to greet him. He was a refreshing sight, dressed in board shorts and a polo shirt and carrying a tall glass of lemonade.
He gave Steve a kiss, handed him the glass, and said, “I’ll take these,” carrying Steve’s jacket and tie off to hang in the bedroom. When he returned, Steve was ensconced on the sofa with his shoes off and his feet on the coffee table, drinking his lemonade.
“Mm, this is just what I needed,” McGarrett told his partner appreciatively.
“I figured the ‘beverages’ chapter was a pretty harmless place to start,” Danny told him, referring to the shiny new copy of Joy of Cooking Steve had given him for Christmas. He perched on the arm of the sofa and leaned over to massage his partner’s shoulders.
“Ah, Danno, that’s good....” Steve said, closing his eyes. “I think I’ll take a shower before dinner,” he said. “Our reservations are at seven.”
“Want company in the shower?” Danny asked him.
“Always,” McGarrett replied with a smile, setting his empty glass down on the coffee table and reaching a hand up to wrap around his partner’s hip and slide him backwards onto his lap.
Danny, his legs stretched over the arm of the sofa, caught himself with an arm around Steve’s neck, pulling him down for a kiss.
His partner kissed him back enthusiastically, one hand coming up to slide under Danny’s shirt, his fingertips skimming over the younger man’s taut abdomen until they found one of his nipples, eliciting a noise of pleasure from the sandy-haired detective.
The telephone rang.
McGarrett reluctantly extracted his hand and reached across to the end table for the receiver, then, disengaging his mouth from Danny’s, told it, “McGarrett.”
“Steve, Manicote here,” the district attorney said at the other end of the line.
“What can I do for you on a Saturday, John?” Steve asked, bracing himself. Danny, who had been attempting to destroy Steve’s concentration by nibbling on his earlobe, sat up and looked anxious upon hearing the name. He leaned close to hear what was being said on the other end of the line, Steve holding the receiver slightly away from his ear.
“I’m sorry about your weekend, Steve, but I just heard from the correctional facility in Joliet, Illinois. It seems our old friend Bonano has a parole hearing bright and early Monday morning.”
“And they’re telling us now?” McGarrett asked.
“They claim there was some sort of bureaucratic slip-up. No one realized the Hawaii connection,” Manicote said.
“And you believe that?” Steve said skeptically.
“Personally, I think there was some sort of payoff. Bonano is still connected, as you well know. I’m afraid that if Five-O isn’t there to apply pressure, he’ll be released. It was Williams who was involved in the case before, right? If you could send him....”
“Yeah. He’ll be there.”
“Thanks, Steve. I’m sorry about the short notice,” Manicote told him. “Nothing you could do. Aloha.” McGarrett reached to replace the receiver, then turned back to meet Danny’s look of disappointment. “Well, you know what they say–no good deed goes unpunished.”
“Yeah,” Danny said sadly. “Since we didn’t oppose his request to be transferred to a prison near his sick mother, I have to fly to Chicago. So much for our sailing.”
“I’m sorry, Danno,” Steve told him.
“Not your fault, Steve. But how long has it been since we’ve had a vacation, or even just a lousy day off? We already had to reschedule to tomorrow because of your meeting this morning with the senator,” Williams protested.
“At least Chin will be glad he’s off the hook,” McGarrett observed. “That’s true,” his partner said. “I figure we still owe him lunch, though. Steve...why don’t you come with me to Chicago? We could take an extra couple of days, see the sights....” Danny looked appealingly at his lover.
Steve shook his head regretfully. “I couldn’t justify it, and I have the budget hearing on Monday. And I’m afraid,” he said with a sigh, “we should go over the files on the Bonano case and make sure everything’s in order. You’ll have to leave early tomorrow morning.”
“Yeah. So much for our romantic Italian dinner, too.” Danny reluctantly
removed his arms from around his partner’s neck and climbed off his lap.
“I’ll go change.”
