Hawaii Five O
Claira McGarrett was sitting patiently on the many seats that lined the arrivals area of the airport in Honolulu for Steve to finish his meeting with the airport staff one Saturday morning in July. Claira was looking in the direction of where she had last seen her father when she became aware of a young man walking out of the airport and trying to hail a taxi. She moved off her chair, checking that her father was nowhere to be seen and then casually walked outside and approached the young man now trying to pick up his heavy luggage and failing miserably.
"It looks like you could do with an extra pair of hands with that entire luggage you have there." She said moving forward to help him.
"Yeah, err, I guess so, thanks." He said pulling the luggage he had closer to him.
"Not at all, only glad to help out a fellow traveller, like yourself." Claira said putting her hands into her pockets.
"I'm not a traveller." He said looking at her.
"Oh well, okay. You're a tourist right? Going around the world to get away from your parents because their stifling you, yes?"
"No, look who are you?" The young man said watching another taxi sail past him.
"Claira Trenton McGarrett, at your service." Claira said holding out her hand.
The young man looked at the child's small hand and at first looked away but, then put his bag down and shook her hand.
"Michael Mark Piper. How old are you?"
"And you're in a busy airport all alone?"
"No. My dad is here talking to someone about something, I don't know what because it has something to do with his job."
"Well, don't you think that you should go back to your dad before he starts calling the police frantically searching for you?"
"I don't think my dad would call the police over me because my dad is the police. I liked him better when he was an international importer and exporter, now, he's just dad."
"Your dad's the fuzz?" Michael said looking around.
"A-ha. Do you want me to hail you a cab? I can see you're not getting anywhere at the moment."
"I'm fine…" He said starting to collect his luggage again.
"Look, the taxis around here are going to see you carrying the world in those bags and they are going to rob you blind. You go ask my dad, because when we landed here he was checking the meter every five seconds. I still wind him up over it every time we are at the airport for one thing or another."
"Did your dad tell you what you were here for today?"
"No. My dad never tells me anything because he knows that I wish he was still a business man instead of a cop, but that's my hang up, not my dad's."
Michael moved further along the walkway to join a queue for the cabs.
"Are you here on business or pleasure?"
"What? Oh, err a bit of both. I just want to relax for a bit, you know, stay under the radar." He said dropping his bags again.
"Have you got enough money? I mean, after the taxis take you for a ride you may be short of change." Claira said laughing.
"Funny, very funny."
"I'm just saying, my dad, my dad owns a warehouse in a prime location in the docks, Trenton Exports, everyone knows about it, it's massive. If you're interested, I could have a talk with the boss and get you an interview there."
"The boss? The boss being your dad?"
"No! Well yeah, look, it's a little complicated. My dad owns the warehouse since we moved to Hawaii, but he leases it out to John who rebuilt the warehouse after the fire. I could talk to John and he could interview you, if you're interested."
"What kind of work does this warehouse deal in?"
"Whatever John can supply. Sometimes its machine parts to the mainland, other times it's a storage base for the ships at the docks."
"And you work there?"
"Yeah, no, well, when I am not at school, that's where you can find me; well where my dad can find me."
Michael laughed and looked at her.
"I do need to hibernate for a while…"
"Is that a yes then?"
"Well, I can think it over."
"Great. I have my first employee for my dad's warehouse." Claira said flipping through her cards. "This is John's number, all you have to do is mention Claira Trenton and you will breeze through the interview." She said handing him a business card.
"Do you want a taxi or not, Mack?" A man asked behind them.
Michael turned round and looked at him.
"Yeah, yes." He said grabbing his bags.
"Don't watch the meter every second or they'll call you Paul Trenton." Claira said raising her voice and pointing to the meter.
Michael looked at her as he got in.
"Paul Trenton indeed, how do you like that? I tell you that kid is getting more and more like her old man every day." The driver said pulling away.
Michael looked at him then Claira waving back at him as he then looked at the business card in his hand.
Claira sat back down in one of the airport seats again and looked at the business cards in her hands as she went through every one.
"I hope you haven't been a nuisance and started handing them out to everyone." Steve said moving up to her.
She looked up and quickly put them in her pocket.
"Yes, you, Claira Trenton McGarrett." He said bending over to kiss her.
"I have been sitting here good as gold since you left me." She said crossing her fingers behind her back.
"Alright, I believe you."
They walked out of the airport and across to the car park.
"Did you get what you came here for all sorted out?" Claira said running to move in front of him and started to walk backwards looking at him.
Steve watched her walking backwards towards their car.
"Yes and no."
Claira stopped and looked at him puzzled as he move past her
"Well, what does that mean?"
She now caught up with him and drew level.
"It means what it's supposed to mean. I got some information that still needs to be checked out, but I also got some news on what I came here for, meaning yes and no. Do you want to get in?" He said pointing to the door of his car.
"Well, I was hoping to go to the warehouse today."
"Not with me you're not. If you want to go to the warehouse you can go hail a cab but, I'm not paying their prices because you know what I think about the cabs around here."
She leaned on the car and smiled.
"You know, I was just telling Michael about the time we landed here and you were checking the meter all the way from here to our hotel. I watched him checking the cabs outside before you came out."
"Thank you." He stopped and looked at her. "Hey, who's Michael?"
"Oh, some guy I met carrying a new life on his back."
Steve moved round the car and stepped up to her.
"Really?" He said opening the door. "You met this Michael while sitting in your chair waiting for me, yes?"
"A-ha, yeah." She said looking down then back up again.
"Hmm, interesting, how you can meet people and strike up a conversation with them while sitting in a chair that is nowhere near the taxi rank." He said taking out her business cards from her pocket and checking them. "Claira!" He said looking up.
"Hey, dad, it was just one card, and they're not worth anything anymore because that's not my name that is written on the card along with dads, as well you know." She said trying to take the cards back.
"But, any stranger seeing these cards would think that Trenton Exports is still a viable company, as you well know it is not." He said handing the cards back to her.
"Our name is still sitting high and proud on the entrance to the warehouse the last time I looked, unless you've told John to pull it down in the last twenty four hours."
"Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind in the past few months, now jump in."
"But, I was…" She stopped and looked at him. "Oh, I see, I keep forgetting you have your cop uniform on today, hence the yes and no at the beginning of this conversation." She said getting into the car as Steve closed the door behind her.
