Please read authors notes at the end of the chapter. Thank you.
Sunlight reflected off the pristine crystal clear aqua water, giving the appearance there were simmering gems just under the warm waters surface. Inhaling the humid salty air around her, Ricky couldn't help but smile as she rested back on her army green beach towel. The warm rays of the sun worked to melt away the aches and pains she had been fighting to ignore all week. The last five days had been fun, exciting, stressful, and even educational. It was one of the rare times that she got to mix her professional life with that of her personal one, not that she had much of a personal life outside her father and brothers.
Feeling the slight shift of movement next to her, Ricky turned her head to look at the irresistible puppy brown eyes of her partner in crime, Murphy. She fought off the urge to laugh as she saw her trusted friend and partner as he wiggled his tail in a playful manner.
"Haven't you had enough with chasing that thing?" Ricky asked as she brought her hand up to shield the bright sunlight from her eyes. The large German Shepard only dropped the brightly colored red rubber ball and pushed it closer to her with his noise, not caring that sand stuck to his wet snout. The look of pure hope was killing her resolve to relax and ignore him; it wasn't fair that he always got his way.
"Okay," she said, pushing herself up and off her towel. "We'll play for a little while," she told him with a pointed look as if she was talking to a young child and not a dog. Readjusting her black board shorts and white tank that covered her red bikini top as she stood up, taking a moment to look around the beach.
It was early on a mid September Monday morning, most of the locals where working or still sleeping off the weekend. The only people that were on the beach this time of day were those looking to catch an early swell before too many other surfers showed up to hog all the waves. For Ricky, it was the perfect time to enjoy Hawaii and take in its natural beauty. The white sandy beaches, clean and clear waters, lush green trees, and salty breeze always seemed like home to her. Every time she came to visit, she would consider her brother's offer to move to the main island, to finally place some roots.
A loud bark from Murphy pulled her out of her thoughts. "Alright already!" she laughed as she bent down to pick up the rubber ball. She couldn't help but smile as he seemed to forget all his training as a certified service dog -trained in search/rescue and recovery, as well as narcotics, explosive and bomb detection, and recently as an attack dog- as he wiggled like an uncontrollable puppy.
She had to admit that she was proud of the five year old German Shepard, he was one of only three dogs in the world who was certified in all five areas of service, and was requested the most when natural disasters hit. She, herself was trained EMT and disaster relief expert, on top of being a prestigious dog trainer. Because the demand for aid in other counties was almost constant, they were always on the move, one country to another. But she always found herself back in Hawaii where most her family was stationed.
Still holding onto the ball, Ricky ignored the protest in her muscles as she reached back with her left arm and launched the ball as far as she could down the beach. She wasn't as good at throwing as her brothers had been, but she was still pretty darn good for a girl. Rubbing her worn out shoulder, she watched as Murphy took off after the ball. She was amazed that after everything he had done this week that he still had the energy to chase after that rubber ball as if his life depended on it.
For the last five days, all they had been doing consisted of training exercises, obedience drills, and obstacle courses. It was all part of the Top Dog Competition that was held at Schofield Barracks each year. The purpose of the week long competition was to gather the best service dogs in the nation to test their abilities, as well as having a place for all the handlers to network and learn other ways of training and working with their K-9 companions.
The competitors ranged from Army soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Transportation Security Administration -or TSA- and the HPD, their backgrounds where all different, but their goals where all the same, the protection of the American people and human life.
This was the first year that she had been invited to join the competition as a civilian free lance handler and trainer. It also helped that her brother was the kennel master and the one running the competition. It had been easy for him to get her invite approved once he had shown her qualifications to his superior officer. With her first hand experience in search and rescue and disaster relief and her history of training dogs for narcotics and explosives detection, she had proven that she was on the same playing level as the others. True she was young, only twenty eight, but she had been training and working with dogs for the last thirteen years, had two degrees to back up her knowledge, and spoke four different languages fluently.
Seeing Murphy make his way back to her, red ball covered in sand firmly in his mouth, she bent down to greet him. "Good boy," she praised as she took the ball from his mouth, and rubbed his head. Standing up, she threw that ball once again -this time into the water- and watched as he took off after it. Bounding and leaping into the braking waves to retrieve his ball, Murphy never stopped.
