Storm Ravaged

Chapter 22

Prior to leaving, Chin had plunked a new cellphone into Danny's lap with instructions to wait for Kono's call. It was an intended physical connection between the sterile hospital room and what was being done outside its walls. Any incoming calls or text messages would take time though, so Danny resorted between staring out the window and the clock. His breakfast tray was delivered, food was investigated and pushed around more than actually eaten before it was studiously ignored for the most part.

The morning dragged on and he was still sitting quietly in the wheelchair when Ellen Ramirez hobbled up behind him on a pair of crutches. Her ankle had been operated on and would heal to leave her only with a very subtle limp. Sneaking up on him, she balanced the crutches against the wall before placing a hand on either of his shoulders to lean over and give him a warm kiss on the side of his cheek.

"Hey! Surprise. I came to visit!" She had been released on Monday and sent home to recover. But Ponch had dutifully kept her appraised first of Danny's condition and now of Christina Hahn's missing status. Refusing to remain alone at the house, she had insisted he bring her that morning so she could be more involved. Now seeing Danny's forlorn silhouette where he sat staring out the window of his room, Ellen was very glad that she had. Her whisper held a smile and he was truly surprised to see her for the genuine happy grin which replaced a much too pensive frown.

"Ellen!" Danny hadn't seen her since their desperate time in the jungle when on the run from Madison and he grabbed her fingers off his shoulder, laughing when she hopped around on one foot to sit on the narrow window ledge. A cellphone sat idle in his lap next to his casted wrist and he glanced to both before smiling again and asking about her ankle.

"So?" He pointed to the cast which overwhelmed her foot up to her knee. The bruises around her neck were also still visible, but now fading to a lighter shade of yellow. "How's that doing and how are you feeling?"

"Me? I'm fine ... this little break won't keep me down for long." She was measuring him well enough though to pick out the fever in his eyes and uncomfortable expression as he tried to reposition himself in the chair. His chest obviously ached and his feet were awkwardly cumbersome until they healed a bit more to hold his weight.

"Ponch says you can be discharged once this fever breaks and he gets a better hold on the infection. Then a walker instead of this lousy wheelchair."

"Yeah," Danny nodded unconvincingly before gesturing towards the tray of food off to the side. "That and he's a demonic two-headed menace when it comes to food."

"He's only a two-headed menace when you argue with him. You need to eat and you know it. Don't look for any sympathy from me, buster," Ellen shrugged with every intent of compounding what her stern husband had instructed.

"We both understand that you don't feel well but Ponch has been known to use feeding tubes at the drop of a hat. And the truth is Danny, one more day of this and you won't be far off that decision being made for you. It's been days since you've had a normal meal and you've only picked at what has been brought upstairs. You're never going to get your strength back if you don't dig in and get over this obstinate, stubborn, self-absorbed kick that your on."

He stared at her aggravated face in a stunned silence which only made her shake her head in frustration. She had to remind herself that they'd both barely been back in Hawaii for three days. Saturday had been a race against the clock and where she had been operated on Sunday, Danny had finally stabilized. Monday had marked a significant improvement with a move to a private room. Then a terribly worrisome corner had turned as her husband had so described Grace's remarkably healing visit with her father.

It was now only Tuesday and he was still very weak and barely out of the ICU himself. His team was on a mission and he was stuck in a wheelchair or a bed. She still fretted though over his attitude and then rubbed his shoulder soothingly. "What's wrong? I thought you were past some of this after you saw your daughter and your memory came back?"

"I don't know." He did though as he sat leaden in the chair and dropped his eyes to his lap to study the square shape of the cellphone. It was obvious that he was distracted by whatever it was his team was involved in so, Ellen hopped off the ledge with one foot and then maneuvered herself to the back of his chair.

"We won't go for long because I can tell you're hurting already," Ellen suddenly announced. Danny's complaints were instantaneous as she began a slow, hop-push of his chair out of the room and into the corridor. It was futile for him to be anything but a passenger as she managed to aim them both towards the nurse's station.

