A/N – This is an original idea, based around the S2 episode Fallen Angel, and, like And **WHEN** Was The Wedding, it will be told from several different points of view. Hope somebody enjoys it – robertwnielsen
Disclaimer – As usual, I don't own 'em. Just taking 'em out to play again...no profit made.
Summary – Michael is captured in East Germany, and Hawke is forced to bring Caitlin onto the crew after he and Dom are injured in a flying stunt.
Chap 1 – Cait
Where is he taking me? I asked myself, since I couldn't see a doggoned thing. Not that I'm in any danger, far from it. It's just that I'm completely blind—thanks to a large black scarf that String tied over my eyes a few minutes ago. It's probably the one time I've been blindfolded and not scared to death 'cause I've been kidnapped, which happened a couple times while I was on the Texas Highway Patrol. But this time, I feel perfectly safe. I'm just confused as all get out.
I remembered seein' that woman—the dark, exotic-looking one in the hospital, walk into Dom and Hawke's room—they got hurt doin' some kinda flying stunt. Dom's in a full body cast, and String broke one arm—and Dom's not too thrilled about the fact that Hawke is practically unscathed, either. But, this strange woman—I thought she was a doctor, even though she certainly wasn't dressed like one, came in and said she needed to examine Hawke and Dom. Dom tried to stop me from leaving, but this woman acted like she didn't want me around. So I went and got some coffee, and by the time I got back, the stranger was gone, and I asked what the doctor had to say. Then, Hawke handed me a duffel bag and told me there was a change of clothes in there. So I went into the ladies' room and changed into what I discovered was a very dull-grey colored jumpsuit of some sort. Once I got it on, I was even more surprised—it fit, although it was a little snug, but not uncomfortably so. Then I remembered where I'd seen that lady before—a couple of weeks ago, she'd called the hangar lookin' for me, and sent a limousine to pick me up. She introduced herself as "Marella," but didn't mention her last name, which rubbed me as kinda weird. We went to a fashionable boutique I had heard about, and I was surprised when someone came out and spoke to Marella, then took my measurements without a word. When I asked Marella about it later, she responded with, "Just in case." I know she was a little surprised when I didn't act like I recognized her, but I got the feelin' when she came into the room that she was hoping I wouldn't recognize her. So, I decided not to let her know that I had. Anyway, the next thing I knew, when I had changed clothes and came back to the hospital room, Hawke and I went out to the Jeep, where he promptly tied a thick black scarf over my eyes, and who knows where the heck we're going now.
But I've got a funny feelin', I thought to myself. I can't help but wonder if all this—Marella, the mysterious trip to take my measurements, and now this ride I'm takin' with Hawke—is all somehow connected to that black battleship with the rotors—the one Hawke and Dom deny exists. But I know better—I've seen it in action, for cryin' out loud, back home in Pope County, Texas, when it blew up the county jail, the sheriff, and half the cowboys in town. Not that I'll miss Bogan, mind you. I mean, the guy was weird, not to mention cruel, but when I saw that ship, I knew there was a lot more to Stringfellow Hawke than met the eye, which is why I packed up my stuff and headed out to California a couple days after they left. I just knew I had to find him. And I sure as heck didn't think it'd be that difficult to find someone with a name like 'Stringfellow Hawke,' but I ended up having to dial the first 300 "S. Hawkes" in the phone book before I finally found the one I was lookin' for.
So now, I feel the Jeep slow down, and once I figure out that Hawke has turned the engine off, I feel him gently take my arm and help me out of the Jeep. We turn and it feels like we're walkin' back the way we just came, which really makes me think this has somethin' to do with that helicopter—if you could call that thing a helicopter—that ship definitely looked military to me.
I couldn't help but wonder why the heck Stringfellow Hawke had a military-style helicopter. I mean, he didn't seem like the type of guy who would have a machine like that. But, there's a lot I don't know about Hawke, even though I think I want to know about him. There's just somethin' about him. I guess it's his eyes. Those ice-blue eyes. I swear, I've gotten lost in those eyes on more than one occasion, and I suddenly feel Hawke stop, and hear a loud hiss, like a door opening. Hawke gently helps me step up, then I feel his hand sit me down somewhere.
