Chapter 3: Ask and Ye Shall Receive
The "blew up" reference is to my Five-0 story, "Boom," available on this website.
H50 — H50 — H50
"It is my car?" Danny exclaimed.
"It is," Chin confirmed. "Or rather, it was. It's your old car, Danny, the one that blew up."
"What did you find, Chin?" Kono asked eagerly.
"Here, the photo of the windshield. Enlarge the corner, clean up the reflections …"
"And you can see the VIN number!" Kono realized.
Danny leaned forward. "So the number comes back to me?"
"DMV files say you sold it for junk when it was totaled in an explosion. There's no further record."
"Why doesn't Kipton know that?" Kono asked.
Danny's lip raised slowly in a wolfish sneer. "Because he's a lazy, lousy investigator," the detective said. He absent-mindedly picked up a pastry and bit it as savagely as if he was going for Kipton's jugular. "I'll bet he noted my VIN number when he was investigating Matt."
"So he had it on file," Chin said. "And since you have the same model Camaro and the same license number …"
"He never checked!" The rookie detective Kono deplored such carelessness.
Chin was incensed. Steve could have been killed because of Kipton's sloppiness. "With this, we can get a judge to vacate the warrant right now," he suggested.
But Danny hesitated. He rubbed his hands together in distress.
"What is it?" Chin asked, putting his hand on his friend's shoulder.
"I don't want to vacate the warrant. I want to catch the real killer. I want to drag him into FBI headquarters and throw him in Kipton's lap. I want to rub that FBI loser's nose in his mistake," Danny's voice grew ever more vicious until Chin squeezed his shoulder.
"Why, brah? Why isn't it enough to set Steve free?"
"You don't understand, Chin. Kipton forced me to arrest my partner. I don't know what he thought would happen. Maybe he expected the big bad SEAL assassin to kill me and then he could kill Steve. Or, if he was judging by himself, he expected me to refuse and then he could gun down Steve with a clear conscience. He was ready for bloodshed."
Kono cocked her head at her agitated friend. "There's something more, isn't there? Something personal."
Danny couldn't meet her eyes. "When Kipton told me to do it, he said, 'Book 'em, Danno.'"
A flicker of remembered volcanic fury lit Danny's eyes, then he covered them with a trembling hand. He took a deep breath. "But I can't leave Steve hanging for my petty revenge."
Kono understood. Kipton had humiliated her friend and had made him violate an almost sacred precept, protecting his partner.
The flickering images on one of the computer screens came to a halt.
"I think the boss would understand," Kono told Danny, turning his chair to face the monitor. "Maybe this will help."
The computer had come up with a fingerprint match. Edgar Hungerford, Marine commando, convicted of killing a fellow Marine in a brawl. Served his time then was dishonorably discharged. Moved to Hawaii as a bodyguard for a suspected drug dealer who disappeared. Hungerford was considered muscle for hire.
"Murder would be a step up, but not a long one," Chin said.
"Hungerford has worked for drug dealers and York was investigating a drug cartel," Kono pointed out.
"Can we connect him to the Camaro?" Chin asked.
"Let's go talk to the junk dealer and find out," Danny suggested.
H50 — H50 — H50
The only thing Steve told Kipton was, "I'm not saying a word until my lawyer gets here." And then he stood mute. Kipton ranted (he was no match for Danny) but Steve didn't say a word.
He reverted to his Navy training. He had been captured by the enemy, chained to a chair and he wasn't going to reveal any information. He looked straight ahead and ignored Kipton. He didn't even flinch when the FBI agent slammed both palms on the table, but he did let a little smirk touch his lips when Kipton had to rub his stinging hands.
Markowitz opened the door of the interrogation room. "McGarrett's lawyer is here." The lawyer bulled his way past the agent.
"Are you continuing to pester my client after he requested an attorney?" the man said sternly. "You did request an attorney?"
"Yes sir," Steve said respectfully. He was looking at a full commander, 5-9, solidly built, with iron gray hair that matched his steely eyes. Steve knew Evan Warwick from base functions. He was the top trial lawyer in the Judge Advocate General's office for Pearl Harbor.
"Sorry I took so long to get here, Steve. I was at the North Shore when the admiral called."
"It was no bother, sir," Steve said with a sly grin at Kipton.
"This isn't a military affair," Kipton blustered.
"I assure you, I am a fully qualified member of the Hawaii Bar Association," Warwick said coldly. "I'd like a word with my client — in private. And take those chains off him!"
Kipton unfastened Steve from the furniture, but he left the handcuffs on. Then Kipton stormed out, slamming the door behind him.
"What kind of trouble have you gotten yourself into, Steve?" the JAG officer said.
"I honestly have no idea," Steve said. He sketched an outline of the day's events.
"So you think Williams is out looking for the real killer?"
"I know he is," Steve said with simple faith. "That's what he does. I know I didn't commit this murder. I think once Kipton got me on his radar, he couldn't see anyone else."
"What did you do to rub him the wrong way?"
"We met when Kipton and Markowitz were pursuing Danny's brother for securities fraud. Matthew Williams escaped and is now a federal fugitive," Steve said carefully. "Though Danny and I did not help Matt escape, we might not have been as helpful as we could have been," he admitted. "Still, Kipton's the one who let a hedge fund manager get the best of him. He's sloppy and not as good a detective as he thinks he is. He's nowhere near as good a detective as my partner."
After a few more minutes of discussion, Warwick let the FBI agents back in.
"My client is willing to answer questions about the murder of Christopher York. We are not willing to allow fishing expeditions regarding other cases or issues that might relate to Commander McGarrett's covert activities on behalf of our country."
