by Peg Keeley
Subject B obtained without incident. Following processing, he has
been placed in confinement. Except for the necessary barbiturate needed
for capture, there has been no therapeutic intervention.
The sound of the ticking clock was a security, somehow something familiar. The softness of the blankets and bedding seemed like they were out of childhood -- warm, holding him close like a mother's embrace. It was safe here. He slowly opened his eyes and as they focused, everything around him felt like it was from another time long past --a secure and safe time. The room was only semi-lit from a low-wattage light on the bedside table. The walls were old, dark, wood paneling covered heavily with old landscape and still life paintings and embroidery. The old desk and chair seemed to be where they should be, a short stack of books neatly to one side on the desktop.
Where am I? How did I come to be here? It all seems right, natural, but why am I frightened? He continued his visual assessment. Although the room was old, neatly cluttered with evidence of the past, there was something unusual and different that he could not place. The drapes were drawn over the window, but it felt like it was night outside. At last his gaze came to rest on the rocking chair near the foot of the bed and on the one who occupied it. She was breathtakingly beautiful some somehow familiar. The dark long hair fell in graceful curls around her neck. Her complexion was fair and seemed a little pale or perhaps tired. Her face was at peaceful rest as she slept, turned towards him resting on the small pillow.
You are beautiful, but who are you? He felt ashamed. This lovely being seemed to be waiting for him, giving up her night for him as for a sick child and he had no idea who she was. But then -- who am I? This is all so familiar, but where am I? Why am I here? Who am I? Careful so as not to awaken the woman, he moved back the blankets and got out of bed. Unsteadiness washed over him as he stood to his feet. I am weak. I have been lying down for some time. I am uninjured. Nothing hurts, yet I cannot escape the nagging suspicion that something is very wrong.
He moved to the desk and glanced through the book titles. Arabian Nights, The Source, The Sun Also Rises. I know these titles. I like these books; I know the authors' names. I can tell the plots of all of these novels. Why don't I know who I am? He could feel the knot of fear tightening in his stomach.
"My dear," came a gentle voice, "what are you doing up?"
He spun at the sound of the voice.
The beautiful woman was out of the chair coming towards him. "How are you feeling? You really should be in bed."
He stared at her, uncertain about a response. Should I admit I do not know who she is? Is she friend or foe?
Her smiled gradually faded. "You don't remember, do you?"
He ran a hand through his dark hair and managed a momentary grin. "I'm afraid not. Should I recall this place?"
"Come back to bed," she said quietly.
Obediently, he followed her over and sat on the edge of the mattress.
She sat down on the rocker, facing him. "Dr. Sakar said it wouldn't help, but I had hoped bringing you back to your father's home would help you remember things."
"My father?" he whispered. He stopped, catching a glimpse of his reflection in the base of the light. The dark, straight, disheveled hair, steel blue eyes, and square jaw stared back. How odd to look at a stranger in the reflection. He could not resist the urge to touch his face as the mirror image confirmed he looked at himself. He turned back to the woman. "My father is dead. He died when I was thirteen."
She looked broken hearted. "He died last year -- in his sleep."
He scowled, confused. "No, that's not right."
She reached out to take his hand. "Paul, it's all right."
Paul? Paul? Is that who I am? No, that's not right either. What is my name? --Steve. It's Steve. "No, I am not Paul. Who are you?" Suspicion sprang up in his tone and on his expression.
"Oh, Paul," she whispered, tears in her eyes. "We were making such progress."
"It's Steve," he replied firmly.
She shook her head sadly. "That's what they told you. They brainwashed you; made up a whole life in your mind."
"They? Who is they?"
"There were Communist agents. You were captured on a recon mission two weeks ago. They drugged you and brainwashed you into believing you were a completely different person with a totally different past."
"That's impossible," he murmured, confusion mixing with his fears.
"I would have thought so, too. I wouldn't believe anything could erase our love from your mind, but they did it."
He stared at her again. Love? What is my relationship with this woman? What is her name? He glanced at her left hand -- a ring on the fourth finger. She is married to someone -- me? "Look, I am really sorry, but none of this -- the room, you -- none of it is what I know." He wanted to be kind, but he wanted to get to the root of the matter. "What is going on? Please, what is this place?"
She flashed a momentary smile. "Well, that sounds like you, Paul. Getting right to the point. Get all the facts sorted out. They couldn't take that out of you." She got up and walked to a bookcase and returned with a photo album. "Here." She handed it to him.
He accepted the brown leather volume and opened the cover. The first picture was of a young couple posing for wedding pictures, love glowing on their faces. The young woman he immediately identified as the one who was speaking to him. The man he knew with a moment's hesitation -- himself. "My wife?" he whispered. His head swam in confusion.
She turned the page to where a white paper napkin had been preserved. Embossed on one corner it read: "Paul and Cathi Garrett, April 1972. Together forever." There was a wedding invitation below it.
Mr. & Mrs. Harold B. Ryan
Dr. & Mrs. Forrest M. Garrett
Request your presence at the wedding
Of their children:
"Cathi? Cathi Ryan?" he whispered, looking up to stare into her face. Yes, there is a Cathi. I loved a Cathi. He mind recalled an image, but it escaped his grasp. Cathi died. I remember the agony. She died because of me. . "You died," he murmured
"I'm right here, Honey." She took his hand in hers. "They told you I was dead."
He felt dizzy with confusion. "I remember it," he murmured. "It was so real." Images of a woman dead -- the woman he loved murdered. Distorted and disconnected pieces. He gazed back at Cathi again. Why can't I remember your face? I recall the pain, I know it was real. He looked at the album again.
"Dr. Sakar says if you can talk about what you remember, we can filter out what is real from what they planted."
"You are Cathi," he repeated slowly. "And I am -- Paul Michael Garrett?" McGarrett, his mind corrected. Steve McGarrett. "McGarrett," he whispered.
"What?" she asked. Her face brightened. "You remember what Chuck called you?"
"Chuck?" He felt the moment of gasping reality slipping away from him.
"Chuck is the only person who ever called you Mike. He was your partner. Mike Garrett -- you remember that!"
He scowled. "No, I don't remember a Chuck. Steve McGarrett, that's my name."
Paul," she said gently, "that's what they told you. They kidnapped you, drugged you. Chuck died in a rescue attempt. You don't remember any of this?"
"How long ago?"
"Two weeks. We've had you back three days now, but it's like there is a short circuit in your mind. Whenever you go to sleep, you forget it all." She went to a side table and brought back a cup of hot tea. "Here."
He accepted the steaming cup. The smell of citrus stung his nose. "Orange pecot tea," he murmured.
"Yes! Your favorite!"
I've had this many times with someone else. Was it my favorite or his? His? Yes, it was a man -- an older man. We used to discuss something -- religion? -- and drink orange pecot tea. Chinese Proverbs, CHIN HO. "Chin drank this," he corrected.
Her joy fell. "Who?"
"Chin Ho. He died a six months ago, Undercover," He squinted. "I remember now. Five-0. I am head of Five-0."
"No, Paul," she said with mild urgency. "It was Chuck who died. They have twisted everything. There was no Chin -- it was Chuck."
"Was he oriental?" he asked sharply.
She blinked in surprise. "Why yes -- yes he was."
The cloud of confusion swept back over him. Where is reality in all of this? What is real? What is not? Is she the fake? Is everything I recall as so real just a trick? Is she lying? He sipped the tea, trying to analyze Cathi's expression. He began to feel tired. The urge to sleep was irresistible.
"Don't sleep," she begged. "I'll lose you again!"
He fought to keep his eyes open, but it was a losing battle. "Cathi," he murmured, "got to sleep."
"Please say you won't forget me again," she pleaded, hugging him.
Any response was lost, for he was asleep.
Duke Lukela glanced out of the window of the C130 military transport as it circled Manila, Philippines, for the third time. He wished he was already on the ground and trying to make some sense of things. His contact would be Inspector Strickland from Hong Kong and Chief Sanchez of Manila -- and only them. Strickland he knew; Sanchez was only a black and white photo that he now looked over again.
The phone had rung at 3:42AM. That was always a bad omen. Nothing good happened at that hour of the morning. His heart was already pounding in dread as he lifted the receiver, only to have the Governor's anxious voice confirm his worst fears.
"I'm sorry to be involving you Duke," Jameson's tired, but worried voice had claimed. "Naval Intelligence reports Williams never made it either. You are to meet Admiral Harper right now -- his driver is on the way to your house. Make sure he produces an ID. You will be taken by military jet to Manila. Harper will give you what you need to know. Duke," he had hesitated. "We've already lost two of the best. Please be careful."
There was hardly time for the hasty and tear-filled good-byes before he and a thrown together bag were whisked away into the night.
Duke was brought back to the present as the plane's wheels dropped down and the rumbling of descent began. I have already made it farther than Danny did, he thought fatalistically. Just how does one disappear in the middle of a flight anyway? There's nowhere to go.
Fifteen minutes later, Duke was escorted under military police guard down the steps of the C130 directly to Inspector Strickland who stood out on the tarmac waiting for him, flanked by a Manila police officer on each side. It was raining in a soft mist and was cooler than Duke had anticipated.
"No problems?" Strickland asked in his thick British accent as he extended a handshake.
Duke shook hands. "None." He followed Strickland to the canvas roofed jeep and got in. The driver pulled away, headed for the far side of the airport where a huge 747 sat surrounded by military guard. "Have you made any progress?"
Stickland gave a sigh. "Very little I'm afraid. The local law enforcement is certainly no Five-0 team."
Duke refrained from commenting. Perhaps I haven't been here long enough to have an educated response.
They were met by Captain Sanchez as the jeep splashed to a halt near the steps that led up to the open doorway of the empty jetliner. Sanchez gave a broad smile as he was introduced to Duke. "It is an honor to have a member of the celebrated Hawaii Five-0 team here."
I suppose I should not point out that I am actually the third member of the celebrated Hawaii Five-0 team to arrive in the last five days. I'm just the first to actually meet them. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance," he said instead. "I am anxious to discuss the disappearance of McGarrett and Williams."
"Yes, of course, you have a right to that," Sanchez agreed. He turned towards the jet and the guards snapped to a stiff attention. He motioned Strickland and Lukela up the stairway and into empty jet. "We have gotten some early information. There are two terrorist groups who both claim to have Williams, but I believe neither does. It would be logical to assume that he and McGarrett were both taken by the same organization, yet there have been no claims by anyone to have McGarrett. My intelligence sources say they doubt either of your men are on this island any longer."
Internally, Duke recoiled in horror, but outwardly his expression remained calm. "Are the sources trustworthy?"
Sanchez rubbed his small mustache with an index finger and glanced towards Strickland. "They are thorough."
Strickland's color reddened a little. "Captain Sanchez' police force has more -- liberties -- than that of either our or your forces," he said quietly to Duke.
Enough that they could get some poor bastard to admit to anything rather that continue torture? Perhaps the questioned would say anything be it truthful or not if it was what Sanchez wanted to hear. And would Sanchez want attention pulled away from Manila towards the outer islands? Perhaps. Duke decided to save this analysis for a little later. Steve trusts Strickland. I'll speak with him privately later. He turned his attention to the evidence before them -- the 747 jetliner.
"Williams sat here," Sanchez stated, patting the back of seat 26C.
"Have you had a lab team check it out?" Duke asked.
"Inspector Strickland requested we touch nothing," Sanchez replied. "We have guarded it for your arrival."
If that is true, I am the first on the scene of whatever is left. But Duke knew he possessed none of the sophisticated tools Che would have had to examine what lay before him. He spent several minutes looking through the seat, cracks in the seat cushions, the floor, and pockets. The only discovery was that the airsick bag was missing. That might mean nothing. He rose and looked back towards the rear of the plane.
"Something, Lukela?" Strickland asked.
He walked towards the rear of the plane and opened each of the lavatory doors and looked inside. "Is the garbage still on board?"
Sanchez nodded. "I told you it was been quarantined-"
"And the plane's crew?" Duke interrupted.
"Yes. We have them available to us as well. This is an international flight," Sanchez reminded him. "They are being housed at the Australian consulate. There are two flight crew and three stewardesses. The stewardess' initial claim was that Williams was in his seat most of the trip, but just before landing he was gone. They could not locate him. That is all."
Duke nodded as he walked forward to the galley. He poked a pen into the trash receptacle, but did not really expect to find anything.
Strickland squeezed his large frame into the doorway of the plane's galley. "You found something," he murmured quietly.
Duke glanced out towards Sanchez standing a short distance away. "Can we trust him?"
Strickland shrugged. "More than most here. It is in his best interest to answer this puzzle. He will help us."
"Does he have resources to test food from the garbage?"
Strickland nodded, his thick neck wobbling a little. "Of course. The Philippines isn't that remote. There is an American naval base here, too, if necessary."
Duke looked over towards Sanchez. "Captain Sanchez, let's have some of your lab people collect the trash containers, seal them, and get them delivered to the chemistry lab at the Naval base."
"Right away," Sanchez agreed and stepped away to give orders.
"I need to make a call to Honolulu," Duke told Strickland.
"Of course. You may use my line," Strickland offered without hesitation. "I guarantee it is secure."
"I need our lab crew here," Duke explained. He glanced around at the empty seats of the large jet. "I think I've got it figured how they removed him. The key is the person who checked the rest rooms." Duke noticed the look of question on Strickland's face. He gave a small smile. "Ever been sick on a plane? What do you do?"
"Snag the closest sickness bag and head for the lavie" Strickland stopped.
"My guess is someone laced Williams' food with something --a quick acting knock-out of some kind. It was timed so that he'd begin to feel ill just in time to make it to the rest room, pass out in the tight quarters. Whoever treated the food fixed the rest room so it would seem unoccupied from the outside, but locked. Then as the plane prepared to land, this person got the other crew members looking somewhere else for Williams. This is one big plane." He walked back to the rest room in the center that divided business class from economy. "He probably was in one of these two rest rooms. The attendant opens the hatch right here." He motioned to the small floor hatch leading to the maintenance bay below. "Opens the rest room door, drags him over and drops him down the hole."
Strickland looked down the dark hole. "Would have to be someone strong."
Duke shook his head. "No. If he was unconscious propped against a wall in that tight space, whoever it was just grabbed under the arms, pulled him out three feet and let go. And Williams doesn't weigh over 160."
Strickland looked down the hole again. "Interesting. Someone in the baggage crew then just loads him up and off they go."
"Yeah." Duke sighed. "Go where?"
Strickland nodded. "And at least one of those Aussie crew members is in on this. Looks like I have my work convincing the Australians to cooperate with your people," Strickland concluded. "Good work, Lukela."
Duke did not reply. We may have our first baby-step, but we have a long way to go, especially if Sanchez is right in his statement about them being off the island. The Philippines is made up of over 7,100 islands spread across 3,000 miles. Where do we begin? I haven't even seen the room Steve was taken from yet. I really need Che here now. And who took Steve in the first place and why?
