Author's Notes: Hello, Friends. I am stepping back into this vast pool of fan fiction with a story for this summer. This is different from anything I have written before, so I am a bit apprehensive. But sometimes these boys just won't leave me alone until I get the story written! Although, with this one, I would start writing and then they would change tactics mid-stream or just totally clam up and refuse to tell me what happens next. And I heard them laugh…
I guess I need to proclaim that I own not one smidgeon of this wonderful franchise, although I am excited to say that negotiations have begun. I'm still waiting for CBS to call me back…
Mahalo to Sockie for reading and re-reading these chapters and not yelling "enough already". She is *awesome*. Also, thanks to Rogue Tomato who can read a paragraph and say, "I think it needs this." And she has been right every time. Thanks to both of you for your insight and patience with my mistakes.
Other than clean-up of the last couple of chapters, this is completely written, so it will be posted on a timely basis. Thank you for reading!
Friday afternoon, approximately 1500 HST (Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone)
"That, my freaky-SEAL-friend, will never happen!" Danny Williams vowed, leaning back in his chair at Kaka'ako Kitchen after finishing his lunch. He laughed at his partner, shaking his head and adding, "never, ever in a million years."
"Don't say that," Steve warned him while shaking his index finger in his partner's direction. "She's only, what – eight? Wait until she's 14. Then we'll talk. Tell him, Kono."
"Uh unh, Boss. You're not dragging me into this. Danny would have a stroke if he knew the truth." She laughed with them and continued, "besides he can't handle it."
"Guys, calm down," Chin Ho told them. "I think the Dad is already having a stroke. Give him a break."
"Thank you, Chin," Danny said, dropping his chair back on all four legs.
"Besides, if Kono's father made it through her teen years, anyone can do it," Chin added, grinning at his younger cousin.
"Hey now," she turned on him, hands on her hips. "No fair. Don't bring me into this argument."
Steve laughed again. "Sounds like a touchy subject, Rookie."
"No. I'm not touchy," she warned, a glare in her eyes.
"O…K… and now I'm sensing a bit of hostility." Steve held up his hands in a defensive manner and then glanced at his watch and frowned. "I guess we've exhausted our lunch time. Can't believe we've been here two-and-a-half-hours."
"Hey! We had a busy morning that started way too early, in my estimation," Danny reminded him. "We deserved a long lunch."
"Yes, it was a very productive morning," Chin stated with a pleased smile. "I wonder if HPD has gotten Aukai to talk yet."
"He'll talk," Danny assured them. "He's out of options. Man, did he ever look like a drowned rat when we pulled him out of that drain," he added with a chuckle.
The others laughed with him. "A storm drain isn't the safest or the smartest place to be when it is pouring rain like this," Chin replied.
"From what I've seen of Aukai, he never made the dean's list," McGarrett said, a grin on his face from the morning's memory. "But he's lucky we pulled him out when we did. He would have drowned pretty quickly. Now, he's just busted."
The waitress arrived with the checks and Steve snagged them all, handing her his credit card. "Team lunch," he told them. "My treat."
"Hey, thanks, Boss," Kono thanked him for all of them.
"We all deserve it after this week," McGarrett told them. "I, for one, can't wait to finally get some sleep tonight. In fact, how about we go back to the office, finish the paperwork and call it a week?"
"Sounds good," Chin agreed.
"Yes!" Kono chimed in.
Steve turned to Danny. "You're awfully quiet."
"Who, me? Man, I'm still speechless that you actually had a credit card on your person. Sign that sucker and let's get out of here."
The team was still laughing several minutes later when they entered the glass doors of their offices, dripping wet from the run from their cars. The week had brought rain every day – and not just the normal afternoon showers. These rains were downpours that left everything soggy…and steamy. Another good reason for the work week to be over.
All four stopped in their droplet-laden tracks when they saw the sailor coming to attention in front of them.
"Commander McGarrett, Sir."
"Stand down, Lieutenant. What can I do for you?"
"I have an urgent message from Admiral Farris, Sir. May we speak in private?"
Steve glanced at his team as they began to disburse into their own offices, although they were clearly interested in McGarrett's guest. He gave them a half shrug and turned back to the sailor. "My office." He strode down the hallway toward the glass door at the end of the wide hallway, assuming the lieutenant was following behind.