Later that evening, Williams, perched on the edge of McGarrett’s desk at Five-O headquarters in shirtsleeves with his tie off, yawned and stretched. Steve, sitting in his chair behind the desk, watched him appreciatively, then sighed. “It’s late, Danno. You’d better go back to your place and pack, then get a few hours’ sleep.”
“Yeah, I think I’m ready,” Williams said, gathering his notes on the files from the Bonano case and the information they had on his continuing activities and stuffing them into his briefcase. “Sure I can’t tempt you to come along, Steve?”
“You know I can’t,” his partner snapped, more harshly than he’d intended. A trip with Danny...tempting, indeed, but of course we can’t...always the job, always the look of things....
“I know. It’s just I wish....” Danny started, then shook his head and stood up, throwing his empty saimin carton into the trash and picking up his briefcase. “With the time difference, I should be back in time for dinner on Tuesday. Goodnight, Steve.”
McGarrett rose from his chair, coming around the desk to join his partner. “Danny....” he began. ‘No kiss goodbye at the airport,’ he thought, remembering what he’d told Danny on the beach during their first date. And no kiss goodbye here, either, according to our rules.
Steve stood for a second as Danny watched him, his desires warring with his sense of prudence. In the end, prudence won, and he merely put his hand on his partner’s shoulder. “Have a good flight, Danno. I know you’ll do fine at the hearing.”
“Thanks, Steve,” Danny said, giving him a half smile, then turning to walk out of the office.
McGarrett watched him go. I’m sorry about our day off, Danno...I’ll
make it up to you when you get back, he thought.
On Tuesday afternoon, McGarrett sat behind his desk listening with half his attention to a report from Chin Ho Kelly on a string of burglaries. Danny’s flight should be landing about now. If he comes straight here, it should be about 45 minutes, he thought, looking surreptitiously at his desk clock. I wonder what I should cook for dinner tonight...maybe steaks...and then afterwards, for dessert.... with an inward smile.
“Steve?” Chin Ho broke in on McGarrett’s thoughts.
“Sorry, Chin,” the head of Five-O told his detective. “What were you saying about the windows?”
“Danny’s plane must be landing soon. That’s the fourth time you’ve looked at the clock since I’ve been in here,” Kelly said with a chuckle.
McGarrett glared at Chin. “The windows?”
“In every case the burglar got in through a bathroom window facing away from the street. Some of those windows are pretty high up, so he must....” The telephone rang.
Steve picked it up. “McGarrett.”
“Steve, this is Dann,” the familiar voice of the HPD chief came over the line. He sounded grim. “We have a report from Honolulu International Airport that there’s a hijacking in progress.”
Steve abruptly stood, causing his chair to sway perilously. “Hijacking? When? Which flight?” he snapped into the phone.
“United flight 78, scheduled to arrive from Los Angeles at 2:05,” Dann told him.
“The flight...the flight from Los Angeles,” McGarrett said, trying to keep his voice even as he turned to face the window.
Behind him, Chin said anxiously, “It’s not....”
He covered the receiver and turned to look at his detective. “Yeah. Danny’s flight,” he said flatly.
Into the phone, Steve continued, “What do you know about these hijackers? Have they made demands? And where is the plane?”
“They’re on the ground now, parked on one of the runways. The hijackers want the plane refueled, and they want a guarantee of safe passage to their country. And they want everything done in three hours, or they start killing hostages. They haven’t made any political statements.”
“Uh huh. Who’s talking to them now?” McGarrett asked.
“The head of our airport detail, Kevin Carvalho,” the police chief said.
“Tell him to stall them. Say he doesn’t have authority to give them what they want,” the head of Five-O instructed. “And I need your people to get started setting up a command post at the airport. We need a radio link to the hijackers, phones to the outside, and medical personnel standing by. Also a copy of the passenger manifest, and I need to meet with the ground crew chief. Has anyone called Washington yet?”