Subject A experienced a near break through experience yesterday prompting us to increase the oral dose of C6B89. It is encouraging to note that we have been successful in overwriting experiences so far in auditory reinforcement. The subject's attendant seems to be accepted which is remarkable considering previous experience with the subject.
Subject B's conditioning and patterning will begin today following more standard protocol. I expect resistance. Unlike the background of Subject A, B from our information has never received formal brainwashing resistance training. Documentation on progress should be most enlightening.
It was cold, bone-chilling cold and damp. Dan Williams slowly lifted his head from where he lay prone on the concrete floor of the cinderblock cell. His mouth was parched dry, he recognized the aftertaste and achy grogginess as the after effects of a heavy sedation. I was drugged somehow. He looked around, trying to clear his head. He shivered again from the cold. He sat up and realized he was clad only in thin, baggy, white cotton pants, the kind he sometimes saw used in mental institutions. He wrapped his arms around his naked upper body against the damp cold.
His awareness rushed back now and from where he sat, he took in his surroundings. He was in some kind of cell made of cinderblock with a smooth concrete floor. The room was not quite seven by ten with a steel door at one end, undoubtedly locked. The only light came from one small barred window high up on the opposite wall that opened to the outside. It was raining and water was dripping down the wall contributing to the cool humidity. In the dim light, he could see no signs of electric lighting or plumbing. There was a small metal bucket in one corner. In the semi-dark, his gaze settled on another figure clad much as he was, crouched in the farthest corner from him. It startled Danny to realize that he was not alone. He could not deny that the emotion was one of mild relief as well. Here was someone who might be able to tell him something about what was going on.
"Were am I?" he demanded of the person.
The figure stretched out its legs, but did not speak.
"I asked you a question," Danny snapped. "What is this place?"
"I am Perez," replied the slow, accented voice in the dark. "The place is hell."
Danny felt his skin crawl, but shoved the primitive fear away. Thinking and planning is on my side. I must learn all I can. He got to his feet, rubbing his arms against the cold. "Who brought me here? I was bound for Manila."
"Manila?" Perez gave a little chuckle. "You took a wrong turn, friend."
Danny missed any humor. "Why are we here?" he asked, mild anger in his tone. He decided to let this man know he intended on taking control of the situation. I may not have a clue about what's going on, but that doesn't mean I have to act vulnerable. But at the same instant a small voice warned him about just how defenseless he was.
Perez sighed. "I am here because I made the error of having been born into the wrong family. Do not ask too much -- you will know all you need to know soon enough."
Something scraped against the door outside, a key turned in the lock.
At last I'll get some answers here! Danny turned, arms crossed in a defensive way, to face whomever would come through the door.
The door opened and two huge men dressed in a uniforms Danny could not identify and armed with automatic rifles stepped boldly into the door, weapons ready. A tall, thin Polynesian man stepped in after them to stand between them. His dark hair was thinning, he bore a thin mustache. He also wore some kind of uniform and held a riding crop that he flicked in the direction of one guard.
The man raised a large electric lantern that threw blinding light across the cell.
Danny blinked in the brilliant light and shielded his eyes. The moment was intimidating and he had no doubt it had been planned that way. This is like something out of a Nazi movie. It is nothing but a show being put on for me. He was aware that Perez was cowering in the corner like a frightened animal hands over his face. They won't get that out of me. He stepped bravely towards them. "I am an American citizen," he stated loudly.
"That is irrelevant," the leader snapped. "What is your name?"
Certainly they already know that. "Dan Williams," he replied boldly.
One of the guards punched Danny in the stomach with the gun butt. Stunned, he collided with the wall, bent double.
"Your name," the officer repeated.
"Williams," he answered breathlessly.
The guard struck him again.
"What do you want from me!" He demanded hotly.
Both guards closed on him striking him repeatedly on the back and shoulders with their weapons. When the officer declared, "Enough!" they stepped back, leaving him in a crumpled heap on the cold concrete. The leader jabbed his riding crop against Danny's shoulder. "I will return. Next time have better answers."
The ticking of the clock was the first thing he became aware of as he awoke. It was reassuring that he expected it to be setting on the shelf and expected to hear the ticking. For a moment or two, he lay in the bed, reviewing the appearance of the room. I remember this, all of this. Wasn't there someone else? Cathi -- Cathi was here. He looked quickly around, but he was alone in the room. I miss her. Get a grip here, he chided himself, this is an opportunity to put the pieces together before anyone can confuse me. What do I know? What do I remember as truth? He got out of bed, noticed the teapot sitting on the small reading table. It was cold now, but when he sniffed it he could instantly identify the Orange Pecot Tea. What was important about this? Chuck -- was it Chuck? There was a Chuck once, I remember him as an older Chinese gentleman -- a gentle man. He smoked a pipe. Cathi told me he is dead. I knew that already, so it must be true. He pushed things around on the desk and noticed the novels again. Yes, they belong here; I remember them. He opened the cover of one and on the inside leaf was the name Paul M. Garrett scrawled.
He quickly picked up a pen and signed the name on the desk blotter. It matches perfectly. This seems right, then why is it so hard to believe? There really is a Cathi.. My wife.
The door to the room opened and a tall, thin Polynesian man in a white lab coat entered. There was a black stethoscope around his neck. "Good morning, Paul," he greeted in a friendly manner.
He scowled. Someone else I am supposed to know? Just who and what do I believe when I cannot trust my own senses?
The man waited a moment, anticipating a reply that did not come. "Can you recall your name this morning?"
"It may be Paul," he replied guardedly.
"You sound like you think it may be something else," the man remarked kindly.
His suspicious frown deepened. "You apparently know me. Who are you?"
He looked taken by surprise. "Ah-- I am so sorry -- John Sakar. We have known each other for over ten years." He picked up the wedding album and flipped to a page. "See?" He pointed to the picture of the reception.
Belatedly, he recognized himself, having identified Sakar first. They stood together, warm smiles sharing toasting with champagne glasses. There is something wrong here -- I do not drink. He resisted the urge to mention it to Sakar. I must keep this to myself for now.
"Paul, I know you don't recall the events of the past few days, but I am sure of your brilliant cautious mind and I know you are aware that you are not a shoe salesman," Sakar attempted to be light.
The last few days? I have lost a lifetime! My whole existence is a complete blank! For a fleeting instant, he sensed the emotion of utter panic and aloneness. I feel like I am groping in a dense fog with no sense of direction. Who are my friends? My confidants? Who can I trust?
Sakar behaved as though he did not notice the fear in his patient's eyes, but he knew it was there. He crossed to the reading table and sat on one of the two chairs. "Join me." It was an invitation, not a command.
He moved to the table and sat down, watching Sakar carefully.
Sakar folded his hands on the table and looked peaceful. "You are an agent for the United States Government and you relay information between delicate sources. Communist spies intercepted you two weeks ago. I don't know if they were able to get anything from you. If they did, it would have been the first time."
First time? Has this happened before? Pieces of images that lay just out of reach taunted him. Was it Hong Kong? I remember there being a stronghold on a hill. I remember.I don't remember.
Sakar waited patiently for him to think it through, then continued. "They were very careful. They did accomplish a scrambling of your mind with some kind of new hallucinogenic. They chose very precisely what they altered, making it all so plausible -- they made the names and people close, but still completely different. Right now I am sure you are not certain where one reality leaves off and the other begins. Cathi tells me that you recalled her and thought she was dead."
The one joy in all of this -- Cathi is alive! "Are you going to tell me that you know where the fact and fiction divide?" he questioned, eyeing Sakar closely.
"You and I can sift through those pieces together in time. I cannot promise you that they have not left some mental land mines behind. In fact, I'll bet they have."
"Certain words or sites that will trigger some kind of response in you to do or say something unexpected," Sakar explained quietly.
"Like what? Could there be some kind of thing that could hurt Cathi?" he asked, real fear evident.
"I do not know," Sakar replied. "You can see that it is important for us to not wait very long before we explore what has happened to you."
He rose and paced the floor. "How do you propose we do this?"
Sakar sighed. "There are several means. You could tell me all you remember. Everything. Childhood, work, everything."
He cocked an eyebrow. "Everything? That wouldn't take very long. I can't remember anything. And what if something I recall is classified? Do you have that kind of clearance?" He shook his head. "I know you say you are an old friend, but until I know which day of the week this and who I am we won't be digging into my mind. How do I know I am not turning anything over to the enemy?"
Sakar grinned. "How good it is to hear you say that, Paul! You sound more like your old self already!"
There is something about Sakar that makes him seem totally trustworthy. Maybe that is what is so disquieting about him.
Excellent progress with Subject A. His attachment for the woman he has been led to believe is his love is astonishing. This will be our key. He will be hesitant to believe anyone but her. He wants to believe her because he wants to believe this love is alive. She has been instructed to deepen those ties of trust.
Subject B is following the predictable pattern, seeking methods of escape, defiance, and self-determination. We will move to the next step today, using time honored methods to break the will and force him to recognize he is dependent upon us and that there is no hope.
The rising sun began to lighten the bleak little concrete cell but it was still cold. Danny had spent much of the night sitting in a similar position as Perez, knees drawn up to his chin, attempting to keep warm. No words had passed between them.
What exactly has happened here? I know Steve had been serving as courier in a sensitive nature for NIS. I know he failed to meet Strickland in Hong Kong after missing his flight from Manila. I know he completely disappeared. He must be here somewhere. Are they going to use me to get to him? We both know better than that. There is a long-standing agreement -- we each agreed to die first. Will I do that? Will I die? I must be expendable and I am certain he is not. If I am to survive, I must make it happen myself. He rose to his feet now that the light was better, and began to examine every inch of the prison for a weakness
"There is no way," Perez suddenly said.
He continued his hunt. "Where are we?" he demanded.
"Jolo Island," he replied in a bored tone.
He frowned, unable to recall his geography. "Indonesia?"
"Philippines," Perez corrected.
Well, it doesn't look like this guy is truthful, it is way to cold for the Philippines.
"It does not matter where we are," Perez added. "This is no real place. There will be no US embassy coming to your rescue. This in the end of the earth."
"Yeah?" Danny had come to the tiny window high up on the wall. "Then I guess we need to rescue ourselves." He gripped the bars and pulled himself up to look out. All he could see was a dirt courtyard and another stucco building facing them from beyond. "What's out there?"
Perez shook his head. "A lot of nothing."
He glanced back towards the steel door. "And out there?"
Perez gave a disgruntled shrug. "Pain, that's what's out there."
There were sounds in the hallway of hard-soled boots on the hard concrete. The footsteps stopped before the steel door and there was the scratching of metal on metal as a key worked hard to open the rusty lock. Danny and Perez turned to face the doorway; Perez's expression one of plain dread; Danny's was expectant, masking the mental calculations of how to use this to his advantage.
A guard took a single step inside the doorway and slid a small plastic bowl of vial smelling mush and a plastic quart milk bottle of water across the floor. Danny watched in mild distaste as Perez dove for the food like a starved animal, shoveling handfuls of the mess into his mouth. "You." The guard pointed towards Danny. "Come with me."
Danny quickly weighed the option of jumping the guard. I may never get one-on-one odds again. But he was aware he did not know what lay outside the door. If they make this mistake once, they may again and I need to know more about where I am. Without comment, he followed the guard out into the hall to face two other guards armed with AK-47s that had not been visible before. He uttered a mental prayer of thanksgiving that he had chosen to wait. He followed the first guard and the other two fell in behind. They all appear to be trained military men -- they don't even look at me. I am simply an object to them, not a man. The safety is off on those weapons -- they aren't kidding here. The hallway was cinderblock, narrow, with single periodic naked bulbs hanging from the low ceiling. There were no windows. The floor was cold and damp beneath his bare feet.
The leader turned a corner, then stopped before a solid wooden door. He opened the door without knocking and with no key. The office was small and dark. In the center of the room was a heavy old wooden office desk with a gooseneck lamp that was turned on, shining down onto the desktop. An empty simple, straight-backed metal chair faced the desk.
But Danny's attention was riveted to the figure that occupied another chair behind the desk. The man's attention was on the notebook in which he was writing, so the only feature Danny could see was the thinning black hair and the dark green uniform. On the side of the desk was a small plate containing several large muffins and red jam. A pot of coffee steamed beside them.
A guard behind gripped Danny's left shoulder and pushed him onto the empty chair. Danny shivered as the cold of the metal seat penetrated the thin fabric of his pants. The aroma of the coffee made his stomach growl. How long has it been since I ate?
The seated officer lay aside his pen and lifted his head. Danny identified him instantly as the officer who had been in charge in the cell the night before. Without looking at Danny, he picked up a table knife, smeared some jam on a muffin, took a large bite, and chewed quietly. He poured two cups of coffee. He focused a smile on Danny. "Good morning. Will you join me for breakfast?"
Danny did not reply, nor did he touch or look at the food.
The officer chuckled. "It is not poisoned." He took another huge bite.
"No thanks. I went that route yesterday," Danny muttered trying to hide his hunger.
"Day before yesterday," the officer commented. He lifted a cup of coffee and took the time to inhale the vapors. "You crossed the International Date Line."
"Whatever." Bolstering up his courage, Danny demanded: "What is this all about?"
The smile vanished and hard, angry expression crossed the dark features. "You are not here to ask questions!" he declared sharply. "I am Commandant Frier, that is all you need to know. It is I who hold your life in my hands. As for why --" the smile was now sardonic, "-- you were sold out by your friends."
Danny's blank expression did not change. "Which ones?" This is a lie, of course, like everything else here. An old ploy intended to divide. That means Steve must be here somewhere.
Frier rose from the desk suddenly, throwing down his napkin. "What is your name?"
Danny felt a knot tighten in his stomach with recollection of the beating the night before and gave a worried glance at the guard behind him. "Dan Williams."
The guard struck him on the side of the head with the gun butt so hard, it knocked him out of the chair.
"Up!" Frier ordered and the guard pulled Danny back into the chair. "What is your name!" he screamed close to his prisoner's face.
Danny looked past Frier, focusing on the wall beyond, refusing to lower his gaze in submission or chance showing his fear by looking Frier in the eye. He set his jaw in silence, and tried to concentrate on the throbbing pain over his right ear.
Frier scooped up his riding crop. It whistled through the air has it whipped across Danny's shoulder, leaving a red welt behind. "You will answer me!" he screamed in fury.
This time Danny did look Frier in the eye taking a pleasure, however small, in angering his tormentor. If the only power is that of enraging him, it is enough.
When Danny still did not answer Frier gestured to the guard. "Bring him!"
The guard yanked Danny roughly to his feet and he was taken to a large room further down the hall. The purpose of this room was evident immediately. Shackles hung from several points long the cinderblock walls of the forty by forty room. Three metal tables that resembled examining tables from the morgue had been carefully placed in the corners. There were wires, frightening gleaming instruments of unknown use, hoses, and bright lights.
