Last chapter. Thanks to all the guests and everyone I couldn't get back to in a PM. Permanent photo for Stormy Weather will be the rainbow over the Honolulu Hale, which was featured in chapter 2. Thanks for reading and reviewing. Season 3 is just around the corner! - Qweb
Chapter 21 — Return of the Brilliant Detective
The roar of the wind was as loud as a freight train and growing louder as the tornado swept toward them.
"What do we do?" Kono asked. They were out in the open with nowhere to take cover but a house that was on fire or a house that was full of goons with guns.
"Get down in the ditch!" Steve yelled. "Stay flat!"
Dragging their prisoners with them, the Five-0 team and their SWAT allies threw themselves down in the creek, which, of course, was half full of muddy water because of all the RAIN! Hail the size of macadamia nuts pelted down on their backs. Danny was glad of his bulletproof vest and envied the SWAT team their helmets. He covered his head and neck with his hands and prayed that the tornado wouldn't pick up Steve's rolling armory and drop it on their heads.
The tornado roared past, flinging a picnic table over their heads without touching the fence beside it. The picnic table crashed through the roof of the burning bunkhouse, letting in the hail to cool the fire.
The 20-foot-wide path of destruction missed the officers but ripped the roof off the suspect's lanai and threw it into the side of the main house, smashing all the windows on that side and tearing a gash in the roof.
As the noise died down, Chin heard Danny swearing steadily to himself.
"You all right?" Chin asked, remembering his friend's injuries.
"Peachy," Danny replied. "This is the third set of clothes I've ruined this week! And I think I just crushed Gabby's cell phone."
As the cops rose cautiously from the ditch, Danny had to grin at Steve who had face-planted in a juicy patch of mud. The hail had turned back to rain, which was rinsing off the mud in streaks like warpaint. To Danny it looked funny. To strangers he thought it would probably look fierce, particularly considering the furious expression on Steve's face. Danny wondered if it would enhance McGarrett's fearsome reputation.
And then the brilliant detective had a wonderfully fiendish idea.
Through the broken windows, the officers could hear the mastermind and his henchmen sorting themselves out. They seemed to have no idea what had hit them.
With hand gestures and quiet orders over the com, Steve quickly sent the assault team into position. Chin was poised with the gas grenade launcher. SWAT officers beside the broken windows had flash-bangs at the ready. Aku hefted the battering ram for the front door.
"Let me call them out, Steve," Danny said.
Steve hesitated. He hated to give the suspects warning, but everyone was in place. The attack would succeed one way or another. He nodded.
Danny took Aku's bullhorn. "You in the house. This is Five-0. Throw out your weapons and come out with your hands on your heads — or do you want another taste of Commander McGarrett's Vortex Cannon?"
Vortex Cannon? Steve mouthed with a look on his face that Danny wished he could photograph. It was a mix of Constipation Face and My Partner Belongs in a Straightjacket Face.
Kono stifled a giggle and Chin Ho didn't try to hide his grin.
"Hey, babe, if you've got a reputation, you might as well flaunt it," Danny told his partner. Then into the bullhorn, he said, "You've got two minutes!"
Through the glassless windows, the waiting officers heard a flurry of worried whispers. "He said Five-0." "That's McGarrett out there, everyone knows he's crazy."
"There's no such thing as a Vortex Cannon!" the leader yelled in exasperation, but his more superstitious henchmen weren't so sure.
"McGarrett's a Navy SEAL. They've got all kinds of secret weapons."
"We're not surrendering!" the leader said, sounding more and more like a petulant teenager. "We're not …" His tirade cut off with a grunt.
"Hey! Five-0!" shouted a gravelly voice from inside. "Don't shoot. We're coming out!"
"I can't believe that worked!" Steve muttered, as he took the bullhorn from his preening partner. "Throw out your weapons," Steve ordered.
The front door opened cautiously and a hailstorm of handguns flew out.
"Now come out, hands on your heads."
One man obeyed, slinking out with both hands on the top of his skull. Two men half-obeyed, putting one hand each on their heads while using the others to drag their unconscious leader outside.
He was a petulant teenager, Danny thought. Or maybe a petulant college student.
"This is a little bit of a letdown," Kono commented, resting the butt of her rifle on her hip, as she looked down at the fearsome Moriarty.
