Just a little one-shot. The kid's book is real, so is Stephanie, but you don't need to Google her. I will explain all. Minor Danny whump. Hardly a whump at all, really.
God Bless Stephanie Kwolek
"As a junior detective, I deduce you're reading a kid's book, Danny," Kono Kalakaua said with her tongue in cheek.
She and the other members of Five-0, a Hawaiian state police special task force, were waiting for results of a BOLO on a sniper who had been taking potshots at passersby from downtown rooftops. Five-0 had used surveillance cameras to get a photo and old-fashioned legwork to identify the shooter as 18-year-old Kyle Chu, a high school senior generally regarded as "weird" and "creepy" by his classmates.
Now Five-0 just had to wait for someone to spot the teenager.
Kono had occupied the waiting by working out in the Honolulu Police Department gym with her cousin, and Five-0 partner, Chin Ho Kelly. Detective Danny Williams had been filling out paperwork when they left, but when they returned, Kono found him reading a thin book with a wide, square cover that showed a colorful picture of a girl with a bunch of junk on her head. Even a junior detective could determine it was a children's book.
"And as a junior interrogator, you want to know why I'm reading it," Danny suggested.
"Don't make me get the air horn," Kono mock threatened, referring to one of their boss' favorite interrogation tools.
"Please don't do that, officer. I'll talk," Danny replied in mock fear and with a wince of real remembrance. "Grace checked it out from the library for a school report. I need to return it for her, but I was curious to see what it said. It's not bad."
"What's it called?" Chin asked. He couldn't read the title because it was covered with library stickers.
"'Girls Think of Everything'," Danny answered. "It's about woman inventors. Grace had to do a report about an inventor and I persuaded her to do my personal hero, Stephanie Kwolek."
"Who?" Chin asked. Kono looked equally puzzled.
Danny shook his head sadly. "A great woman, unappreciated by those who should revere her most."
The head of Five-0, Steve McGarrett burst into the conference room. "He's been spotted going into an office building on Halawai Drive. HPD is setting up a cordon now."
The others leaped to their feet and followed him out, but his quick gaze spotted Danny's reading matter.
"A little above your usual grade level, isn't it, Danny?"
"It's got words and pictures," Danny agreed. "But at least they're not diagrams of weapons. Do you own any books that don't say, Fig. 12-A, detail of firing pin assembly'?"
"There's nothing like a good weapons manual," Steve said nostalgically.
"Bedtime reading for baby SEALS."
Their friendly sparring continued on the drive to the scene.
Chin drove Kono in his Traverse while she worked on her smartphone to look up Stephanie Kwolek. They were almost at the location before she found it, because she spelled it with a "Qu" at first.
"Oh," she said, and showed the screen to her cousin as he pulled to a stop near the cordon's command post. Chin raised his eyebrows, as he tugged down his bulletproof vest to keep it from riding up around his ears. "A great woman," he agreed with Danny's assessment.
Danny, Chin and Kono took cover behind the command car while Steve coordinated with SWAT commander David Akutagawa.
While he waited, Danny scanned the area. From the roof of the building behind them, he saw a flash of light, the distinctive slide of sunlight along a rifle barrel. He stiffened and started to ask if Aku had placed a sniper up there, when he saw the red dot of a laser sight creeping up Steve's vest-protected back to his unprotected head.
"Steve!" Danny shoved his crouching partner aside as two shots cracked out. Because Danny was standing, the shots hit him in the vest. He staggered back and clunked his head on the roof of the car. He saw stars and saw the red dot tracking across the car toward his face.
Two strong hands grabbed his arm and yanked him to the right. Pockmarks appeared on the patrol car, following Danny but not catching him as Steve hauled his partner around the nose of the car to safety on the other side. The other officers on the scene followed suit in a mad scramble.
"Thanks," Danny coughed.
Steve crouched beside him. "Likewise, and you're welcome."
"Likewise." Danny's smile flickered; then he coughed some more.