Steve drove out of the airport and into the traffic as Claira sat checking every business card she had had special made.
"Are you going back to the palace?"
"Yeah, but not for long, though. I want to round Danno up to check a building out for me and then we're going back to the apartment."
"Great. I can raid my piggy bank and catch a cab down to the warehouse. I'll get John to give me a lift back in the evening when he closes up."
"What's this sudden urge to get down to our warehouse that you're willing to lose all your money on a very expensive cab?"
"There's no urge dad, I can just guess that you're going to be busy with this, whatever today so, I thought I'd stay out of your way by sitting it out at our warehouse."
Steve watched her playing with the cards.
"Is this another one of your excuses you've just thought up to throw me off the tracks because, if it is, it's not working one bit." He said looking at her. "Danno can drop you off later when I'm finished with him."
"Great!" She said putting the cards pack into her pocket and adjusted herself in the seat.
"Hmm, something tells me I am going to live to regret this decision." Steve said arriving at the palace.
Michael got out of the cab in the north side of the city and looked around for a suitable room to crash out in. He soon found a room that was just within his budget and crashed out on a small dingy single bed and sighed. He then looked towards his belongings on the floor beside the bed and got up. He pulled one bag into him and opened it up to watch an official looking letter fall to the floor. He quickly picked it up and placed it on the bed next to him then noticed the business card that Claira had given him and placed it next to the official looking letter and stared at the both of them. He now went to another bag that held his clothes in and started to unpack them and put them onto the floor. It was a United States army uniform and Michael then lifted the mattress up and stuffed the base of the bed with this uniform and promptly lay back upon the bed staring at the ceiling.
For Michael Mark Piper was the man that Steve had gone to the airport that morning to try and apprehend because Michael had gone AWOL from his base in Vietnam and had managed to evade detection on a transporter plane carrying wounded soldiers to Hawaii for rehabilitation.
He now looks at the business card Claira had given him and then puts it on his chest as he tries to get some sleep.
Claira sat in the corner of the outer office as the door to Steve's office opened and Danno came out. She stood up and tried to catch his attention then looked to her father's office door wide open and quickly ran in.
"Well, am I going to our warehouse today or not?"
Steve looked up from his desk.
"With that attitude you could go to bed tonight with no supper, for all I care."
Claira stared at him then moved up to his desk.
"Dad, I need to get to the warehouse today, not tomorrow, okay." She said stepping back to the chair and sat down folding her arms.
"What is so important about going to our warehouse on a Saturday?"
"I just have to. Do I have to answer every question you ask me?" She said jumping up and moving back to the door.
Steve watched her then moved in front of his desk.
"Alright, I'll buy this attitude on the assumption that it has something to do with that business card you handed out this morning." He said folding his arms.
Claira looked back at him.
"Your expression tells me I am right. Who is he, Claira?"
"A guy who landed here and looked like he needed a job, no questions asked. Dad, back in LA you were always looking out for workers desperate for a few dollars in their pocket at the end of the week."
"Oh yeah, of course I was, the less money Paul Trenton handed out the better ha?" He said turning back behind his desk. "I'm a low budget exporter/importer that kept the kitty nicely boiling and if someone asked for more they'd be back on the streets the next day with a flea in their ear telling them not to deal with anyone but Paul Trenton Exports or else." Steve said watching Claira staring at him.
"We had friend's dad, friends like, like John here when we came to Hawaii. I know John needs workers and when I saw Michael, he…"
"Oh, don't tell me, you said your dad needed workers for John, like Paul still controlled the place."
"But you do dad, that's our name on our warehouse." She stopped and looked at him. "Dad, he's just a guy who needs a job, that's all. If you're so worried you can fire him there and then, all you have to do is call John." She said moving back up to his desk. "I'm sure you know the number by now." She said lifting the receiver.
Steve put his hand over Claira's and pushed the receiver back down. She looked at him.
"You know, it's a good job my kid is turning out to be an entrepreneur like her father."
"I try to learn from the best." She said putting her hand into his.
Danno now knocked on the door behind them.
Claira now moved to the seat as Danno moved up to the desk.
"I've got Fort Ruger on line one."
"Great, they must have some information about our AWOL." Steve said grabbing the receiver.
"If dad's going to be busy for a while, could you give me a lift to the warehouse?" She said getting back up and moving to Danno's side.
He looked at Steve deep in conversation then Claira.
"Alright." He said putting the papers on Steve's desk. "He's going to be busy with that bird colonel for the AWOL that got off a transporter this morning."
"Is that why dad dragged me to the airport this morning?"
"Yeah." Danno said as they both left Steve's office and they went down the stairs and into the car park area.
"To tell you the truth, I thought I was going to meet another dad, you know, how I met dad, like I did at the airport that day."
Danno looked at her and laughed.
"Claira, you know and I know that Steve is your father and the only father you will ever need."
"I know. It's just that every time I go there with dad or alone, I think of that day."
"Just think of that day as the day you met your father and the start of the rest of your life with him." Danno said pulling out of the car park as Claira looked at him.
Danno soon dropped Claira off at the warehouse and she watched him drive away. Claira looked around the large powerful warehouse in front of her as she noticed John checking some crates by a ship that was being loaded and slowly walked up to him.
"Hey Claira." John said flipping through his paperwork.
"Has dad got you working on this ship?"
John looked at her and laughed. "Yeah, he has." He said checking another batch of numbers. "What are you doing here on a Saturday? Have you been dumped here by Steve?"
"No, I think I have found another worker for the warehouse."
"Is that so?
"Yeah, some guy was at the airport this morning and he took one of my cards. You know, I have a good feeling about this guy John, I know he will work for dad. His name is Michael and I told him to contact you if he was looking for a job. I was wondering if you could give him a job if he calls you."
John looked at her as the crane started up.
"Your dad knows about this, or is this one of your Claira Trenton moments?"
"I told him about Michael, yes, but he wasn't interested because of his new job, you know being a cop more than looking out for new workers coming over to our warehouse."
"Well, where is the guy?"
"I told him to contact you; your number is on my business card because you have kept the same number dad had."
"Well, I can't see him till Monday. I've got three shipments coming in and they all need to be unloaded by this evening at the latest."