Not yet 30, the young man lying in the wet grass was no taller than Danny and as skinny as a yardstick. He had the high, slightly bulging forehead that represented genius in Saturday morning cartoons, but otherwise was entirely unimpressive.
The officers rounded up the surviving goons and confined them and the recovering Moriarty under guard in an undamaged section of the main house. Five-0 had a few chores to take care of before questioning Moriarty. There was a fire to douse, wounds to tend to, bodies to cover and evidence to protect — and, of course, suspects to intimidate.
Steve had taken Danny's comment about his reputation to heart, so he let Moriarty sweat. Every few minutes, he would pace past, scowling in the door at the prisoners. Each time he passed, he had a different weapon in hand, some from his Silverado's arsenal and some from the SWAT van — a pistol, a shotgun, an assault rifle, a grenade launcher — each weapon bigger than the last.
"No flame thrower?" Danny asked from where he lounged out of sight around the corner.
"Knew I forgot something," Steve said, snapping his fingers with a mock rueful grin.
The goons grew more wide-eyed each time Steve passed and young Moriarty looked more and more uncertain. He edged closer to the big man who had attacked Kono. The Samoan was nursing a broken jaw and looked just as frightened as his boss.
It was almost a relief when Steve came in barehanded and loomed over the men. Danny followed, pulling up a chair and crossing his legs comfortably.
"Ruben Moore, aka Moriarty," Steve sneered.
The young man started, alarmed to be so easily identified. Steve had used his crime scene kit to fingerprint Moriarty while he was unconscious.
Connecting to the Five-0 mainframe, the scanner had found a match for the prints from a college misdemeanor.
Danny rattled off the Miranda rights, then pulled out his notebook.
"You are under arrest for so many crimes I can't remember them all," Danny said. He read a list that started with computer fraud and ended with attempted murder and murder.
"What?" Moore squawked. "Murder? I never murdered anyone!"
"You sent your men to kill the pickpockets," Steve said sternly. "Your men were killed in commission of a felony. That makes it murder."
"But you killed them," Moore protested weakly.
"Doesn't matter," Steve answered. (Though actually, he'd been the only one to bring his man in alive.) "The deaths are on you. Ricky Moon talked. He said you ordered the hit."
Moore looked genuinely indignant. "I did not! I wanted them punished, not killed!"
His friend with broken jaw nudged him sharply. Moore snapped his mouth shut.
"I'm not saying anything more until I get a lawyer."
Steve laughed, and it wasn't a nice laugh. "Five-0 has full means and immunity to get the job done," Steve said. "The governor really hates the impact this identity theft ring could have on the economy, plus he's already pissed off because of all the trouble caused by the rain. He won't have any problem if I get a little, ah, creative with my interrogation."
"Creative?" Moore said weakly.
On cue (literally), Kono came in carrying a coil of rope and Chin set down a scuba tank with a metallic thunk. "These what you were looking for, boss?" Kono asked.
"Just what I wanted," Steve confirmed. He shrugged out of his dark T-shirt and the captives saw he was wearing a wetsuit beneath.
"So, what's the plan?" Danny asked, as if he didn't know.
"Well, Falzon said something about dragging people behind a car, but I think the ground's too soft and wet for that to be much fun. And you guys made fun of me for bringing all this stuff, so I wanted to get some use out of it," Steve said.
"I've got to admit, the fire extinguisher came in handy, though the rain and hail had put out most of the fire. And the camera in the crime scene kit was good for taking photos of the bodies before we covered them with your tarps," Danny said, intentionally reminding the prisoners of their deceased comrades.
"And don't forget the grenades and the guns," Kono added helpfully, as she began to tie the rope around Moore, pinning his arms to his sides. "They were very useful."
"Goes without saying," Danny agreed.
"But as long as you brought the diving gear, you might as well use it," Chin said.
Steve leered evilly at Moore. "So, Moriarty, as God said to Noah, 'How long can you tread water?'"
"And after that, he pretty much told us everything," Danny told their guests. "We didn't have to do anything. He didn't even get wet until we took him out in the rain."
"So he really is a genius, just like the stereotype?" Dr. Malia Waincroft-Kelly asked her husband.