Next thing I know, I'm hearing all kinds of noises—beeps, clicks, and what sounds like rotors starting up. I still can't see anything, though, and Hawke's not talkin'. Even less than usual—it dawns on me that he hasn't said word one since we left the hospital. But now, it feels like we're moving again—straight up. That's weird, I said to myself, then realized we must be in an elevator or something. But then, why am I sitting down? I asked myself, growing more confused by the second. And that's a feeling I don't like—confusion. Being a former Texas Highway Patrol officer, I always prided myself on knowing what was goin' on all the time. But from the minute I felt that blindfold cover my eyes after Hawke and I left the hospital, I've been confused. And I don't like it.
Now I notice that the upward feeling has stopped, and it feels like we're moving forward again, but too fast to be walking, and I know we aren't in the Jeep anymore. I sat quietly for a few minutes, but my curiosity finally got the better of me. "I knew it. I just knew it," I said, but my own voice sounded strange to my ears, ike it was coming through a microphone or something.
"Knew what?" Hawke demanded. He sounded like he was in front of me, which made this whole thing seem even weirder.
"Oh, come on, String, quit teasing! Can I take this blindfold off now?" I demanded.
"Yeah, we're out of the area," Hawke said. I reached up and, after a few seconds, pulled the black material away from my eyes—which immediately grew to the size of silver dollars as I looked at the largest array of switches, levers, buttons, and keys I had ever seen in my life. Which explains all the beeping and clicking I was hearing. Callum would go bonkers if he could see this, I said to myself, thinking of one of my brothers, who was a complete gadget and military nerd. Heck, he could probably tell me what half these things do, just by lookin' at 'em. And I suddenly realized that it wasn't a jumpsuit that I was wearing, it was a flight suit, and my emotions got the better of me.
"Oh, wow! Oh, boy! String, I knew it! I told you I knew it!" I shouted triumphantly.
"Fine," Hawke said angrily, "and you're gonna forget it, just as soon as this mission's over, right?"
"Right," I said, meekly, even though I had no intention of forgetting what I was seeing. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't forget somethin' like this, I said to myself. This is the reason I came here! Well, one of the reasons, anyway. Hawke bein' the other one, of course. But my feelings about him are another story entirely. I forced myself to listen when I heard Hawke's voice again.
"All right. Lesson number one. There's a target selection screen right next to the main panel."
I discovered the chair I was sitting in was on swivel mounts, and I quickly turned around to my right, feeling my way along the console until I saw what Hawke was talkin' about. "Got it."
"The program keys above are used to call up any weapons required. We have access to all 14 weapons, as long as we're not at Mach 1. Now, say for instance, I call for a Hellfire."
I found the correct button and pressed it. "Okay. Hellfire." I heard what sounded like an alarm squealing as soon as I pressed the button.
"Caitlin! Deploy the pods!" Hawke shouted.
"Where? Where is it?" I answered him, fighting a wave of panic.
"Release the missile chamber. Top button above the fire..."
"Oh! Got it, got it." I pressed the correct buttons as Hawke shouted, "Hold on!" and I felt the helicopter pull into a steep climb just a few seconds before I saw the explosion.
"Ooh!" I realized that we could have been in that explosion, if Hawke hadn't told me what to do. Okay. No more touching buttons, I said to myself.
"You could have killed us!" Hawke shouted from the front seat.
Meekly, I replied, "I'm sorry."
"Sorry doesn't cut it—this is no Highway Patrol chopper! I don't want you touching anything until I've thoroughly explained it!" Hawke said emphatically.
"Right," I said, still frightened. But I was as frightened about what Hawke might do as I was about what almost happened. I mean, I know String's got a temper, and I also know that what I just did had put me square on the wrong side of it. Dumb, dumb, DUMB, Caity girl! I said to myself.
"The point is, Caitlin, it's gonna take me a week to familiarize you with these controls."
"Does that mean we're not goin'?" I asked, hesitantly.
"No," Hawke said with a sigh, and I thought I heard his voice soften a little. "It just means I'm gonna have to find some way to put Dom's brain into your body."