"What happened to the workforce dad hired?"
"Most of them have gone sick, you know being a Saturday."
"Have you called my dad?"
"I think I can handle your dad's workforce that is now my responsibility, Claira." He said moving past her and headed into the warehouse.
"Well, will you give this guy a chance if he calls?" Claira said following him to the foot of the spiral staircase.
"Your dad knows about this guy, yes?" He said looking at her seriously "Because I don't want another worker walking out on me and sighting me for not covering my arse."
"Dad would not be interested in one guy, John, besides, you run the show down here now, don't you?"
"I would like to think so; god knows Steve would like to think so too." He said looking at his clipboard, then Claira hanging off the stair rail. "Alright, if this guy calls I will interview Monday morning."
"Great!" She said jumping up and hugging him.
"I must be mad but, I knew your father so, I can't complain." John said throwing away his clip board.
Michael awoke early the next morning on the lumpy mattress and tried to move as he grabbed his back and remembered where he was. He limped to the dirty window and looked out onto the small sidewalk below him. He now turned back and looked at the lumpy bed and moved back up to it and found the business card that Claira had given him.
Steve was at the palace that Sunday morning meeting with colonel Halberd from Fort Rugger sorting out manpower and resources ready to search for Michael all over the islands of Hawaii.
"I want your men to co-ordinate with mine on the island Steve. This is an army lead problem but I appreciate all the help you can give me."
"I appreciate that Piper is your bag colonel, but five O is my territory and I want this operation to run as smoothly as possible with no-one stepping on anybody's toes in the process."
"I'll have my men draw up some kind of map to show you where my men will be stationed so that your men can rendezvous with mine every step of the way." The colonel said shaking his hand as Claira came running into his office.
"Hey dad, there's some big and mean looking men outside carrying guns in military jeeps." She said stopping and looking at the colonel with all his medals. "Wow, I'm sure people can see you coming when you walk down the side walk." She added moving up to him.
"Sweetheart, this is colonel Halberd from Fort Rugger. The men outside belong to the United States army currently searching for our missing soldier on the island. Colonel, may I present to you my daughter, Claira."
The colonel moved up to Claira and patted her head like a dog.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Claira."
Claira quickly ran past him to take a position behind Steve and hid her head into his side.
The colonel and Steve laughed as he picked her up.
"I get this all the time when I am on visits. It's the suit. I would look so much better in something you are wearing Steve. Then I would be more presentable."
"Claira would be happier seeing me wearing a suit costing a little more cheaply than this, if I know my Paul Trenton's right." Steve said hugging her as the colonel left.
"I've got used to you wearing the suits you wear to work every day now dad. You only wore the cheaper clothes because you were selling the company not your image, at least that's what you used to say before you met a new customer or employer."
Steve put Claira down and watched her move to the window and watched the army move out from the palace car park.
"Those army guys' really scare you, yes?" Steve said moving up to her.
She looked at him nodded.
"Well, don't worry, I'll make sure they do not come anywhere near you."
She now moved back into him for another hug.
Michael moved to a payphone on the corner of the street his hotel was on and stared at the business card in his hand and lifted the receiver and started to fill the machine with quarters. A police car now sailed past on the other side of the street which spooked him and he quickly replaced the receiver and lost his quarters.
He walked away from the phone and stood in a doorway trying not to be noticed then moved back out to the payphone and started again filling it with his change.
The phone started to ring at the warehouse where John was but as he was busy the phone rang for some time before he answered it as another police car drove past the payphone Michael was standing in as he was about to drop the phone for a second time.
"Yeah?" John said finally answering the phone.
Michael fumbled for the business card and stared at it.
"Is that? Is that Trenton Exports?"
"Yeah, who is this?"
"Could I speak to a Claira Trenton, please?" He said looking at the card.
John looked away then remembered.
"Wait a minute, is, is that Michael?"
"Yeah, I was talking to Claira Trenton about getting a job at her father's warehouse."
"Paul Trenton, yeah. Claira was telling me about you yesterday. You've got one of her out of date calling cards yeah?"
"Out of date?" Michael said looking at the card.
"Yeah, coz I run this joint now, not her father, he's history. You see the address on the card?"
"Yeah!" He said moving his hand to look at the bottom of the card.
"Alright, well if you can meet me there at say sometime after nine tomorrow I might be able to help you out."
"Well, if Claira's not there how will I recognise you?"
"Just mention Paul Trenton and I'll recognise you alright." John said dropping the phone.
Michael replaced the receiver and stared at the card again.
The next morning Michael made his way to the warehouse and saw the big Trenton Exports sign gleaming in the morning sun.
John was loading his truck when he noticed Michael walking towards him.
"I'm here to see Paul Trenton." He said quietly.
John looked at him and laughed.
"Well, you're a little late." He said then took his gloves off. "You're Michael, right?" He said holding out his hand.
"Yeah, Michael Piper." He said shaking his hand.
"Looks like Claira was right, maybe she is getting to be like her old man after all. Can you drive?"
"Good, go grab yourself a delivery sheet from that office over there and I'll give you keys to this baby once she loaded."
"Is that it?"
"Well, what were you expecting, the bosses daughter to wave you bon voyage?"
Michael looked at John then headed into the warehouse as ordered.
Claira jumped off the school bus that morning and met up with her friends and headed into school as she saw a Trenton Exports truck drive past.
"That reminds me. I've got to check in with John about my latest recruitment drive." She said running to a payphone and calling John for a progress report.
That evening Claira managed to get a friends dad to drive her to the warehouse as Michael was securing his truck for the night.
Claira jumped out of her friend's dad's car and ran up to him.
"Michael, hi." She said moving up to him.
"Claira." He said hugging her.
"Well, how did your first day go at my dad's warehouse?"
"Yeah, good thanks."
"You've got to go and see John and see if he's talked to my dad about keeping you on. Come on!" She said grabbing his hand and pulling him over to the warehouse.
"Claira, John's already talked to me; I'm coming back in the morning."
"Great!" She said still pulling him on. "He must have contacted my dad by now about you because I found you this job and dad's always interested in this place, it's our family name." She said moving through the warehouse to the spiral staircase. "John, are you up there?"
