"If we're clear on all the details, then I'll meet you at the safe house later this afternoon," Steve McGarrett concluded.
"Yeah, I need to get moving or I'll miss my flight," Danny Williams replied. He rose to his feet and shrugged into his suit jacket. "If the flight is delayed, I'll phone you, but other than that, I'll see you at the safe house." Danny tucked the airline tickets Steve gave him into the inside pocket of his jacket.
"Be careful," Steve warned him lightly.
"I will be," Danny assured him seriously. He offered a fleeting smile before leaving the big office. Steve could hear him offering farewells to the rest of the Five-O staff.
Slipping into his own suit jacket, Steve picked up a file from the desk. While Danny flew to the Big Island to meet a witness and escort her back to Honolulu, Steve had to meet with Walter Stuart, the Attorney General, in connection with the same case. The day after tomorrow, the 'trial of the year' as the newspapers were calling it was due to begin. Edwin Haliburton, property developer, pineapple grower and processor, multi-millionaire, member of Hawaii's society elite and close friend of the Governor, was standing trial accused of fraud, intimidation and attempted murder. Edwin was pleading his innocence in all the newspapers and his well-known generosity towards multiple charities tended to sway the general public to his side.
Chief witness against him was his stepdaughter, Melissa Glendinning. She had seen her stepfather shoot one of his rivals, a small-time property developer called Andrew Jones. Haliburton had offered to buy Jones out of his business and when Jones refused, Haliburton had embarked on a campaign of intimidation that had culminated in Jones' shooting. Jones was still in hospital in a coma. He was not expected to recover from the gunshot wound to the head.
To say Melissa was a reluctant witness was putting it mildly. She had never been particularly close to her stepfather, but they had not been at each other's throats and she had been happy enough to accept a generous allowance from him. Melissa didn't care about anything very much apart from herself, but attempted murder was beyond the pale, even for her. She contacted the police and only afterwards realised the danger she was now in. She had hidden in various luxurious spots on the mainland where many disgruntled police forces had agreed to keep an eye on her to make sure no one bumped her off. No one really thought Haliburton would try anything on the mainland, but now that she was back for the trial, Steve was taking no chances. Danny was due on the Big Island to meet her flight from the mainland and to escort her to a safe house on Oahu.
The flight to the Big Island was uneventful and Danny thought it was entirely possible – even likely – that he would return to Honolulu on the same plane. He made his way into the terminal and identified himself to security. Within a very short time, he was waiting on the tarmac as Melissa's plane came in to land.
The airline was very efficient was Melissa was spirited off the plane and her luggage – five suitcases – retrieved from the hold. They were taken straight across to the plane for Honolulu and seated before the other passengers boarded. By then, there was one thing Danny was utterly sure of – he did not like Melissa.
The term 'public servant' had never bothered Danny, but never before had he known it to mean that he was reduced to being a glorified skivvy. However, that was what Melissa appeared to think he was, demanding that he should carry her cabin luggage for her and reminding him that her taxes paid his wages.
"Detective Danny Williams," he said as they met, extending his hand politely.
For a very long moment, Melissa had looked disdainfully at his hand before she glanced up to meet the steady blue eyes. Danny had been snubbed before and determinedly did not let his discomfort show. After another interminable pause, Melissa put her hand in his to be shaken, but her hand remained completely rigid.
"Get my bags, Williams," she ordered, handing him her stubs and began to walk away.
"Miss Glendinning." Danny put his hand on her arm to stop her. Melissa looked down with the kind of expression that Danny associated with being the victim of bird droppings. "You must stay close to me for you own safety," he said, not removing his hand at once.
"Very well," she sighed, but her tone ably implied that she thought he was being unnecessarily cautious.
By the time they were on the plane, Danny's stoic mask was so firmly in place that he wondered if he would ever be able to smile again. His jaw was beginning to ache from being so tightly clenched. He guided his ward up the plane to the back seats and indicated that she sit by the window.
"I don't want to sit by the window," Melissa announced. "Or sit at the back of the plane." It was clear she had never sat anywhere but first class.