“No, not yet.” Dann didn’t seem happy about the prospect.
“OK, I’ll take care of that. Chief...Dan Williams is on that plane, returning from a parole hearing on the mainland.”
“Danny! On the plane?” the chief exclaimed. “I just hope he keeps his head down and that they don’t know he’s a cop,” he said worriedly.
“Yeah,” McGarrett said grimly. “I’ll be at the airport in thirty minutes.” He depressed the hook with his finger.
“Chin, I want you to hold the fort here for now,” he told the anxiously waiting detective. “Deal with the press. So far all we know is that there’s been a hijacking, no names or demands yet. Have dispatch radio Kono and send him to the airport. I have to call Washington.”
“Steve, I’m sure Danny’s okay....” Kelly tried to reassure him.
McGarrett wordlessly shook his head, already picking up the phone.
Danny Williams sat in the second row aisle seat he had managed to secure when the hijackers had herded all the passengers on the un-crowded flight to the front right-hand side of the plane. Now he had a good view of the proceedings, which were not reassuring. There appeared to be four hijackers, two with guns, two without. The body of the first officer lay across the first row of seats on the left where he’d been dragged by the hijackers after the scuffle in the cockpit during landing had apparently proved fatal. Williams could hear the hijackers’ leader talking into the radio in the cockpit, and wondered if he was talking to Steve.
One gunman stood in the aisle, watching the passengers, while the other still stood by the forward bulkhead with his gun to the head of the pretty, blonde stewardess he had taken hostage before landing.
She had been able to stay calm so far, but Danny could see that her control was slipping.
“Please, please, let me go!” she moaned, shaking, her eyes showing white. “Shut up and hold still, or I’ll blow your brains out and pick someone else!” the hijacker snapped in a strongly accented voice, grinding the gun against her temple.
“No! No!” she shrieked with increasing hysteria.
Danny took a deep breath. He didn’t want to stand out in the crowd, but he couldn’t sit back and watch this happen. He raised his hand, waving to get the hijacker’s attention. “Excuse me, sir?” he asked.
“No talking!” snapped the hijacker, clinging to the struggling woman.
“But, sir, you can see we’re all sitting down and doing what you tell us. Surely you don’t need to keep holding the gun on her,” Williams said reasonably. “She’s terrified!”
“You don’t tell me what I need to do!” the gunman retorted.
“Your arm must be getting tired,” Danny continued. “And, if you let her go, she’ll be quiet and you can concentrate on what your boss is up to in the cockpit.”
His random stab in the dark seemed to have touched a nerve. The hijacker roughly thrust the stewardess into the first row window seat, where she sat crying quietly. He then moved to stand in the cockpit doorway, looking in.
Williams heaved a sigh of relief. At least one crisis had been averted.
“I’m so frightened,” the young woman with long brown hair sitting next to him said softly.
“Don’t worry. If the hijackers are smart they’ll keep us alive and well to get what they want,” Danny reassured her.
“What do you think they want?” she asked anxiously. “How long will they keep us here?”
Hearing the edge of panic in her voice, Danny tried to distract her. “Come on, let’s talk about something else,” he suggested. “What were you coming to Hawaii for?”
“My husband and I got married six months ago, and he got a job at the University here. I was coming out to join him. I’m Lauren Miller.”
“Danny Williams,” he said, reaching to formally shake her hand with as much of a grin as he could muster.
Mrs. Miller managed a faint smile in return. “Do you have someone special waiting for you, too, Mr. Williams?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Danny said with an inward smile, thinking of Steve, and what Mrs. Miller’s reaction would be if she knew.
Just then one of the hijackers came out of the cockpit leading the tall, silver-haired pilot, whom he roughly shoved into the seat in front of Danny before returning to the cockpit.
“What happened up there?” Danny quietly asked him, leaning forward between the seats.