"Where else would I be in my warehouse?" He said looking down the stairs to them at the bottom.
"He always said that because dad pays for all the bills. Go on; go up there, I'll follow you right up." She said watching Michael go upstairs and she waited for a bit as she thought back the visions of the fire.
Michael stopped half way up and watched her.
"Claira are you?"
"Just leave her down there a minute." John said looking at him. "She's okay; it's just these stairs that catches her out sometimes."
"Catches her out, why?"
"This was Claira's home before it was burnt down. I guess you haven't met her father yet." He said as Michael reached the top and looked at him.
"Paul Trenton, no, I haven't, Claira said he's a cop."
"Is that what she is saying now? Just remember Paul Trenton is history and then you'll understand why Claira gets like this."
Claira now appeared on the stairs and looked at them.
"Well, did you call my dad or not?"
"Yeah, I called him." John said moving back to his chair and sitting down.
"So Michael is okay, yes?"
"He's perfect." John said starting to go through the paperwork.
"I told you and I told my dad too, so when he comes over here you won't have to explain yourself. Meeting my dad will be a breeze Michael, believe me."
"Yeah, I'm starting to." He said watching Claira getting excited.
The next morning Claira was running late and missed the bus into school. Steve watched Claira running around the apartment grabbing her homework as he checked his watch.
"If you don't hurry up, you will miss the start of school like you missed your bus this morning."
"No I won't because Michael is driving in this area today, as I checked the sheet last night while at the warehouse."
"That guy who was at the airport on Saturday. John employed him yesterday."
"Oh, the business card thing."
"Yes. He'll be here soon and I am sure he will give me a lift to school on time to catch the bell."
"You don't want me to give you a lift in then?"
"No thank you." She said stopping and looking at him. "With those military police on every corner, the minute they see you I won't get to school until going home time."
"You know, it's just one guy, so what's he done that you need all the military hardware of Vietnam in Hawaii these days?
"Because he's an AWOL and the military don't take too kindly to missing service personnel."
"Yeah, but dad, you're not military so why are you on edge too?"
"Are you in Paul Trenton mode today or what? I'm Five O and I'm your father, if someone goes missing on my watch then I'm involved, now are you going to school today or not?"
"I'm going, I'm going." She said grabbing her bag and ran out of the door.
Claira ran down to the corner of the street and watched for a Trenton Exports truck. Steve got into his car and noticed a Trenton Exports truck stop in front of Claira and watched her open the door.
Steve looked at the driver then recognised him from the photo that he had been staring at in his office. He then watched the truck pull away. Steve quickly started up his car and managed to stay behind it and watched as it stopped outside Claira's school. Steve stayed well back as he watched Claira go into school then looked at the truck pulling back into the morning traffic.
Steve then drove to the palace and stared at Michael's picture on the chart in his office.
Danno walked in and broke his concentration.
"Are you okay, Steve?"
He turned round and looked at him.
"Yeah, I saw him today." He said pointing to Michael's picture.
"Great, I'll get Fort Ruger on the line."
"Wait a minute Danno. It's not as simple as that." He said turning away. "Claira's involved and I can only guess what she's been saying to him so that John would give him a job at the warehouse."
Danno looked at him and stepped forward.
"Something about Paul Trenton, yes?"
"Yeah, let's think of this from Piper's point of view. The guy's on the run, he wants to keep out of the way of everyone, hiding his face from every cop or military figure on the island. Some kid comes up to him offering him a job in one of the islands many warehouses dotted along the foreshore. John is crying out for help from anyone who doesn't ask any questions and just gets on with his work on a daily basis. Paul Trenton was the same, employing anyone with no questions asked. Claira would do the same, don't you think."
"Yes, but she would seek approval from her father to be sure she has employed the right person." Danno said looking at him.
Steve looked back at the photo then Danno.
"From Paul Trenton, not Steve McGarrett." He said pulling the picture from the board. "If Claira was in the warehouse when she asked for approval from John that he had asked Paul if Michael was right for the job, where would Claira have to go?"
"Up the spiral staircase in the back, wait a minute, Claira hates that staircase because…"
"Because it overlooks Trenton's office."
"Wasn't that where Claira was when you went back to the warehouse before the fire that night?"
"Yes, where she waited for Paul as we were raiding the Chinese warehouses." Steve said looking at the picture in his hand.
"She's told Piper about Paul, because to her he's not dead, because you're his double."
Danno said looking at Steve.
"Yeah, and that's just where we might be able to trap him. I bet Claira's sold him so much on Paul that he thinks he's still around."
"Like Claira does." Danno said looking at him.
"Yes, but would Claira have told him that I was a cop?"
"No, she would have said something like you were a cop now but, as you still owned the warehouse…"
"She would have told him that she liked me better when I was an international exporter but probably made me up to be a cop…"
"To make you sound big in front of a stranger, telling him that she had an important dad which Piper might believe is just Claira being Claira, a kid idolizing her parent. To make her dad look big in her land of giants." Danno said looking at him.
"Exactly." Steve said walking back behind his desk.
Danno moved forward.
"Wait a minute, Steve, if you're thinking of becoming Paul Trenton again just to catch him, you must know that Piper is not a lost seven year old whose father just happened to have a double waiting in the wings for her."
"No, but Piper is watching everyone in case he gets recognised. Who is his only friend at the moment who couldn't even think of getting him into trouble?"
"Claira Trenton." Danno said.
"And where there's Claira Trenton, there is, Paul Trenton."
"If Claira see's you as Paul…, can you afford to risk that?"
"Claira will be at school and you're going to be there to make sure she doesn't bunk off."
"Yes, she trusts you."
"Steve, you're her father, if she sees you as Paul..!
"It's a risk I have to take to get this guy back."
"Personally, I would just call Fort Ruger and tell them to take a drive along the docks at closing time, Claira wouldn't be involved then."
"Claira got Paul Trenton involved when she handed out one of his old business cards at the airport last week. If I sent the army in there he would bulk and he could cause only more trouble for himself. He's unstable and Claira found something in him that might stop him from going over the edge and just maybe we could play on and get him to hand himself in, voluntary. If I can get him to at least drop his guard for a minute, he might just give himself up." Steve said looking back to the picture. "Can you take care of Claira for me this evening?"
