FRIDAY, JUNE 21ST - AMERICAN SAMOA (EVENING)
"I'm sure they're here." Ponch informed Ellen after the disturbing discussion regarding Danny's evident loss of memory. Working quietly together, the two had completely dressed Danny's injuries and had moved on to dry, clean clothes. Exhaustion had also clearly taken its toll as Danny simply slumbered on during their efficient ministrations. The now first bag of fluids was changed for new and he never moved for a second intravenous port in his opposite arm being used for a stronger course of antibiotics. The doctor was now studiously wrapping Danny's right foot in comfortable bandages as he shared his latest story. Clean socks soon followed, blankets were tucked and then the couple sat companionably to eat a late dinner.
"So, if I'm right, we need to be quite careful." His wife was sure he was correct based on what had happened. Her worry only increased as she listened to the storm and checked her watch. They had many hours to go before the first transport might arrive as scheduled for the next afternoon. If it could leave from Hickham and if it could be cleared to land. Much had to be coordinated and Mother Nature was fickle.
Before being able to return to his private tent to be with Ellen and Danny, a handful of new displaced people had sought refuge in the encampment and Ramirez had assisted with their initial care. They totaled five in number and included a mother with an injured toddler, an elderly man and then ... two very, out of place men.
Of the two men, one was definitely more mobile and clearly unfriendly - something Ponch and a French doctor noticed as he shifted his slender friend's weight and demanded attention. He had his semi-conscious colleague's arm draped over his shoulders and his free hand anchored to the man's waist. Ramirez considered the smaller man more of a boy really which made the association more the strange. A bedraggled camping knapsack was thrown over the taller man's shoulder. While his friend was wearing obviously ruined designer sneakers, he was wearing mud-encrusted military issue hiking boots.
Impatient and rude, he was clearly used to giving orders and being just as quickly appeased. "I want someone to help my friend. We were camping in the hills and got caught in a mudslide. I think his knee is dislocated."
That odd introduction had happened two hours ago and Ponch had daringly split the case work with the French Doctor Laroux by purposefully taking command of the more mobile, rude individual. An M.P. had lingered by each as a certain precautionary feeling seemed to warrant extra care with the two oddly paired strangers. Their entrance unsettled an already stress filled situation and people automatically were giving them a wider than necessary berth.
There were issues from the start. First, the man was loathe to leave his knapsack. It sat cradled in his lap the entire time the doctor examined him. He in turn, examined every single face in the tent with a dark mistrustful intensity.
Under the mud-encrusted jacket and black t-shirt, Ponch had found a rather nasty gash along the man's ribcage which had needed suturing. Despite a bruise on his forehead and a few other very minor cuts and scrapes, nothing else was wrong though. So other than the deep gouge, the man had been deemed luckier than his friend whose dislocated knee was reset by Doctor Laroux's skilled hands. This younger friend now lay comfortably on a cot, evidently heavily medicated and sleeping peacefully.
Ponch had attempted basic conversation and quickly found the first man quite hostile. He only could confirm the most basic of information with the registration desk; that 'Frank Madison' was American and on vacation with 'Pete Channing' when the cyclone hit the islands. As he personally treated Madison, Ramirez only learned that the man had a corporate job but did not say where. He could not or would not explain why they would remain at a remote campsite after such a treacherous weather event. He had nothing to say to the doctor's bland comment about the early warning systems and the community leaders who had been informed about the storm's progress. It wasn't as if the communities were wholly unprepared and citizens and visitors alike had been told what they should be doing to prepare.
"I'm honestly not sure how you would miss something like this. " Ramirez had stated with a bland chuckle as he stitched the deep wound. "You'd have to live under a rock."
The chuckle was definitely not returned and Ramirez abstained from more discussion. The island was so well prepared in advance of the storm, deaths only numbered three so far. Most people were displaced and soon to be forced to deal with the more prevalent problems related to lack of clean water, shelter and loss of power. As with all bad weather events, post-storm cleanup could take months.
The largest of all issues was more significant. If the two were campers and had stayed in the National Park, they would have been required to register and rangers would have notified them of the pending dangers ... if ... only if ... the Park had actually permitted camping in the first place. According to a local volunteer, her quiet whisper confirmed that camping was indeed prohibited. With some continued and very careful prompting, Frank only growled out that the lesser tropical storm had indeed surprised them and they'd made an error in judgement.
The big doctor towered over Frank but that did little to intimidate the man who merely wanted out of the medical tent now that he and his friend were cared for to his satisfaction. His only next interest was in finding someone with any knowledge of when flights might resume so they could leave.