"Ellen? What do you think you're doing?" Her answering chuckle made him bite back a smile as she pushed him crazily forward. A near miss of a parked gurney had them both laughing. "This isn't working well. Where are we going?"

The two HPD officers standing outside Danny's room slowly followed in confusion. "Uh, excuse me?" One cleared his throat in askance, but another deep voice got their attention before they could get any farther from the room.

"I'd like to know the very same thing," Ponch's voice boomed directly behind them. "What's this about?"

"We're going outside to sit in the sun and to get some fresh air, Alphonse. I need a bit of help though," Ellen replied blithely before blatantly staring at the HPD officers in silent demand. One officer looked to the other but before they could object, the big doctor was again intervening. He nodded in approval to the two men and then never hesitated as he waved down another nurse.

"Are you now?" Ponch teased his wife who was balanced on one foot behind the wheelchair. "Fine. But my way ... I don't need my favorite wife to rebreak a perfectly set ankle." She grinned while patiently waiting for his decision but rolled her eyes dramatically at the excessive hen-pecking demands when the nurse walked over.

"Get me Marco, another available volunteer or nurse's aide, plus a second wheelchair." Other requirements were established as Danny became the unwilling topic of conversation. Ponch was gesturing to his IV and then checking the time for his next round of pain medications.

"These two fine officers will also tag along with you for thirty minutes and no more; I won't be having things overdone so quickly." Without a say in the matter of his own short destiny, Danny was watching them in amusement until his cellphone vibrated and he immediately pounced on it.

"Kono? Do you have any good news for us?" Danny asked.

Doctor Ramirez and Ellen instantly quieted and the nurse that had been instructed to find Marco paused in the hallway. She lingered within earshot to see if the officers had learned anything about the missing TAMC nurse. Danny's prolonged silence made each glance to the other as he listened to whatever Kono was saying. Eventually, a small smile eked out and Ponch leaned even closer to catch his eyes and then waved his hands frantically to ask for more information. Danny's almost too bland expression told him nothing until the tiny grin reached his eyes.

"They have her? Is that a yes?" Ponch hissed hopefully at Danny who only glared happily at the big doctor as a way to ask that he wait. The quick nod wasn't enough either for the big doctor who was now almost bouncing in agitation. "Well? Danny?"

Kono was describing the first two locations and then how they had finally found the nurse at the third abandoned building site. "We're waiting for the ambulance, but Christina will be at TAMC within the hour. There's a closer hospital but she only wants to go there ... tell Doc to be waiting for contact once the EMT's begin transporting her."

A small gathering of staff had slowly encircled Danny in the hallway as he talked and he had to close his eyes to tune out their growing excitement. "Is she hurt ... did he do anything to her, Kono? How is she?"

He felt what had to be Ellen's hand on his shoulder as he asked that very important question and then registered the frustration when he only nodded to what Kono told him. Ponch was huffing loudly about the unfairness of the one-sided conversation and practically pacing a tiny hole in the linoleum floor.

"He knocked her out and she has a nice bruise on her chin to match the one from Channing's attempted escape. She's got a whopper of a headache. But she's more scared and exhausted than anything right now, Danny. She can't wait to get out of here and home to her husband," Kono happily added.

"Good, good," Danny breathed out quickly and then asked her to hold on while he let his hand drop to his lap. His face broke into a huge smile as he looked from Ponch to Ellen and then to the few new people were so anxiously waiting for word.

"Yes! They found Christina and she's okay. She'll be here within the hour." The cheers in the hallway were deafening as Ellen threw her arms around his neck. Even the two HPD officers tasked with guarding Danny received slaps on the back and some astonishing hugs. Ponch was beaming and he gestured to the same nurse to immediately find Marco and then David Hahn or even Officer Paleo with the good news.

Danny laughed and he could hear Kono's thrilled voice chiming in on the other side but she had more to share. Wedging the phone to his ear, Danny closed his eyes again and turned his head away to hear through the excited talking. "What else? There's something else?"