Not exactly sure how I should take that, I responded, "But just don't do it the other way around." I swear I heard String chuckle at that statement.
I wished to heck I knew what Hawke was thinkin' at that point. I mean, I know how mysterious Hawke is, 'specially where it concerned this 'Michael' guy. Sounded like some kinda government honcho to me. Maybe he's got somethin' to do with this machine we're flyin' in. I just don't know.
"Hawke?" I asked, still uncertain about everything.
"Yeah?" He responded.
"What the heck is going on here?" I demanded. "You blindfolded me, took me God-only-knows where, and now I'm sitting in a machine that looks like something you'd find in Darth Vader's bedroom! Look, I know you don't know me from Adam, and I don't know you real well, either. But if we're gonna do whatever it is we're gonna do, then I'm gonna need to know a few things. Y'know?" I hoped to heck that I hadn't upset Hawke too much—if I had, he was just liable to drop me in the middle of nowhere.
The silence that followed danged near drove me nuts. I was about to say something else when Hawke spoke up. "Yeah," he replied, then proceeded to tell me, on the condition that I swore not to discuss this with anybody else, about the government agency known as the FIRM, and its director, Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, who Hawke calls "Archangel." Apparently, this helicopter belongs to this "FIRM," and Hawke is keeping it until Archangel finds Hawke's brother (his name sounds like Sin Jin, but I don't think that's how you spell it.), who's MIA from Vietnam.
"Archangel's a prisoner in East Germany," Hawke was saying. "He went in there to rescue a woman named Maria von Fuerster, who made the KGB 'white list.'"
"'White list'?" I asked. "Never heard of such a thing. What the heck is it?"
"The Russian version of a top-20 hit list. You can think of it as a top-20 most wanted list. It's pretty much the same thing, only the people on a 'white list' just disappear. And now, Michael's there, and he's probably as wanted as von Fuerster is."
This whole thing was becomin' more and more frightening. "So we're goin' to..."
"East Germany," Hawke said, and I felt my heart leap straight into my throat. This definitely sounded like something right out of a James Bond movie, or maybe one of those Tom Clancy novels I've heard Callum likes so much. Definitely not something that a small-town girl from Pope County, Texas oughta be involved in. But whether he wants to admit it or not, Hawke needs me, I said to myself as I glanced around the cockpit. Mr. Santini's in no shape to help him. I resolved then and there to do whatever String or Mr. Santini told me to do. Finally, Hawke said, "Okay. You ready to go over the weapons systems again?"
"Ready, Hawke." I said, glancing at the main panel. For the next two hours, Hawke patiently explained every one of the weapons systems aboard this helicopter, including how to deploy them. By the time he set the helicopter down and put the blindfold back over my eyes, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how to run things.
When we stopped after a while and Hawke took the blindfold off, he said, "Cait, look. I—I'm sorry for snapping at you back there. I mean, heck, Dom didn't know what most of the knobs and buttons were for the first time he flew in Airwolf, either. Actually, it took him two or three times flying in Airwolf before he knew everything back there as well as he does now." Hawke smiled as if he was recalling something, then his voice turned serious again. "But, remember..."
"I know," I said. "Keep it to myself." Then I added, "And by the way, Hawke, apology accepted."
"Right," Hawke said, and I thought he was feeling more comfortable with bringing me into whatever the heck he'd brought me into. "And, thanks," he added hesitantly.
But, it evidently wasn't good enough, 'cause Hawke decided he was gonna bust Mr. Santini out of the hospital and take him with us to rescue Archangel.
"Oh, no you don't!" The nurse insisted as Hawke and I tried to maneuver Mr. Santini's wheelchair out of the hospital room.
"Cait? She's yours," Hawke said, gesturing to the nurse.
"Mine?" I asked, then I realized what Hawke wanted me to do. The nurse was saying something about not leaving without a doctor's authorization, and I apologized for what I was about to do as Hawke moved Mr. Santini's wheelchair towards the door.
"I'm sorry, nurse!" I shouted, executing a perfect judo flip and landing the nurse in Mr. Santini's bed as Hawke pushed Mr. Santini out. And just like that, we were all back aboard Airwolf, and headed into East Germany—and I was scared clean out of my wits.