“We were about a thousand miles out of Honolulu when they burst into the cockpit,” the pilot told him. “They wanted us to fly them to some coordinates out in the ocean, they didn’t say why, or what would happen then. They don’t know that I speak Spanish, but they weren’t saying anything very useful to each other.”
“So, what did you do?”
“The hijackers didn’t seem to know much about navigation, so the first officer and I were able to hide the fact that we were continuing to Hawaii until we got within sight. Naturally they noticed that, but I was able to land the plane during the struggle. They shot First Officer Stryker. He was a good man...I know his family.” The pilot shook his head.
“Do you know what their demands are?” Danny asked.
“They want the plane to be refueled and to have safe passage to their country, Curaguay. They’re threatening to start killing passengers if they don’t get what they want in three hours. Their leader, he goes by “Diego,” said to one of the others that they were glad they had so many hostages, because they could burn through a few.”
“Nice. Who’s handling the negotiations on the ground?”
“Steve McGarrett of Five-O,” the pilot said.
Even in these conditions, Danny couldn’t repress a small smile. “If anyone can get us out of this, he can. But if the hijackers start killing people, we may need to give him some help. You look like you could handle yourself if it came to a fight.” He glanced over at the hijackers, but two of them were conferring farther down the plane, and the one by the cockpit door was leaning inside.
“Captain John Carlton, retired Air Force. You?”
“I’m a cop. Danny Williams, Five-O.”
A man with short brown hair and a moustache sitting behind Danny leaned forward to hiss, “Don’t you dare try anything! You’ll get us all killed!”
Mrs. Miller whispered indignantly, “Do you just want to wait for them to start shooting us one by one and do nothing?”
Danny interjected, “I don’t think we should do anything before the negotiators have a chance, but we should be ready.”
“No talking!” the armed hijacker in the aisle ordered.
McGarrett glanced at the clock. 4 PM. “I don’t care what time it is in Curaguay, we need to talk to someone in charge, now!” he snapped into the phone. “We only have an hour left before the hijackers’ deadline. Get me someone!” He crashed the phone receiver back onto the cradle.
Steve passed a hand over his eyes. Don’t think of Danny. They won’t know he’s a cop. He’ll be alright, he thought for at least the hundredth time since the awful moment he’d seen his partner’s name on the passenger manifest, confirming his worst fears.
He surveyed the room, a staff lounge pressed into service as a command post, now set up with an eclectic variety of desks and tables. McGarrett had chosen a large, gray metal desk, now equipped with a bank of radio equipment and a telephone, and technicians were at work setting up more phone lines around the room. In one corner a representative of the Air Force was conferring with the head of the Hawaii Department of Transportation as they dealt with the logistics of the closed airport. Essential Air Force flights were still being allowed to land at the adjacent Hickam Airforce Base, while civilian planes were being routed to the other islands. At a table against the far wall Chief Dann was on the telephone giving commands to the HPD forces mobilizing near the captured plane. Steve’s own forces had arrived in front of his desk while he was talking to Washington.
He snapped his fingers. “Okay, Chin, Kono, let’s go over it. Where do we stand? The hijackers want fuel and safe passage, and they’ll start killing hostages in an hour if they don’t get what they want. The State Department can’t or won’t put me through to anyone in authority in their country. We need more time. Kono,” he said, turning to the big Hawaiian detective. “You talked to the ground crew chief. Did he tell you anything we can use?”
“Well, boss, they’re still out on the runway,” Kono said. “He said they can’t be safely refueled out there because of something about grounding. I never knew it was so complicated to put gas in a plane!”
“Okay, we can use that,” McGarrett said, standing up and starting to pace behind the desk. “What would need to be done before the aircraft could be refueled?” McGarrett demanded.
“They said they could maybe rig something up, but it would be easiest to just tow the plane in with a tractor,” Kono reported.
“I’m going to stall them. Kono, I want you out there on the ground with HPD monitoring the situation,” the head of Five-O told his detective. He picked up the radio microphone. “McGarrett to Diego on flight 78.”
