Wolf's Bane

Chapter 2:

Dominic and Caitlin flew Airwolf back to the warehouse. Marella and her team were still there raking through the debris of the battle to see if they could pick up any clues.

"How's Hawke?" asked Marella.

"Okay for the moment, they want to do more tests," replied Dominic. "Mind if we take a look around?"

"Go ahead," said Marella, "we've drawn a blank so far. All the major players that we were after managed to escape and we have no idea how."

"You haven't found anything?" said Caitlin.

"We're still looking, but so far nothing," said Marella.

Dominic and Caitlin made their way up the stairs to Mannen's lab and started going over the room, looking for anything which might explain Mannen's disappearance. Caitlin flicked through lab notebooks filled with scrawled German handwriting, which she assumed was Mannen's.

"Archangel may be interested in these," said Caitlin, "my German isn't good enough to read them."

"Huh?" said Dominic, who had been staring out of the window.

"Mannen's lab books," said Caitlin.

"Yeah, sure," said Dominic. "Cait, did you notice those manhole covers out in the courtyard?"

"Yeah, what about them?" asked Caitlin.

"Where do you suppose they go?"

"Sewer, I would assume," said Caitlin.

"Yeah, but do you think they go under this building?"

"Hey, you might have something, they could have escaped into the sewer," said Caitlin.

"But how come Marella didn't find their escape route?"

"May be its just well hidden."

Ten minutes later Caitlin, Dominic and Marella with one of the Firm's agents had prised up a manhole cover and were wandering along the dark, cramped passage of the sewer. Their torches were trained on the roof, looking for a hidden exit from the warehouse.

"Okay, we're under the warehouse here," said Marella, "if they came this way, then the exit from the warehouse must be here."

"Marella," said Caitlin, "up there." Caitlin had spotted a ladder leading up to a hatch way. She climbed up and pushed the hatch open. She came out in a small dark room, but when she stood up she hit her head and the room moved. She put her hands above her head and pushed, the structure that she had taken for a room turned out to be a cube made of plywood, and she pushed it over easily. From the outside it looked like a machine housing and she could see how the agents hadn't even given it a second look. As expected, they were in the stairwell where Mannen had disappeared.

Dominic, climbed up behind her. "Hey," he said, "who would have guessed this was only plywood."

Marella followed Dominic. "Now we know how they did it, perhaps we can work out where they went. I'll get our agents on it right away."

"Now we're getting somewhere," said Dominic.

An agent came running into the stairwell. "Marella, phone call for you."

"Excuse me," said Marella and went to take the call.

"What do we do now?" asked Caitlin.

"I guess we stick with Marella and see what she turns up," said Dominic.

"Mr Santini," said an agent, "Marella would like to see you outside."

"Oh, okay," said Dominic, "you coming Cait?"

Caitlin nodded and followed Dominic to where Marella was standing next to a white limousine.

"I have some bad news," said Marella. "Its Hawke, his temperature is up and he has a fever. He's been asking for you both. Archangel thought you might want to know."

"We had better get back there," said Dominic and Caitlin just nodded.

Dominic and Caitlin arrived to find Archangel standing outside Hawke's room looking through the large window that all the observation rooms had. Archangel looked about as worried as Dominic had ever seen him.

Inside the room Hawke lay with sweat pouring off him, moving restlessly. He had a drip plugged into his right arm and several monitors attached to his chest and other parts of his body which blipped away in the corner of the room. A nurse stood beside the bed taking the readings from the various machines beside his bed and occasionally mopped his brow. She was wearing a gown, a surgical mask and latex gloves.

"The doctors just confirmed it," said Archangel. "The virus is a biologically engineered strain of influenza that they haven't seen before. They're doing all they can to find a cure but its going to take time, which is something Hawke doesn't have." Archangel didn't want to look at Dominic, he knew that Hawke was Dominic's family and he hated to be the bearer of such bad news.

"Isn't there anything else we can do?" asked Caitlin.

"They've started him on anti-virals but we don't know how much good that will do," said Archangel. "I have asked Dr Denheim to come down here. She worked with Mannen and hopefully will know his techniques. Marella tells me that you found some lab note books that may help us as well."

Caitlin was desperately trying to hold back tears.

"Can I go in and sit with him?" asked Dominic.