By the time Hawke had gone into the fortress to get Michael, I realized there was another reason Hawke wanted Mr. Santini along—somebody had to fly Airwolf and provide a distraction while Hawke went in to rescue Michael. I mean, I'd learned a little bit about the rear console when Hawke first put me in this helicopter, and I learned a lot more during that mission, with Mr. Santini coaching me, but there was no way I could've flown this bird, especially with that kind of firepower shooting back at us. And, I learned somethin' else about the helicopter that I didn't know—it was bulletproof. Hawke and Michael finally came out, and I heard Michael shouting to someone named Maria. Then, there was a series of gunshots, and the next thing I knew, we were all headed away from the castle.
A few days later, Mr. Santini, Hawke and I were at the FIRM headquarters, when Michael came back with the mysterious woman I remembered seeing from the hospital, who had introduced herself as "Marella." Why didn't she tell me who she was before? I asked myself as we entered the conference room. I sure hoped that 'Marella' knew that I was just a bit ticked off as I watched her and Michael enter the room. If she doesn't, then I'll just have to explain it to her. There was a polite smattering of applause from everyone in the room as Michael took his seat at one end of a long table, facing a man at the other end who I did not recognize.
"Welcome home, Archangel." The strange man said. "I'm afraid we were going to have to write you off for good, this time."
"I always seem to make it back, Zeus," Michael said, and I realized "Zeus" must be the name of the man at the end of the table nearest to Hawke, Mr. Santini, and me. Michael continued, "However this time, I did have just a little bit of help." He nodded at Hawke, Dom and me.
"Yes. Miss O'Shannessy, Mr. Hawke, Mr. Santini. We want to thank you for your bravery and valor." I felt a surge of pride at being mentioned by this man, as well as being included in the operation, and then 'Zeus' continued. "Marella, however, will have to be suspended, until a review board can determine whether she is capable of following orders."
"Of all the hypocritical bull!" Dom shouted. Hawke tried to silence his friend. "Hey, Dom!"
"Aah! Well, somebody has to tell this egotistical bag of hot air where to go!" I could tell Mr. Santini was getting agitated.
"Dominic, he's right! Rules are rules!" Marella said from her position next to Michael.
"If you believe that, then you're as sick as he is!" Dom shot back.
"If she believed it, she wouldn't have come to you and Hawke!" Michael shouted.
"This interview is over," Zeus stated, as coldly as I'd ever heard another man speak.
"Not quite! I want my staff back, and full access to FIRM facilities. That means complete restoration of my division, including Marella," Michael said.
"I said the interview is over," Zeus repeated, and his voice seemed to me to grow even colder.
"I think your title has gone to your head, Zeus!" Michael shouted.
"That's enough!" Zeus shouted back, and I have to admit...I was getting dizzy from this back and forth...reminded me of a tennis match that I saw on TV.
"No, it's not enough! You would've left me out there to rot, after 20 years of loyalty!" Michael roared, angry as I've ever heard any man sound, including Hawke.
"Those are the rules, Michael. You helped create them! And now that I'm head of the FIRM, I'm here to enforce them!" Zeus shouted back, and angrily pointed at the desk to emphasize his point.
Michael and Zeus stared at each other across the table for a moment, then Michael reached into his jacket, pulled out a 9mm pistol, and calmly shot Zeus. Everyone in the room began to panic, and four men I guessed were security guards rushed in, two grabbing hold of Marella and the other two grabbing Michael. "Michael Coldsmith-Briggs..." one of the guards began, and I knew Michael was being arrested—I recognized the beginning of the Miranda speech. Heck, I've delivered it enough times myself. But then one of the other guards noticed Zeus beginning to move.
"I—I'm all right," Zeus stammered. "What happened?"
"I'll answer that," Hawke said, stepping forward. "Michael had been programmed to try to assassinate you, Zeus. That was part of what happened to him in East Germany. I figured it out after we escaped—it was too easy. Either Kinskov has the worst gunners in the world, or they weren't trying to hit Airwolf. They wanted us to escape, so that Michael could come back here and kill you, and probably a few more members of the Committee. Once I realized what was going on, I substituted blanks for the ammo in Michael's gun."