Danny realized that he was in serious trouble. These people mean business and they are professional. Am I ready to die here? I have no information of importance, do they know that? They have not asked for anything, but it looks like they are just getting started. He was pushed roughly in the direction of the fourth corner where large wire dog cage sat with it's top open.
"Inside," the guard instructed.
He paused, wondering if he would be better off to resist right now and be killed.
The guard touched Danny's back with a stun gun.
Danny jumped and cried out in surprise and pain. Obediently, he stepped over the side into the cage. The wire box was too small for standing or sitting, so he was forced to crouch down making comfort an impossibility. The guard closed and latched the top.
Frier bent down close to the wire box. "Do you know why you are here?" he asked, chuckling quietly.
Danny did not respond. I must concentrate on something, anything to take my attention off this place, this fear. Two times two is four. Two times three is six. Two times four is eight
Frier spun on his heel, headed for the door. He gestured towards the man who sat on a barstool behind the podium-like stand, then left.
Danny cast a glance towards the man on the stool, trying to keep from wondering what was next. Two times five is ten.two times six is twelve His back and legs were already aching from the position.
The man rose, walked a few steps, bent down, his back to Danny, then rose, the nozzle of a thick fire hose in his hands. He opened the stopcock and the blast of water struck the cage with such force it slid six inches across the floor. At the end of ten seconds, the man shut off the hose.
The only sound in the concrete room was dripping water as droplets fell to the puddle around the wire prison. Danny gasped for air. The force of the frigid water had been like a huge fist. He now tried quickly to recover from the shock, knowing it would come again. It did – exactly thirty seconds later. Gripping the wire of the cage to prevent being thrown around, Danny attempted to push back the screaming demand of WHY!
Two times seven is fourteen.two times eight sixteentwo times nine
The young woman sat in Sanchez' office, her legs tucked under the chair, her hands gripped tightly in her lap. Her long blonde hair framed the face that revealed a mix of fear and anger. "See here, I didn't do ana'thing," she said, trying to sound strong, but the effort failed. "I've already talked to you police two times. There isn't anything new I have to say."
Duke had already assessed her posture, her expression, everything he possibly could from the young stewardess' appearance. He was not in a hurry. He knew the value of silence. He remained at the desk, doodling on a notepad for another minute while she said in obvious distress watching and waiting. At last he look up. "Thank you for coming down, Miss Henderson."
"Like I had much choice, Mate," she snipped.
He nodded. "Well, things like this happen. Everyone gets upset. You can understand, I'm sure, that it is hard for someone to be kidnapped off a plane in midair."
She did not answer him.
"Now, let me make sure of what you said earlier. You were stewardess on Quantas flight #167 two days ago from Honolulu to Manila."
"Yes," she said flatly.
"And this man was on that flight." He showed her Danny's photo.
"Like I said to Sanchez. He sat in seat 26C, on the isle. When we got ready to land, he was gone."
"So you realized he was missing before the plane landed?"
"Of course. It's our job to make sure all the passengers are in their seats." Her blue eyes widened in innocence. "He was missing."
"What did you do?"
"Well, we checked the rest rooms, the galley, the first class lavies above," she shrugged. "He wasn't nowhere."
"What did you do next?"
"Sheila, the senior attendant, she told the captain."
She shrugged. "Wasn't no more I could do, Mate. We were ready to land."
He nodded and paced back for forth a moment, tapping the photo in his hand. "And when you landed, what did you do?"
She shrugged. "Nothing. That man, Strickland, was waiting at the gate. When the captain talked to him, he went real wild."
Duke did not express a response. Strickland, the prim and proper Englishman was hard to envision being "wild."
"They locked us all up at the consulate and asked us questions. I sure wish your friend would turn up so I can get on with business," she added.
"Before Williams disappeared, did he eat a flight meal?"
"I think so."
"Do you remember what he ate?"
She shrugged. "There were 387 people on that flight with three meal choices. I don't know."
"But you remembered his face," Duke remarked.
"Yeah, and the guy in 33A and especially the bloke in 2B."
He looked puzzled at her response.
"They all had cute faces, so who cares what they ate."
Duke gave a nearly audible sigh. "You did not usually fly this route. Why did you come this time?"
"I was helping out a friend. She got sick, so I filled in for her. Goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished," she commented.
He gave a small smile, hopefully looking friendly. "Her name?"
He wrote it down. That should be easy enough to check. "The other attendant says it was you who checked the rest rooms."
"So what if I did?"
"You checked them all?"
"What did you do?"
"I peeked in the doors – none of em was locked."
"None of them?"
"How do you think they did it?"
"What?" She asked in surprise.
"The kidnappers. How did you think they got him? They didn't throw him out a window."
"How the bloody hell do I know," she snapped.
"Do you know anything else that might help us?"
She shrugged. "Wish I did so we could get out of here."
"Well," he set his pad aside, "I think I can help you there, Miss Henderson. You are free to go."
"Yes, free. I don't think there are any more questions for you. Unless Captain Sanchez says otherwise, you are free to return to Australia."
She looked suspicious as she picked up her purse and made a hasty escape.
Strickland and Sanchez came in from the back room. "I sure hope this is the right thing, Lukela," Strickland murmured.
"She most definitely is the one," Duke said with confidence. "Maybe she is scared enough to lead us to the others."
Strickland nodded. "I have several of Mi5's finest watching her every step."
He dreamt of Cathi. They were sailing in the harbor, the wind in the sails, blue sky and sea around them. Whether they sailed around the island or the world, it did not matter. They were together. Life seemed more beautiful than he could ever recall. The sea birds floated on the breeze, hanging in midair anticipating a treat of food, laughing at them, then swooping off. Nothing will ever be like this again
.He opened his eyes. The room was familiar now, but there was the lingering disorientation. I know this place, there is something special about it. What is it? I am supposed to know this. Do I live here? Is this my home? Is it OUR home? Where is Cathi? Why does something feel so wrong? If this is my home, why can I not recall anything but this room. Certainly I would recall our bed, our love. Where do we live? What is our phone number? The lack of answers rose up like an angry specter in this room that should represent peace and sanctuary. In the dream, where were we? I know the place, where was it?
The door opened, interrupting his thoughts.
"Good morning, darling!" Cathi exclaimed upon seeing him awake. She flew to his side and kissed his neck. "You look rested."
Do I? Do I feel rested? He got to his feet. "I think I look a mess," he remarked gently touching a hand to his unshaven chin. "I haven't shaved in days." He suddenly found himself trying to add up the days, the weeks. The growth was thick – certainly more than a day – but not the partial beard two weeks would have issued. If I was captive for two weeks, did I shave during that time?
It seemed as though she was reading his thoughts. "I'll get Ed to give you a shave today. You look quite rustic, but I know you'd like to freshen up."
He managed a smile. "Rustic?" He rubbed his hand on his chin again. "Just get me a razor and I'll do it," he remarked.
Her expression fell, disclosing disappointment. "You don't remember Ed, either, do you?"
"He has been a faithful family servant for ten years. He has given you your shave every morning for years." She slapped a hand in frustration on the desk. "How is this possible, Paul? How could they do this to you?"
He took her in his arms. "It will be all right, Cathi. You'll see."
She lifted her face and they shared a short kiss.
He looked into her deep eyes, wishing he knew what to believe. Are you really the Cathi of my dreams? My love I thought lost? Are you real? I am touching you, holding you, but are you who you say. If not.what is all this?
"Dr. Sakar says it's time you got a chance to walk around a bit, stretch your legs. Brunch is ready downstairs," Cathi suggested. "This room is so dark and musty. You need some sunshine."
That sounded appealing. He was reminded of his inability to recall anything but this room. Yes, just what I need is a chance to look around here. Maybe that will put this nagging fear away. Isn't a life with a woman like this what I have always wanted? If it was what I have always wanted -- doesn't that mean it is actually something else? He struggled mentally to move away from this hopelessly circular reasoning.
With anticipation akin to a child at Christmas, he waited as Cathi opened the door. The hallway led to a magnificent spiral stairway down to the green marble lobby, but it was completely unfamiliar to him. He knew Cathi was watching, hoping for a glimmer of recognition. Certainly I would remember something like this. But this father she mentions, what did he do? The one I recall was a hard disciplinarian, an Irishman with high principles who instilled them into his children. Children. I have a sister. Yes, a sister. What is her name? Mary Ann. Shall I tell Cathi I recall Mary Ann? What if it is another rouse? I can almost recall the face, the figure. There is a pain about her -- a loss...
...."Paul," Cathi was looking at him expectantly.
"Cathi..." He blinked, and beheld the sunny dayroom. There was a lovely yellow and white floral arrangement on the round, glass table and a tray of cut fruit and breads.
"Does this remind you of anything?" she asked.
"Should it?" he asked, reluctant to draw his mind away from the thread of his past.
She smiled. "You proposed to me here -- right here."
He looked carefully around the room, caught between his growing doubts and the love he should have for her.
She squeezed his hand. "It's all right, Paul. I know it will come back to you in time. Just give it time." She led him to the table. "Let's eat."
He slid into the chair beside her, looking out at the garden outside the window. Most of the plants were brown and dead. The sky was overcast and looked like winter.
She gave a sudden laugh. "Look at you. So prim and solemn." She giggled again. "Can you still laugh?"
"Can I laugh?" he asked. "Have I done something funny?"
She laughed again, reached over and kissed his cheek. "I love you, darling."
He wanted to say that he loved her. The words caught in his throat. "I am trying, Cathi," was the best he could manage. "Have we ever gone sailing?" he asked carefully as he spread butter on a croissant.
"Sailing?" she asked.
"Yes. Do we sail?"
She looked as though she had been caught unexpectedly. "Well, I think so -- once maybe. Yes, we did!" She burst into a smile. "We visited friends and you borrowed their sailboat. We went out for an afternoon. It was so long ago! Something is coming back to you!"
He seemed less excited as he gently rubbed his hands together. I have sailor's calluses in just the right places. How do I know that? I must have sailed more than once. The pieces don't match up. Who am I? Where do I think I sailed? A memorial -- Pearl Harbor -- I know it was Pearl Harbor. "Where did we sail?"
"Cancun, darling." She took a sip of coffee.
He took his black. She knows that, she did not offer cream and sugar. He stared down into the blackness of his cup. Not unlike my memory right now.
"Is something wrong?" she asked.
"No," he replied hastily. "I--just thought I remembered differently."
Cathi's smile faded into worry. "This is so wrong, Paul, just so wrong! They have stolen our life from us. Won't it ever be the same?" A sob caught in her throat.
He looked into her anxious face. "I will find the truth, Cathi, I promise you that. No matter what it takes." And I pray to God you are in that truth! He took drink of the hot coffee and enjoyed the rich flavor. It had a mild spice tang to it. "Is this something new?"
"It's hazelnut coffee, you like it?"
He inhaled the aroma, attempting to decide if it was a taste or merely a scent. "Unusual." He took another careful drink. He watched the stiff brown branches bobbing their heads to the stiff breeze outside the window. It is so peaceful here I would like to just be at peace with Cathi and let it all go. This begins to feel so right. So right. What about...I cannot remember. There was something I was concerned about. I feel so tired. I just slept. "I'm tired," he voiced.
"The strain of the last weeks. And this is your first time out of bed," she judged. "Give yourself time, Paul. Can't you feel that it is all starting to come together now? We are here -- that is all we need."
His eyes were so heavy. Yes, Cathi, you are all I ever need. You are here with me. This is all I ever need.
Danny did not know how long he was held prisoner in the small cage. He only vaguely recalled Frier returning, opening the top and ordering him out. He, of course, had been completely incapable of complying as the cramped, chilled muscles were too stiff to move. The guard had viciously kicked the cage over onto its side, slamming Danny against the smooth cement floor. Two uniformed men pulled him from the wire box and literally dragged him back to the cell where Perez waited.
It was warmer than it had been earlier, but Danny shivered uncontrollably, still soaking wet, curled up on his side in fetal position, trying to collect his wits. How much of that can I take? And why must I take it at all? What is the purpose in all this? He glanced at Perez who sat along the far wall in the same place he had been earlier.
Perez, sitting with his knees drawn to his chin, rocked back and forth slightly, just watching Danny. "You come back," he said. "For a time I think maybe -- maybe you not."
Trying to stop the shivering Danny muttered, "Did you think I had escaped?"
Perez gave a small laugh. "Escape? Only through death, friend. That is the escape for us." He suddenly scrambled across the floor to sild next to Danny and whispered. "Now you see? In here is bad; out there is worse."
"What do they want?" Danny asked.
Perez shrugged. "They never say."
The cell was beginning to darken as the late afternoon was deepening into twilight. I need to find a way to get dry before night sets in. Danny could easily remember how cold the night before had been. He forced his aching stiff muscles to action and sat up. He began to rub his legs and arms. The bruises from the beating the night before were painful now. I am hurting, cold, hungry, thirsty, tired, and confused. A pretty bad combination that, no doubt, is being deliberately engineered. But why? Is knowing so important? Maybe that is why it is the one thing Frier does not give -- reason.
Shortly after nightfall, the door of the cell was suddenly thrown open with a bang and blinding light from the hallway bathed the little room. "Bring him," came a two-word command and two guards grabbed Danny under the arms and literally dragged him out into the hallway, slamming the door shut behind.
Frier was sitting at his desk once again, a steaming bowl of stew before him with wheat rolls and coffee.
The guards dropped Danny once again into the straight chair facing Frier and the desk.
"Ah," Frier smiled and blew on the hot bowl, "good evening."
Danny did not respond. The aroma of the food was nearly maddening. His mouth watered and he tried not to inhale the smell. He focused on the warmth of the room and how refreshing it was to have these few moments to get the chill off.
"I have been told that you do not fare well," Frier commented as he took a spoonful of stew into his mouth. "That is most disappointing." He stopped speaking to chew. "Most disappointing. You know..." he swallowed, "...we have patrons who remain with us for months -- sometimes years." He paused to butter a roll. "Think of that now -- years."
Danny stared down at the floor during the silence that following thinking of that exactly. Years? I can't let him get to me. Help is coming. It has to be. Steve in here somewhere. Somehow we will escape this, we always do. But another part of him was fearful. No one knows where I am. I don't know where I am. This joker seems to be holding all the cards and I don't even know what the game is.
"Yes," Frier whispered, "you get my point. I can have them snuff out your life with the flick of my finger -- or set you free." He stopped and took a sip of soup. "You are helpless."
Danny raised an eyebrow. Never! There has to be a way! "At this moment," he acknowledged.
Frier gave a smile towards him and burst into laughter. "Spirit in you yet. Very well." He rose from the meal, hands behind his back. "Tell me: What is your name?"
Danny felt his mouth go dry and his hands shake. He tried not to look at Frier or the guard. "Williams."