"If you put on a mask and gown, yes. Just be aware that even by going in the same room there is a chance you could be infected too," replied Archangel.

"As if I care about that!" said Dominic and opened the door to the airlock of the room. He donned the required clothing and went in. He grabbed a chair and sat down beside his friend, putting a latex gloved hand on his shoulder.

"Hey, String, how you doing," said Dominic, quietly. Hawke turned and opened his eyes, screwing them up as if he was having trouble focusing.

"Dom?" he said, his voice brittle.

"Yes, String, its me."

"Did you get Mannen?" he asked.

"Not yet, String, but we will."

"How am I doing?" he asked.

"You're doing fine, you'll be up and about in no time."

"You're a terrible liar, Dom," replied Hawke and closed his eyes. He was shivering but too hot at the same time. His head felt fuzzy and when he opened his eyes he couldn't focus. He wanted to sleep because he was so tired but at the same time he wanted to stay awake, that way he still felt as if he had some control. He opened his eyes again, "You shouldn't be in here, Dom" he said.

"What kind of thing is that to say?" replied Dominic.

"Just don't take any chances for me, Dom," said Hawke.

"Awe, String," started Dominic, but Hawke had fallen asleep.

Dominic stayed beside Hawke's bed for the next four hours before Caitlin came in and told Dominic to get some sleep. Hawke had fallen into a fitful sleep of twisted dreams and occasionally woke himself calling out for Dominic or Saint John or Caitlin. Dominic didn't feel he could leave him, someone needed to be there to calm him down and get him back to sleep. He knew the nurses were doing their best but what Hawke really needed was a reassuring presence and only he could provide that.

"You've been here for hours, its getting late" said Caitlin "and you haven't once taken a break. Let me sit with him, while you get some sleep. You won't help him by doing this you know."

"I know, Cait, but I want to stay."

"Okay, Dom, but you're going to have to let me take over soon."

"Sure, Cait, just a little while longer."

Archangel waved at the two of them through the plate glass window. He switched a switch beside the window which turned out to be an intercom into the room "Can I see you two outside?" he said. Dominic and Caitlin went into the small airlock room and pulled off the gowns and masks and threw them into the contaminated garment bin. They met Archangel out into the corridor.

"Mannen has been in contact. He has offered a cure for Hawke in exchange for Airwolf."

Dominic shook his head and sighed. "I suppose that's what I was waiting for," said Dominic. "He must have had this planned out from the start. Get String close enough to infect him with that virus and then demand Airwolf in exchange for his life."

"You can't give him Airwolf," said Archangel.

"We know that," said Caitlin.

"How do you know that what he gives you is even a cure?" asked Archangel.

"I guess we don't," said Caitlin.

"Yeah, but do we have any choice," said Dominic.

"You're not suggesting that we do it?" said Archangel. "Have you any idea what a man like Mannen would do with Airwolf?"

"I know that, but String is in there fighting for his life. There must be some way we can use this deal of Mannen's to get String that cure."

"We'll think of something, Dom," said Caitlin. "When does Mannen want to make the exchange?"

"Tomorrow afternoon, he will give us more details nearer to the time," said Archangel, "he's trying to keep us guessing."

"Has Marella had any luck tracking down the terrorists?" asked Caitlin.

"No, she hasn't," said Archangel, "but she still has some leads."

"We need some sort of advantage," said Dominic.

"We have one," said Caitlin, "Airwolf."

"Yeah, we do," said Dominic, "we just have to work out how to use her." He went back into Hawke's room, to find him awake.

"Hey, String," said Dominic.

"What's going on?" said Hawke, he had seen the conference in the hall. Dominic noticed that String was finding it hard to catch his breath and was obviously in a lot of pain. He went to his bedside.

"Mannen has offered a deal, Airwolf for you."

"You can't do it, Dom," he said taking a deep breath.

"Don't worry, I won't let anything happen to the Lady." Dominic looked at Hawke, "String, you don't sound so good. I'm going to get Dr Kingsley, I'll be back in just a second." Dom left the room. Hawke tried to concentrate on staying conscious, he was so tired but he had more to say to Dominic. He couldn't let his friend take Airwolf into danger just for him.

Dominic came back with the nurse, and Dr Kingsley.