"Thank you, Hawke," Michael said, shaking his head. "That's two more I owe you."
"I'll send you a bill," Hawke said, and I swore I saw him grin. Then Michael made a proposition that startled the heck outta me—he wanted to go back to East Germany and get the formulas and research for Kinskov's mind control, and to get Maria out if he could. Surprisingly, at least to me, Zeus agreed, but I decided there was something I needed to do. As soon as the room had emptied, I approached Marella.
Just before we left, I walked up to Marella and said, "We need to talk. Right now." I noticed the room was empty, so Marella quickly locked the doors so no one could disturb us, and said, "All right. I do owe you an apology, Caitlin. I should have mentioned something about who I work with when we met before."
"You're darned right you should have!" I shot back, and I noticed Marella had become nervous. "But, I guess it's okay, considering this is some kinda spy outfit," I said, and I saw she relaxed a little bit. Then I continued, "Lemme ask you somethin'—when you came to the hangar that time and we went to that boutique—was that how you had the right size for a flight suit for me?"
"Yes, Caitlin, it was," Marella admitted. "That particular boutique does a lot of clothing for us. Most of the female employees of the FIRM get our dresses and other work-related apparel there. When we learned that you had been hired by Dominic, I had a feeling that we might need that information. I just hadn't planned on using it for real, especially so soon."
I turned this information over in my mind for a few minutes, decided I could accept what Marella told me, and finally I said, "Okay, Marella. I guess it's just one more thing I've gotta learn." I really couldn't find any reason to dislike this woman. She seemed nice enough, even if she had pulled what my daddy would have called a little "shuck-and-jive" on me. I guessed I could understand it, though. Just like Hawke, Marella doesn't know me from Adam. And I'd be willing to bet she's not real sure she can trust me.
"Caitlin," Marella said, "there's no reason you need to continue any involvement with Hawke...or with us. Once this mission is over..."
"Just hold it right there," I said, and felt a spark coming into my eyes. "If you think for one second that I'm gonna forget about everything I saw, then you've got another think coming. And I told Michael the same thing."
"All right, Caitlin," Marella said. "Well, good luck again."
"Thanks, Marella," I said with a smile as she unlocked the doors and I hurried out to rejoin Hawke, Dom, and Michael.
A few hours later, Michael and Hawke were back aboard Airwolf after infiltrating the castle, and we were on our way out of East Germany, after getting into a dogfight with the East German air force. Once we were safe, I couldn't help myself.
"Scope's clean! Whoo-whee! Highway Patrol was never like that!" I exulted.
"Like what?" Hawke demanded.
"That dogfight!" I insisted. No way in hell were they gonna try and tell me that didn't happen.
"What dogfight?" Mr. Santini piped up.
"Oh, no you don't! This time, I've got a witness! Now, they can't tell me that..." I turned and saw Michael's expression through his flight helmet, and knew he had other things on his mind. Even though nobody had introduced him to me, I knew who he was, after seein' him tangle with that other man, Zeus. For some strange reason, I got the feelin' that hadn't been the first time Michael and Zeus had butted heads, either. But at this moment, I realized Michael needed to talk about something, even though I didn't know what.
"Michael, what's wrong?" I asked.
"Maria's dead." Hawke answered.
"She was working with Krueger all along," Michael said, and I could hear the sadness in his voice, and I realized Michael must have loved Maria very much. Almost as much as I think I love...I can't think about that now! "I'm sorry," I said, and hoped my tone of voice conveyed my feelings to Michael.
"It couldn't be helped," Michael said. "I do know that, Hawke."
Hawke glanced back to Michael and me, and I swear I saw him nod at Michael. We flew on in silence for a few minutes, then Dom spoke up.
"I don't know about you guys, but I'm hungry. Whataya say we stop off for some beer and bratwurst, huh?" Dom asked, trying to lighten the mood.
"Where?" Hawke asked, and I thought I saw Michael smile at Dom's comment.
"Well, I dunno," Dom replied. "Any place that's got beer and bratwurst, I suppose!"
"Yeah, we can discuss our next mission," I said.
