More Powerful Than …
Homeless drug addict Kenny Jessup had his inevitable psychotic break with reality when he saw a troop of sailors waving swords and marching toward his hidden nest in the back of a small theater.
Fascinated with pirates since he was a child, the man's fragile sanity snapped and he moved to attack.
Gathered for dress rehearsal, the children's choir had crowded around their director when he lovingly opened a long case to reveal two gleaming military sabers. The man had promised the kids a peek at the real sabers that had modeled for the papier-mache ones that were part of their costumes. He never knew keeping a promise would be so painful.
As he crept up on the enemy, Jessup's eyes were caught by the shiny swords He pounced, snatching up one and thrusting it into the director's chest, sending the youngsters scattering toward the back of the stage.
Half-erected scenery blocked the usual routes backstage and the crazy man with the long sharp knife blocked the steps down to the empty seating area.
While the ranting, pirate wannabe menaced the 7-year-old sailors; the wounded director clawed his cellphone out of his pocket.
"Pali Auditorium. There's a crazy man with a saber."
"A what, sir?" the 911 operator hadn't heard the gasping man properly.
"A sword!" the man hissed. "He stabbed me and now he's threatening the kids."
When Steve McGarrett heard the dispatcher say an address just two blocks away, he spun the wheel of the Camaro, sending the silver car into a screeching U-turn. His partner slammed into the passenger door, barely getting his hand up to protect his head. Danny Williams gripped the safety bar as the car's braking spin threw him forward then back again. Unlike usual, Danny didn't complain about his friend's wild driving. The report "children in danger" meant the faster the better.
Despite their proximity, Sgt. Duke Lukela and a two-man squad car beat them to the scene. The three uniformed officers attracted the attention of the madman. He paraded up and down, haranguing them in cliché pirate speak. He continued flailing with the saber seeming to half-know how to handle it.
"He must have had some lessons at some time," Steve commented. "He's holding it correctly."
"And you know this how?" Danny asked curiously.
"It's a military saber, Danny." Steve answered with only half his attention. His eyes were scanning the entire room — the frightened children in their adorable sailor hats, the injured man lying on the stage clutching his side and panting, the saber case still on the small table, the empty seats in the auditorium, the blockading scenery stacked in back. The SEAL's gaze tracked up to the catwalks and lighting bars overhead.
Danny did not like the look on his friend's face. He started to say something, but was distracted by the arrival of Chin Ho Kelly, Kono Kalakaua and four more uniformed officers.
Duke and another officer backed away from the stage as the reinforcements distracted Jessup and sent him into a new round of frenzied ranting.
"What's going on, Duke?" Chin asked his friend.
"The perp's name is Kenny Jessup," Duke answered. He gestured at the officer with him. "Mendez recognized him from the streets."
"He's homeless, sleeps wherever he can find a place. The businesses complain he sneaks into back rooms whenever he can, sleeps, steals a little, all pretty minor up until this," Mendez said.
"So he sneaked in here to sleep and something about little kids in sailor costumes made him think he was Captain Jack Sparrow?" Danny said incredulously.
"Apparently," Duke agreed.
"It's going to be hard to get close to him with that sword," Kono said. "Safest to just shoot him, but …"
The men all nodded. Any way you sliced it, shooting up from the floor or sniping from the catwalks, the children were in the line of fire.
"Hold the fort, Danny," Steve said jauntily. "Do what you do best."
"Why? What are you…?" Danny turned hastily, but Steve was already gone. "Where'd he go?" Danny demanded of the others. Chin and Kono shook their heads, but Officer Mendez pointed toward the backstage area.
"I told him it was blocked," Mendez said. "He just … smiled and left."
"He smirked, didn't he?" Danny said. "You can say it. He smirked."
"What's he up to?" Kono wondered.
"Something tricky," Chin answered. "Don't worry, Danny. Steve knows what he's doing."
"I know," Danny said in aggravation. "I just wish he'd give us a heads up! All his little surprises are going to give me an ulcer."
Chin clapped him on the shoulder in sympathy.
"Look, up there!" Mendez pointed at the ceiling.
Danny smacked his forehead before he even looked up. A shadowy figure ran along a roof beam as if it was a sidewalk and then leaped across empty space to a metal ladder. He ascended quickly and vanished into the deeper shadows of the catwalks above the stage.
"Look, up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Super SEAL," Danny grumbled to Chin and Kono.
"What?" asked Mendez, who was new to HPD, though he had served six years on the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.
"It's McGarrett," Chin explained. "He's a Navy SEAL and he has an … innovative approach to situations."
"Innovative? Is that Hawaiian for insane?" Danny asked rhetorically. (He knew the word for crazy was "lolo.") "And don't keep staring up," he ordered the officer. "You'll give away his position. We need to keep the crazy's eyes on us. Do what I do best," he grumbled under his breath.