A few more times Ricky threw the ball, each and every time Murphy would take off after it with a new found energy, only to bring it back and release it into her hands with hope that she would throw it one more time. Ricky had to admit that out of all the dogs she had in the past, Murphy was by far her favorite. His personality was matched by none other, and she found him better company than most people. He never judged her, never left her side, and was beyond loyal to her. He picked up on her moods, knowing when she needed some cuddling time or a lick on the cheek. In short he was her best friend and partner. She couldn't help but wonder why it was so hard to find those same quality's in a person.
Once again Murphy returned with the red ball. "No more, my arm can't take it," she said with a sad smile. Reaching into the beach bag she had brought with her, she pulled out a plastic bowl and a large bottle of water. Uncapping the water and pouring a large amount into the bowl, she laughed as Murphy tried to drink the clean water as she poured it.
"What do you say we soak a few more rays in and then get some lunch?" she asked as she rubbed his head. The only response was his slurping of water followed by his panting. "You worn yourself out," she spoke to him in a kind voice. It was no secret that Murphy had a tendency to overdo and overwork himself, even when having fun. It was true what they said about those who worked hard, they played harder. Murphy was no exception to that rule.
Like most dogs, he was always willing to do whatever it took to get a pat on the head and be told 'job well done'. Often times when working, she would have to force him to get a drink and eat something, he would get so focused on the job, that he would forget his baser instincts. He was so willing to do whatever it took to make her happy, that he would rather work himself to death than stop on his own accord.
Once they both had something to quench their thirst, Ricky sat back down on her towel stretching out and got comfortable. It was still early and there wasn't any more tests or competitions scheduled till later in the afternoon, so there wasn't any need to rush. This was one of the only times she would have to herself, and she planed on enjoying every moment of it. As she closed her eyes to block out the bright sun, she could feel Murphy laying down next to her, keeping an eye out on everyone who walked by. Always true, always fateful.
"Simper Fi," she said more to herself than to Murphy, thinking about the motto of the United State Marines. It had been a saying that she had heard growing up her whole life, it was the one thing her father had told her and her brothers to never forget. 'Always be true, always be fateful to those close to you.' she could hear his gruff voice tell her.
It had been a while since she had seen her father last, work getting in the way for both of them, but they did talk on the phone often. She had hoped that after her time with her brother, she could find the time to visit her father, maybe she would try and surprise the old man. That is if her brother ever let her leave, she couldn't hold back the smile as she thought of her older brother.
Ever since she had arrived in Hawaii two weeks ago, Mark had been taking up most of her time. He had asked her input on all the competitions, and even had her come in to talk to some of his first year handlers. What little time she had left after helping him around the kennels was spent going around and meeting all his fellow comrades and commanding officers. From friendly dinners to grabbing a drink at a local bar, she couldn't shake the feeling that he was hoping that she would catch the eye of one of his service buddies. It was no secret that the men in her family wanted her to find someone to make her happy, and they would prefer that he was someone in uniform.
'You're born into a military family, Ricky. You know it's only a matter of time before you marry into one.' Mark had told her once, and she knew that it was true. Her father and brothers where all military, she would have been too if it hadn't been for her health, and her father had once told her that she could marry whomever she wanted, as long as he had put time into serving his country.
Reaching up subconsciously, she rubbed lightly at her shirt covered chest. Thinking on the matter a bit more, she couldn't help but wonder if that was why she did what she did. Sure she loved her work, took pride in working with dogs and helping others who were in need, but was there more to it than that? Growing up she had lived from one base to another, always moving and changing almost every three years if not more. Was that why she found it so hard to stay in one place for too long? She knew that she could ask herself the same question over and over and she still would come up empty handed and without an answer.
Ten minutes into her deep thoughtful sun soak, she felt Murphy get up and stand ridged beside her, pulling her out of her thoughts. All the years of training him and knowing how he reacted, told Ricky that something was going on around them. Getting up and grabbing a hold of his collar first, she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. A man running down the beach.
Normally this wouldn't be of any concern to her, but there were too many things wrong with the picture. His state of dress of jeans and a dark long sleeve shirt, frequent glances behind his shoulder as he ran, and the shoving of others out of his way as he tried to make his way down the beach told her that he was trying to run from something. The dead giveaway that something was wrong though was the gun that he was clearly waving around to get others out of his way.