"What mission?" Michael asked.
"Oh, you know! Whatever you assign them to do next in this helicopter!" I replied.
"WHAT HELICOPTER?" Hawke, Michael, and Mr. Santini all demanded, practically in unison. I realized then just how secret this thing was supposed to be. Of course, Mr. Santini had told me as much when we went in the first time.
"Avoid friendly fighters?" I had asked when I saw that we had received NATO patrol routes and frequencies, and Mr. Santini told me they were so we could avoid NATO fighters.
"Honey, in Airwolf, we ain't got any friends! Remember that!" Mr. Santini had stated. I started wondering whether or not I really wanted to be involved with this part of Hawke's life. Then, I realized I already was involved, whether I liked it or not.
"Ah, this must be Dom's new employee. Miss...O'Shannessy, correct?" Michael asked as the four of us sat at a small cafe. Airwolf was safely hidden away not far from where we were eating, and as Mr. Santini had hoped, they'd found a place that had beer and bratwurst. I had to admit the bratwurst was very good.
"Sorry, Michael," Hawke said, shaking his head as he realized he'd never formally introduced us. "Michael Coldsmith-Briggs, this is Caitlin O'Shannessy. Caitlin, this is Michael. Or, as we call him, 'Archangel.'" I figured there was no mystery how Michael knew who I was—heck, he probably did a full background check on me as soon as he heard that Mr. Santini had hired me back at the airfield, but he'd never seen me face-to-face before.
"A pleasure, sir," I said, giving him a friendly smile.
"Likewise, Miss O'Shannessy," Michael replied, shaking my hand. "And thank you for all your help. I don't know if Hawke could have pulled this one off without you."
I have to admit, I blushed a little at that, especially when I considered what almost happened when Hawke first brought me aboard Airwolf. But, Michael doesn't need to know about that. That part can remain Hawke's and my little secret. Unless Hawke decides to tell Mr. Santini about it.
"You're welcome, sir," I said, not completely comfortable with knowing who Michael was.
"Miss O'Shannessy," Michael began again, and I felt compelled to say something.
"Please, call me Caitlin," I said, not wanting to stand too much on formality. At least, where I was concerned.
"Fine, Caitlin. But, if we're not going to stand on formalities, please don't call me 'sir.' Neither Hawke nor Dominic does, after all. You may call me 'Michael,' or 'Archangel,' if you like. Caitlin, I hope you realize what Hawke has involved you in. And, I don't think I have to tell you to keep everything that happened, and everything you saw, between the four of us. Actually, the five of us, if you count Marella," Michael said. And somethin' about the way he added that as an afterthought got me curious about how Michael feels about Marella, but I decided I'd worry about that later.
"No, Michael, you don't," I replied. "I know that what happened, and what I saw, has to be our little secret, and I accept that. I just hope you don't expect me to up and forget what I saw."
"Well, I won't say that it wouldn't bother me if you did forget about Airwolf, me, and everything you've seen, but I don't think that's possible," Michael said with a grin directed at me. "But, I have to say, you handled yourself as well as I've ever seen under the circumstances. Hawke and Dom must have taught you very well."
"They did," I said with a smile directed at Hawke.
By the time we were back home, I knew I wouldn't be forgetting about everything that had happened any time soon. And, I made a decision—I wanted to be involved with that part of Hawke's life. I figured, if it helped me get closer to Hawke, it would be worth whatever danger I might be putting myself in. And, I'm a cop, I said to myself. At least, I used to be a cop. But, I'm also a martial arts expert—I can take care of myself. That night when I went to sleep, I felt a peace that I hadn't felt in a long time. Sure, I still had a lot of questions, but I figured I'd be getting the answers in time. Then, something I'd thought about earlier hit me again. Almost as much as I think I love...Hawke, I finished the thought that started when I asked Michael what was wrong, back aboard Airwolf. I do love him. I love Stringfellow Hawke! Then I thought some more. Well, maybe "love" is too strong...I don't really know him that well yet. But I do know this—I like him. I like him a LOT. And it wouldn't surprise me if it became "love" before long. I've just gotta be patient, I said to myself as I fell asleep, And everything will work out.