Once the door was closed, Steve dropped into his chair and leaned back. "Have a seat. And tell me what this is about."
The sailor remained standing and handed him a flash drive and a satellite phone. "The Admiral requests you call him and look at the documents on the drive. He will be able to answer your questions. I am to remain for the call, Sir."
"Well, at least sit down," Steve growled, setting the phone down and sliding the flash drive into his computer.
After a few keystrokes, a very official document appeared on his computer screen, complete with his name, "FOR YOUR EYES ONLY" and the emblem of the U.S. Navy at the bottom of the page.
"Sir," the lieutenant said, then cleared his throat. "I must have your acknowledgement that you will not divulge the contents of this file."
Steve glared at him over the top of his laptop. "I swear," he muttered. "I do know protocol."
"I know you do, Sir, and, Sir, the Admiral would like you to call him now. The number is preprogrammed into the phone."
McGarrett grabbed the phone and hit the spacebar for page one of the document. The faces he saw took him back five years, to the middle of a South American jungle…
His team had been dispatched to Guyana on the northern shore of South America where six American students, backpacking through the jungle, had mysteriously disappeared. Twenty-four hours later, their parents were contacted with ransom demands. By the time the U.S. Government had become involved, three of the six were dead, their grizzly photos mailed as a lesson to the distraught parents. He and his team had managed to extract the other three to safety, but not before the two girls had both been brutally sexually assaulted. The surviving male was blind in one eye and would never use his right arm again.
At the time, the trio had described their kidnappers as soldiers, dressed in camo and driving official vehicles with emblems on the sides. They had been detained at their campsite one night; the males had been restrained and forced to watch the rape of the women. After surviving the first night, they had overheard the kidnappers talking over walkie-talkies to someone 'at the compound'. Then the name 'Ochoa' had come up in the conversation and the kidnapper had replied, "Yes, Sir, Mr. President. We are on our way." They were taken to a house on the outskirts of the capital city of Georgetown and kept there until the covert rescue.
U.S. officials and McGarrett's team had worked to free the students with the help of a governmental liaison who had returned to his country after receiving his law degree from Harvard. At that time, an investigation was begun against President Ochoa, but they were never able to make a case.
The liaison, Alejandro Sanchez, along with his wife and child, were the faces that stared back at Steve from the computer.
"Admiral, Steve McGarrett," he stated when the phone call was answered.
The admiral didn't bother with pleasantries. "McGarrett, I need to enlist your help. If you are looking at the document, I'm sure you remember Mr. Sanchez from your time spent in Guyana."
"Yes, Sir. He seemed to be one of the good guys."
"He still is, Commander. And because of that, last week his country elected him president in Guyana's first democratic election in many years."
"Ochoa was overthrown?" Steve asked in surprise. "Sorry, I've been involved in a case here and haven't been able to catch up on the latest world news."
"Yes, the people of Guyana have had enough of his heavy-handed tactics. Sanchez's victory was overwhelming. To say Ochoa took it badly is an understatement."
"How so?" Steve asked.
"Tuesday evening, the country was celebrating the inauguration. Georgetown was wild. Parties in the street, that sort of thing. It was good for the country to unite, to break ties with the old regime, but while Sanchez was giving his acceptance speech that evening, his daughter and her nanny were kidnapped from her room. No one knew they were missing until Mrs. Sanchez went to check on the child upon her return later that night."
"What about the nanny? Is she an innocent or is there any involvement there?"
"Unknown involvement. She's being investigated. There were signs of a struggle, but no evidence that she was taken against her will. The photos the Guyanese police released looked pretty staged, if you ask me."
"What about a ransom note?"
"They received one, of sorts," the admiral replied. "Flip through the file and you'll see a copy."
Steve pressed the arrow key past a map of the country and other documentation until he saw the typed note:
If you value your daughter's life, it would be in your best interest to abdicate your position and leave the country immediately. Only upon your compliance will she be returned.
Below the note was a photograph of the crying child, dressed in Dora pajamas, her long dark hair tangled and sweaty. In front of her was a copy of Georgetown, Guyana's daily newspaper, the Stabroek News dated with Wednesday's date.