The guard's rifle butt crashed again Danny's right shoulder causing Williams to cry out in pain.
"You still refuse to cooperate!" Frier shouted.
"What do you want?" Danny demanded hotly.
"What do I want? You have nothing to offer." Frier declared, fury in his dark eyes. "I know everything there is about you. I know where you live, where you were born, I know what you love and hate." He scooped up the riding crop and jabbed it at the waistband of Danny's prison pants. "I even know the size of your underwear."
Danny stared at him in real fear, realizing how vulnerable he really was and had been. He was overwhelmed with a ghastly sense of violation.
Frier came close to Danny's ear. "You know, my guards are here for long periods of time. They are not super human beings, they have -- needs like we all do." He paused to make eye contact. "The big one with the scar, you know the one I mean? He has asked for you."
Danny tried to conceal the horror and panic, never taking his eyes off Frier.
Frier nodded. "Watch out for him," he said in a comradely fashion. He motioned to the guard. "Take him."
Danny shivered as he was again escorted to the room with the cage. The wire cage had been set upright again. Not again. Can I go through this again? What do they want from me? Again he was locked inside in a crouching stance. He cast a glance at Frier as the officer turned towards the door. "What do you want!!"
Frier did not look back as he shut the door behind him.
Danny looked at the young man who controlled the water hose. This time there were two of them, one on the hose, and one with what looked like a notebook. Neither met his gaze. I have to try to appeal to them. But how. "What is this about?" he called to them.
The first one opened the hose bib and the spray of water again slammed into the cage soaking Danny with freezing water.
God, I cannot stand this! Think! Occupy the mind. Capitol of Alabama is Montgomery. Capitol of Arizona is Tucson. Capitol of Alaska Juneau. Capitol of Arkansas...A jolt of electricity suddenly struck him, seizing his muscles and slamming him against the restrictive metal bars. It lasted just a few seconds, but he had been completely unprepared. His lower lip was bloodied from impact with the wire cage. He glared towards his tormentors, and made eye contact with one. "Why are you doing this?" he pleaded. "Please, help me!"
The young man looked away quickly and jotted something down in his notebook.
It's like I am some kind of lab animal. Is that what this is? Am I an experiment?
Duke did not doubt the abilities of Mi5 or of Strickland, but he was unhappy with turning Henderson loose on the streets of Manila. He insisted on joining Mi5 agent, Lochner, in tailing the stewardess. Not like I have much else to do unless Che finds something in all the rubble of the aircraft or the hotel room. And neither is very likely.
Both Duke and Lochner were a little surprised that Henderson did not high-tail it to the airport and catch the first flight "down under." Instead, she boarded a jeepney that took her across town to a nightclub. It was late afternoon and the greasy entertainment district was just beginning to come alive. The streets were cluttered with jeepneys; pedicabs, mopeds, and chalses as people were making their ways away from their jobs. Just keeping Henderson in sight proved difficult in the heavy traffic. Duke was glad he had insisted on coming along.
Henderson left the small jeep-bus and walked into the small bar with determination. She glanced around; the facility was still nearly empty, but smelled of yesterday's dirty bodies.
"Help you, lady?" asked the bartender in English.
"Looking for Downer," she said coldly. "He was supposed to meet me here."
He chuckled. "No Downer." He picked up a greasy rag and pushed it around the equally greasy bar top.
She came close to him. "I told you: he was to meet me."
He slipped the folded pesos that were nearly hidden between her fingers into his own hand and grunted. "You no show, lady. He gone." He smiled, then added. "He give me phone number for you." He handed her a slip of paper.
She checked the number. "You have a phone?"
"Not my phone. I no want no trouble. Public phone out dere." He angrily waved his rag at the doorway.
She went back outside into the darkening street where a fine mist was starting to fall again. She dialed up the number huddled close to the flimsy tin wall and waited for the ring.
A short distance away, Lochner read off the numbers that Henderson dialed to Lukela who jotted them down in his small pad. "She's not a professional," Lochner commented. "Good for us."
The phone was answered on the second ring. "'Ello," came a suspicious masculine voice.
"You've got to get me outta here," Henderson hissed into the receiver, hunching down even more by the payphone.
"Hold on here, Love," the man's voice replied. "Nothing's 'appening, nor gonna 'appen if ya keep your cool."
"I got taken back to the police a third time," she declared. "I just know they're wise onto something."
"They ain't, Darlin', or they wouldn't be pokin' round askin' questions, would they? They'd be lockin' you up."
"I tell you I want out of here. I want the money you promised me and I want to get out of this stinking place."
He tisked lightly into the phone. "Okay, mate. I'll do this your way. No skin offa my nose. Meet me at the docks nine o'clock I'll have your money." He hung up before she could reply.
Henderson spent the next several hours wandering around Manila to use up time. Duke and Lochner were never far behind, knowing that she would either lead them to the next contact or he would come to her, they only needed be patient. The mist had changed over into a drizzle and they both buried themselves in London Fog trench coats making it easier to be unnoticed. As the late twilight shadows deepened into night and the occasional streetlight illumined the swirling misty droplets, Henderson, at last began to move off in what appeared to be a focused direction.
Lochner pressed his elbow against his side, to reassure himself that his beretta was there. "'Ere we go, Lukela."
They closed the distance a little as the darkness made her harder to follow, but it was easy to tell she was moving towards the docks. Her heels ticked lightly along the wet asphalt as she approached the wharf. She stopped and looked around, then moved back against a brick wall near the waterfront.
"If she gets picked up, where can she go from here?" Duke whispered.
Lochner gave a single chuckle. "There are over 7,000 blooming islands out there, mate. If someone makes to take her off, we'll have to nab both of them."
That was not the answer Duke would have preferred. He'd have rather followed the pair, hoping to be led to Danno's abductors. He recalled Sanchez' haunting comment that he believed the kidnappers were not on the island.
Henderson looked at her watch, then out towards the harbor. She moved away from the wall and walked towards a piling.
"There she goes," Duke said, pulling his snub nose. Both officers started forward.
Ahead of them, Henderson suddenly stumbled and collapsed.
"What the -- " Lochner ran ahead, no need for secrecy any longer.
They reached the dead girl's side in moments, then ran beyond to the dock edge. There was nothing but smooth night black water with no signs of another presence. They turned back to the body.
"Blasted bad luck," Lochner remarked.
Duke glanced up at him from where he knelt over the body of the now dead stewardess. Her knowledge of Danny's disappearance, and maybe Steve's also, had just died with her. The term "bad luck" seemed, somehow an understatement.
The two detectives entered the small bar Henderson had visited earlier. Unlike Henderson's encounter, the place was alive with loud, drunken men, the stale smell of bad cigarettes, alcohol, and loud rock music. Through the tobacco fog could be seen several extremely young women, on stage performing in very little attire.
Lochner's gaze lingered, but Duke focused his attention on the man behind the bar. The chubby Filipino man accurately figured they were authorities the moment they entered his tavern and now he was worried.
"May I help you, gentlemen?"
"You met this girl earlier," Duke said coldly, showing Henderson's picture. "What did she want?"
He squinted at the photo. "Yeah, she here, lookin' for her john."
"Guy have a name?" Lochner asked.
"She say he Downer, but I dunno."
"You know this Downer?" Duke demanded.
He shrugged. "Everybody come here, but no names."
"You gave her his phone number."
"Did I?" He scratched his head. "No remember that."
Lochner picked up a bottle of beer and broke it across the bar counter. Foaming contents spattered across the wooden surface and spilled onto the floor. Only a few patrons looked in his direction. "Perhaps I can help you remember." He dug the broken glass deeply into the wooden bar top.
"Hey, don't go messin' my place!" the man shouted.
"Name was Downer, right? Give us a description." Lochner continued to stab the top with the glass.
"He trouble, man. No friend a mine!"
"Description -- and anything else you know," Duke demanded.
"He white guy," the man said hastily, his attention on the damaged bar top. "Tall. He talk like an Aussie. Good dresser."
"Can we get a police artist in here?" Duke asked.
Lochner gave him an incredulous look. "You are in Manila, remember?" He turned his attention back to the bar owner and played with the bottle. "Keep talkin'."
He shrugged, wringing his hands. "No more."
"He come around here much?"
He shook his head violently from side to side. "I have a good place, a clean place."
Lochner glanced back at the dance floor. One of the girls was topless. "Very clean, chum." He and Duke walked out.
It was late, past midnight, but Strickland leaned back in his leather chair listening to Duke and Lochner. Strickland reminded Duke a little of McGarrett. Not in appearance for Strickland was approaching sixty and extremely overweight, but in his patient way of looking at the collection of clues and deducing a conclusion and plan of active.
"We have a man on the bar?" he asked of Lochner.
"Two men in three shifts round the clock -- but we haven't much of a description," Lockner replied. "Traced the telly number the girl had and it goes to a pay phone in a grocery. Got a man there, too."
"As long as this Downer doesn't think we are on to him, he probably won't disappear," Duke offered.
The phone rang and Strickland answered it. "Manila, Inspector Strickland." He glanced at his watch. "Gutten tag, Herr Himmer. Ya....ya. Bitter schoen." He turned from the phone. "Interpol came up with something on an Aussie named Ted Downer. Two aliases. Sending it down the telex." He glanced at Lochner. "Would you excuse us, please?"
Lochner rose. "Been a good evening in all, Lukela. We're making headway here," he said cheerfully on his way out.
Are we? Duke wondered. We have a dead stewardess who assisted in the kidnap of Williams and maybe a man named Downer with no hard proof.
As the door closed, Strickland gave Duke a sideways glance. "You all right?"
He scowled, uncertain of an answer. "I wish my forensics expert could have found more."
"This isn't America, Lukela. It's not even the Islands. We are doing this in a less than perfect world. Manila has her own problems. Kidnapping is too common place -- it just does not usually happen with Americans. President Marcos likes the US military dollars too much to allow that."
"This is not a Filipino issue," Duke declared.
Strickland's eyebrows lifted. "No?"
"Obviously. I am not sitting here talking to Sanchez, I am talking to you -- the top British intelligence agent in the Far East," Duke said quietly.
Strickland nodded. "Quite. I always said McGarrett knew how to hire the best." He unlocked a drawer in his old wooden desk and pulled out a file he laid on the desk between them. The sticker on the front bore the emblem of Mi5. "There was a foreign security breach in Taiwan. Three deep agents uncovered plans to build nuclear missile silos in Northern Vietnam. Two of those agents had their identities revealed and are now dead. The third has disappeared."
The telex in the corner began to hum as it began to eject a report.
"That will be on our man Downing," Strickland said in a jovial manner. He instantly reverted to his serious demeanor. "A Chinese operative was able to deliver the information regarding how this leak occurred to a contact working out of Hawaii. Until this security issue is contained we could not use our usual couriers. McGarrett is a close and trusted ally and not English. He was to deliver the message to me -- he was taken from a hotel room that should have been secure. Even more baffling is why Williams was also taken. He had nothing agents would want. " Strickland rose and walked to the telex. "Well, well." He handed Duke a slightly fuzzy photo.
The man looked evil, glaring angrily into the camera. His wavy long blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail. His features were wrinkled enough to have been about forty-five years. Duke read the short word of explanation. Ted Downer also Doug Towns also Ted Mack also Tom Towns. Mercenary for hire. Australian. Family in Brisbane, Queensland, but no known contact with them in eleven years. Responsible for two assassinations in Mozambique and one attempt in India. Was last sighted leaving Tokyo two weeks ago. "Leaving for where?"
The telex was still cranking out sheets. There came a total of three. Strickland stood silent looking at the third. "Well, well," he muttered to himself again and walked over to the file on his desk. He opened the dossier, then showed Duke the page off the telex.
Duke scowled at the grainy image that had obviously been taken by an extremely good telephoto lens, but at a great distance. Downer faced the camera, wind blowing his long hair across his face. His mouth was open speaking to the profile of the thin Polynesian man. "Who is this?" Duke finally asked.
Strickland pulled a photo from his file and offered it. "Ming To Chu. Name may be Chinese, but he is Malaysian. Brilliant man, genius mind. Works for China -- sometimes. Also has done work for the Soviets. Ironic that he was trained in the US, UCLA I believe."
"What kind of work? What training?" Duke demanded.
Strickland sighed. "A professional on bending the mind. The world's foremost brain washer." He pulled a photocopy of a magazine article from the file. "Kidnapped a Japanese military advisor just for purposes of experimenting with his latest mind control techniques and had the audacity to publish an article in a research journal about it. My suspicion is that he is being underwritten by China to get the information out of Steve."
"Steve would never give in," Duke answered boldly.
Strickland lifted an eyebrow. "I know him as well you do, Lukela. And so do the Chinese. Who better to employ than Ming looking at this as both a mercenary and research opportunity? He is a prideful man. In his circle to be the one who broke McGarrett would be quite an accolade. If he and Downer are together." He paused and gazed out of the window into the deep black of night. ".our friends are in serious trouble."
Duke stared again at the photo of the man Steve would have called Dr. Sakar and Danny would have known as Commander Frier.
Subject A still has brief periods of doubt, however it is evident that he wants to accept his new history. As planned, the female remains central in this therapy. Hypnosis will commence today. This must be voluntary participation. Reluctance may set the project behind one more day.
Subject B is showing a better resistance to traditional brainwashing than I would have anticipated. He may have had a background in brainwashing resistance we were unaware of. For our purposes this is excellent and provides a better control. Physical symptoms consistent with exposure and emotional symptoms of paranoia are within limits. Cortical stimulation through strobe light therapy will complete the planned protocol.
Downer finished shoving his few personal clothes into the duffel and glanced at his watch again. He was confident his identity was secret, nevertheless, hitting the girl while the police were having her watched had been a daring stunt and he was now glad to be getting out of here. The first half of his reward had already been posted to his Swiss bank account. There was one more duty left to perform back at the citadel and then he would be on to the next job in Europe. He enjoyed the comforts of the castle-like citadel -- if one could forget its true purpose. None of Ming's patients ever lived to complain. This job would be different though. An employer who terminated the co-workers could also terminate you. Downer had little conscience, but he had a desire to live.
"Let me get this straight. You want me to
dispatch your -- subjects -- and ice the help?"
Well, I'll be on time, okay. I'm a day early. He picked up the bag and headed down the narrow stairway to the jeepney at the corner.
"'E's movin' out," the British agent reported over his radio. "'E's on the right bus."
Agents ran for posts. Throughout Manila there were suddenly non-descript men and women lounging on benches, looking at shop windows, reading papers, keeping watch for the green jeepney.
Duke and Strickland headed towards the US Naval compound, sirens blaring. They were met by a commander who delivered them to the radar center. An ensign handed Strickland the phone as they entered. An Mi5 agent on the other end gave an update. "He's just left the bus and is on foot headed for the dock area," Strickland reported.