"Apparently so," Chin agreed.
Chin and Danny and their ladies sat with Kono, Max Bergman and Charlie Fong, who had claimed his promised beer. They were all waiting for Steve on the patio of the Tropics Bar and Grill at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
The tornado had apparently marked the beginning of the end for the week of extreme weather. The Waikiki skies were clear, turning golden as the sun went down. The tourists were laughing and frolicking on the beach with no ponchos in sight.
The crime lab tech had reminded Danny that he had been promised the story of the handprints on the poncho. This led the Five-0 officers to tell the whole story of the latest case, which they could discuss since it was no longer "active."
Chin told his wife that "Moriarty" really turned out to be two people, the math genius — Ruben Moore — and Malosi Taleni — the big Samoan whose jaw Kono had broken during the raid.
Subdued by capture when they had thought they were invincible, the two confessed everything. Well, Moore confessed. Malosi just nodded because his jaw had to be wired shut.
"They confessed everything?" Gabby asked, from her comfortable position with Danny's arm wrapped around her.
"Everything except sending those men to kill the pickpockets," Danny answered. "Moore said he only told them to 'teach them a lesson.'"
"He might even be telling the truth," Chin said. "Moon said the order was relayed by Pierson who did have the most vicious record of anyone in Moriarty's group. He was the sort who'd enjoy killing."
"How did Moore and Taleni get together in the first place?" Max asked. "They seem an unlikely pair, based on your description."
Kono explained that they'd grown up together in a poor neighborhood. The big Samoan kid had protected his smaller, brainer friend all through school. Ruben helped Malosi with his homework. Malosi stole Ruben his first computer and Ruben used it to find Malosi answers to upcoming tests.
"He helped Malosi graduate from high school, which was his dying mother's dearest wish," Kono said. "They are BFFs from childhood."
"They came up with the Moriarty idea together," Chin said. "Moore just needed a couple of numbers to start with and he could get into anyone's entire credit history. I guess he came up with something new in hacking. The financial guys are all excited about it."
"Taleni had had his pocket picked once, so that idea came to him. He recruited the leg-breakers and kept them in line with his muscle, while Moore provided all the toys to keep them amused," Danny said.
"The carrot and the stick," Gabby said.
"Our raid might have gone differently if Taleni hadn't taken a couple of his best men over to the bunk house for a poker game. He might have been able to control the men in the main house and mount a real defense," Kono said. "He's the one who came up with the idea of rushing us barehanded."
"You said they spent their money on toys?" Charlie asked.
"Guns and ATVs, videogames and surfboards," Danny confirmed. "They used all their mental and physical muscle to buy everything they'd never had as kids."
"It's really kind of sad," Gabby said, snuggling closer to Danny, glad his back didn't seem to be bothering him. "With a little support growing up, they could have been productive members of society."
"Moore could have gotten rich legitimately," Malia said.
"Yeah, well…" Steve said, as he came up to the table, carrying a bottle of Longboard. He looked grumpy when he dropped into the chair they'd kept waiting for them.
"What?" Danny demanded. "Why are you wearing Constipated Face? The case is over. The sun is shining. Isn't the governor happy?"
"No." Steve scrubbed his fingers through his hair. "He's happy with us. But now the Feds are expressing interest in Moore's hacking skills. FBI, IRS, CIA, I'm not sure who. There's some talk that Moore will be offered immunity to hack for the government and Taleni, too, because Moore insists."
"Immunity and means come back to bite us," Chin said soberly.
A smile suddenly bloomed on Danny's face.
"What?" Steve demanded.
"I was just imagining Moore working his computer magic on the bank account of the next Bin Laden."
The others smiled and even Steve brightened slightly. "Denning was so pissed, he said if Moriarty gets immunity, he'll make sure the Dipping Crew gets immunity."
"Well, that's something," Kono said, pleased that she wouldn't be deprived of peanut butter pockets.
"What about the rest of Moriarty's men?" Max asked. "Will they go free also?"
"No, they're ours," Steve said with a tight smile. "No question about that."
Chin elaborated, "The ones who aren't in the hospital or the morgue are already back in prison for parole violations. Once we sort out the attempted murder, assault, extortion, resisting arrest and weapons charges, Oahu's streets will be a lot safer for a long time."