"Dom, just don't give them Airwolf," said Hawke, gasping. He tried to sit up but was too weak to do more than try. His whole body felt as if it was on fire.

"Try to relax, Mr Hawke," said the doctor. "Mr Santini tells me you're not sleeping well, I think we can do something about that." Hawke started to protest. "Now don't make a fuss, Mr Hawke, its just for a little while and you need to keep your strength up." She listened to Hawke's chest, and she nodded to the nurse who strapped an oxygen mask over Hawke's face. "He's contracted pneumonia, I need to start him on antibiotics," she said to Dominic, "and he needs to get some rest." She took the top off a hypodermic needle and injected it into Hawke's arm. "I've given you a sedative and some painkillers," she told Hawke and he started to feel very drowsy.

"I want to go home," mumbled Hawke as he fell asleep and suddenly Dominic had a vision of the twelve year old boy he had taken in after losing his parents. Hawke had said the exact same thing that night after Dominic had brought him and his brother home, and he hadn't known what to say then either.

"He'll sleep for a little while now." said Dr Kinsley to Dominic, she paused, knowing that Dominic didn't want to hear what was coming. "The anti- virals aren't working, his condition is worsening. Dr Denheim is doing her best but we don't know where to start. The virus is attacking his nervous system and eventually his body won't have anything left to fight with."

"I only have one choice left, I'm going to have to give Mannen Airwolf," said Dominic.

Dr Denheim stood at the window and thumbed the intercom "Dr Kingsley, can I have a word," said Dr Denheim. Dr Kingsley left the room and Dr Denheim went out into a nearby lab to discuss Hawke's condition. Caitlin signalled for Dominic to come out into the corridor.

"How's he doing?" asked Caitlin.

"Not so good," said Dominic. "He's a stubborn one though, Cait."

"Dom, I think I have an idea how we can get the antidote," said Caitlin.

"You do?" said Dom, brightening.

"Yeah, I think I do," replied Caitlin. "I just hope Hawke can hang on long enough."

Archangel made his way to Hawke's room early in the morning with the news that Mannen had been in touch with the details of the rendezvous. The doctors told him that Hawke had not had a good night. Complications had set in, and in the early hours of the morning he had been put on a ventilator. Later they had inserted a chest drain in the hope that they could alleviate some of his breathing difficulties. He had dropped into a coma and the doctors were not hopeful that he would come out of it without some serious help. Santini had sat with him the entire night only being relieved by Caitlin for a couple of hours so that he could get some sleep himself. He suspected that Santini had not been able to sleep even then. Archangel had certainly had trouble sleeping.

Caitlin had pushed together some of the chairs in the corridor and was lying out on those. She lay there with her eyes closed but the steaming cup of coffee on the floor beside her, told Archangel that she was not asleep. He squatted beside her and gently shook her shoulder. She opened one eye.

"Any news?" she said, sleepily.

"Mannen has been in touch," said Archangel.

"Did you get us what we asked for?" she said.

"Yes," said Archangel, "it wasn't a difficult request but did take a little time to put together."
Caitlin struggled up on the middle seat of the three she had pushed together. "How's Hawke doing?" she asked indicating the room behind her.

"A little worse," said Archangel. "They're trying some new anti- virals but." he couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence and Caitlin saw his look and knew what it meant.

"Not much hope, huh?" she said and Archangel just nodded. "Dominic still awake?" she asked.

"Dozing," said Archangel, "but still sitting by Hawke's bed."

Caitlin looked at her watch. "What time does Mannen want to do the swap?" she asked.

"Seventeen hundred," said Archangel.

"I'd better wake Dominic," said Caitlin and she went to the intercom beside the window. She was about to press the button and stopped for just second. Archangel wondered why and then he too went to the window and saw Hawke lying in the bed, with tubes and medical equipment around him, looking pale and very, very ill. Dominic had fallen asleep in the chair.

Caitlin buzzed the intercom and Dominic jerked himself awake. He looked over at Hawke to make sure that there was nothing that needed to be done and stiffly got up. He came out of the room looking tired and much older than Archangel had ever seen him look before.

"Well, what you got for us?" asked Dominic. Archangel handed him the rendezvous co-ordinates and relayed the message from Mannen.

"I hope this is going to work," said Dominic.