"McNamara asked her very deliberate questions about you and the case. He knows that Channing is alive and likely to rat him out; he also knows that you're safe and sound at TAMC." Danny winced at the news as he screwed his eyes shut even more to listen. He could hear Duke Lukela in the background. The sergeant seemed to be demanding additional protection for both Pete Channing and himself at TAMC as he caught the faint words of ".. just in case."

"HPD will send a few more units," Kono confirmed the concern and then her voice dropped. "Danny, I'm staying out here to wait for the forensics team."

His eyes snapped open at that announcement and he completely ignored the small group of TAMC staff who were milling about in the hallway so happily.

"Why?" His sharp word brought up Ellen and Ponch short in their celebration and they refocused on their injured friend. "What did you find?"

Kono paused and then carefully told him the truth. "There wasn't much at the first two locations. But I can prove you were here, Danny. I want to start at this site and then case all the others to collect evidence."

It was all she said because she was choking back tears as she watched Duke wrap a blanket around Christina Hahn. She wiped her eyes before a tear could escape as Duke handed the nurse a bottled water where she now sat on the edge of the police car. "Tell Doc all of this, okay? I'll see you later today."

Kono abruptly ended her call to Danny only to re-enter the cavernous dilapidated building to take photographs and begin collecting evidence. She knew that the dried rusty-colored blood on the chair and floor would be Danny's and it pained her to see it and know in advance what the forensic team would eventually prove. Her face was set in a stony silence as she readied the equipment she needed to hasten her own samples for Charlie Fong. She also catalogued her own folder of photographs as an HPD officer taped off the entire quadrant.

Ellen squeezed Danny's shoulder again as he dropped his hand into his lap. "Danny? Is everything alright?"

"Christina Hahn was forced to tell McNamara about Channing and myself." She narrowed her eyes and glanced towards her husband who was already calling security. Between TAMC staff and HPD, the facility would become a fortress until everyone felt safer.

"Kono has a few more things to wrap up," He explained and then tried to find the smile that he had lost from his face. He instinctively knew what Kono had discovered and she was doing the right thing to preserve the crime scene, as well as the other three she would need to investigate. But he suddenly felt exceedingly exhausted as he started to nervously tap the phone against his casted wrist.

For what seemed like the hundredth time, he checked the clock on the wall and tried to figure out if Chin and Steve had already landed or if McNamara was really going to be there. His mind raced through any number of possibilities and he frowned to himself. Things were definitely coming to an anxious close and he was lost in those thoughts until Ponch pried the cellphone from his fingers.

"Are you expecting any other calls? No? Good." The doctor stared down at him in a happy mix of relief and a mocking amusement while he pocketed the device. He hadn't even given Danny a chance to answer and he chuckled at the annoyed frown.

"Stop worrying so much; they know what they're doing." His kind words meant Chin and Steve, and Danny quieted for a moment. "Outside with all of you. Now. Just for a short time since it will do you some good."

Ramirez also appeased the two HPD officers regarding the sanctity of the small courtyard. "It's safe and quiet there. You won't have any problems."

Marco had jogged up to hear the end of the news about Christina Hahn and to see how he could be of help to Doctor Ramirez. He was just in time to get the beginning of Danny's rather frustrated rant.

"All? All of who? The two of us ... and Marco? Plus Mutt and Jeff here, and the entire United States National Guard?" Danny snarked back as he griped to Ellen and then made a motion with his hand to ask for the return of his phone. The two HPD officers had to fight back their own growing laughter since it was beginning to appear as if they were forming a convoy. Two security guards had appeared at the end of the hall and the swarm of people was becoming rather overwhelming.

"This is ridiculous," Danny tapped his hand on the arm of the wheelchair as he counted at least eight in the small party. "All of this for thirty minutes? It hardly seems worth the trouble."

Then he stuck his hand out again for the phone with a defiant look. "Give it back. They might call and need something."