After reading the note, Steve stared at the photo before replying, "The note's pretty generic, wasn't it?"
"The note was delivered to the American Embassy first thing Wednesday morning. The Public Affairs Officer at the embassy delivered it to Sanchez who agreed to the terms. He called a press conference and after abdicating, he and his wife immediately left the country and headed to Trinidad/Tobago. The embassy liaison from the U.S. Embassy made arrangements and accompanied them to Trinidad."
"And where's the little girl?"
He heard the admiral's sigh over the phone. "Unknown, unfortunately. There has been no further communication. During this time, Ochoa has rallied the people and now he is back in power. In his first speech, he called Sanchez weak and spineless, only wanting the title of president, not the responsibilities of the position. The people of Guyana are very disheartened right now. And, of course, Sanchez is convinced Ochoa is involved."
"Highly likely," Steve assumed. "He is a snake and the people who work for him are worse. Admiral, where do I fit in this?"
"In a moment, McGarrett…"
Danny kept glancing furtively in the direction of Steve's office. He could hear nothing but watched as Steve rubbed his eyes, then the back of his neck as he sighed. Whatever he was seeing on the computer was putting him in a bad mood. Danny's cell phone dinged on his desk and he picked it up.
Kono's face appeared and he read her text. Danny, check your email.
He retrieved his mail and waited for it to load, finding an email from Kono to both he and Chin: Can either of you hear anything?
Danny promptly replied to the email: Squat. But he ain't happy. Chin, anything from your angle?
Chin: Nothing, Brah. I'm trying to check the world's hot spots right now to see what's going on.
Kono: Find anything?
Chin: Nothing yet.
Danny: Guys, he's getting crankier by the minute. I can tell by the face.
Kono: You don't think he's being reassigned, do you?
Danny glanced at her through the glass and shrugged his shoulders with a 'wait and see' attitude, but typed: I doubt it. But he's still in the reserves. Who knows what they want him to do?
Chin: One of Bin Laden's top guys was taken out this week. Do you think he's headed to Afghanistan? Or Pakistan? They are still mad at us over the Bin Laden thing.
Danny: Yeah, but there are plenty of active SEALs out there. Why would they need Steve?
Kono: Good point. Maybe we are blowing this out of proportion.
Chin: Hope so, Brah.
Danny: Anything else going on, Chin?
Chin: Same old, same old that I can tell. South America is still dealing with drugs. Guyana's newly-elected president left office the day after his inauguration. Political uprisings and slavery in Africa. Border wars in the States.
Kono: Ok, guess we wait, guys. They can't take forever in there.
Chin: Yeah, but will he get up and walk out of here, or stop and tell us what's going on?
Danny: Wish I knew. Have I mentioned how I hate to wait?
Kono: Only once or twice. She ended her sentence with a smiley face.
Steve leaned back in his chair as the admiral continued. "The Embassy in Trinidad/Tobago notified our military. They had Intel of a likely location of the child's whereabouts and gave detailed instructions on the location." The man sighed again. "We sent in a team on Wednesday night and immediately lost contact. It should have been a quick in and out. Check out the map in the document. The compound is south of New Amsterdam on the river. Chopper dropped the team off on shore but they didn't meet the pickup and there has been no chatter."
He continued. "We were set up, McGarrett. By Ochoa, someone in his cabinet, or possibly one of our own. My guess is that since Ochoa knows we support Sanchez, he wants to involve the U.S. and make us out to be the bad guy in all this. And while he's playing games, a little girl's life is still at stake."
"You're assuming she's still alive."
"Until I hear otherwise, yes, I am. And now, we come to you." He paused, and then continued. "Sanchez asked for you, personally. He remembers you from five years ago and said if anyone can find his daughter, it will be you."
McGarrett glanced at the lieutenant and recognized the look. He knew his own face reflected the same. He flipped the pages back to stare into the little girl's frightened eyes. This will not turn out well. "Admiral, you know the odds—"
"I know that, McGarrett. And, to be honest, so does Sanchez. But he is grasping at straws, as any of us would do. And I'm not asking you to only find a little girl. We also have a missing SEAL team to locate."