A graying man in naval officer's dress extended a handshake towards Duke. "Admiral Garrison." He introduced himself. "I'm an old friend of Steve's. I want to assure you, every piece of technology on this planet is following this guy."
Duke licked his lips. If we lose this man, there will be no second chances. This is all we have. He knew there were agents on the wharf just waiting for Downer to select his craft so they could manage to attach a homing device as it left port, but what if they missed? Minutes dragged by. Duke glanced at the clock, just past 2:00 AM.
Another phone rang and it also was handed to Strickland. The British intelligence officer now stood, a phone to either ear. "You should have him in just a minute," he called to the radar officer.
"Aye, sir," the American sailor acknowledged as the small blip showed up on his screen. Duke, Strickland and Garrison crowded around.
"Headed north," Duke murmured in just a moment.
"Right," Strickland nodded. "'E's not going for Indonesia or Malaysia. China maybe. Time will tell."
Duke watched the blip, not even daring to blink. Time may be the one thing we haven't got.
The warm sunshine streamed into the large bedroom. He awoke, startled. Where am I? Surroundings were not the safe, dark library-like room with the softly ticking clock. He sat up in the large king-sized bed. The sunlight was bright and bounced off the white carpet and the flowered wallpaper. The accenting furniture was Victorian, painted white and esthetically placed vases of bright daisies and zinnias were on the dresser and bedside table. His gaze dropped to Cathi, sleeping lightly beside him. Were weI don't remember. I can't remember this room. Is this our room? Our Bed?
Her eyelids fluttered as she awoke and a gentle smile creased her lips. "Good morning, darling."
"Good morning," he answered, but there was hesitation to his reply. Why can't I remember, even now! Certainly I could not forget loving my wife!
Her arms reached up and embraced his neck, drawing him close to her. She placed a simple kiss on his lips. "You slept so well last night," she whispered. "Didn't it seem right to be back in our bed again?"
He tried to find the words. "This is our room then? I -- I don't remember it."
"That's okay," she whispered and ran a fingernail along the edge of his earlobe. "We can enjoy making new memories."
He gazed at her, physically aroused, but emotionally wary. "Cathi -- I -- " He pulled back the sheets and got out of the bed. "There are still too many questions."
"Can't we answer them together?" she whispered quietly. "We know us, right? If we have each other, everything else will come in time."
Uncertainty furrowed his brow. This cannot go on, I must find the answers. I must find the truth.
"How much longer?" Cathi asked suddenly. It was difficult to know if the tone was impatience or fear, but he was certain it wasn't anger. "Paul, this is so frightening. Maybe we should have Dr. Sakar go ahead with the hypnosis today. It might help."
He wrapped the ties of the bathrobe around his waist. "I wish I knew, Cathi. There are times this all seems so right, but other times." He stopped. Dare I tell her about Mary Ann? Who is Cathi? I love her. But who is she? And if she is right I am torturing her with this refusal. Who can I trust? Sometime I must trust someone. "Let's talk to Sakar," he agreed reluctantly.
The light was beginning to creep into the small concrete cell from the little window when the steel door squeaked open. Two guards dragged Danny in and dumped him onto the cold floor. One slid in the daily pan of mush and bottle of water. The door slammed behind as they left.
Numb past awareness of anything except that the cell was peace, sanctuary from the pain, he remained where he'd fallen and curled up onto his side to shut out everything.
Perez scrambled to the food and water and dug his fingers into the bland food. The sticky pottage dripping from his fingers, he paused the look at his motionless cellmate. "You alive, man?" he asked softly.
Williams did not reply.
Perez slid on his butt over to Danny's side. "Now you see, huh?" He touched the cold skin of Danny's shoulder and could feel the shivering. "You need this more than me, I think." He rubbed a fingerful of the food across Danny's mouth.
Danny licked his lips. The food was flavorless, uninviting, but it did not matter.
Perez pushed a little more into Danny's mouth. "Not good, but it something." He forced a few more mouthfuls in, then pushed the partially empty pan away. "You got stay with me, you hear?"
Danny gazed at him through half open eyes, and did not respond.
Perez gathered Danny into his arms much like a parent would a child. "I see you do okay. Don't want to bury you, too." He poured some of the water from the bottle into Danny's mouth.
Most of it ran down across them both and Danny recoiled from the wetness. He struggled to think. "Capitol of Kansas is Topeka," he rasped through blistered, bloody lips.
Perez uttered a short chuckle. "You not in Kansas anymore, friend."
"Kansas?" he whispered, a vacant look in his eyes. "Capitol of Kentucky is Frankfort."
"You drink this," Perez advised, tipping the water bottle again.
This time the drink was more successful. Danny felt the cool water slide down his sore throat. Why is my throat sore? The echoes of his own screams came back to his mind. WHY? Perez's body heat was warming him. "Why?" he whispered.
"Why?" Perez repeated. "No why, just here."
"Here? No," he whispered back. He slowly closed his eyes wanting to sleep. He was gradually beginning to feel, to be aware of his surroundings. His chest hurt, his stomach was nauseated, muscles cramped. His head hurt.
Perez gave him another drink.
"Thank you," he managed.
"Se nada," Perez replied. "We stick together -- you and me. Maybe they come get me tomorrow, huh? Then you help me."
"Tomorrow?" How long have I been here? Days? Weeks? Where is Steve? "You, how long?" he asked.
"Me? I've been here --" he gestured towards the wall full of hash-marks. "Lose count."
"You like that why question," Perez kidded. "I complain that the babies have no milk. My brother-in-law he betray me and I come here."
"We gotta get out of here," Danny whispered. "They'll kill us."
Perez just looked down at the floor and shook his head.
The daydreams came more clearly now. He slumped on the couch in the parlor staring into the fire on the hearth. The clouds outside were building, warning of rain. The more I try to sort this through, the worse a tangle it becomes. There is this reality and there are the dreams. My life is one big dream -- but which one? Who are these people I dream about? I see their faces, can almost grab their names. Who are they? In his fitful daydream nap, he had dreamt of Cathi again. This time her death had been so clear. There was a beach house. Her beach house. He remembered the gulls, the sound of surf, the sound of her laugh. He remembered the horror, each dreaded step he took up the stairway that led to her murdered body. Who killed her? I was afraid, angry, and they thought I have killed her. Did I kill her? Did I? Danno said
.who is Danno? I cannot remember. He is a friend -- more than a friend. If he was here he could explain it all. Sakar has never mentioned Danno. Is this Danno another imaginative being? His thoughts were interrupted by voices in the hallway that echoed into the parlor.
"He has a right to know," said Cathi's voice angrily.
"He is not ready. Too much might injure his mind for good. Will you take that responsibility?" Sakar's voice argued.
"But the risk! You read the report! That assassin is close by! They lost him less than 500 miles away. He is coming, John! For Paul's own protection, he must know!"
They came into the room, an uneasy silence now between them. "Good morning, Paul," Sakar said with reserve.
"Hello, Dr. Sakar," he replied. He glanced from Sakar to Cathi. "You were just having a conversation."
Sakar waved a hand. "Nothing to worry about, Paul."
"That's not true," Cathi interrupted. "It was about you, Paul. You have a right to know."
"I heard part of it," he admitted. "Whatever this is, I have a right to make my own choice. You can't both continue to treat me like an invalid."
They exchanged glances. Finally Sakar spoke. "The agent who first captured you and killed Chuck was being tailed by our people. They lost him."
"He was headed here," Cathi insisted.
"Are you certain of that?" the focus of their concern asked rising from the sofa.
"I want you to know that we have the very best of security systems here. There are guards -- no one can get in here."
Cathi added: "You need to decide if you want to go ahead and have Dr. Sakar use hypnosis to probe your subconscious."
Who do I trust? Something must happen. I have to know and maybe this is the only way.
"Paul, you need to understand something before agreeing," Sakar offered in a fatherly tone. "If in their mind altering process they left behind some kind of mental land mines -- well, hypnosis just may set them off."
"If they have and I do not go through the hypnosis, what then? Do they go off another time?"
Sakar gave a hesitant nod. "We just do not know."
What if these images of Cathi are premonitions? I don't believe in such stuff. But what if they are? "Could I be a danger to Cathi?"
Sakar sighed. "There are too many unknowns."
"Unknowns," he whispered. "And hypnosis is the only way?"
"The only way I know of," Sakar answered. "I do not wish to place too much stress on you so soon-"
"But there is an enemy agent out there, maybe headed for here? I doubt he will be concerned with stress. I must protect Cathi, the risk must be taken," he decided. It feels good to take action. I will know.
"I knew we'd agree!" Cathi said with a smile. "We always do!"
"If that's what you want, Paul, I'll make arrangements for later today," Sakar said with a nod.
Yes, this is good. I must take back control of my life, of what is happening. "One more thing," he said, confidence creeping into his voice. "This agent. I don't remember him. What does he look like?"
"I just happen to have his photo." Sakar rummaged through his brief case and pulled out a bent black and white 3 x 5 that he extended towards his patient.
He stared at the image. The man in the photo was in his thirties, short, curly hair, light eyes, and unshaven. There was wildness about his appearance. He felt a sudden wave of dizziness and disorientation wash over him. He touched a hand to his forehead as he attempted to fight the confusion. "Danno," he uttered collapsing back to the sofa.
"Paul! Paul!" Cathi shouted grabbing his arm in alarm.
"Cathi," he whispered in fear as he fainted. "Help me."
Danny sat perched on the small stool in Frier's office while the officer slowly paced back and forth in front of him, snapping the riding crop against the palm of his hand every few steps.
"I find it most distressing that you chose not to co-operate," Frier commented. "Have you no understanding?"
He'd been sitting here over an hour. It took all his strength to just stay on the stool. There is no reason here. No explanation. No sense. I must just stay alive. Do not listen to him. There is no logic. He struggled to occupy his mind with some meaningless monotony like multiplication tables or memorized facts, but he was too exhausted. He felt very confused. When he opened his eyes, the lights seemed to swirl around the room in brilliant colors and small spots like flying bugs zigzagged through the puddles of liquid light that dripped down the walls. Frier's face seemed keep twisting out of shape. Am I losing my mind? Have I been drugged?
Frier suddenly stopped and turned to face Danny. "I know what it is. You believe that you are an American citizen -- you have some special privilege. Yes? You will see that here you are just another man -- less than a man. You are another prisoner."
Danny stared at the floor, gripping the seat of the chair to keep his orientation. If I answer a question, I will be beaten. If I ask a question, tortured. I just wish I knew what I am dying for. What has happened to Steve? He looked up at Frier. Maybe I can get him to tell me something by accident. I remember him saying friends betrayed me. "Why am I here?"
Frier turned in surprise. "Did I ask you to speak?" The crop came whistling down on Danny's shoulders.
He glared back at his attacker. "Where is McGarrett?" His head pounded with pain as the light stabbed through his skull.
The crop struck him again across the face. "McGarrett!?" Frier sneered. "You want to know about whom? You worry about the one who sold you out?"
He frowned and shook his head. At last I am certain that he is here and probably alive. These tactics to divide would be unnecessary otherwise.
"Your McGarrett has been befriended by a woman -- an agent and he has traded his knowledge for luxury!" Frier shouted into Danny's face.
"You're a liar!" Danny shouted before he could stop himself, but the action depleted his strength.
"Then see!" Frier motioned the guards who grabbed Danny under each arm and pulled him back across the hallway to the now dreaded but familiar torture room. "Look!" Frier pointed with his crop towards the television monitor. It was turned on and the moment of snow blinked to a video of Steve having a casual breakfast with a dark-haired woman in a beautiful sunlit solarium. There were heaps of fruit and pastries on the table. She was laughing. They smiled warmly at each other.
Danny looked away. "It's a fake."
"Is it?" Frier whispered. "Are you sure?"
Danny stared at the floor. "My name is Williams," he whispered.
Frier gave a loud boisterous laugh and motioned to the guards. In moments, Danny was again in the tight, wire cage. Unexpectedly, the lights were turned off and he was in total blackness. Nothing happened. He waited. There was no sound, no water, no shocks. Nothing. The darkness offered a momentary reprieve from the hallucinogenic effects and the headache eased. Minutes dragged by with the only companion his aching limbs.
A quiet voice spoke. "What is your name?"
There was a sudden loud ear shattering blast of laughter as the video was turned on a top volume. Danny jumped at the sound. It was immediately followed by a blast of icy water. A strobe began to flash directly overhead so intense that, even with his eyes shut, the painful light passed through. And as he attempted to contain this assault on all his senses, he was hit by a powerful electrical shock.
I cannot do this! I will go crazy! The hideous laughter echoed in his mind, his head felt like it would explode. I can do this no more!
The quiet melody of Bach's Air on G-String filtered through the quiet study as the log on the hearth had dwindled to nothing more than glowing embers. This is so restful and serene, it's hard to recall the panic of just a few hours ago. He sipped the herbed tea and let the warmth of it comfort him.
"It is like I tried to explain," Sakar said gently. "This entire mental state was very carefully orchestrated. There are going to be certain words, pictures, faces -- even ideas that trigger responses. You were apparently programmed to respond to the face of your enemy. Your own strength of character made you sort of shut down. Heaven only knows what you should have done."
He flexed his jaw. Who was the man in the picture? I think I know him. I think he is a friend. Who is he? What is his name?"
"What are your feelings?" Sakar asked.
He glanced back at the doctor. "Confusion. I -- it is so hard to place." What about MaryAnn? The sailor's calluses? The champagne? "Confusion." He repeated in a whisper. "You have told me of Chuck, but I can't remember him, I have no memory."
"And you do of this other man?"
He did not reply. "I don't know."
Sakar relaxed back in the chair. "We have a long way to go. I agree that it is time for us to search back through the past two weeks. Are you ready, Paul?"
He nodded, slowly, reluctantly, watching Cathi. She gave a small smile of reassurance. I can't seem to remember anything clearly, but if Cathi is here, then it can't be all that bad. If I have to believe in something -- I'll believe in her. But what of the odd memories? I have to know. I need to have the answer. This is the way.
Sakar drew his chair close, noting that the tea had been finished. "Paul, I'd like you to relax. Just rest back on the couch and think consciously about every muscle in your face. Relax each one.now the muscles of your arms, relax them.the muscles of your back, your legs, relax them. Do you hear your breathing? Relax, and think of slowing the rate of your heart."
The slow music filled his head, his mind, his body, became part of him. He was at peace. He was part of the music, the air of the room. There was a fleeting moment where he struggled to maintain control.
"Let it all go, Paul, let the music carry you."
There was silence except for Bach for several minutes. Sakar, without a sound, lifted the small cassette recorder from his bag, laid it on the floor in front of his hypnotized patient and turned the recorder on. He gave a thin smile towards Cathi. "Paul, can you hear me?"
He did not reply.
"Steve, can you hear me?" he repeated.