"Yeah, I'll take her for a long walk in the opposite direction to the docks."
"She'll probably want you to drive her to the warehouse. Think of something to stop that from happening."
"Sure, I'll take her on a sightseeing tour that she's probably already seen more than ten times already with her father."
Steve returned to his apartment that afternoon and searched his wardrobe for Paul's old clothes then called John to tell him not to look shocked when he arrives at the warehouse as Paul.
Michael drove his van into the warehouses that early evening and parked up his van. He then handed his paperwork in at the desk as John walked out from the back.
"Hey Michael, I heard from the boss this morning, you know, Claira's father."
He looked at him.
"Paul Trenton, the guy we all work for?"
John laughed but tried to not show him.
"Yeah, that's him. He's coming over here later to personally say hello."
"Well, he didn't have to do that."
"I told him that, but Claira must have bent his ear over you or something so he had to come over and say hi." He said looking at him. "Look, I'm closing up, so I'll catch you later."
"Sure." Michael said puzzled but, moved through to the back and grabbed a beer from the tall fridge there for the employers to use.
Steve drove into the warehouse car park and pulled in to Paul's old parking space as he noticed John closing up the gates and acknowledge him. Steve now looked at the big Trenton Exports sign over the entrance and slowly moved into the warehouse and noticed Michael in the back and adjusted his cheap sixty cents tie and stepped up to him.
"I hear you are my new employee" Steve said as he watched Michael turn around.
"Err yeah, I started yesterday."
"I'm Paul Trenton, I own this warehouse we're standing in." He said holding out his hand.
Michael looked at him then shook his hand.
"Michael Piper." He said looking at Steve.
"Claira's been talking about you nonstop since she met you at the airport on Saturday." Steve said moving to the foot of the spiral staircase. "I'm sorry I didn't get to me you then." He added watching Michael move up to him.
"Yeah, well you've met me now, haven't you?" He said looking at him.
"Claira's like me…" Steve said climbing the stairs.
"Really, I didn't know Five O employed children."
Steve stopped and looked back then laughed.
"She fed you that line, ha?"
"What line would that be?"
"That her big international exporter dad is now a cop." He said starting to climb the stairs again.
Michael let out a big rush of air.
"I'm sorry, but Claira, she…"
Steve moved to Paul's old office chair and sat down.
"Claira is seven years old and misses her father, period. I do my best but, Claira big's me up all the time."
"That must be hard for you, running this place."
"That's why I have John and I just carry on with looking after Hawaii."
Michael looked at him then laughed.
"She's quite a kid, with all those business cards in her pocket." He said sitting down.
"That's all she's got left of me.
"John was telling me that this place was burnt to the ground. He said Claira and you were in here when it started." He said looking at Steve. "Sorry, if I've said anything amiss."
"No, no…" Steve said looking to the back of the warehouse.
"Claira doesn't like coming up here." He stopped and stood up and moved to the stairs.
"She was sitting in this chair waiting for me to come back. That's why she finds it hard to come up here. She thinks I'm still in here somewhere."
"And you had the new warehouse built to the exact specifications as before?"
"It's built to yardage specifications. We salvaged what we could from the old warehouse to save time and money."
"I can see why Claira dreams of you being a cop."
"Because only a cop would rebuild the new warehouse to the same specifications and colours as the original and salvage what he could from the ashes. You would have been better starting from scratch; at least she wouldn't be scared of climbing the few stairs."
Steve looked at him walking around the room then looked at the stairs and thought to himself.
Claira came running out of the school gates and stopped in her tracks as she recognised Danno in his car. She now casually walked up to him.
"Hi Danny, is the fact that you're here mean that my father is going to be busy for the rest of the evening?"
"You can read me like a book."
"No, it's just that when I got the message that you would be picking me up this evening instead of usually catching the bus home, I kind of realised dad was busy."
"Just for tonight, that's all." Danny said opening the door and allowed Claira to slide in to the passenger side.
"So when did dad employ you as a baby sitter?"
"When he adopted you."
"Really, well that explains it then."
Danno got back in and drove away into the traffic.
Steve watched Michael walking around the room.
"What did you do before you came to Hawaii?" Steve said looking at him.
"Well, certainly not trying to be this big international exporter like you are."
"No, there's only one person in Claira's life that can fill those shoes." He said laughing. "Seriously, what did you used to do?"
"Anything I could do, before the draft." He said sitting back down.
Steve sat forward.
"You don't know any other war going on at the moment that the President hasn't signed us all up to, do you?"
Steve watched him looking down.
"Are you here on leave and just getting some work experience until you have to go back?"
"I'm on leave. Claira caught me getting off the plane. I'm here for a few weeks and then I join my unit and start the fighting all over again."
"I hear it's pretty bad over there at the moment." Steve said watching him.
"Yeah, well you get your good days and your bad days all rolled up into one over there."
Michael stood up and moved to the window.
"John's locked up. I guess he'll want to lock this place up next."
"I have the keys right here so I have all the time I could ever need, being the boss." Steve said grabbing the keys.
He turned back and looked at him.
"Well, I better go because I have to be up very early in the morning."
"Your shift doesn't start till eight." Steve said checking John's notes.
"All the same, I better get going, unless you want me for something."
"No." Steve said standing up. "I'll follow you down."
Michael headed down the stairs as Steve turned the lights off and closed the door.
"What unit are you in?"
"When you go back to Vietnam. What unit are you in?"
"Why would you want to know that for?"
"Because, Claira will bug me forever to find out where you're stationed."
"Claira will bug you?"
"Of course, you made an impression on her. You must have realised that from the way she hounded you at the airport." Steve said as Michael watched him.
"She's just a kid."
"Yeah, that's what I said but she won't leave me alone until I have all the information that she needs to write letters to you every day."
Michael watched Steve close up the warehouse and followed him to his car.
"When I next see Claira I will give her all the information she needs to write to me when I am back in Vietnam."
"Alright, well, I am, just warning you because you won't hear the last of it until you do."
"Maybe it's Claira who wants to be a cop when she grows up." Michael said looking at Steve.
"When Claira told me at the airport that you were a cop. Maybe in secret she might want to be a cop when she grows up because you're this big international exporter with your name in lights over this newly built warehouse. Maybe she wants to succeed where you have failed."