"It's for your own safety, Miss Glendinning. I'm afraid it's non-negotiable." Danny was perfectly patient and polite, but he wondered how long he would be able to keep his temper in the face of such determined rudeness for the next 24 hours or so. At least there would be someone else around during the night to give him a break. He kept his expression neutral while he waited for Melissa to take her seat. His posture informed her that he was not going to back down.
With a very bad grace, Melissa gave in. Danny carefully kept any triumph he was feeling off his face as he sat down next to her for the short flight home.
The LTD was brought to the front of the airport for them and Danny loaded the bags into the trunk while Melissa looked down her nose at the company car. Danny ignored the unspoken remark; he was on duty, looking after her. What did she think he would be driving? A limousine? His one small overnight bag looked shabby compared to her sleek luggage which doubtless bore some sort of designer label, should he care to look for it, which he didn't.
The prickles of alarm started as they drove out of the airport and on to the main road. There was a car sitting a short distance behind them. Sometimes there was one car between them and sometimes there were two, but that car remained in his rear view mirror. Of course, they could simply be heading in to Honolulu by the same road and Danny was over reacting, but something told him they were being followed.
How did they know? That was the question that had Danny worried. Melissa had not been flying under her own name from the Big Island. Dan supposed that whoever it was could have been watching the flight schedules for the name of a Five-O cop flying out and back, but the airlines would have reported something like that to them. Nobody else knew that Melissa was flying back in that day, not even her mother. Danny felt a cold finger edge down his spine. Was there a leak at the Five-O offices? If so – who?
Keeping his eye on the suspect car, Danny decided to take a detour to their safe house – one that would take them on a roundabout route and prove to Danny that they were being followed. He made the first turn and sure enough, the other car followed. At the next junction, Danny turned and then turned again, doubling back on himself. The faithful tail remained in place. Danny was seriously concerned now. He glanced at the radio, which was currently switched off, and wondered if he should risk contacting Steve on it. He decided against the move. If there was someone at Five-O who was the leak, they could hear the radio broadcasts without a problem, since the radio was in the outer office.
He had other concerns, too. If there was a leak, then the safe house would be safe no longer. He could not take Melissa there, but where else could they go? His apartment was out, as was Steve's. He couldn't put Chin's family at risk and Kono's place was not big enough to accommodate a cat, never mind two other adults. He turned back towards the more populous parts of Honolulu, judging that they were less at risk there than on the quieter roads.
It seemed, however, that his tail guessed what he was doing, for the car behind speeded up. "Get down!" Danny yelled, as he mashed the accelerator to the floor. He reached over and pushed Melissa down. He swerved wildly to avoid being rammed and a moment later, the back windshield exploded as a bullet sang through the car, exiting through the front windshield and shattering it, too. Instinctively, Danny ducked and almost lost control of the car. However, he shook the glass fragments off and glanced around. Braking suddenly, he swerved into a side road and down into the busier parts of town. Taking a sharp left, he pulled into the parking area of a shopping mall and slid into a parking space. "Let's go!" he urged Melissa.
"My luggage!" she protested as Danny yanked her from the car.
"Forget it!" he snapped. He kept a tight grip on her arm as they hurried into the mall. Danny led her to a bank of phones and quickly dialled Steve's private office number.
"Steve, its Dan. We're being followed. I've had to abandon the car and we're on foot. I think there's a leak at the office. I'll contact you again as soon as I can, but forget the safe house. We've got to go."
"Danno! Wait!" Steve couldn't believe when he heard the click indicating Danny had hung up. A leak at the office? Who could it be? Frowning, Steve looked at the phone receiver in his hand. Slowly, he unscrewed the mouthpiece. There didn't appear to be anything in it that there shouldn't be. He took his pocket knife and prised off the earpiece. So far, the phone checked out. Of course, that did not mean there was not a tap on the line or that the office itself was not bugged. Thoroughly alarmed, Steve headed out to find Che Fong and get the forensics chief to sweep the office and sort out the leak. Perhaps then he could concentrate on finding Danno.