"So do I," said Archangel.

"Have a little faith," said Caitlin. "This was my idea remember."

"That's what worries me," said Archangel.

"Just because none of your hi-tech Firm people came up with it, doesn't mean it ain't going to work," said Dominic. "Sometimes the simple ideas are the best."

"Yes, but will Mannen fall for it?" asked Archangel.

"We'll just have to find out," said Caitlin.

"Look, Caitlin and I are going to go out and get in some practise before the big event," said Dominic. "Just give me a call if there's any change in his condition, will you?"

"Sure, Dominic," replied Archangel. He hoped that he wouldn't have to call Santini.

The day went quickly. Hawke didn't get much worse but he didn't get any better either. Dr Denheim had pumped him full of the nearest thing she could get to the correct anti-viral for the strain of influenza Mannen had engineered. She suspected, knowing her ex-husband, that he had engineered it specially for the occasion. It was his style. She didn't expect the anti- viral to help much but she thought it should slow down the virus long enough for Dominic and Caitlin to get back with the cure. It seemed to be doing its job so far but she wasn't sure how long it would last.

Dominic flew Airwolf to the rendezvous point with Caitlin following behind. Archangel had wanted to come along but Dominic hadn't wanted company. Instead Archangel made do with sitting in a Firm helicopter monitoring the situation from a distance. Caitlin signalled Dominic to let him know that she was going to peel off and land slightly further away. Dominic took a deep breath and flew on to the co-ordinates that Mannen had given them.

When he flew in he could see a couple of jeeps approaching and a jet ranger hovering to give them protection from the air. As if Airwolf couldn't make mincemeat of them within seconds, but then Mannen knew that Dominic wouldn't with the threat of death hanging over Hawke. Dominic put Airwolf down gently on the ground and turned off the engines. He climbed out of the cockpit and waited for Mannen and the others to reach him.

"You must be Dominic Santini," said Mannen when he reached Dominic. "How is Mr Hawke?"

Dominic's mouth formed a tight line while he tried to control his temper. "You know how he is. Let's just get this over with."

"Yes, let's do that, Mr Hawke doesn't have an awful lot of time."

"I did my part, I brought Airwolf. Give me the cure," said Santini.

Mannen nodded to one of his henchmen and he handed Santini a small black case, about the size of a couple of vials. Dominic opened the case and saw two small vials full of a clear liquid.

"This had better be the right stuff, or so help me God, I'll hunt you down," said Santini.

"It's the right anti-viral, once I have Airwolf who will be able to touch me. I had all the test subjects that I needed in Vietnam, Hawke's death doesn't interest me."

"Well, here she is," said Santini.

"She? Ha ha ha!" laughed Mannen. "It's a machine, Mr Santini."

"Yeah, well I got what I came for. Take Airwolf and go," said Santini. He turned to walk away and heard the familiar hiss as Mannen opened the door of Airwolf. He waited until Mannen had climbed into the helicopter and then he ran for it. It wouldn't take Mannen long to realise what Santini had done. The engines started up and he watched the sleek black machine lift off.

Dominic heard the tell tale sound of rotor blades, Caitlin was incoming. A second Airwolf rose over the brow of the hill and landed by Santini. Dominic scrambled into the rear seat and Caitlin lifted off in pursuit of Mannen.

"Did you get it?" asked Caitlin from the pilot's seat.

"I did, I just hope he didn't pull a fast one on us too," said Dominic. "I'm real glad we've got the one and only Airwolf. Go get him Caitlin."

"Sure thing, Dom. Give me the turbos." Airwolf shot across the sky in search of its slower and much less agile twin. It didn't take long to find Mannen, who didn't have the benefit of turbos to take him out of Airwolf's reach.

The radio let Dominic know that Mannen was trying to call them. "You're smart, Mr Santini," said Mannen. "I never would have guessed until I lifted off that it wasn't Airwolf. How did you do it Mr Santini?"

"It wasn't hard, Archangel had the second prototype's hull, we just put a helicopter inside, with a few modifications. The Firm was working for hours on that bird you're flying, getting it to look as much like the real thing as possible," said Santini.

"I know your type, Mr Santini, yours and Archangel's. I thought that it might be hard to get Airwolf from you so I brought some friends," said Mannen.