"Yes." The voice was a whisper.
"You will travel back to eight days ago. On the count of three, open your eyes and tell me where you are. Onethree."
His eyes opened and looked around a place far from the parlor.
"Can you describe where you are?"
"What time of day is it?"
"Evening -- the sun is setting."
"The phone is ringing. Answer it."
His hand brought an imaginary phone to his ear.
"Who is on the phone?"
"Jonathon Kaye. I need to meet." He stopped talking. "Classified."
"That is all right," Sakar said gently. "Close your eyes for me."
"It is the next day. Open your eyes for me."
His empty eyes opened once again.
"Where are you?"
"Plane to Manila."
"Why are you going to Manila?"
"Must meet Strickland in Hong Kong."
"What did you tell Strickland?"
He grimaced. "No. No! Stop them!" His arms flailed at invisible attackers.
"Steve, close your eyes and rest," Sakar said abruptly. He frowned.
Silence filled the room for several moments while Steve lay back, looking to be asleep.
Finally Sakar said. "You did not give your message to the Inspector. You must report to Strickland."
"It is important?"
"Then you should tell him now. When I count to three, open your eyes. Strickland will be here. Onethree."
His eyes opened. A relieved smile crossed his face. "Inspector?"
"The third member of the triune is a double-agent. Chan Hu Nun. He served both Britain and North Viet Nam."
Sakar gave a victorious smile and his eyes glowed. "You have done well," he said with pride. He carefully turned off the recorder and gave a thumbs up towards Cathi. "Now, close your eyes for me one more time."
"You are at rest, everything is just fine now."
It was silent for a moment as Steve relaxed more deeply onto the sofa.
"Steve is a lie. You are Paul. Steve is the enemy."
A slight scowl crossed his face. "Enemy?"
"You are Paul. You and Cathi will be all right if you can protect her."
"You love her."
"You would do anything for her."
"You will kill for her."
"Kill for her."
"Someone will try to kill her. You must stop him. He will try to kill you. What is your name?"
He frowned in confusion. "I think -- I think --"
"You are Paul."
"I am Paul."
"Who is Steve?"
Sakar smiled. Just the last piece to place now. "The man who wants to kill Cathi will call you Steve. What is the man's name?"
He was silent.
"What is his name?"
"I don't know," he murmured slowly.
"Find out his name. Then kill him."
"Find out his name and kill him to protect Cathi."
"Good, good," Sakar said gently. "I want you to relax for me. Relax every muscle, relax your mind, and let it flow with the music. You hear the music. Make it a part of you. Now, when I count to three, you will awaken. You will remember nothing of this conversation, but you will feel a peace, you will know you are here to protect and love Cathi. You will be ready to sleep. Onethree."
He slowly opened his eyes and gazed into Cathi's face. "How did I do?" he asked.
"Great," she whispered with a joyful smile. "You're going to be much better very soon. Your memories are intact, you just need some time to pull it together."
He marveled at how at ease he felt. Yes, it really will be all right. I will protect Cathi, she won't die. I know what will happen. The enemy will come, but we shall be ready -- I will be ready. This was the best thing to do. Why did I ever doubt? It makes perfect sense. "I am tired," he said.
"You've had quite a day," Sakar offered. "Why don't you catch a little mid-afternoon nap. I shall see myself out."
Ming pulled on the heavy door to the lab and the thick metal complained as it scraped against the concrete floor. The young technician jumped upon recognizing his superior. Without acknowledging the young man, Ming walked over to the wire cage that still housed Williams. "Open it."
The man quickly undid the latch and let the top drop back.
Williams made no movement.
Ming took hold of Danny's hair. He pulled back Danny's head and gazed analytically into the flaccid face; took out a small pen-light and shone it into Danny's vacant eyes. He released the hair and Danny's head dropped limply back downward. Ming glanced at the tech standing beside him, reached into his pocket, pulled out a cigar and lit it with a match. He blew out the match. "Ishi, what is your impression?" he demanded of the young man.
The student fumbled, shuffling pages on the clipboard in his hand. "Hum -- no response for over an hour. Non-responsive to auditory or kinetic stimuli. Seems to be catatonic as a result of over-stimulating of the upper synaptic functions."
"Hum," Ming took a drag on the cigar and puffed out a blue cloud of smoke. "And?"
Ishi shook his head. "I guess I don't understand this as a method for obtaining information."
Ming grinned. "You must always watch the subject very carefully. And don't forget painful stimulus." He pressed the lit cigar against Danny's naked shoulder. There was a faint hiss and the acrid odor of burning flesh.
Danny gave no response.
Ishi, obviously shaken by his teacher's action, blinked as he attempted to hide his shock. "He -- hum -- doesn't respond to pain either" His voice trailed off.
Ming grinned through his cigar. "Are you familiar with the American phrase 'playing possum'? Some have learned to disguise their feelings much better than others." He started to walk away, then paused. "Certainly much better than you. See he is returned to his cell." He left, headed for his office.
Ming's real office was not in the hollows of the concrete cellblock. It was a pleasant suite that opened out into the courtyard behind the large castle-like residence, facing the bleak prison. He and his acquaintances referred to this place as The Citadel. Appropriate enough since it had been a stronghold of a Japanese unit during the second world war. Local theory was that the cellblock had housed American POWs. It did not really matter.
Success is ours. The old fable of the sun and the wind comes to mind. The sun and the wind argued about whom was stronger. They noticed a man walking down the road and agreed that whichever of them could get his coat off was the greater. The wind blew and blew with all his might, but the man only clutched the coat tighter to his body. Then the sun took his turn. He shone with warmth and comfort. The man very soon became hot, took off his coat and put it over his arm.
So it is with extracting information from the unwilling subject. In less than eight days and with very little discomfort to the subject, McGarrett has willingly given us information that under duress he would never have yielded. The counterpart, Williams, has made every attempt to resist and toughen. He did not possess classified information, but at the end of six days, he has broken under brainwashing along the similar patterns a trained agent would have.
What remains now is the final chapter of the test -- two men, brothers at the core, will confront one another, each convinced the other is the enemy.
The door to his office opened and Ming turned to see Perez shuffle in, blanket wrapped around him. Perez headed for the coffeepot.
"It's getting colder," Danny's cellmate complained.
"It is almost over, Tony," Ming said quietly. "One more day. What is Williams doing?"
He shook his head. "I think you have pushed too hard. Ishi says he's catatonic."
Ming gave a snort. "Leave medical diagnosis to me, Tony. Williams will respond. Trust me. He merely requires the proper stimulus. He has just gone into hiding."
The door opened again and Cathi entered. "Ming, what happens now?" she demanded.
"More of the same for you," he said. "You have not completed your assignment."
She put a hand on her hip. "He's eating out of my hand, Ming. What else do you want?"
"The devotion of a husband. You are his wife, no? I want you to make love to him."
"It takes two, Ming. He doesn't seem interested."
"You are a beautiful woman," he snapped. "Seduce him."
"Yeah? Just like that? I wanna know when we blow this place. It gives me the creeps."
"When you complete your job," he snapped. "Tomorrow is the end."
She shrugged. "I don't see that screwing him is gonna make a big difference."
"It is important to me!" Ming snapped. "You are paid to do as I say. You should not be here. Go back."
"Chill, Ming. He's asleep. He's spent most of the last week asleep. He's not going anywhere."
"Then go sleep with him," Ming commanded.
"You plan to have your video rolling?" Throwing her hair, she stormed out, slamming the door behind her.
Tony glanced at Ming. "She strong-willed girl," Tony commented.
The sailor made another small grease pencil mark on the plastic coated map. The boat had moved northward through the Luzon Strait. By nine o'clock it had become obvious that the ship would make port in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Garrison picked up a phone and punched in a number. "Do we have coverage in South Taiwan?...Who is there?....We don't have time for diplomacy with government officials. I need someone in southern Taiwan." He was silent for several minutes. At one point he glanced at Strickland.
Strickland picked up another phone and made a call. "I need satellite placement."
Duke because to fear that in spite of all Garrison's reassurance before, they might lose Downer.
Strickland glanced at Garrison. "No good, Richard. The satellite won't be in position for another two hours."
Garrison seemed to be on hold. He nodded. "I have a contact in American intelligence." He gave his attention back to the phone. "Yes. I'll wait to hear from you."
There was nothing more to do but watch the little dot move towards Taiwan. Duke was, by nature a patient person, but right now, the wait seemed like a lifetime. He sat down by the pot of old coffee, tired emotionally and physically, needing to rest his eyes for just a moment....
....."Lukela," Garrison shook his shoulder.
He awoke with a start.
"Come on, we're on our way to Japan. There's a military jet on the runway waiting for us."
Duke jumped up, embarrassed that he had fallen asleep at such a critical time, a bit fuzzy about what was happening. Garrison threw out an explanation as they ran across the tarmac to the jet. "CIA reports Downer rented a private jet in Kaohsiung and continued north. He has just entered Japanese airspace. Japanese military has picked him up and is tracking him. They have military units standing by to assist."
Downer traveled light, just the single duffel. He was comfortable when in the air and slept soundly during his flight to Japan. If there had been anyone in pursuit he felt confident they had been left behind in Manila. He checked his watch. It was early afternoon. He was making good time. His plan was to land in Niigata by five. It would be just a short chopper flight to the Citadel from there. He was an experienced helicopter pilot, but he did not like flying out to sea at night over waters he did not know.
The chopper was sitting on the pad, payment having already been arranged. Downer did a quick instrument check, and satisfied that all was in order, then was skyward towards the small island of the Citadel. All was going remarkably well. He looked forward to returning to Europe tomorrow.
Cathi slipped into the master bedroom and opened the closed window-blinds permitting the mid afternoon sun to bathe the room in warmth. "Paul," she lay down on the bed beside him, "wake up, Darling, you are sleeping the day away."
He woke up slowly, and smiled at her face close to his. "Hello, lovely lady." He planted a simple kiss on the tip of her nose. "I remember you."
She gave a gentle smile. "It's like I said -- it is going to be like it used to be." She placed her arm around his neck and pulled him closer. "Do you remember our passionate love?" she whispered into his ear.
His look masked the sadness. Must I admit once again to something I cannot recall?
"It doesn't matter," she replied. "We can make some new ones." She slipped her hand around his waist.
A small frown crossed his face. "Cathi...I love you."
She sensed his hesitation. "I love you, too, Paul."
Paul? It still seems so unfamiliar. I am Paul. Steve is the enemy. What is his name? Is Steve his name? "Cathi, I need to clear my head." He suddenly rolled over and got up from the bed.
Hiding her frustration, Cathi followed. "Sweetheart, don't be upset. I thought -- I thought we could just--"
"I'm not upset," he reassured her. "It's just that, there are still so many things I don't understand."
She forced a smile. "How hard is it to understand my love for you?" She reached up touching his lips with an open-mouthed kiss. "Come back to bed with me," she whispered softly.
There was a faint whopping motor sound. He suddenly felt himself slip into a protective mode. "What is that?" he demanded, any thoughts of romantic interlude cut short.
"Hummm," Cathi scowled. "I don't know -- perhaps it is Dr. Sakar. Yes, I'm sure it is. He keeps a helicopter on the pad, don't you remember that? He must have been called out on an emergency." She struggled to keep his attention on the atmosphere she was trying to create.
He blinked, trying to accept the simple reasoning. "But Dr. Sakar said there was an assassin headed for here." He pulled away from her embrace and went to the window where he pulled back the drape and looked up towards the sky. There was nothing there and the sound had faded away.
Cathi watched him silently, jaw set. How can I seduce this guy when Ming keeps flying aircraft over the place?
Ming stormed from the cellblock out behind to the small field that served as the helipad. Fury was on his face as he recognized the chopper he had purchased to transport Downer. "What is the meaning of this?" he demanded as the engine of the helicopter was silenced. The rotor slowly stopped spinning.
Downer opened the door. "I came to finish my job."
"You are a day early!" Ming snapped.
"No sweat, I can hang round here if you'd like." He stepped down from the craft, then reached back in to retrieve his duffel.
"You may have been followed."
He laughed. "Not bloody likely." He looped his duffel over his shoulder and walked off towards the cellblock. "Hope you got a beer around here."
Ming took him to his office. "What happened in Manila?" he demanded harshly.
Downer dropped onto the soft couch and picked up one of Ming's thin cigars. "Well, another Hawaiian bloke showed up and was stewin' 'round with Strickland and Sanchez. Had a real party going over that plane." He chuckled. "Got that little stewardess all churned up. I did her without a problem."
"You have always been good at tidying up the place," Ming remarked. "I trust you will be as efficient here as well." He tempered his anger at Downer's plan change. I can still handle Downer.
"Can't say I'm excited about giving your subjects loaded weapons," Downer remarked, smelling the cigar.
"They will do just as I say."
He shrugged. "You and your mind blowin' games."
"Research," Ming corrected. "Valuable information gathering techniques. When one cracks McGarrett, he has cracked the best."
Downer turned his attention away from the tobacco and looked at Ming. "Did you?"
He burst into a proud smile.
"Ming! You old dog, you!" Downer slapped his knee.
"Have I ever been wrong?" Ming challenged him.
"Nawh, don't think you have," he replied.
Ming paced his office. "I am not comfortable with the possibility that you may be followed here. It would be better to conclude this business tonight."
He shrugged. "Fine with me."
Ming handed him a sheet of paper. "These are your instructions. Follow them exactly."
He glanced over the sheet. "This is what you really want?" he asked suspiciously.
"Meaning?" Ming asked in a challenging fashion.
He shrugged. "It's just that -- well removing the help isn't usually done."
Ming looked at him without emotion. "It is necessary. They are expendable."
"Expendable? And am I expendable, too?" he demanded. "You have me whack them, who whacks me?"
"Don't be so paranoid. You are more sure of your talents than that, aren't you?" Ming replied. "Simple mathematics, Downer. There is one sum of money. The more ways it is divided, the smaller that reward becomes. We can split seven million dollars two ways or -- four ways. Which do you choose?"
Duke, Strickland, and Garrison already had the word on Downer's final destination as they hurried from the small jet. Downer was less than 45 minutes off the west coast of Japan on the tiny island of Oki Shinkia that, although Japanese, had been held under Russian treaty since World War II. They had also received the clear message from Japanese authorities that they were not going to send aircraft to the island no matter what.
"We know exactly where Downer is -- maybe where McGarrett and Williams are and we can do nothing?" Strickland spurted in anger at the Japanese captain who relayed the message.
"We suggest you discuss the issue with The Soviets," he replied tersely.
"That will take days!" Duke answered.
"Weeks," Strickland corrected.
A young American sailor entered the room. "Sir," he addressed Garrison with a salute that Garrison returned and handed the senior officer an envelope.
"Satellite photos of the area," Garrison muttered pulling out the photos.