"Are you all right?" Kono asked, eyes wide in concern. She put a hand on his chest as if she could feel his heartbeat through the bulletproof vest.
The detective coughed again tentatively, pressed his chest cautiously and then touched the sore spot on the back of his head. "I think so," he decided.
"Funny coincidence," Kono said. "Since we were talking about Stephanie."
Danny shrugged. "Coincidences are the gods laughing at us," he said.
"Who said that?" Kono asked.
Steve heard their talk, was glad that Danny was OK and wondered who the heck Stephanie was all in the fraction of a second before he scowled around at the crouching police officers.
"Someone tell me how we ended up facing the wrong building?" he demanded of the world at large.
Another shot smashed the driver's window of the command car. Everyone flinched, but it was debatable which was more alarming, the random shots or Steve's laser glare. The officers exchanged glances. Aku took a deep breath, but Chin Ho elected himself to break the bad news.
"Looks like a simple mistake, boss," he said without trying to excuse anyone. "The original report said the suspect went into 101 Halawai. This is 101 North Halawai. That's 101 South Halawai." Chin nodded at the building where the sniper lurked.
As if in response, Kyle fired another shot that punctured a tire on the abused command car.
Danny closed his eyes with a "give me strength" expression. "Killed by a clerical error. Is that what I want on my tombstone?"
The car windshield cracked into a spider web pattern with a bullet hole in the middle.
"On the plus side," Chin continued with a touch of irony in his voice. "We know where the suspect is."
"Thank you," Steve said, as the car suffered another bullet hole.
"Petulant brat, isn't he?" Danny mused. "Waste of time and ammunition shooting at this car. Self-absorbed, certain he's the center of the universe. Now he's mad because we've spoiled his rifle-fueled power trip," Danny interpreted.
"Since you've got him all figured out, do you want to go talk to him, Dr. Phil?" Steve asked.
"Got nothing better to do. Give me a hand, kid," he requested.
Kono offered her arm to help the sore and stiff detective get to his feet without standing upright.
"Sure you're up for this?" Steve asked in concern.
"You want talking, I'm your man."
"As usual," Steve retorted.
"Always do what you do best," Danny smirked.
Aku had deployed his men to surround the correct building and sent snipers up to the roof of 101 North Halawai, though it was shorter than the southern building. At his signal, they began covering fire while the Five-0 team, Aku and a few of his men and women dashed across the street under the shelter of SWAT shields. Leaving some of his officers to guard the exits, Aku and one man joined Five-0 in ascending to the roof.
They used a small periscope to peek out of the stairwell and spot the sniper. They couldn't believe he was still shooting the battered police car, even though he must have seen them run for the building.
"Maybe he ducked because of the SWAT snipers and never saw us," Chin suggested.
"Whatever. It's more proof that he's a rank amateur," Danny said. "His unprofessionalism is really beginning to annoy me."
"You attract his attention while Chin and I go around and take him from behind," Steve said. "Unless you want to go with me?"
"I can talk to a nutcase who's already shot me twice, or I can climb like a monkey on a ledge 16 stories up. With so many attractive possibilities, how can I choose?" As he made his complaints, Danny vaulted over the stairway handrail and walked to a standpipe that would give him a small amount of cover from the sniper. Kono, Aku and the other SWAT officer backed him up from a distance —window dressing to provide an added distraction for the suspect. The others slipped away to come up behind the suspect once Danny attracted his attention.
The sniper was looking down at the street and hadn't seen Danny and his entourage yet. Danny could have picked him off easy as pie, but he was a police officer and couldn't shoot a man without warning. Always have to do it the hard way, he thought. He leaned casually against the standpipe, empty hands plainly visible and spoke soothing words to encourage the suspect to surrender.
Aku shook his head, grinning.
The kid spun around, half-raising his rifle.
"Whoa, whoa," Danny said, raising his empty hands. "I just want to talk."