"That's good," Gabby said.
"Are we eating soon?" Malia asked. "Because I'm starving.
Kono bounced up instantly, as if she'd just been waiting for someone to suggest it. Danny was right behind her, helping Gabby to her feet.
"We're not eating here?" she asked.
"No, but it's not far," Danny promised, rubbing his hands in anticipation.
Steve chugged down the last of his beer and the Five-0 group left the bar and grill. They walked along the sidewalk beside the beach toward a small crowd gathered by a couple of food trucks. The women recognized Kamekona's shrimp truck, but the other truck was new.
"That's not … but I thought it was wrecked," Gabby said.
"Kamekona knew a guy willing to loan them a truck until their insurance pays off," Chin said.
Max and Charlie headed off to study the menu boards, while the others went to the temporary home of Pick a Pocket.
"May I take your order?" Simon said cheerfully, as the group approached the bench where he sat beside the truck. "We've got a new two-truck combo special, Baja shrimp pockets."
His right hand was bandaged and two fingers were splinted, with the whole thing bound in a sling to keep it elevated. But Simon was happy because everything still worked and his wife was standing at his side. Darlene had bandages on the left side of her neck and her left forearm, with red patches elsewhere, but she was happily writing down the orders that Simon took.
She handed the ticket through the window to Kimo, their volunteer helper. Darren was at his usual place at the grill, while Kimo assembled the pockets and sides.
Simon got carefully to his feet. "Detective, I just wanted to thank you again for saving Darlene. You almost got killed and, well, I can't thank you enough."
Danny gripped the left hand that Simon held out. "I told you before what I need."
"No free pocket sandwiches, Danny," Steve said sternly.
"Me?" Danny contrived to look innocent. "I plan to pay for everything."
Steve turned back to the service window and bumped into Simon heading back to his seat. "Whoa!" The commander caught the wavering, one-armed man and helped him to his seat.
"Thank you, commander."
Danny walked behind the bench and took the handoff from behind Simon's back.
"Dinner's on Steve," he announced to his friends, brandishing the wallet that Simon had lifted left-handed from Steve's pocket. Steve slapped his pants and looked astonished.
"But your hand's broken!"
"He's ambidextrous," Darlene explained fondly.
Kono chuckled. "It's in the files, boss. Looks like the brilliant detective got you again."
Steve shook his head. "All right, pita pockets all around."
"And dessert?" Kono asked hopefully.
"Peanut butter pockets for everyone!" Steve confirmed magnanimously. As he spoke, he sidled over to Danny. The detective didn't like the expression on his face.
"What?" Danny demanded nervously. He tried to edge away but Steve cornered him next to the truck.
"Nothing, Danny," Steve said falsely. "I just wanted to thank you, pal." He slapped his friend on the back.
"Ow, ow!" Danny yelped and bounded away. "What's with you? Yesterday I was horribly injured and today you're pounding on my first degree burns!"
"I was just saying thank you for making me look so generous. I forgot about your sunburn owie."
"It was only a few sandwiches. Not like I stuck you with a bill for steak and lobster," Danny said in aggravation. Steve's slap had started his back burning. If it started itching, it would drive Danny crazy until he had to make a run for the lotion.
"I'm sorry, does it hurt? Let me scratch it for you," Steve said wickedly, knowing Danny's sunburn weakness.
The detective fled. "Don't you dare? What are you, 12?"
They dodged in and out, around the tables and between the food truck patrons, while their friends laughed at their antics.
"Twelve? I'd say eight at best," Gabby said from her experience with grade school museum tours. She checked her purse to make sure she had the soothing lotion for Danny's burns, just in case.
Kono rolled her eyes. "No, five," she said, thinking of her cousins' children.
"You've had experience with pediatrics, Malia, what do you think?" Chin asked.
Danny pretended to duck behind a giggling pair of toddlers, a couple of Kamekona's nieces. He begged them to hide him. Steve pretended to not be able to see Danny and ordered the little girls to hand him over. Soon they were all laughing too hard to continue. Steve put his arm — carefully — across his partner's shoulders and they started back to their friends.
"I'd say two and a half, tops," Malia said. "They're rambunctious but they're always so cute at that age."