"Hold," she commanded Murphy. She could feel the coil in his muscles, and knew that his recent training as an attack dog was kicking in. He had been trained, and passed all the tests, but he had never been put into a live situation where he had to use the skills that he was taught. He kept pulling forward, and she was finding it harder to keep hold of the eighty five pounds of pure aggression that was emanating from him. Her muscles burned with the strain but she kept her grip in his collar firm, ignoring the nylon as it bit into her hands.
Weighing her options and wondering what she should do, she looked further down the beach. Sure enough she saw two other men running upon the sand, both with guns drawn but lowered. What made them different was the fact that she could clearly see two golden badges flashing in the sunlight. The one in the lead was moving fast and would no doubt catch the man in due time, but after looking back to where he was headed, Ricky knew that it wasn't going to be fast enough.
Just ahead of the man was a sidewalk and a parking lot. If he made it to the cars he would have cover to open fire, have the chance of stealing a car and making a break for it, or taking a hostage. She had no clue as to what crime the man had committed, but the fact that he was running from two officers and was waving a gun around a public beach was all she needed to know that he was a danger to everyone around. Making up her mind, she gave Murphy the command.
"Murphy, take him down," she said in a firm voice and then let him lose. He shot out only to build up speed, sand kicking up from his paws as he seemed to fly over the beach to take down the armed man. She took off after him, knowing that once he got a hold of the man, he wouldn't let him lose until she gave him the order, just like he was trained to do.
Pushing herself to her limits, Ricky could hear the shouting of the two men now behind her; clearly they were trying to warn her to stay away. She knew that they were only doing their job, but she didn't have the time to stop and tell them that she knew what she was doing. There was no doubt in her mind that they were going to ask her questions after this was all said and done, and more than likely not be happy that she had just let Murphy lose on their suspect, but those where things that she was willing to deal with. In her eye's the safety of innocent people came first, everything else followed.
Reaching Murphy just as he jumped on the man, Ricky saw him biting into the arm that was holding onto the gun, locking his jaws tight and growling aggressively. Acting quickly, Ricky stepped on his wrist and reached down to remove the weapon from his hands, tossing it a few feet away and out of his reach. Taking a hold of Murphy's collar, she told him that he had done a great job, but she didn't give him the command to release the man just yet.
She wasn't stupid enough to think that he wouldn't try to go for the gun once she pried Murphy of him. The man was clearly larger than herself, and she wasn't about to risk him reaching the weapon and taking aim at her or her partner. They had gained the element of surprise, something that she wasn't about to waste.
"Get this dog off me!" the man yelled out in pain as Murphy tore through his long sleeve shirt, twisting his arm around as if it was nothing more than a rag toy.
"The more you move, the more he is going to apply pressure to get you to stop. So stop moving!" she advised the man, not showing an ounce of compassion in her tone of voice.
Hearing the two undercover officers who had been chasing the gunman finally catch up and come up behind her, she gave Murphy the release order. Without having to be told twice, he let go of the man's arm and backed off, but he was still eyeing him in case he decided to take off and make a run for it.
The moment that Murphy's jaws released the man's arm, one of the two officers jumped on him, turning him over and pulling his arms up and behind his back, not caring that one of his arms was bleeding and ripped open. "Be thankful the dog got you," he said as anger seeped from his voice. Ricky didn't have to know what had happened to know that whoever this man was, he was livid, more than likely because he just had to run who knows what distance down a beach after this gunman.
Once the runner was cuffed and passed off to another officer, this one in full uniform, did the two men who had been running after him turn to her. The one who had jumped on the man and cuffed him was the taller of the two. Military combat boots, kaki cargo pants, lose fitted white t-shirt, and slight sheen of sweat on his brow; it was easy for her to tell that he was military, current or former she wasn't sure. The way he held himself and the way he had been running on the sand told her that he was more than likely Navy or Marines. This was Hawaii after all; there were a lot of military on the island. With his rugged dark brown hair, bright eyes, and tone physique it was easy to see that he was attractive, even while he was coming down from the high of the bust.
His partner, she was guessing, was also rather eye catching. He was shorter but still somehow taller than her. With blond hair, blue eyes, and strong jaw line, Ricky was starting to get nervous. She had always found it hard to be around attractive men. Even thought she had grown up on military base her whole life, had three older brothers and an over protective father, she could never fight of the jitters that she would get when around handsome men.