“Diego here, Mr. McGarrett. Your time grows short. Where is my fuel?”
“You’re still out on the runway. We aren’t set up for fueling operations out there. Either you let us move the plane closer to the terminal, or you’ll have to wait for us to rig something,” McGarrett told him. “In the meantime, you must be getting hungry. Why don’t you let us send over some food?”
“And let you slip your cops onto the plane? I don’t think so,” the hijacker’s voice came scornfully over the radio.
“I see from the passenger manifest that you have two children on board. Why not at least let them go? It would show your good faith, and I’m sure you’d rather have them off your hands,” Steve tried.
“No! No one on or off this plane until our demands are met! One hour,
McGarrett, then I start sending out bodies!”
Danny glanced at his watch. The hijackers’ deadline had almost expired. The man who had held the stewardess hostage, who was apparently going by “Garcia,” had disappeared into the cockpit, and the other two men were conversing in the aisle.
Danny leaned forward to speak softly to Captain Carlton. “If my high school Spanish is right, they’re discussing which one of us to kill first as an example. I think we’d better make our move now.”
“I agree. What did you have in mind?” Carlton asked.
“Since only two of them have guns, if we can separate them and take them by surprise, maybe we can overpower them. We need a diversion,” said the Five-O detective.
“I can help you with that,” said Lauren Miller.
“OK, Mrs. Miller, why don’t you try to get the one in the aisle, I think he’s “Fernandez”, to come down towards the lavatories in the back of the plane?” said Captain Carlton. “That should give me a shot at him.”
“And I’ll take care of Diego or Garcia, whichever has the gun, when he comes out of the cockpit to see what’s going on,” Danny agreed.
“No! I tell you, you’ll get us all killed!” exclaimed the mustached man who had objected before.
“Hush!” Mrs. Miller told him sharply.
“They’re going to start killing people in fifteen minutes anyway,” Danny whispered.
“With any luck, they won’t start with me!” the man hissed.
“Just be quiet, and stay out of the way,” Mrs. Miller implored him.
“Good luck, Captain,” Danny said. “Mrs. Miller, please be careful.”
“Good luck, Mr. Williams,” Carlton responded with a grim smile. “OK, here we go.”
Mrs. Miller stood up and waved to Fernandez. “Please, sir, may I go back to the lavatory?” she asked.
“Yeah, go on. Juan, go with her,” Fernandez ordered one of the two unarmed hijackers.
Danny stood to let her pass by him to the aisle, and remained leaning on the first row seat, apparently waiting for her return.
Mrs. Miller, followed by Juan, proceeded down the aisle, and she entered the lavatory, closing the door behind herself. A few seconds later there was a smash of glass, and a woman’s voice could be heard screaming.
Juan started banging on the door, and Fernandez ran down the aisle with the gun, yelling, “Don’t do anything crazy, lady!”
Captain Carlton followed swiftly and silently behind him, and several other passengers, catching on to what was afoot, stood and started yelling to add to the confusion.
Garcia ran from the cockpit down the aisle, followed by Diego, waving a gun. “What is going on out here?” the armed hijacker demanded angrily. As he passed Danny, Williams sprang on him, knocking him into the seats on the far side of the aisle and banging his gun hand into an armrest until he was forced to release the weapon.
Danny, with his back to the rows of seats containing the now standing
passengers, turned to glance down the aisle to where Captain Carlton
appeared to be winning his struggle with Fernandez. Then he suddenly
felt a blinding pain in the back of his head, and everything went black.
The portable radio on Steve’s desk came to life, Kono’s excited voice crackling over the airwaves. “Steve! We heard gunfire on the plane! Should we move in?”
“We can’t go in with those airplane doors closed! They could kill every hostage before we got inside,” snapped McGarrett. “Stand by!”
He dropped the portable radio and grabbed the mic of the larger radio tuned to the hijackers’ frequency. “McGarrett to Diego! McGarrett to Diego on flight 78! What is happening on that plane?” he demanded.