Steve sat there, staring at his computer. He glanced into Danny's office and managed to lock eyes with his partner, knowing his team would be going crazy right about now. And he knew he would be in a boat load of trouble for leaving.
But sometimes extraneous circumstances dictate your actions.
"What time's my flight?"
Danny, Chin and Kono watched as the sailor walked out of Steve's office and then glanced at McGarrett, who was standing at his desk, hands in his pockets, staring at the computer screen which was now blank. The lieutenant had removed the flash drive and taken it when he left. Glancing back up, Steve saw Danny watching him, motioned his head toward the smart table in the bullpen area, and opened his door.
He leaned against the table, arms folded over his chest, ankles crossed and waited for them to congregate. He chewed his lower lip, deciding what to say.
Danny could no longer wait. "So… friend of yours?"
Steve glanced at him, then lowered his gaze and blew out a breath.
"Look, I… ", he stopped, at a loss for the right words. He knew he couldn't just disappear. Even though he had been recalled from the reserves, he still had a team here. He had to tell them something. He also knew that he was sworn to secrecy and could tell them nothing.
"Spill it, Steven."
"I've been called out of reserves for a mission. I leave tonight. I just wanted you to know when I don't show up as planned on Monday."
"How long will you be gone?" Kono asked.
McGarrett shrugged and shook his head. "Unknown."
"Danny, you know I can't tell you that."
Danny gave him a slight grin. "It was worth a shot."
"Hey, I'll let you know when I get back home. Until then, you guys do your jobs and stay safe. I-ah-need to go call the governor. Oh, and Danny…I never got around to that paperwork this afternoon."
"Of course you didn't. But never fear - we have your back."
Steve headed toward his office, but turned around and looked at his partner. "Yeah. I know that. Thanks… all of you." He went into his office, closed his door and picked up the phone.
Danny turned to Chin, who was already leaning over the table computer.
"Dig deeper, Chin."
"I'm ahead of you, Brah. Let's see what we can find."
Steve opened the front door dressed in his khaki, short sleeved service uniform, threw his duffle on the porch, and turned to lock up. When he reached back down to pick up his bag, he glanced at his truck and the figure leaning against it. Slowly, he walked toward the vehicle.
"Danny, look, I wasn't kidding. I can't tell you anything," he warned, opening the door and tossing his duffle into the back seat.
Danny nodded, holding out one of the two beer bottles he had grasped in his fingers. His other hand held a bottle of water. "I know that. Can't I just come and see you off? And take your pick; I have beer and water. Which do you prefer?"
Steve glanced at his watch and nodded. "I have time for one beer. And then maybe I can take the water with me."
"That'll work," Danny replied, handing over the beer before tossing the water bottle through the open window into the truck's cab. "So… you know we won't be there to watch your back."
Steve took a long drink from the bottle, and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "Yeah, I know. But I'm good. You watch out for Chin and Kono, OK?"
"And don't do anything stupid while I'm gone."
"Oh, like maybe pulling a McGarrett? Heaven forbid we would do something 'stupid' like that."
Steve grinned. "Yeah, like that." He turned the bottle up once again and then checked his watch. "Danny, I've got to get out of here."
"Yeah, I know," Williams replied, waiting until Steve drained the bottle, and then held out his hand to take it back, setting it and his own beer on the ground. "Just wanted to, you know, wish you well and all of that."
Steve held out his hand. "Yeah, man, thanks."
Danny grasped the outstretched hand and pulled him closer, pounding him on the back. "You behave yourself, you Moron. None of that SuperSeal stuff… that's just for around here. Don't you go getting yourself into trouble because I won't be there to get your sorry ass out."
Steve stepped back and grinned. "I'll be careful." He pointed his finger at Danny, warning, "You keep your mouth shut and try not to cause the State of Hawaii too much grief." He climbed into the truck's cab and started the engine. "Because you won't have me around to make amends."
"In your dreams," Danny replied with a grin. He put his hand on the door as Steve threw the shift into reverse.
"I'm serious, Steve. Watch your back."
Steve nodded. "You, too. See you soon."
Danny had a very bad feeling as he watched his partner drive away.