Steve watched him then looked at the Trenton sign lighting up the foreshore for all to see as he now wished that one of the bulbs would fail. He now looked back to Michael walking away.
"Where are you going?"
"Haven't you got a vehicle?"
"No, not at the moment."
"Well, at least let me give you a lift back to your place."
"No thanks, I like the air, tonight."
"Come on, what employer doesn't offer their workers a ride home?"
Michael stepped back and looked at him then the car and nodded.
"Alright." Steve said watching him getting in and starting up the engine. "Where do you live?"
"In a hotel on the east side of town."
Steve looked at him.
"The east side of town?"
"That's not a very popular area for draftees."
"Well, I am not a very popular draftee, Mr Trenton. I haven't got the money for the Ritz at the moment."
"Well, I know my pay isn't the best in Hawaii at the moment but I'm sure you could find something a little more presentable than a room above a store."
Michael looked at him.
"It suits me down to the ground."
"Who are you hiding from, your girlfriends husband?" Steve said laughing.
"Funny, I should have realised that you were who Claira gets her jokes from."
"She's a Trenton, I know that much." He said looking back to the road. "Seriously now, if you would like some advice, the east side is trouble, especially for a young man like yourself."
"I can handle myself pretty well and I will report for work at 8 tomorrow morning, don't you worry about that." He said looking at him.
Steve dropped Michael off on the corner by the payphone and watched him disappear into a building and made a note of the address.
He pulled away and turned into a side street and pulled over. He looked at himself in the rear view mirror and took the tie he was wearing off.
"No offence Paul but, your dead and I would like to keep it that way." He said taking off his jacket and throwing it into the back seat.
Danno reached Steve's apartment just as it got dark and let Claira out of the driver's side.
"You know, I'm glad I have no homework tonight because it is getting close to my bed time and dad would kill me." She said watching him close the door. "I mean, where has he been all this time?" She said looking at her watch.
"He just said he had to take care of some work and asked me to look after you for the evening." Danno said looking at her.
At that moment Steve pulled into the car park and stopped beside Claira looking at him.
Steve smiled at Claira then looked at Danno looking at his watch.
"I know, I know, I lost track of time."
"You've lost your jacket and tie too, dad, where have you been?" She said moving into Steve for a hug.
"Working, didn't Danno tell you?"
"Well, what kind of work do you have to do that takes all evening? No offence to Danny, but I was getting bored seeing the sights of Honolulu I saw with my dad when we first landed here."
"I told you she would be grumpy." Danny said looking at Steve.
"Well, what do you expect, dad it's, it's nearly bedtime for me."
"I'm here now, aren't I?" Steve said kissing her.
"How did the work go?"
"I'll tell you in the morning. I have a child to put to bed." Steve said picking Claira up and taking her inside the apartment block. "Did Danno buy you dinner?"
"Yeah, he did."
"Good, no homework I hope."
Steve opened the door to the apartment and walked in putting Claira down as she moved into Steve.
"What's the matter?"
"The last time you were without a jacket and tie, you, you…"
He kissed her.
"There's nothing to be worried about, your dad's just a sloppy eater, that's all. Go and sit down while I go and change."
"Change into whom, my dad?" Claira said walking away as he looked at her.
"Do you want to go straight to your bedroom right now?"
"No." She said looking at him sheepishly.
"Then wait there." He said going into his bedroom as he noticed Paul's clothes on his bed and quickly collected them up and put them in the wash basket and grabbed a jacket from his wardrobe.
Claira grabbed the remote from the table and sat back turning the TV on and channel hopping until she found a cartoons channel.
Steve came out of his bedroom and went into the kitchen and made himself a light meal and walked back out carrying a glass of wine.
"I thought you said you had dinner." Claira said watching him sit down next to her.
"It's just a light snack. I've been in a meeting all evening."
"You could have at least had a beer, seeing you walked in like my dad this evening."
"Keep it up Claira and you'll be explaining to your teacher why you have wine over your shirt in the morning." He said watching her.
"I hate it when you have to work late. Danno has no imagination to try and fill in a few hours and when you come home looking like dad, what, what do you expect me to think?"
"I'm sorry, but I'm a cop and at the moment the place is on high alert because of the AWOL on the island."
"He could have flown to LA by now. You don't even know if he is on the island or what he is doing."
Steve looked at her.
"Oh, he's here on the island and we know what he is doing alright and when it's time he will be caught and sent to Fort Ruger for processing."
"So, you've seen him then?"
"Yes, I have seen him."
"Great, go get him dad, I knew you would find him first." She said hugging him as he looked at her.
Claira soon went to bed and Steve went back to his bedroom and looked at Paul's old clothes.
Claira got ready for school the next day and caught the bus in which gave Steve some time to change back into Paul's clothes and drive over to the warehouse talk with John.
"What is it with this guy and you being Paul in front of him, Steve?"
"Claira met him at the airport last Saturday and innocently gave him one of Paul's old calling cards. Michael Piper is AWOL from his base camp in Vietnam. He got off a transporter ferrying injured personnel to Hawaii and Five O has been asked to find him and deliver him back to the army."
"So, you've found him, why don't you just call the army and let them pick him up."
"It's not as simple as that. Claira's involved, after she gave Michael one of Paul's cards. I am hoping that I can play on his soft side that Claira has found in him and persuade him to hand himself in."
"By dressing up as a dead man?" John said looking at him.
"You know how Claira feels about me being a cop, just hoping that a little bit of Paul has somehow rubbed off of him and into me, especially with me wearing his clothes."
"And has it?"
"Not one bit, but I can't help but try being Paul if, just for Claira's sake, Michael Piper see's sense and hands himself in."
"And you're willing to risk your child's own memory of Paul Trenton just to play about with this Piper character?"
"To be honest with you, I do believe that Claira found something in Michael that she sees in me, or Paul, I just haven't found out what that is yet, but she's my kid and I have every right to try."
"Try, but don't laugh in her face." John said looking away. "Steve, Paul was a hard act to follow, he was callous, money orientated, but a father and seeing you standing there as him…"
"I know I didn't like the man either…"
"It doesn't matter what I think of Paul now, he's dead, but don't hurt your own child Steve, this warehouse, what happened that night, it's what makes you a family. Why do you think I still work in a warehouse that has a dead man's name flying up on high lighting the foreshore every night? I eventually want to buy this place off you and at least that's one thing I can say in front of the great Paul Trenton without fear of having my head knocked off." John said shaking his hand.