Steve had an awful feeling that he knew what was happening. Danny
wouldn’t sit idly by and let the hijackers start killing civilians. Once again
the futile thoughts replayed in his head. If only I had gone to Chicago
with Danny. Or gone myself instead of sending him. Then I wouldn’t be
stuck out here impotent to help him. If anything happens to him, I’ll never
Danny woke to a general feeling of pain. Eventually the pain resolved itself into a number of discrete sources. His head hurt. He was lying on his side on the floor behind the first row of seats on the left with his wrists and ankles tightly bound with what appeared to be wire. His wrists were additionally fastened to the supports of one of the seats. It felt like after he’d been knocked unconscious someone had spent a while kicking him in various places.
What the hell happened? he wondered. All the hijackers were in front of me, so who hit me?
He must not have been out long. Fernandez had taken his jacket and was apparently going through his wallet. “Look, boss, here’s his ID.”
“Detective Dan Williams, Hawaii Five-O. Oh, this is too good,” laughed
Diego. “It almost makes up for your stupidity in shooting the pilot.”
In the command center, Steve was still trying to raise the aircraft. “McGarrett to Diego! McGarrett to Diego! If you do not answer me in five minutes I will assume the hostages are dead and order a full military strike on the aircraft!” he yelled into the radio.
It crackled to life. “Patience, Mr. McGarrett. Good things come to those who wait,” Diego told him. “I have someone here I’m sure you’d like to talk to.”
“Hi, Steve,” came a familiar voice.
Relief washed over McGarrett, and he sat down abruptly on the edge of the desk, his legs suddenly feeling weak. He cleared his throat and forced himself to speak calmly. “Danno? Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m okay,” Danny’s voice said from the radio. “I’m sorry, Steve, I blew it.”
“What’s going on there?” McGarrett asked.
“The passengers are all unharmed, but they shot the remaining pilot. I don’t know how bad he is,” his partner told him.
“That’s enough!” broke in Diego’s voice. “Well, Mr. McGarrett, does that raise the stakes for you a bit?”
“Listen,” Steve said. “If it’s a cop you want, you can have me. I’ll trade myself for the other hostages. No tricks, I give you my word.”
“That’s a very interesting offer....” began Diego. “Hold on.”
McGarrett and Chin, who had crossed to stand beside Steve’s desk when Kono’s call came in, could hear the sounds of a conversation in Spanish in the background.
Suddenly Steve heard Danny’s voice again, “NO, Steve! Don’t! They’ll kill you! Don’t do....” the voice was abruptly cut off, followed by a number of thuds.
“Danny! Danno! Are you alright? Let me talk to him! Danny!” McGarrett shouted into the radio.
“I’m afraid, Mr. McGarrett, that Detective Williams can’t talk right now,” Diego said with a nasty laugh. “Now, you’d better get to work on my fuel and arrangements.”
Chin put a hand on McGarrett’s arm. “Easy, Steve. You can’t help Danny by getting upset.”
“You’re right,” Steve said, taking a deep breath and passing a hand over his eyes. “Chin, I want you to talk to United and LAX.” He pulled a sheaf of papers from the pile that had already accumulated on his desk and showed it to Chin. “There’s only one ‘Diego’ on the passenger manifest. The name is ‘Diego Volver,’ and there are three other men with the same last name–Garcia, Fernandez, and Juan. I’d bet anything those are aliases. Find out anything you can about those men–where they bought their tickets, how they paid for them, anything you can get. I know the time difference is against us, but we need information now.”
“I’ll start shaking some trees, Steve,” Chin assured him.
“Borrow all the manpower you need from HPD,” the head of Five-O told him.
As Chin went to commandeer a desk and a phone, the door to the office opened. A plump, balding man in an ill-fitting gray suit walked in. “Simons, State Department,” he announced self-importantly to the room at large. “Who’s in charge here?”