The radio cut out. "Caitlin, we've got company," said Dominic.

"Ident?" asked Caitlin. She was a good chopper pilot but flying in combat made her nervous as hell. Apart from the lessons Hawke and Santini had given her in Airwolf, she had never flown any combat missions. This wasn't the first time she had sat in Airwolf's cockpit and wondered why she had ever decided to come and find someone who was so obviously trouble as Stringfellow Hawke.

"I have three jet rangers on the scope, they're on an intercept course. All armed with sidewinders. Won't know whether they're radar guided or heat seekers until they fire," replied Dominic.

Caitlin turned the helicopter in fast curve to face the on coming jet rangers and tilted Airwolf's nose upwards into a steep climb. If there was one thing that Hawke had hammered home it was don't give them an easy target. She needed to get within range to fire her own hellfires but she couldn't do that and stay out of their range and there were more of them. She executed a hammer head turn and bore down on the approaching aircraft. She closed the visor of her helmet and moved her attention over to Airwolf's precise targeting scanner.

"Dom, give me the hellfires," she said.

"You got them," said Dominic. "Easy Cait, wait 'til they're in the sights."

"I've got one Dom," said Caitlin and fired the missile at the lead jet ranger. It exploded in a cloud of spinning debris as its rotors tore the craft apart.

"One down, two to go," said Caitlin. She banked Airwolf round and came in for a second run but now the choppers had had a warning and were scattering out of formation. The second and third jet rangers weren't where she had expected them to be and suddenly Airwolf's cockpit lit up with warnings.

"We've got a sidewinder on our tail," said Dominic. "It's a heat seeker."

"Pop me a sunburst," said Caitlin.

"Sunburst away," replied Dom. The sidewinder impacted with the sunburst in a shower of flame. "We've got a second rocket incoming," added Dominic.

"Okay, pop another sunburst," said Caitlin, her voice sounded calm to her ears but inside her heart was racing.

"Sunburst away," said Dominic. The second missile locked on the sunburst and exploded. Caitlin breathed a sigh of relief, but knew better than to relax. She put Airwolf into a dive, hoping that if she could get behind the two jet rangers then she could target them. She knew Airwolf was faster than them and had better fire power but she was still outnumbered two to one. That meant that wherever Airwolf was she could be targeted from two angles and if they both got a lock on her then her chances of evading were lessened.

Caitlin pulled a sharp hundred and eighty degree turn and was behind one of the jet rangers. She waited until she was sure the jet ranger was locked as the missile's target and fired. The helicopter in front of her disintegrated into a ball of fire and twisted metal. While she had been targeting the second helicopter, the third had managed to move round behind her and get locked on.

"Incoming," yelled Dominic. "Another sidewinder."

"Sunburst," said Caitlin. She waited for the explosion but it didn't happen.

"It didn't take the bait," said Dominic.

"Now what do I do," said Caitlin, "even Airwolf can't outrun a missile." She twisted the stick to the left and then back to the right, hoping that she could shake the rocket, but it was persistent. Up ahead was a hillside, she hoped that she could scrape over it sufficiently closely for the missile to catch the brow of the hill but as she approached it she realised that she was going too fast for that to work. Maybe Hawke could have done it, but he wasn't here now and she didn't have his years of combat training in dog fights over Vietnam to fall back on. She had one last trick up her sleeve, an old trick that Hawke had once explained to her but could just work.

"The theory behind it is that a heat seeker will go to the hottest target. That maybe an aircraft or a sunburst but the missile doesn't know the difference once its launched and locked on. You can fool a missile but only if you have something hotter than you are to confuse it," Hawke had said.

"So how to do you get something hotter than you are?" Caitlin had asked. "Airwolf runs pretty damn hot even for a helicopter."

"Easy," said Hawke. "You blow something up. There's nothing hotter than fire."

Caitlin let two of Airwolf's missiles go and watched them slam into the side of the hill. She nearly clipped the top and soil was thrown back over them from the blast. It had to be close otherwise the heat seeker wouldn't change targets. She held her breath as Santini monitored the missile behind them and then heard a satisfying crump as the heat seeker flew into the side of the hill and exploded.

"That's one of String's," said Dominic. "When did he teach you that? Never mind," he added quickly, "I'm just glad he did."