A cluster of small buildings on the island was easily seen in the photo. "Old POW holding area," Strickland commented.
"It's occupied," Garrison added, noting that there were tire tracks on the dusty ground leading from the shore towards the buildings. "I don't think it's enough to gain Russian co-operation, but it can get us a small Special Forces unit."
"American Special Forces?" Duke asked.
Garrison nodded. "Six man team should do it. DSS has a team over on Okinawa. They can have them here in a hour." He led Duke out of the OPS room into the corridor. A balding, middle-aged man waited for them. Duke could detect nothing remarkable about him, and perhaps the ability to blend in was what had always been one of Marten Camp's strong areas. Garrison gestured. "Duke Lukela, Marten Camp."
Camp extended a hand. "Good to meet you, Lukela. Garrison has already filled me in on the details of this incident."
Pretty hard considering I thought we just learned them now, Duke thought, but did not voice. He accepted Camp's handshake. "Are you with NIS?"
There was a glint of humor in Camp's eye, as though NIS would have been beneath him. "I work for the US government in sensitive issues. I've known McGarrett since the Cold War was hot and Williams for -- well a long time. Let's say that my involvement here is not just business. I'll be taking a team to get them back."
Duke hid his surprise. This guy looks like he should be selling life insurance or teaching high school math. He looks nothing like a Special Forces expert.
Camp continued. "Garrison says you both will come with us. That's fine, but it is at your own risk -- and I still call the shots. If you agree with that, you're in."
Duke glanced at Garrison and nodded. What am I getting in to?
"Good." Camp walked away. "Garrison, get him outfitted. We go active at 1800 hours."
"Who is that guy?" Duke muttered quietly to Garrison.
"Who? Him?" Garrison gave a chuckle. "Not much to look at, is he. I think he'll work out okay, though. He's Chief of Pacific Operations of the CIA." He clapped Duke's shoulder taking a brief second to enjoy Duke's surprise.
The dinner had been quiet, but somehow uncomfortable. The only sound had been of silver clinking against china.
He wondered if Cathi was disappointed in his slow recall. I know she wants everything to be as she remembers, but I don't know what that is. Will it ever all return? I had hoped the hypnosis would answer all my questions. I feel more like I have a purpose, a sense of who I am, but I still do not have my past back.
"Are you upset with me?" He finally asked of Cathi.
She glanced up. "Of course not," she hastened to assure. "I'm afraid I just -- well it is hard for me, too!"
He placed a gentle hand on hers. How could I cause her such pain? I am a fool. I don't understand all this. I don't know the answers, but I know I love her. He gave a soft smile. "May I have a rain-check for later this evening?"
Her cheeks flushed. "Anything for you, my love." Her look suddenly brightened. "I know just the thing. We can walk the greenhouse."
"The floral collection there. You can see if you recall the botanical names. You used to know them all. Maybe that will jog something!"
He smiled. "Sounds like just the thing!" I don't even recall there being a greenhouse, but right now I will do anything that makes her happy -- especially such a small thing. And you never know. It just might prove the key.
Danny had laid on the cell floor several hours, with no awareness of the passage of time. Occasionally he had attempted to draw his consciousness together and failed. As the afternoon waned, he was able to rally himself enough to know he was alone in the cell. A steady, cold breeze was blowing in the small window accented by an occasional snow flake.
Where is Perez? What have they done to him? Danny was shivering with chills, yet kept having feverish waves of heat wash over him. He coughed, feeling the congestion in his chest. I'm sick. He could see the quart of water where it had been placed earlier by the guards but lacked both of energy and will to attempt to get it. And so he just lay where he was without thinking, feeling, or planning. It had taken the last of his reserves to fake his emotional collapse to Frier. The small circular burn on his shoulder still flamed like fire. But he knew that his act could buy him time. Did I fool Frier?
There was the scrape of the key in the door and the hinges squeaked. Perez stumbled into the room followed by a guard.
"I tell you, I did not do anything," Perez was pleading. "I just here, like always. Please do not hurt us."
The guard shoved Perez towards the far corner then approached Danny where he lay, back to them.
Danny heard the footsteps stop behind him. He prepared himself emotionally to endure whatever pounding the man was about to deliver. No matter what he does, I will give no response. I must do nothingno reaction. A hand touched his shoulder.
The guard squatted down and put a hand on Danny's shivering shoulder gently rubbing Danny's upper back and neck. "I am here to help you."
Danny felt the elated wash of hope that he just as quickly struggled to suppress. Not likely. It is a trick. They are trying to see if I will respond. No response -- no matter what.
"You gonna be okay now. It be better for you. I take good care of you." The guard slowly pulled Danny off his side onto his back.
Look at nothing. Make no eye contact. See nothingbut Danny's gaze fixed on the long jagged scar that ran from the guard's ear to his chin and recalled Frier's comments. "The big one with the scar, you know the one I mean? He has asked for you."
The guard gave a broad smile brushing his left hand across Danny's chest.
His right hand is on the rifle on the floor. Do nothing! Wait for him to move his hand. Danny screamed at himself, feeling the goose bumps cropping up on his skin.
The guard's left hand had moved downward towards Danny's waist.
Move the right hand, you bastard.
The guard glanced at Danny's expressionless features. "Too bad you not here to enjoy this," he whispered with a little childlike giggle. He fingered the string on Danny's waistband.
Danny's heart pounded in his ears with fear and rage. He wondered if his face was starting to redden.
The guard lifted his right hand, leaving the rifle on the floor.
Overwhelmed by a focus for his rage and horror, Danny suddenly sprang up and forward, snatching up the rifle and attacking the guard with a surprising force. Danny struck the soldier twice in the chest with the butt, knocking him backward, then slammed the soldier in the back of the head, knocking him out cold.
Danny, rifle in hand turned towards Perez who cowered, hands over his face. "You with me?" he panted from exertion. He struggled to his feet.
Perez stared between his fingers. "You breaking out?"
He bent down and found the key to the cell on the unconscious guard's belt. "It may be the only chance. I have to find my friend. You know the place here. Help me."
Perez still hesitated. "This is an island. How you gonna get off?"
"I'll figure it out as I go along." He unlocked the door, already feeling the weakness of his condition.
"I come," Perez concluded.
The Chinook Workhorse helicopter whopped across the ocean towards Oki Shinkia . Inside, sitting in silence and the twilight, six team members stared at nothing, chewed their gum wads, their faces beneath the dark helmets frighteningly young.
Duke, clothed in camouflage like the rest had the time to contemplate not just the youth of Camp's team, but his own age. It seems like yesterday I was in college, star running back, somehow never being drafted into Korea. I was relieved, but also felt guilty as that non-war impacted those around me. I was probably younger than these kids, but it seems like yesterday. And now these children are coming to the rescue of my closest friends.
Camp moved back from the small flight camp, clinging to the metal bar in the center of the body of the craft. "Be alert. Pick your targets. The hostages are in unknown condition down there. If possible I want no casualties on either side." He held out a small coffee can. "All ID's in here. This action did not happen."
Duke stared at the can as the six sets of metal tags clinked into it. Until this moment, he had not paused to consider that this was an illegal entry into Soviet territory. If it went wrong, no one would come to save them. Any soldier killed in this action would not his family provided for. Duke swallowed once and fingered the rifle he'd been issued.
Camp paused before him, coffee can in hand.
Duke pulled out his wallet and police ID and dropped them in.
Without a word, Camp moved off. "ETA six minutes."
Cathi handed him a light jacket. "It's chilly outside," she commented, pausing to glance at her watch. Tony will be in the courtyard in just four minutes. Acting unhurried and casual, she pulled on her own jacket. "One more thing." She opened a small locked closet and pulled out a .45 automatic.
He frowned. "What is that for?"
"You may need it."
He gave a smile. "We're just taking a simple walk, Darling."
"Dr. Sakar says we can't be too careful."
He accepted the weapon. "It isn't mine."
She nodded. "I know."
"And I usually wear a shoulder holster."
She gave a small grin. "We'll get you another. See? We haven't even left yet and our walk is doing you good." She opened the door and the cold breeze and light snow whipped around them.
He slid the heavy gun into his jacket pocket. It felt clumsy there, but he would have to make do. He strained his eyes for his first glimpse of the out of doors in several days. The late afternoon light was yielding to twilight. He was surprised at the terrain outside the warm, comfortable house looked like a compound with high walls. Across the courtyard was what might have been a barracks. He stopped and looked around.
"Paul?" she asked.
"I thought it would be a garden," he commented slowly. This looks like a military fort."
She laughed. "The greenhouse is around that way." She pointed to the left. "You really don't remember helping develop the security here with your father? You two spent years planning this for both the comfort of a home and the protection of a fortress."
Camp called back to the team. "Prepare!"
The soldiers dressed in camouflage rose and moved quietly towards the large doorway, weapons slung over their shoulders. Their young eyes were deep with serious focus on what they were about to do. Duke wondered if they were old enough to realize how brief and fragile life could be. Camp slid back door and they could see the water rushing under the belly of the craft. There was a sudden change of terrain as the beachhead passed and then a short stretch of dunes. By now the craft was close to the ground. The pilot swung it abruptly to one side, and throttled back to hover for just a moment. The six men leapt from the doorway without hesitation, dropping ten feet to the ground where they immediately started for the barrack building.
Camp glanced back at the pilot. "Rock their teeth," he ordered
"Aye, Sir!" The pilot gave a broad grin of anticipation as Duke and Camp jumped down to the soft earth.
The wind, shockingly cold, bit at Duke's face and ate through his outer coat as they raced, weapons ready towards the compound. The noisy helicopter would provide only a brief distraction. The front men had already cut away the barbed wire fence with wire cutters by the time Camp and Duke joined them. Camp motioned his team into several different directions and they splintered into the darkness.
The chopper swung up and away with dizzying speed as a spot light chased after it He buzzed over the compound of Ming's Citadel seeming to just barely clear the high wall topped with barbed wire.
The roar of the helicopter as it passed over the courtyard shocked Cathi who turned in genuine surprise.
"What's happening!" Steve shouted, pulling the gun out, grabbing her arm and starting back for the doorway, some ten yards away. I have to keep Cathi safe! We are under attack!
There was the slam of a door and two men dressed in what looked to be prison shorts hurried out into the compound from the barrack-like building across the yard. The noise from the helicopter was almost deafening as it dropped lower outside the walls.
Duke and Camp entered the barracks behind a two man team that were searching in a hurried methodical earnestness --always gun muzzle first.
"What is this place?" Duke muttered as they passed the narrow, bleak cells.
"Prisoner detainment. Kept POWs here in World War Two," Camp replied.
A soldier turned. "Sir! We have a prisoner."
Camp pushed up the hallway to see the unconscious form of the scarred guard still on the floor of the cell that had housed Danny. "Secure him. I want no fatalities."
In the courtyard confusion reigned, two guards on the rooftop were shouting and firing their weapons towards the unseen craft.
Perez grabbed Danny's arm and pointed in the direction of the man and woman across the way.
Danny's face lit up, unable to believe his good luck. "Steve!" He's all right! We can get out of here! There's a chopper outside somewhere. We can take it over and
Perez shouted. "He's the one who sold you out!"
"No!" Danny shouted back. "I know him, it's okay." He noticed the woman behind Steve. She was in that video. Who is she? What's going on here? Steve will have an explanation.
"They laughed at you!" Perez insisted. "Why did he not rescue us? I come with you -- only me. He is the traitor!"
"Steve will have an explanation!" Danny shouted back. Who is that woman? Confusion and indecision crossed his face and was not missed by his cell mate.
"He's got a gun!" Perez shouted. "He will kill us!"
"No!" Danny shouted over the sounds of aircraft and gunfire a short distance away.
Perez gave a sudden grunt and collapsed in the dirt.
Danny turned back to see the blood from the bullet wound pouring out of Perez' chest.
Perez, sprawled on his back, looked up towards the roof and spotted Downer with his sniper rifle. That bastard, Ming, sold me out!
Danny had bent down, protectively over Perez. "Perez!"
"Kill him," Perez managed to utter through the blood in his throat as he died.
Steve crouched against Cathi, trying to keep her low and protected by his body. "Get out of here!" he urged her, pushing her towards the door behind them.
"Paul! Paul! He's here!" She shouted pointing in Danny's direction. "He wants to kill us!"
He looked towards Danny who was rising from Perez' dead body. Danny turned in their direction. "Cathi! Get inside!"
A helicopter suddenly passed over them, low to the yard kicking up wind, snow and dust. Cathi stumbled, was slammed into the door behind him and collapsed to the concrete walk. Steve turned in a scream of horror. "Cathi!" He grabbed the dying woman in his arms. "Cathi! Don't leave me!"
The noise from the chopper had muffled the sound of the shot. She'd been hit just once in the upper back, but it had been enough. She was already dead.
Danny, seeing Steve's female companion fall, accurately glanced up at the roof, plotting the angle and spotted Downer who had fearlessly risen from his position. Danny lined up on him with the stolen rifle and fired one shot.
Downer was hit in the right shoulder, not a lethal blow. He staggered back from the impact and, attempting to regain his footing, stepped the wrong way off the edge of the roof. He plunged head first thirty feet, breaking his neck when he landed.
Steve huddled in the doorway, overcome by the death of Cathi. This happened before. I remember this! I couldn't stop it this time either! The sound of Danny's shot at Downer broke through Steve's stunned shock. Clutching Cathi's body to him, he turned, as Danny lowered the rifle. He shot Cathi! He killed her just as she was afraid he would! He killed Chuck! Chuck was my lifelong friend! Who is this man? Who is this deadly enemy? Who is he? Kill him.
Danny started towards Steve, glancing around through the confusion of gunfire and shouts that were raging outside the compound. "Steve!" he shouted. "Steve! Is she alive?"
Steve rose, the gun in his hand, hostility and distrust on his features. Steve -- he called me Steve! This is the one who tried to twist my mind! He stole my past and has murdered my future!" "I know what you did!" He shouted. "You tried to poison my mind!"
Danny had been approaching and now stopped about ten yards away from his partner and closest friend. "Steve?" Confusion, exhaustion, and a growing fear showed on his face. "Steve, come on, we can get out of here!"
Rising from Cathi's body, Steve leveled the .45 on Danny. "What is your name?" he snarled.
Danny staggered back as though he had been struck. He really did sell me out! He is with them! Why? How could he? Piercing strobe lights and savage laughter echoed through his mind. He squeezed his eyes shut trying to control the imagery as his expression melted into fear, frustration, rage.
For an instant, both men stood there, each locked in his own mental battle for a grasp on reality and finding nothing but each other, and each other the enemy.
"What is your name?" Steve shouted again, shaking with fury. I have to know this! I have to learn his name! This killer of all that I love! I cannot stand the pain!
Danny struggled to control his rage. "Why did you do this to me! Why? What have you done?!" Gripping the rifle tightly in his hands he continued his approach. "You talk to me!"