It didn't help that both men were giving off a strong 'male vibe' as she liked to call it. The vibe that real men gave off, the type that weren't afraid to get their hands dirty and where more than capable to take care of themselves. It was also easy to tell that, even if they weren't in uniform, they were clearly senor officers. All other officers who were arriving on the scene were looking to them for direction and orders.
She couldn't help but admire that. Normally anyone who was higher in rank didn't get as involved with cases, to the point of hands on. They would sit in their stuffy offices, and take all the credit for the work their team did. It was refreshing to see that there were other men out there like her brothers and father. These two men, whatever their rank, were very hands on. A thought that warmed her cheeks.
She took a moment while they were talking to each other and the other officers to check on Murphy and make sure that he hadn't chipped any of his teeth while he had held the man down. The adrenaline was wearing off, and she was starting to get nervous that she had done something wrong. She couldn't help but second guess her decision in letting Murphy attack the man. She didn't miss the glances that they would send her way while they were talking, and it added to the heavy feeling in her gut.
She stood up as the two men approached her, still keeping a firm grip on Murphy's collar. "I'm sorry if I interfered with a police investigation, it's just that it looked like you could've used a hand catching him before her got a chance to get in a car." she explained, nodding to the parking lot that was just a few feet away.
"I'm not sure if that was incredibly brave or stupid, what you just did." the shorter blond man spoke as he pulled at his brightly colored tie to loosen it, and then held out his hand. "Detective Danny Williams, and this is my partner Commander Steve McGarrett, Hawaii 5-0 Task Force. You and your furry partner just help us catch a man wanted for a triple murder."
"Well, it's kind of what he is trained to do, so…" Ricky said as she reached out to grab hold of his hand and locked in a firm handshake. "Ricky Evans," she introduced herself. "Short for Rebecca," she added at the last moment out of a nervous habit as she looked down to see that Murphy was calming down. At the time she had never thought that the man could have been behind a murder, it was reassuring to her to know that she had made the right decision in letting Murphy go.
"What do you mean he's trained to do it?" the other man, Steve asked as he crossed his arms over his chest, his shirt pulling tight across his shoulders. "He's an attack dog?" She didn't miss the calculated look the Commander was giving Murphy, and tried not to laugh as the German Sheppard tilted his head while he meant his stare.
"Murphy is a trained service dog," she answered as she eased up on the hold she had on him. "Murphy say hi," she spoke to him. She couldn't help but smile at the looks of shock on the two men's faces as Murphy walked up to them and held out his paw, waiting to shake their hands. All signs of the attack dong in him was gone, he was back to the loving dog whom had been chasing the red rubber ball earlier.
"He's normally a tracker, a dog who uses his nose to locate something. People, drugs, bombs, you name it he can find it, but he is also trained to be an attack dog when needed." Ricky said as she watched Danny bend down and start to rub Murphy's head. She could tell that he was a dog person, what guy wasn't? "I would have never let him go if I thought he wouldn't be able to take the man down. I would never have put the lives of innocent people in harm's way."
"You a cop?" Steve asked as he kept a firm stance and an eye on Murphy while Danny took his time in rubbing and petting the dog. "I have to ask. You talk like one, and have an attack dog," he said pointing both his hands down to Murphy who was getting attention from his partner.
With a laugh Ricky could only shake her head no. "I'm just a free lance dog handler and trainer, but I have worked closely with different law enforcement over the years."
"Is that what brings you to Hawaii?" Danny asked as he stood up.
"Kind of, I'm here for the Top Dog Competition," she answered truthfully.
"The what?" Danny asked with a confused look, then looked over to Steve with raised eyebrows in silent communication. Ricky could tell that they had a good partnership, the ability to understand nonverbal request wasn't something that just happened over night.
"The Top Dog Competition is a national competition that is held at the Schofield Barracks each year." Steve answered his partner, and then turned to Ricky. "I thought they ended that back in two thousand and one?"
"They did. After the attack on nine eleven, there was a high demand for service dogs, and most of them came from Hawaii. My brother is the kennel master at Schofield Barracks and found a whole bunch of pictures and articles from the past years when he took over and thought that it would be fun to bring the competition back. They first came back in two thousand and nine, and so far every year since," she informed them.