"That's the first time I've tried it," said Caitlin.

"I'm glad I didn't know that before," replied Dominic.

Caitlin circled round. "Where did he go?" she asked.

"He's protecting Mannen, check your scope to the south."

Caitlin checked and there were the two helicopters. "Okay, let's get them." She manoeuvred Airwolf onto an intercept course and pressed the turbos button on the stick. Airwolf kicked her against the seat with the force of the acceleration. The jet ranger flew alongside the Airwolf clone and was in Caitlin's sights within seconds. She didn't wait to be asked twice and launched a hellfire at the helicopter. The missile found its target and the helicopter plumed into flame and debris. The jet ranger had been flying very closely with the Airwolf clone and some of the explosion debris blew back into Mannen's main rotor.

Caitlin could immediately see that Mannen was having trouble holding the Airwolf clone.

"He's hit bad, Caitlin," said Santini from the back of Airwolf where he had technical readouts of the damage on the other helicopter.

"Mannen," said Caitlin, over the radio. "Try to set her down. We can offer assistance if required."

"Your help is appreciated, but not required," replied Mannen. "If you think I'm going back to some East German prison then you are mistaken. Although I'd rather that than become a guest of Archangel and the Firm. Tell Hawke I'm sorry about his brother."

"Why are you sorry?" asked Caitlin, "What happened to Hawke's brother?"

But Caitlin never got an answer, Mannen was spiralling down, smoke trailing from the engine. Then suddenly he hit the ground and Airwolf's twin exploded into a huge cloud of flame and helicopter parts.

"Come on, Caitlin," said Dominic, "we've got to get this anti-viral back for String as quickly as possible."

"Aren't you the least bit curious about what Mannen said?" asked Caitlin while she set Airwolf on a course for home.

"I gave up on finding Saint John a long time ago, and I don't want to look too closely at some of the stuff that went on over there. String and Saint John were close and I can see why String doesn't want to give up, but take it from me Cait, don't go digging up the past unless you want it to bury you."

Hawke got better far more slowly than he had become ill. Once the doctors had give him the anti-viral that Dominic and Caitlin had brought back, he started to recover, but it was a couple of days before he regained consciousness. The first person Hawke saw was Dominic, he was sitting beside his bed with a well read paperback book in his hand, but he wasn't reading. At the first sign of Hawke stirring he had closed the book and looked over at the bed to find Hawke staring back at him groggily.

"Hey, String," he said, and when Hawke had tried to move he put a hand on his shoulder, gently but firmly and said "take it easy, you're not ready for that yet."

Hawke's lips were dry and he just managed to make his mouth form the words, "How long?"

"You've been out three days," said Dominic. "You had us all worried for a bit." Dominic reached over for a glass of water that was beside the bed and a straw and held it for Hawke to sip. He spluttered and coughed. "Not so fast," said Dominic. "You're going to be fine. Go back to sleep, you just need to rest at the moment and then we'll get you back on your feet."

"Mannen?" asked Hawke.

"He's dead. We shot him down in Airwolf."

Hawke settled back down and closed his eyes, happy in the knowledge that Dominic was sitting beside him and slept.

As the days past he got a little stronger each day, Dominic went home to pick up his air service business where he had left it and he and Caitlin took it in turns to visit. One day Archangel came to visit and he came pushing a wheelchair.

"The doctors tell me that you're ready for some air," said Archangel. "I thought there might be something ironic about a cripple pushing a convalescing pilot around," he said indicating his bad knee.

"Michael, you have no idea how pleased I am to see you with that contraption. I thought that they would never let me out of here," said Hawke, he had been getting bored the last couple of days which he knew must mean he was getting better. Equally he knew he was still very tired and sleeping a lot more than he should.

Archangel helped Hawke out of bed and into a hospital issue dressing gown. Hawke's legs were weak and he knew his limits, he wasn't too proud to accept a little help from Archangel to get from the bed to the wheelchair. Archangel abandoned his cane in the hospital room, he hardly ever needed it these days and it was mostly for show. Archangel pushed Hawke down the hall and into the sunshine.

"So Michael, is this just a visit to the sick or are you here for another reason?"

"I just thought you might appreciate some company," said Archangel.

"Liar," said Hawke.