"Inner courtyard and they aren't the National Guard, Detective." Ramirez was on his wife's side now as he folded his arms authoritatively. The man needed a healthier distraction and Ramirez had seen something - or rather someone - interesting which would additionally add fuel to the pleasant idea. "It's safe enough for a short break."

He grinned sarcastically only to shove the phone deeper into his coat. "No, by the way. I think not because someone else needs you right now."

"Phone. Now, please," Danny was determined though as the doctor pursed his lips when his patient missed the meaning of his last few words. The standoff was brief and the doctor snorted merrily as a small hand intercepted Danny's fingers. Then Grace appeared as if by magic in his lap.

"Hi, Danno! Can I push the chair?" Her question was almost shy, even a bit guilty, as he stared at her in surprise.

"Grace! You're supposed to be in school. Aren't you?" Danny gripped her fingers gently as they shared a quick kiss then looked up to see Rachel standing a few feet away. By her expression, they would talk later about Grace's frightful dream-filled night and early morning tears about going to school. She was overly anxious to see her father again to reassure herself that he was home and truly safe. Crying jags, contrived stomach-aches and a refusal to eat her breakfast had finally driven her mother to agree.

Grace smiled hesitantly at his question and then whispered the truth only for him to hear. "I didn't want to go to school. I wanted to see you." Her lip trembled as she waited for his reaction which was enough for him to pull her more into his lap.

"Just this once, Monkey," he soothed softly.

Grace gently wrapped her arms around his neck with a soft sob. "I was afraid, Danno."

"I know but everything's alright. I'm okay." Secretly, he was near tears himself that she had come to him, though of course, she would. He was whispering into her hair with his eyes closed as she clung more tightly to his neck. With only one hand, he could only give her an awkward, thankful hug in return then smoothed her hair back from her damp cheeks.

"Danno loves you Grace." She giggled and his smile returned while he thumbed the front of her blouse playfully before tapping her nose. "You're just in time to join me and Aunt Ellen for a walk outside."

Steve landed just thirty minutes behind Brian McNamara's almost relaxing ferry trip. By the time, the lawyer had found a taxi and made it to the airport, the two adversaries were only a scant fifteen minutes apart. The nature of Kamekona's prized treasure made it a perfect weapon; though it drew amused glances from the tarmac. Steve sighted a location with the tower that was safe and yet not in the more public view so that the two heavily clad and well-armed men were not seen easily as they disembarked. He descended by the farthest free-standing hangar with advice again from the tower that the jet in question was also in that vicinity with the pilot on the premises.

As promised, the sparkling white G550 Gulfstream was easy to spot on the opposite side of the hangar bay. A few other smaller, private planes flanked it on either side. The jet appeared to be far from ready to depart with its intended solo client. Steve and Chin approached the large hangar cautiously. The main floor was open to the air and a blue and white helicopter sat in its middle obviously undergoing some type of repairs. The mechanic was nowhere to be seen, but ladders and tools were strewn about the hard concrete floor in an order that would only make sense to him.

The rafters were incredibly high in order to fit all types of aircraft. A metal staircase in the rear of the metal building led upstairs to elevated offices and a lounge with small windows that overlooked the central bay area. Above the pre-fabricated office space was open air, attic-like storage space that could be reached by yet another short staircase. Even from where they stood, both men could see the over-crowded mess of different sized crates and boxes.

To the far left and just under the staircase was a small dark hallway that led to the back of the hangar and most likely to a rear emergency exit and lavatories. They studied and absorbed all of it but their goal was to investigate the source of the voices they could hear emanating down to them from above. The echo was confusing and it made the words unintelligible, however it was easy to hear that at least one person was indeed quite angry.

Unable to see anyone or clearly make out the heated conversation, Steve and Chin waited just inside the corner of the building where they were hidden by the parked tour helicopter. It took a few minutes, but they finally spied a blocky, broad-shouldered shape with hands that were gesturing wildly to someone also in the lounge area. His angry loud voice echoed down and Steve nodded in approval.

"That's him. He's here."

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