"What is you name?!" Steve screamed, face twisted in pain and hatred.
Danny exploded in fury, swinging the rifle like a baseball bat towards Steve who dodged it and fired one shot in return. The bullet just grazed Danny's left arm.
I have to learn his name before I kill him! Steve tried to plot a second shot that would stop this vicious foe without killing him -- yet.
He shot me! He's trying to kill me! I can't believe it. Why? Why? All this has been his doing?! Danny swung the rifle butt back into Steve's abdomen.
The pistol popped from Steve's hand and skidded across the cold pavement. McGarrett bent over double, trying to catch his breath. In a quick defensive move, he grabbed hold of the rifle, trying to twist it from Danny's hands. He managed a kick to the side of Danny's knee, knocking the latter off his feet.
Danny, although off balance maintained his death grip on the rifle, in numb shocked horror that McGarrett was actually trying to kill him.
Steve twisted the rifle up with all his strength, finally pulling it out of Danny's grasp. He jabbed the rifle butt against the side of Danny's head, sending him sprawling across the dirty ground and through a ice covered puddle.
Danny saw the .pistol and made a frog leap for it, rolling over, the .45 clutched in his hand. "God forgive me, Steve!" he screamed, tears of terror in his face. With a perfect head-shot, he squeezed the trigger. The gun gave an empty click. Danny's mouth dropped open in both relief and shock. He threw the gun at Steve, trying to escape the man he'd been trying to rescue only a short time before.
Steve kicked at Danny again, and Danny grabbed hold of Steve's foot, pulling him off balance. They were both now on the ground rolling in a life and death struggle over something neither of them could understand. Steve with his size and height gained the quick advantage, pressing Williams to the ground, hands around his neck, pressing his thumbs against Danny's throat.
Gasping for breath, Danny struggled uselessly to fight off his attacker. "Why?" he managed to utter.
"What is your name?" Steve shouted at him again, slamming his head against the pavement.
Danny felt consciousness slipping. Why? What's going on? Why is this happening? This is Steve. "Steve, help me," he whispered.
McGarrett pounded his head against the ground one more time and Danny was unconscious. Panting and sweating from shock and horror, Steve looked around, found the rifle.. Cathi I love you! I could not protect you! I let this monster kill you! He jumped to h is feet, snatched up the rifle and aimed it at the unconscious man.
"Steve!" came a voice from the other end of the yard.
There are more of them! They must have overpowered the guards! Where is Dr. Sakar! Steve swung the rifle towards to two men dressed in combat clothing who were running towards him flanked by two more than seemed much more cautious about their surroundings by waving their weapons back and forth to the sides.
Camp grabbed Lukela's shoulder, bringing them to a stop. "Hang on a second here, Lukela."
Duke gaped in surprise. "But that's Steve." He called out. "Steve, it's all right."
Camp shook his head. "It may not be all right at all."
"What is your name?!" Steve yelled. His voice had a plaintiff plea to it.
Duke opened his mouth. He doesn't recognize me in this get-up.
"Don't answer him," Camp snapped. "It could be a trigger phrase."
Duke gave him a quizzical look. "What? He's just confused. We've got to help him."
"And what if McGarrett has had his entire reality rearranged for him by Ming?" Camp asked.
"Barracks contained," a little voice crackled in the ear-piece Camp was wearing.
"Understood," Camp commented back in the throat microphone.
"Jeeze, sir, you've gotta see this," the voice added. "Some kind of -- torture chamber."
"Understood, do you have containment?"
"We have taken three prisoners, Sir," the new voice reported. "Perimeter is contained."
"Mother Goose, this is Pie Man"
"Aye," came the pilot's voice.
"Nest on south side. We need the video."
Moments later, the helicopter could be heard on a new approach.
Steve turned towards the sound, looking upward, then back at the men who stood a short distance from him. They have overrun us! Where is Dr. Sakar! Cathi is dead! Does anything else matter? She was all the past that I had! She was everything. I should make them kill me. He re-aimed the rifle towards Camp and Duke.
"We've got to do something," Duke commented. He called out. "What happened here?"
Steve did not budge. "He killed her! I won't let you capture me again!"
Duke raised an eyebrow. Could it be possible the Danny had killed this woman? As difficult as it is, that may be possible. Just as Steve is standing here ready to shoot us. "Let me help. I am on your side!"
"Where is Dr. Sakar!"
Camp spoke up. "I can take you to him."
He shook his head. "No, you stay right there. Cathi knew, she knew this would happen!"
"Cathi," Duke whispered. "Cathi Ryan?"
"Mean something?" Camp asked.
He nodded. "She was real close with him. She was killed two years ago." He looked up at Steve. "Cathi died, Steve. She died a long time ago. This is not Cathi. Think about it. Can't you remember her?"
I remember. This is Cathi! He is trying to confuse me. I may doubt everything else, but this is Cathi.
Camp pressed his throat mic. "Simple Simon this is Pie Man, do you read?"
"Five by Five, Pie Man," crackled the response in his ear.
"We need to put the gift into the box."
"Copy, Pie Man."
"What does that mean?" Duke demanded with sudden suspicion.
Camp glanced from him towards McGarrett. "We need to control this, Lukela. I am going to do that in the way I see fit."
"What--" Duke stopped as he spotted the sharp shooter on the roof. "No! Wait!" Dear God, I can't let them shoot Steve! We came to save them not shoot them! He extended his arms away from his rifle which dangled from his shoulder. "Steve! It's me! It's Duke!" He took a few steps towards McGarrett.
Steve maintained his aim on Duke, desperate and confused. Who is this man? He is not going for his gun. Do I know him? Who is he?
Duke took another step closer. He could read the uncertainty on Steve's face. "Are you having trouble remembering? I'm Duke. We are on the same team."
Steve scowled. I can't let him get any closer. Cathi! What do I do about Cathi! He stole a glance at Williams, unconscious at his feet. He killed her!
"Steve!" Duke called, trying to get his attention.
Camp was muttering something into his throat mic that Duke could not hear. The man on the roof of the house moved to a new position.
Duke glanced at the soldier, then back at Steve. Will Camp really have him shot? CIA only cares about containing the situation and maintaining security, not the people. Why did Garrison turn this over this them? Cause they were the ones with the power to get this far. He answered his own question. He risked another couple of steps closer. He was near enough to not have to yell any more. He was also close enough that if Steve decided to shoot, there would be no escape. "Steve, what happened to Danno?"
Steve scowled. "What is his name?" he asked.
"He is Dan Williams. Danno. Your friend -- my friend. Think hard, remember?"
"Danno?" He stared down. I remember thoughts about a friend Danno, someone I would die for, I could trust to the death. Cathi said he wasn't real. This man cannot be Danno. He is the enemy. What do I know? What did I do? He felt as though he was drowning in the confusion. Who am I? Paul. My name is Paul. Sister -- yes! "What is my sister's name?" he demanded suddenly.
"Mary Ann," Duke called back without hesitation.
He blinked. Mary Ann is real! He lowered the rifle, features starting the calm a little. "Sailing? Do I sail?"
Duke beamed. "Like a religion. You sail Pearl Harbor nearly every Sunday. Can you remember now?"
Like a dam breaking, memories and images flooded over Steve in a confusing jumble of people and places. "Cathi?" he whispered, turning to look at the dead woman.
Duke stepped forward and slowly took the rifle from Steve's hand.
"This Pie Man. Stand down. Repeat: Stand down. The situation is contained," Camp called.
No thanks to you, Duke thought with a snort.
Steve squatted down next to the woman's body, brushing a hand over her long hair that blew in the stiff cold breeze. "Cathi."
Duke touched his shoulder. "Cathi died, Steve. She died over almost two years ago. This is not your Cathi. Don't you remember? She was strangled."
He looked up at Duke, tears in his eyes. Can that be right? Was she strangled? Yes, up in the beach house. But she isn't strangled. The phone was ripped out. They tampered with my radio. Danno found the radio--Danno. He was exhausted emotionally. What do I believe? I want to believe this man -- but Cathi. He felt the hair slipping through his fingers. "God, Cathi," he uttered through a sob in his throat.
Duke glanced back at Camp who was issuing orders for his team to collect evidence and prisoners. He dared to pay attention enough to Danny to take his pulse. Duke could tell that the fight with Steve was not the only beating the younger officer had sustained in the recent past.
Steve noticed Duke's action "He killed her," he almost snarled in a suddenly attitude change.
"No, Steve. This is Danno. He is your friend. There has been a mistake somehow," Duke said quietly.
Steve's look was one of hopeless confusion. "Cathi!" he sobbed, engulfed in despair.
Duke put a warm arm around him. "It will be all right.," he promised in a tone he would have used for his young children. His extended his other around around McGarrett encircling him in a tight hug as the icy wind whipped around them.
The gentle trade wind carried the scent of sandalwood and flowers into the office through the open door to the lanai.
Steve brushed a hand across the glass of the picture of Cathi -- the real Cathi that he now kept in the top drawer of his desk. My Cathi, the real Cathi. Even a month after the incident, the face of the imposter still returned to him and blotted out the image of the woman he had loved. The photo did more than refresh his memory, it had become something of a talisman that he kept ever close at hand. It took Ming less than a week to destroy the memories of a lifetime and all the individuals associated with those memories. And, although we have labored for weeks to reconstruct it all, there are still moments of real confusion. But I am, perhaps, still the one better off. Most of my experience is clouded in a fog of drug induced amnesia, subtle subconscious twists and hypnotic suggestions. Danno recalls it all: The brutal physical and emotional attacks, the fear and pain. Steve gave an audible sigh and glanced again at the report that lay before him. Camp, as ever, has been thorough and given a completely different report from Strickland or Garrison. Their reports mentioned how with six dead, Camp wanted to shoot the three prisoners. Maybe this time he was right. Ming got away disguised as a mute and deaf custodian that the guards took pity on while the young technician, Ishi, as the only surviving technical person had borne the majority of the blame and punishment. The other prisoner was a guard with an unusual scar who kept raving that he was not what the Americans thought, but was only following orders. These two had been a bit of an embarrassment to deal with. Neither Hong Kong nor the United States could accept them. To do so was to admit they had trespassed on Russian territory. Japan refused to charge them since Japanese law had not been violated. It was little wonder Camp had wanted to just shoot them. It was a contact Camp had through the KGB who eventually accepted the two. What became of them is anyone's guess.
The second part of the report consisted of a published article from a Chinese top secret journal that had been delivered to Strickland. It was accompanied by an English translation. The opening paragraph contained the phrase:
In most cases of interrogation, much is lost through the mis-concept that time is always of the essence. In attempts to retrieve information, much of it is lost through the hash tactics that serve more to toughen the subject than to attain the desired goal..."
The report continued through several highly technical pages to cover all of Ming's experiment from beginning to end. To Steve, the calculated horror of it was appauling. Ming was talking about lives here -- real lives -- our lives!
"In conclusion, although the use of C6B89 was able within about the same amount of time to achieve far better results than traditional methods. Its use produced the data from a subject that would have resisted traditional methods to the death. In addition, C6B89 preserves the subject intact for further retrieval as necessary."
Steve paused to consider that statement. The idea of being permanently in the clutches of a man like Ming, muttling his mind until any connection with reality was completely snarled was chilling.
"In contrast, the study of the control using traditional mind-washing and morale shattering tactics did also achieve a goal. The subject was convinced that the individual closest to him was a threat to the point where he did, in fact, pull the trigger and would have killed Subject A. This value cannot be under-estimated. As outlined in the data to follow, there was some suggestion that Subject B may have received some trained in mind-altering resistance tactics. This makes the study all the more credible.
"C6B89 will not replace these methods completely, but should be considered as a new valuable tool available to the trained administrator."
Steve looked away from the final sentence and back to the photo of Cathi. As he did there was a gentle rap on the closed door. "Come!" he called.
Danny stepped into the office. "You wanted me, Steve?"
McGarrett closed the drawer containing the photo. "Have you read Strickland's report?"
Danny had noticed the photo as Steve closed the drawer. "Yes." What would he like me to say? Yes, I did try to kill him. Had I picked up the rifle instead of the gun, McGarrett's brains would have become part of the icy pavement? Can I forget that? Ever? Does it matter that I had been subjected to brain washing? Perhaps, but I still knew what I was doing.
"As usual Camp managed to avoid informing his superiors of his foul-ups by never addressing the disposition of Ming," Steve commented with a sigh.
"Do you know what became of Ming?" Danny asked, well aware that Steve often had inside sources of information.
Steve lifted an eyebrow. "We don't know."
"The report says that an Asian custodian was released -- Ming no doubt," Danny commented internally pleased that this conversation seemed to be falling along professional rather than personal issues.
Steve nodded again, leaning back in his chair. "Well, Camp is a pretty sly guy himself. It is entirely possible that our custodial friend is in the clutches of the CIA." I want to know how you are, Danno. Will you allow us to go there? We need to talk.
"Couldn't happen to a nicer guy," Danny remarked with a quick grin. There was an embarrassing moment of silence. "Well -- I guess I've got a lot of work to do." He turned to go.
"Are you doing okay?"
He gave a quick grin of bravado. "Coming along. You okay?"
Steve was aware that the subject had been subtly changed and refocused. He nodded. "I will be."
"She was nothing like the real Cathi, you know," Danny suddenly added softly.
Ah, he saw the photo. Nothing wrong with his powers of observation -- or his sensitive heart. "I know," Steve agreed with a small smile. "But I still keep reminding myself of it. Neither of us was able to makes the choices we wanted."
So, we can avoid this no longer. What do you want to hear, Steve? Do I have to spill my guts about the pain, the fear, the guilt? Why am I angry at him? He should be mad at me. I guess I owe him this talk. Danny frowned. "I can't help it, Steve. I remember it -- I remember pulling that trigger. I knew the choice I was making." His shoulders sagged. "I wish I could take it back. I wish I could find some way to say how sorry...."
"There's nothing to say 'sorry' for. If it hadn't been for Duke, we wouldn't be having this conversation, Danno. I was about to kill you too, you know. I guess it would have been easier if we had possessed some kind of internal super power that enabled us to resist Ming. Danno, we are just men; ordinary men with the same strengths and weaknesses as everyone else. The issue is not what happened. The issue is how we choose to go on from here."
Danny stood silent before the desk, staring down at the carpet. Going on? Is that all there is to it? Get up, brush of f the dirt and go on? Like it never happened?
McGarrett slowly opened the drawer and lifted the framed photo. "I don't need a framed picture to remind me of who you are, Danno." He rose and extended his hand for a shake towards his closest friend.
Danny lifted his gaze to McGarrett's face. Maybe we really do just go on. Not like it never happened, but because it happened. "Maybe we should be flattered."
"Ming singled us out because we were the hardest nuts to crack. And we're still here."
"Hey, Danno," Steve smiled. "We're still here."
They shook hands.