Steve rose from his chair and stepped forward. “Steve McGarrett, Five-O. Is there any word from the officials in Curaguay?”
“We were able to reach the office of their leader. As you know, he’s a sort of military strongman, nominally friendly to the U.S. They deny knowing who the hijackers are or what they want, and they adamantly refuse to allow them to land in their country. They say they’ll shoot down the plane if it enters their airspace,” Simons told him.
“Is there any neighboring country that would agree to give them permission to land?” McGarrett demanded.
“Not so far. We’re working on the country to their west, but they’re asking for concessions the State Department finds unacceptable.”
“Remember, they don’t have to actually let them land. There is no way
that plane is leaving this airport,” the head of Five-O said grimly.
Danny woke up again with a throbbing pain in his temple that made his previous injury feel like nothing. When he tried to raise his head he heard Mrs. Miller’s voice say, “Shhh, just lie there for a while. They hit you with a pistol after you grabbed the radio mic, and I can’t tell how badly you’re hurt without an X-ray. I’m a nurse,” she explained. “They said I could do what I could for you, which isn’t much, since they won’t let me use any supplies on you.”
“Who knocked me out before? And how is Captain Carlton?” Williams asked.
“That cowardly man who was sitting behind you earlier hit you in the head with his briefcase,” she said bitterly. “He claims he was afraid the hijackers would shoot everyone in retaliation for your attempt, but if he hadn’t done that, you would have succeeded! And Captain Carlton is unconscious. The bullet creased the side of his head. I bandaged it, but I’m worried that he may have a skull fracture,” she said, then frowned down at Danny’s hands. “I wish they’d let me loosen this wire. I don’t like how it’s cutting into your wrists.”
“I can’t say I think much of it myself,” the sandy-haired detective said with an attempt at a smile. “Thanks for helping me. I know you’re putting yourself at risk.”
“They need me to try to get Carlton conscious,” she told him. “I don’t
think there’s much too chance of that, though. Drink some of this water,
you’ve lost a lot of blood,” she said, holding a cup with a cocktail straw in
it to his lips.
The hours crawled by, spent by Danny in trying to find a way to lie to ease his throbbing head. The temperature in the plane had climbed to unbearable levels, and the air was stuffy. Twice the hijackers had opened the door for ventilation, each time with a gun pointed at Danny for the duration. Mrs. Miller sat in the aisle beside him warily watching the hijackers, who seemed to be getting increasingly nervous.
“They’re all standing around the cockpit door now,” she told him in a soft voice, as there came an outbreak of raised voices from the front of the plane. Danny listened in as best he could. As far as he could tell, the one called Garcia was arguing that it wasn’t right for Diego to be the only one who knew what was going on. Apparently there was some rift there.
To Danny’s disappointment, the argument ended without further discord. Diego gave an elaborate shrug, then gestured towards the blonde stewardess in the front row.
Garcia approached the terrified woman again. “Get into the cockpit and fix it so that we can all hear the radio!” he ordered.
“But...but I’m not sure I know how....” she protested, as Garcia yanked her to her feet and shoved her at the door.
“You’d better hope you figure it out,” he snapped. “And no funny business! Diego, give me the gun,” he said to the hijackers’ leader.
“I’ll supervise her,” Diego said, keeping the gun. “You look after things out here.”
A few minutes later there was a crackle of static over the PA system. Then Diego shoved the blonde woman out the cockpit door, telling her to return to her seat.
They could all hear Diego’s voice over the radio, saying, “Mr. McGarrett, I hope you can report progress on our demands.”
“It appears your countrymen don’t want you,” McGarrett replied. “They say that if you enter their airspace, they will shoot down your aircraft, hostages or not.”
“Then make arrangements for us to land in a neighboring country. We will drive across the border.”
“We’re working on that, but it takes time to cut through the red tape. In the meantime, what about food and water? And medical care for the pilot?” Steve suggested.