"So you and Murphy are part of the competition then?" Danny asked as he looked down to the dog that was standing beside her now.
"Yeah, first free lance trainer/handler." She said with a shy smile. It wasn't hard to tell that Danny was the more people person of the two, his partner had yet to relax in his stance and that only supported her earlier thought of him being military.
"Well I believe that if he performs as well as he did today, he should have no problem winning." Danny said with a kind smile.
She fought off the urge to blush as she saw the kind dimples form on his cheeks as he smiled at her. "You would be surprised by the competition; there are better dogs than him," she said. At the sound of light growling from Murphy, Danny and Ricky couldn't help but laugh, and she was glad to see that Commander McGarrett relaxed and let the small smile tug at his lips.
"Sounds like he disagrees with you there." Danny said.
"Well on behalf of Hawaii 5-0, thank you for stepping in when you did." Steve thanked her. "But we'll need to get some information from you in case we need to contact you."
"Sure, of course." Ricky replied.
After giving them her information, phone number and the address that she was staying at, she shook both their hands and made her way back to her things that she had left behind. Pulling out her phone she saw that it was approaching noon, and time to get going. They would have just enough time to grab something to eat and change before the next round of competitions started. She was just glad that for the most part there wasn't going to be much running required today.
As she was loading everything into the back of her brother's truck that she was barrowing, she couldn't help but think about Steve and Danny. They seemed so different, and yet it was clear to see that they both worked well together. The fact that they were part of the Governor's Task Force told her that they were both highly skilled, something that she couldn't help but respect. The fact that they were both very handsome and attractive in their own ways was something that she couldn't deny either.
Sure the woman in her was dreaming up all the romantic encounters that she could have with either one of them, but the relist in her was forcing her to see facts. They were highly trained and very busy men, working for the Governor to keep Hawaii safe. If she was ever contacted about the case, and asked about her involvement, she doubted that she would be speaking with them again. They were sure to have a whole department for that type of thing.
Besides, men like them were not single. Even if they were, they were sure to have plenty of women lined up to satisfy any craving that would arise. They had to be married or have an entire black book full of numbers to call. As much as she was glad to have met the two handsome men, she knew that they where way out of her league. Besides, she wasn't even going to be staying on the island long enough to even see if anything could happen, she was always on the move.
With a sad smile she stopped her train of thought. She had been single for a long time and she was used to it. She wasn't even sure what she would do if she was ever asked out on a date. She was so out of practice that she would just end up embarrassing herself, and the result would be humiliation, not a second date.
With a shake of her head she made sure that everything was loaded up. Once Murphy was placed inside the cabin of the truck, she got in and pulled out of the parking lot. She could only hope and pray that today's adventure didn't reach the ears of her brothers, and begged God that her father never found out. They never liked to hear when she was placed in dangerous situations.
With one last glance in the rearview mirror, she saw both Lt Commander McGarrett and Detective Williams standing side by side while talking to two other officers. The flashing lights of the squad cars faded as she turned onto the main street, and she fought to push out all memory and thought of the two men she had meant. Nothing is going to come of it, she told herself.
Authors Notes: As most of you know, I love to keep things fresh and new, and I hate writing a story line or plot that has been done and over done. This is my first full on Hawaii 5-0 story, and this plot has been running in my head for a while, I just haven't had the time to get it out.
This takes place sometime in the 1st season, but will not be following the same plot. This is an 'M' rated story, and will contain graphic violence, adult/mature themes, some harsh language, romance, drama, and hurt/comfort.
I hope that you all will enjoy the story, and please review and let me know what you think.
Facts about the story….
I try to keep things as real as I can. The Top Dog Competition is real and is held at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. It's sponsored by the 728th Military Police (MP's) Battalion and the 13th Military Police Detachment, both of them based at Schofield Barracks.
The competition was held every year up till 2001 when they had to stop because of the high demand for trained service dogs. Sgt 1st Class Michael McPeak -Kennel Master- of the 13th MP Det, 728th Military Police Battalion was the one to bring the competition back in 2009 after taking over the position.
Over forty dogs and their trainers/handlers attend the contest each year to see who would win the title of Top Dog. They are graded on: Obedience, bomb detection, narcotics location, obstacle course, search and rescue, and the hardest hit competition where they have to chase someone in a padded protective suit to see witch dog has the most force.