Kipton ground his teeth at this patriotic portrayal of McGarrett, but asked Steve the same question he'd asked Danny earlier.
"Where were you at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 12?"
"I was at home."
"What were you doing?"
"I worked on my car for awhile — I'm trying to restore my Dad's old Mercury Marquis. Then I washed it, my truck and Danny's Camaro."
"Why did you wash your partner's car? Why did you even have it?"
Steve didn't really have a good answer for why he kept appropriating Danny's car. Maybe he was a control freak like Danny said. For March 12, however, there was a reason.
"Danny didn't want to leave his car at the rental place, so he let me use it. I pay him back by washing the car. I like washing cars. It's relaxing."
"You said Williams lets you drive the car. Did you drive it that day?"
"I drove Danny to the rental agency so he could pick up an SUV to drive a crowd to a kid's birthday party. I picked up Danny and his daughter at the rental place about 5. We went out for pizza, then Danny dropped me at home."
"You didn't drive anywhere else?"
"And the car was nice and clean when Williams got back?" The dripping sarcasm Kipton put in the sentence baffled Steve who didn't know about the mud-smeared Camaro in the surveillance photos. He simply answered in the affirmative.
"Why did you kill Christopher York?" Kipton demanded sharply.
"Was it for money?"
"My client already said he had nothing to do with the murder," Warwick put in.
"But you do have the capability of killing a man with your bare hands, don't you, McGarrett?"
"Don't answer," Warwick instructed.
"It is part of SEAL training, isn't it?" Kipton taunted. "How many men have you killed that way?"
"I already said that Commander McGarrett will not answer any question that might relate to his service with the Navy," Warwick said firmly.
"I would like to make one statement," Steve interjected.
Warwick looked dubious, but agreed.
"Kipton, you're barking up the wrong tree," Steve said forcefully. "I had nothing to do with this murder. I never even heard of York before."
"Then explain how Williams' car — which you admit was in your possession — was photographed at the crime scene on the day of the murder."
"It was. I have proof."
"You can't have proof. You've made a mistake — as usual. You're chasing me out of spite, because you couldn't catch Matthew Williams," Steve accused.
"You lied to us!"
"I may have made a mistake," Steve corrected. "Just like you're making one now. And I'll tell you something else." Angry, Steve ignored his lawyer's gestures to sit down and shut up. "You should not have done that to Danny. Making him arrest me was vicious and vindictive. I hope he makes you pay for that!"
"Ask and ye shall receive. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you," Danny said piously as he barged through the door without knocking, while Chin and Kono held Markowitz at bay behind him.
Danny marched a prisoner into the interrogation room. The man was taller than McGarrett and built like a bull. Danny looked like a dwarf next to him, but the handcuffed prisoner was utterly cowed.
"You, up!" Danny ordered Steve.
Steve obeyed with alacrity.
"You, down," Danny said, prodding his prisoner with a finger. The man cringed and sat.
"Who's this?" Warwick asked Steve in a low voice.
"My arresting officer," Steve said proudly.
"Agent Kipton, meet Edgar Hungerford. He's your real killer," Danny said with triumph.
"How'd you capture him?" Warwick said, marveling at the size of the prisoner.
"Same way I took Steve," Danny answered.
"Ah, kryptonite," Steve said wisely.
"It took three Taser cartridges, but Eddie finally decided to cooperation was preferable to repeatedly falling on his face," Danny said.
Kipton finally found his voice to sputter a protest.
"Look, I know you're not much of a detective, so I'll spell it out for you in capital letters," Danny said with mocking kindness. Kono handed Danny a sheaf of papers. He slapped a photo on the table. "Here's Eddie's fingerprints in the mud on the Camaro, as seen in your own surveillance photos." *Slap* "Here's a photo of the VIN number of that Camaro — which you seemed to think was proof that it was my car. But…" *Slap* "Here's the documentation showing that I sold that car for scrap two months ago."
Steve straightened, finally understanding. "Oh, that Camaro!"
Danny winked at him, then continued addressing Kipton, "Here…" *Slap* "…is a copy of my current registration showing the VIN number of my current Camaro, the one I left with Steve on March 12. You could — you should — have checked this with DMV."
Danny slapped a final photocopy on top of the growing pile of documents. "Here is the junk dealer's receipt for sale of the scrapped Camaro. It was supposed to be used for parts, but Eddie did a real nice job of fixing it up — at least on the outside. It's got a cheap engine under the hood, but it looks nice. Of course, being less than a standup kind of a guy, Eddie didn't bother to reregister the car when he got it running, but he's a regular at the scrapyard, so the man had his address. And here we are."
Danny gestured expansively at the FBI agent. "Now, are you going to take those handcuffs off my partner, or am I going to have to use kryptonite on you, too?"
Slapped silly by Danny's evidence and battered by his words, Kipton released Steve and chained the new prisoner to the chair.
As he followed Warwick and Steve out the door, Danny had one parting shot for the numb FBI agent. "Better start looking at parkas and snowshoes, Kipton."
H50 — H50 — H50
"Tell me everything!" Steve demanded as they left the federal building.
"There's not much more to tell," Danny said. "Chin found the VIN number and Kono ID'd the fingerprints."
Kono refused to accept the credit. "It was Danny who brought us the photos and his idea to look for fingerprints in mud in the first place."
Warwick said, "I don't understand why you kept investigating, going so far as to make an arrest. You left Commander McGarrett in Kipton's hands for an hour or more longer than necessary. Once you had the VIN number, you could have just gotten a judge to vacate the warrant. That would have been much faster."
Danny looked guilty, but Steve laughed, remembering the dumbfounded look on Kipton's face.
"Faster, but not half as satisfying," the commander said.