"I'm sorry; I could come back later, if you two have just agreed on a deal or something." Michael said behind them.
Steve looked at him.
"No, no. I've known John for a long time and we were just talking about sharing out a little more work for him to handle." Steve said moving up to Michael.
"And I was just telling him that I am happy to take on anything he might be thinking of doing." John said grabbing his despatch paperwork. "Are you okay with the loading downstairs?"
"Great, we'll see you down there in a minute." John said handing him the sheet.
They watched Michael walk back down the spiral staircase.
"I think I better get out of your office before you throw me out." Steve said shaking his hand again and followed Michael down the stairs and out of the warehouse.
Claira was at lunch with her friends when they noticed their teachers walking across the playground pushing all the children to the main gate.
"Well, what's going on?" Claira said looking around.
Another child run over to them and grabbed their bag.
"All the teachers have walked out for the rest of the day. The headmaster is calling all the parents now to come and pick us up."
"Well, they won't be able to call my dad because he's Five O. That's why I am stuck here till tonight, unless someone can give me a lift to the docks and I can wait the rest of the day out at my dad's warehouse." She said looking at the teachers moving towards the gates.
Claira ended up sitting in the headmaster's room as he tried to contact anyone at Five O to collect her from the school.
"I can't get hold of anyone at Five O." He said going through the phone book.
"I did tell you, when my dad's at work, I'm at school and we don't see each other until the end of the day. When my dad became Five O it completely changed his life, well I know it changed mine."
"Do you have your father's number at the warehouse with you?"
Claira looked at her and grabbed her pocket.
"Give me it then please because I do not have time to call everyone in the phone book for you."
"But, he won't be there, I mean, he will but, he won't."
"Claira, I can't deal with your riddles today, just give me the number."
Claira grabbed the out of date business card and handed it to the headmaster as she watched him dial the number.
The phone now rang in the warehouse and Michael was first to answer it.
"Is that Trenton Exports?"
"It is can I help you?"
"Yes, I am Claira's headmaster, we've had a crisis here and I have to send the entire children home early and Claira needs a ride home. Is there someone there who can collect the child and take her home to her father?"
"Well, her father is out to lunch at the moment."
"Who am I speaking to, please?"
"I'm Michael Piper…"
"That's Michael?" Claira said jumping up.
"He can pick me up and take me to the warehouse to wait for dad."
The headmaster looked at her.
Within half an hour Michael had arrived at the school and collected Claira and started to drive back to the warehouse.
"Well, this is the first time I have ever heard the teachers walking out on their pupils." Michael said as he helped her on with the seat belt.
"Oh this has happened many times before in LA, you ask my dad when you see him."
"Speaking of you dad, he was in early this morning talking to John."
"He was, great."
"Yeah, it looks like he might be finally handing the control of the warehouse over to John."
Claira looked at him and laughed.
"What's so funny?" He asked looking at her.
"John already controls the warehouse, what made you think that my dad owned it still?"
"Well, Trenton Exports, Paul and Claira Trenton." He said looking at her.
"Paul Trenton is dead; Claira Trenton is my old name. I'm Claira Trenton McGarrett now, well maybe I should drop the Trenton part altogether, because I know dad would be much happier if I did. Hey, didn't I tell you all this at the airport last week?"
Michael looked at her.
"Claira, I met your dad yesterday for the first time, and he introduced himself to me as Paul Trenton.
She now laughed again and then stopped and looked at him.
"Is he there now?"
"Well, when I left he was at lunch, but he should be back by now."
Claira looked at the road and sat forward in her seat eager to get to the warehouse more than ever now.
Steve drove back in to the car park and noticed that Michael's truck was not there. He moved through the warehouse and headed up the spiral staircase to see John at his desk.
"Did you have a job come in?"
"Michael's truck is missing."
"What?" John said moving to the window. "Damn, something must have happened."
John looked at him then looked at the phone.
"There was a phone call earlier, I guess he must have answered it and decided to handle whatever it was."
Steve now noticed the truck heading into the car park.
"Is that him?"
"I'll go and find out where he's been." Steve said moving out to the spiral staircase just as Claira came running up and hugged him.
"I knew it was a dream and I knew you'd come back to me right where you left me that night." She said pushing her head into his cheap jacket.
Steve now noticed Michael climbing the stairs and looked at him.
"Steve McGarrett, I guess, yeah?"
He looked at her as Claira stepped back.
"No, this is my dad, Paul, can't you see that?" She said looking at him. "You, you are dad, aren't you?"
"She ran up here in seconds, did you see that?" John said moving up behind Steve. "That's the first time she's done that since the fire." He said looking at Steve staring at her.
"You know, this is a historic moment for Five O because I've never seen a cop lost for words and it takes a kid to bring them down." Michael said stepping up to Claira. "Come on Claira, I'll take you home."
"I am home, aren't I dad? Dad?" She said grabbing his tatty jacket and started to shake at it. "Dad, tell him, we are home."
Michael pulled Claira away and helped her down the stairs then looked back at Steve still standing there.
"And I guess you know I'm AWOL too, ha?" He said looking up to him looking down then shook his head and followed Claira out.
Michael helped Claira back into the cab and put the seat belt around her as they noticed Steve walking out of the warehouse and towards his car taking Paul's jacket and tie off and grab his jacket from the back seat. He now looked at Claira staring at him and tried to break her concentration.
"Claira? Claira!" He said shaking her.
She now looked at him.
"He's still your dad, although I don't agree with what he did, but this has got nothing to do with you."
"Yes it has, because I gave you his business card."
Steve now walked up to them.
"Claira, I need to speak to you." He said looking at her then looked at Michael. "I can take her back to the apartment."
"Do you seriously think she wants to be seen anywhere near you today?"
"How did you find yourself here today? I thought you were at school."
"I was, but." She stopped and looked away then straight back at him. "It was like being back in LA."
"What was like being back in LA?"
"The teachers walked out instead of the kids and I'm sorry I came here now."