"I can't visit a friend in hospital without having an ulterior motive?" asked Archangel.

"Spit it out, Michael. I'm in no condition to fly Airwolf for you at the moment."

"I know that, Hawke, that's obvious," said Archangel. "I don't need you to fly Airwolf for me. At the moment anyway. Although after Caitlin's performance in Airwolf maybe I don't need you at all," he teased.

"And maybe I don't need you, Michael," replied Hawke.

"Perhaps you should reconsider that or you'll be pushing your own wheelchair," said Michael.

Hawke laughed but dissolved into a spluttering cough, "ow, it hurts when I laugh," said Hawke. Archangel looked at Hawke and realised that he was still very ill.

"You want to go back in?" asked Archangel.

"No, I'm okay," said Hawke, back to being his usual stubborn self, too proud to let Archangel think that he wasn't fine.

"Before Mannen went down he said something to Caitlin about your brother," said Archangel.

"Why would I care what Mannen had to say?" said Hawke.

"Because Caitlin pulled a notebook out of Mannen's lab in the warehouse. It talks about a Saint John Hawke, and it names the prison camp he was in. Nam Ha."

"But if he was in Mannen's lab book." Hawke couldn't finish the sentence. He closed his eyes and rested his head on his hand. Archangel pushed Hawke's wheelchair so that it was beside a bench and he sat down.

"We liberated that camp in '73, and Saint John wasn't there," said Archangel.

"Yeah, I know," said Hawke, visibly pulling himself together. "Every time I get a lead on Saint John it seems to go no where."

Archangel sat on the bench beside Hawke and wondered what he could say. There was nothing he could think of, Hawke had been looking for his brother for a long time and every little piece brought him a step closer, but it wasn't enough.

"For all we know Mannen left that book there for us to find," said Archangel.

"Yeah, maybe. Take me back inside, Michael," said Hawke.

Archangel stood, turned the wheelchair around and pushed Hawke back into the medical complex. He saw Marella walking down the corridor towards them with Santini. They were arguing loudly and Archangel caught some snatches as they got closer.

"Mr Santini, you can't expect to use the Firm like a shopping mall!" said Marella.

"Look, you want Airwolf to fly more missions for the Firm, then you have to pay for it," said Dominic.

"We expect some expense but this is too much." said Marella.

Hawke sighed. "What's up, Dominic?" he said in a tired voice.

"Marella says that they won't pay for my chopper," said Dominic.

"What chopper?" asked Archangel.

"The one we blew up that was pretending to be Airwolf," said Dominic.

"That was your helicopter?" said Archangel. "Marella!"

"We didn't have time to bring in a Firm vehicle and Santini's helicopter was here. We didn't think it was going to be blown to pieces," said Marella. "The fitting out took a lot of time and getting another helicopter would have meant we had less time to do the fitting out."

"How could you not think it was going to be blown to pieces!" asked Archangel.

"That wasn't part of the plan, sir. We were meant to capture Mannen alive."

"Marella, just give Dom his money," said Hawke.

"That's easy for you to say, you don't have to worry about budget committees," said Marella and folded her arms across her chest.

"Give Santini his helicopter," said Archangel. Marella started to argue. "Please, Marella, just do it." He looked at Hawke who was visibly sagging in the wheelchair. Santini noticed too.

"We need to get you back to bed, buddy," said Santini.

"I'm not going to argue with that Dom," said Hawke. Santini got Hawke back into bed.

"How you feeling?"

"Tired," said Hawke. "When can I go home?"

"You've been through a hell of a lot, String, you've got to be patient. You came closer to buying it this time that you ever have in any dog fight. We nearly lost you, String."

"Yeah, well I'm okay, Dom," said Hawke and settled back against the pillows. Hawke knew he had some recovery time left yet, but he was damned if some 'flu bug was going to keep him in bed any longer than he needed to be. He noticed Marella and Archangel out in the corridor having an animated conversation.

"What's up with those two?" asked Hawke, but he didn't have to wait for an answer. Archangel and Marella came into the room.

"We have a problem," said Archangel.

"What sort of problem?" asked Dominic.

"Mannen," said Marella.

"He's dead," said Hawke.

"We don't think he's dead," said Archangel.

"We searched the wreckage of the helicopter," said Marella. "There was no body."