“No, Mr. McGarrett. No one in or out. And this is taking far too long. I think you are not feeling sufficiently motivated,” the hijacker mused. “I have an idea. Perhaps I should give you back Mr. Williams, or, shall I say, some part of Mr. Williams? Maybe a finger...or possibly an ear?”
Danny fought down a wave of panic, and Mrs. Miller let out a gasp.
Steve’s voice over the radio was cold with fury. “If you do that, I will personally guarantee that you never get off this rock alive.”
“Maybe, Mr. McGarrett, but then neither will any of these people,
including your young man here. Diego out.”
McGarrett stretched, rubbing the back of his neck. In the heat wave that still prevailed, the air conditioning had been unable to keep this interior office at a comfortable temperature, and Steve had long since removed his jacket and tie. He felt as though he had spent the last twelve hours doing nothing but talking into the phone and dreading the beep of the radio link to the hijackers. The worst call had been the one he’d had to make to Danny’s aunt, to tell her that the young man she loved as a son was in mortal peril. She’d assured him, “Mr. McGarrett, Danny’s told me so much about you–I know you’ll get him back safely.” I hope her confidence isn’t misplaced, Steve thought. All those people’s lives are my responsibility. My fault if anything happens to Danny....
He looked up as Chin approached his desk carrying a sandwich. “Here, boss. You haven’t had anything but coffee since lunch, and it’s after midnight.”
“The hostages haven’t had anything to eat, either,” McGarrett said grimly. Chin’s voice softened. “I know you’re worried about Danny, but you’re no good to anyone if you don’t eat.”
“Thanks, Chin,” Steve said with an attempt at a smile, taking the sandwich and setting it next to the phone, which promptly rang.
He picked up the receiver. “McGarrett,” he snapped.
“Simons here,” came the state department man’s gray voice. “I’m afraid it’s bad news so far. The country to the west has refused to talk to the hijackers under any circumstances,” he told the head of Five-O.
“If the country to the west won’t do it, what about the country to the south?” McGarrett asked.
“Well....” Simons temporized. “It’s not ruled out, but my superiors feel that our position with them is delicate, and we don’t want to be obligated....”
“You haven’t even asked them, have you?” McGarrett demanded, his voice rising. “I don’t care if Washington doesn’t want to ask them for a favor! The lives of the people on that plane depend on our keeping the hijackers happy until we can negotiate some compromise, or at least get the door opened!” He got to his feet, frustrated that the phone cord wasn’t long enough for him to indulge in his usual pacing. “Doesn’t anyone care about that?”
“Of course we care, Mr. McGarrett!” Simons said indignantly. “But unlike you on your little island, we have to look at the bigger picture!”
Steve took a deep breath and concentrated on clinging to the remains of his temper.
“Look,” he said reasonably, “We just need them to tell the hijackers they can land so we can stall for time and try to get some of the hostages released and the door opened before we go in. How hard can that possibly be to get someone to agree to?”
“Of course...of course we’ll try,” the State Department official said. “But in diplomacy, sometimes these things just don’t happen the way we want.”
“Well, make it happen!” McGarrett shouted, finally losing it. “And if you aren’t competent enough to manage it, then please ask your superiors to get me someone who is!” He slammed the receiver back onto the phone with excessive force, then winced and stood rubbing his hand. Calm down, Steve, he told himself. This isn’t helping anything. But when I think of the bureaucrats in Washington and how little these lives mean to them...how little Danny’s life means....
He took a deep breath and sat down at the desk again, trying to force himself to concentrate on mapping out their next steps. His thoughts, however, refused to cooperate. He has to be alright. I’d give anything to see him again, to talk to him, to...on Saturday, why did I insist on going straight back to the office? An hour wouldn’t have made that much difference, but I figured work should come first, there’d be time enough for that later.
McGarrett sighed, reaching for the telephone receiver. I didn’t even kiss him goodbye....
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