"You don't have to be sorry, I should never have…"
"Then why did you?" She said leaning forward.
Steve now looked at Michael.
"Michael is the AWOL I've been asked to find."
"Great, well you've found him. Now, where do we go from here?"
"I'm taking you home." Steve said trying to release the seat belt.
Claira now pushed him hands away.
"You don't touch me."
"Claira, I'm your father, I won't hurt you."
"I think you better let me take her home."
"So that you can escape while I'm here, right? Well, I'm sorry but that's out of the question."
"Yeah, like it was when I asked you if I could see my dad after the divers had recovered his body from the water."
"Yeah, because your seven years old and no seven year old whether you my daughter or not is going to see a dead body even if it was for identity purposes."
"For all I know dad, you could have lain on that slab and have Danno identify your body, because you are my dad's double after all."
"Claira, please." Michael said looking at her.
"Michael said you introduced yourself as Paul to him yesterday, well now I know why you came home looking more like dad than you have in the past. Just maybe I need to see the two hundred dollar suit worn more often to know you're my dad than Paul Trenton ever did." Claira said snapping at him.
"Claira, you will get over this, like you got over everything else, with my help."
"I hate you, and I hate my dad for dying and the warehouse and this whole Trenton Exports thing." She said grabbing her business cards and throwing them at him.
Michael closed the passenger door and looked at Steve watching Claira starting to cry.
"Well, will you look at that?" Michael said looking towards the Trenton Exports sign.
"What?" Steve said still looking at Claira.
Michael taped him on the shoulder.
"A light has blown in that big Trenton Exports sign up on high, you see it?"
Steve turned round and looked at the sign with a bulb clearly broken and then looked back to Claira also looking at it.
"Yeah, I see it." Steve said looking back to Claira now with her nose to the window looking at the sign then looked back to him. "And so does my child." He added walking back to his car and getting in.
The following Saturday, Claira sat in Steve's car holding her father's tatty old jacket and looking at the sign being taken down from the warehouse as Steve is talking to John as they both looked towards his car.
"She's been sleeping with Paul's jacket for the past few nights."
"The jacket you were wearing the other day, yes?"
"Well, you know that whenever she puts her head into the fibres she smelt you, not Paul."
"I know, but it's just the principle of the thing, you know."
"Steve, she's moving on and the removal of the sign is a good first step for you both. At least I can get my own headed note paper now and put a more respectable sign up in its place." John said raising a laugh from him as Michael now drove into the car park and parked next to Steve's car.
Michael got out of the truck and moved to the passenger side and knelt down next to the door and looked at her.
"Miss Claira Trenton McGarrett, I presume." He said reaching out to take her hand from the jacket she was all wrapped up in and shook her hand.
Claira looked at the jacket then looked up as a tear fell from her eye.
"It's really Claira McGarrett, I just used Trenton as a link to my past, I guess, because, because I liked the name." She said looking at him as her bottom lip quivered.
"Yeah, but Claira McGarrett sounds so much better, don't you think?" He said opening the door and letting her get out.
She nodded and got out keeping hold of the jacket as Michael tried to release her grip from it then looked towards the sign now just reaching the ground as he stepped towards it and looked back.
"Come over here."
"No, I want to. Dad said stay in the car." She said trying to get back into the car.
"Alright, but I think I need a light bulb in my dingy room back at the hotel, and I'm sure that one of those bulbs in the sign will suffice my needs." He said moving towards the sign.
"No wait, you can't do that." She said dropping the jacket and running up to him.
"Why not?" He said watching her run up to him. "I don't see anyone named Trenton around here to stop me, do you?" He said starting to unscrew one of the bulbs from its housing.
Claira watched him.
"No, but it's, it's like stealing." She said stopping him removing the bulb.
Steve now moved up them.
"Claira, are you alright?"
"No, dad, Michael is going to take one of the bulbs from Paul's sign." She said stepping up to him.
Michael now watched her as Steve now picked her up.
"I think it's okay sweetheart because Paul doesn't need them anymore." He said kissing her.
"What, what?" She said looking at him.
"These aren't the bulbs I need. I guess this whole sign can go for scrap after all."
Steve now put her back down.
"Why don't you go wait for me in the car?" He said giving her a hug.
"Okay." She said stepping forward to Michael. "I'll catch you later, Mr Piper." She said putting out her hand.
"At ha, that won't do, Miss McGarrett." He said now pulling her into him as they hugged.
She now moved her head into his ear and looked at Steve as she brought her hand up to cover her mouth as Steve now looked away to pretend that he hadn't noticed anything.
"Thank you." She said now looking at Michael.
"What for, because I didn't do nothing. I just saw an old card at the airport one day and found myself outside this brand new warehouse with a tatty, burnt out, horrible sign that belongs on the scrap heap, that's all." He said and kissed her. "Now will you go because I need to talk to your father who is waiting patiently here for me?"
"I'm going, I'm going." She said then ran over to the car.
Michael watched her get into the car then looked at Steve.
"So, what's next for me?"
"I have to take you to Fort Ruger, I guess you realise that."
Michael looked down to his feet and shuffled them.
"I could have run away a few days ago, you know."
"You could have, but then you would have upset my daughter and you know that would never do.
"And I guess you can't…?"
"No, but Five O and the military haven't found you yet. Danno is still searching for you and the military are probably a few blocks away chasing their tail for the time being.
"Meaning I might call the colonel in the morning, maybe late afternoon. Maybe after you've spent the day with my family and when John is finished with you of course."
"Oh, of course."
Steve now shook his hand.
"I never thanked you for…" Steve looked at Claira in his car.
"I didn't do anything. You're kid just gave me a card, that's all, and I needed a job to tie me over for a while. When I find out where the military will send me, I will make sure a letter wings it's way to you because as you said, Claira won't stop until she knows I'm okay." Michael said laughing.
"Yeah, well I had to warn you because you made an impression on her that won't go away, and that's one thing I do know about my kid."
Steve slowly walked back to his car and got in as they now watched the Trenton Exports sign being crushed into tiny pieces and driven away on the back of a garbage truck.
Claira looked at Steve looking back at her.
"So…?" She said taking a deep breath.
He now took her hand and kissed her.
"Let's go home, ha?"
She nodded and watched him start up the car and pull away from the warehouse.