Jessup hadn't really been paying attention to the plainclothes detectives. He was leaping here and there, brandishing his saber at anyone in uniform, including the cowering 7-year-olds. When the swinging blade knocked the sailor hat off a curly headed little girl with tears running down her cheeks, Danny charged to the edge of the stage doing what Steve said he did best — yelling.
"Leave that child alone, you dimwit!"
The venom in the detective's voice made the sword-wielding pirate flinch back. Then he remembered himself and lunged forward, but Danny dodged, taunting Jessup all the time until the lunatic's attention was totally focused on him.
Chin and Kono took advantage of the distraction to move to the edge of the stage where they could reach the wounded man. They grabbed his outstretched arms and pulled him off the stage. He grunted in pain when his legs dropped off the edge, but he thanked them for the rescue.
"But what about the kids," he said.
"Working on it," Kono said. She glanced up, just in time to see a familiar figure swing out of the darkness.
Everyone (except Danny) gaped as McGarrett swooped down on a rope and dropped onto the stage behind Jessup, snatching the second saber out of its box. Danny didn't gape because, frankly, he'd been expecting it.
"Avast, ye scurvy dog!" Steve roared theatrically. "Leave my crew alone. Face Captain McGarrett, if you dare!"
Jessup spun away from Danny to face this new threat. Danny and Chin launched Kono onto the stage. She hustled the children to the edge of the stage so the men could lift them down. While the Five-0 duo and Mendez scooped the young sailors to safety, Kono stood between them and the battling pirates. She had her gun ready to shoot Jessup if he made one more move toward the children, but his attention was fixated on Steve — and it needed to be.
Super SEAL had some serious saber skills! (Say that three times fast.)
Danny shook his head in admiration. Steve was surprising him again. The detective plucked the last child out of danger and turned him over to Duke.
"Now finish this, McGarrett!" Danny called.
Actually, that was easier said than done. Because Jessup didn't have much real saber training, Steve couldn't predict what he'd do. The commander fought a defensive battle, until he familiarized himself with Jessup's offbeat style; then Steve attacked. He twisted the sword out of Jessup's hand and then twisted Jessup's hand behind his back. In a moment, the cuffs were on and Jessup was on his knees, still raving in pirate talk.
"Duke, you'd better take him to the hospital," Steve said.
Steve went to check on the director. He had a nasty slash across his chest, but the blade hadn't penetrated the breastbone.
"Another sign Jessup didn't know what he was doing," Steve commented. "You've got to stab higher or lower for a killing blow. The breastbone isn't a good target."
"Well, thank heaven for inexperienced pirates," Danny said. "And how do you know so much about sabers?"
"It's an Olympic sport, you know," Steve said.
Danny just gave him a look that said, you didn't answer the question.
"OK, when Dad sent me away to military school, I couldn't get on the football team because the season had already started." After all these years, that still rankled, going from quarterback and team captain in Hawaii to off the team on the mainland. "They didn't have a pool, either. I had to take at least two PE courses, so I ran track and signed up for fencing, which meant saber in that semester. I only stuck with it until I had a chance to walk on the football team," Steve finished with a shrug.
"It came back fast when you picked up that sword," Danny praised his friend.
Star-struck, Mendez came over to meet McGarrett. OK, the commander's capture wasn't exactly textbook police work, but it was awesome!
"Steve, this is Officer Mendez …"
"Oliver," the officer interjected.
"…Oliver Mendez," Danny modified smoothly. "Oliver, this is Commander Steve McGarrett aka Super SEAL."
Mendez shook Steve's hand eagerly. "Commander, that was amazing!"
"Uh, thank you … Oliver." Steve was a little disconcerted by the adulation.
Danny, Chin and Kono didn't try to hide their grins.
Duke passed the group, pushing Jessup before him. The suspect was still babbling about sailors trying to steal his pirate treasure.
"That's why a man was stabbed and all those kids were traumatized? To protect an imaginary pirate treasure?" Kono asked in disgust.
"He's lolo," Chin agreed.
"Did you say 'loco'?" Mendez asked.
"I said 'lolo,'" Chin enunciated clearly. "That's Hawaiian for loco."
"Lolo or loco, that man's motive was completely crazy," Kono stated.
"It's a good thing Commander McGarrett flew in like Superman to save the day," Mendez said, remembering Danny's "It's a bird. It's a plane." comments.
Danny lost it. He began laughing so hard, he had to feel behind him for a seat in the auditorium.
"What is your problem?" Steve demanded.
"Super SEAL," Danny gasped. He gestured, describing Steve's swooping path from the catwalk. "Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. More powerful than a loco motive." He grinned up at his friends. "A loco motive," he emphasized.
Mendez laughed. Kono groaned. Chin shook his head. The constipated look on Steve's face was fair revenge for Super SEAL's ulcer-causing antics.
Steve pointed at the red-faced detective. "You're the one who's loco."
But Danny just laughed.
A/N: I tried for months to think of a train story to go with more powerful than a "locomotive." This is much better. Or worse, depending on your proclivity for puns.