"Stay away or I'll jump," Kyle warned.
"Like I care."
Danny pointed at his chest. "You … shot … ME! Twice! Why should I care if you jump? It'll probably save me a lot of paperwork." Danny waved his hand casually at the drop-off, inviting the teenager to jump. He didn't think he would. He thought Kyle would have to work himself up quite a bit more before taking that fatal step.
"I wasn't shooting at you," the sniper said sulkily.
"No, you were shooting at my friend. How come?"
"He was in charge, bossing people around. I hate that." The kid's eyes smoldered with self-justified hate.
Danny thought about it, all the sniper's victims had been authority figures of one sort or another.
"So, the first victim, Mr. Sato …"
"He gave me a D," Kyle said.
Danny kept his eyes fixed on the suspect, but out of the corner of his eye he could see Chin and Steve creeping up from behind. Steve boosted Chin up to the top of the elevator housing then continued soft-footed on the ledge behind Kyle. If the sniper turned now, he'd see them for sure. Danny had to keep Kyle's attention.
"Did you deserve the D?" Danny asked aggressively. "Never mind, of course you did. You're a D-minus personality if I ever saw one. You've shot seven people — eight including me! — and you've only killed one. As a sniper you're a D-minus, too."
The sniper gaped at him.
"You don't like authority figures? You don't like people who tell you what to do?" Danny said, strutting away from the standpipe. "I'm a detective and a father, I guess that makes me an authority figure," Because she was on his mind and would confuse the suspect, Danny added, "So Stephanie Kwolek and I are telling you to drop that weapon and get your butt over here, now!"
Kyle glared, then brought up his rifle. Suddenly his view of the detective was blocked. Chin Ho's hand closed around the barrel, in front of the sight, and yanked the rifle out of the sniper's hands. Steve shoved the youth from behind, tumbling him over the railing to sprawl at Danny's feet.
Because it hurt to bend over, Danny let Kono cuff the youth. Aku came up to him.
"You shouldn't take Dr. Kwolek's name in vain," he said reproachfully.
Trust a SWAT officer to recognize the name, Danny thought. "In vain, nothing, she's my favorite scientist ever."
"Who is Stephanie Kwolek?" Steve asked plaintively. The others grinned at him and didn't respond.
After the doctor pronounced him bruised but unbroken, Danny went to join his team at the local cops watering hole. Carrying the bulletproof vest he'd been wearing, he entered the bar to cheers and applause.
"You're just glad to see me because you want free booze," Danny said.
Whistles and jeers of agreement answered him.
Most of the officers involved in the action had gathered to unwind after the tense standoff. It was HPD tradition that an officer saved by a bulletproof vest buy a round of drinks for the crowd.
Steve already had a beer out for his partner. "Drinks should be on me," he said, as Danny stood the life-saving vest on the bar. "Those shots were meant for me. I should buy the first round."
"Two rounds!" someone in the crowd said hopefully.
Danny fingered the two holes in the vest's cloth cover and laughed. "Two rounds for two rounds, sounds fair to me."
That got an even bigger cheer.
"To Danny Williams, the cop who lived!" someone shouted. Everyone raised his or her drink in the toast, but Danny held up his hands to stop the noise.
"I appreciate it, I do, but I want to make another toast, to Stephanie Kwolek!"
A mere few murmured appreciation. Aku nodded his head. Chin and Kono raised their bottles. But the rest waited for enlightenment.
"I give," McGarrett said. "Who's Stephanie Kwolek?"
Danny shook his head and raised his beer. "Ladies and gentlemen, raise your glasses to chemist Stephanie Kwolek, savior of police officers. I give you Stephanie …" He paused dramatically. "... the inventor of Kevlar!"
He saluted the bulletproof vest and, with a whoop, the room of police officers followed.
"To Stephanie!" they roared.
Steve looked at the punctured vest and at his unpunctured partner. "God bless Stephanie Kwolek," he said.