So after stitching the man up and handing him antibiotics, there was no reason for the doctor to keep Madison in the crowded medical tent. Once Ponch was done with him, Frank briefly paid Pete a visit and then ducked out the canvas door to jog through the rain towards the communal food tent. It simultaneously forced Ponch into a corner he disliked very much as he watched Danny's abductor essentially run away without a care in the world.
Singling out a helpful M.P., Ramirez quietly asked that Frank Madison be covertly shadowed and kept away from the volunteer's private quarters. He demanded that someone also remain in the medical tent with an eye on the so-called 'Pete Channing'.
As he had feared, trouble was paying them a visit and after a fifteen-hour day, Ponch begged himself off shift for his own rest period.
He related his concerns to Ellen now that he was with her in their tent. As was his right, he had visited the makeshift commissary first for their own meals. On the way out, a quick glance confirmed Frank in a far corner with his face buried in a hot cup of coffee. The knapsack was under the table and wedged firmly between his knees; no one seemed inclined to sit near the imposing stranger. It was as if he carried a permanent 'do not disturb or else' bubble around his very being. Their eyes had met again though and Ponch recognized the nasty suspicion aimed in his direction. In an attempt to provide a cover, the doctor had merely nodded what he hoped was a friendly 'fare-thee-well' as he wandered casually away.
"They're here, Ellen. I'm sure of it actually. We need to be careful, but I may have tipped this Madison off by accident." Not knowing how many were involved with abducting Danny, he was hesitant to draw even more attention to the two men.
"He said there were three," Ellen offered. "The same three men." They were both worried that Danny could be wrong though. His confusion was of great concern and regardless, if three was a valid count, then one was still out there.
Though to Ponch it was becoming blatantly obvious now, there was also no actual reason to have them questioned or arrested either without valid proof of a wrong-doing. Things could escalate badly and more innocent lives could be put at risk.
"I think it wiser to watch them, keep a very low profile, and to wait. This guy Pete is certainly not going anywhere with that knee injury and I doubt Madison will leave him unattended. We can get Danny off the island when the first transports return tomorrow. Steve will be better prepared to know what to do after that."
Ellen wholeheartedly agreed. There were both pros and cons to what had just occurred. There were certain very good benefits to knowing where two of three criminals were located even if it was a bit too close for comfort. Out of habit, she rechecked Danny's vital signs and smoothed the blankets over his chest but she was really internalizing about his memory issues.
"He's going to be fine," she softly snorted to herself and wound up smiling without even acknowledging her husband's astute observations. She knew that he would be smiling his particular fond smile and it would make her laugh. It was their dance and he chuckled softly because he knew what she was thinking yet again.
"Good night, Alphonse." Unable to help herself, Ellen looked up and laughed. "You're impossible!"
"But ... you love me." Sly and laced with meaning, it made her roll her eyes to the roof of the tent. As expected, it made her admit the obvious and he was waiting for it with a genuine pleasure.
"I suppose that I do." It was their dance and she laughed more. She certainly did. Ellen also knew that he would be too keyed up to sleep right away so she collapsed tiredly onto her own small cot. She fell asleep still smiling and listening to Ponch's contented hum as he re-read through paperwork for those that were most critical in the medical tent.
FRIDAY, JUNE 21ST - AMERICAN SAMOA (EVENING to LATE NIGHT)
Ponch was right that he'd wrongly piqued Frank Madison's interest and distrust. As soon as the big doctor strolled from the tent and into the storm, he followed him a few steps until he realized an M.P. was tracking his movements much too closely. He cursed under his breath and his hand twitched from where it wished to dig into his pack for his weapon. The damnable doctor suspected something and Frank was at a loss as to how the man might be so wary.
"Unless you're here, Danny-boy," Frank muttered to himself as he stood idly for a moment in the rain. His slight change of direction brought him back to the hospital tent where he briefly visited with his cohort Pete who was sleeping blissfully due to a variety of pain medications. Wishing he could do the same, Frank sighed in disgust while he boldly stared down his military shadow. But they had both needed medical attention and help after the untimely mudslide.
Frank was in much bigger trouble if his employers learned that they'd lost the Detective much too soon. They wanted him alive until McGarrett was called to the stand. It was demanded that the Detective remain alive until the final word was given. Once that happened, all bets for the Detective's life were off. The prosecution planned to call the Commander early on to bring rapid closure to the murder charges. Frank was told that could happen upon the heels of the opening statements and to plan for Tuesday or no later than Wednesday of that same week.
The odd encounter with one Doctor Ramirez from Tripler Army Medical Center irked him and set him on edge. Standing near Pete, Frank looked around the tent but saw only local injured islanders for the most part. The occasional vacationer was obvious too and he realized that he did stand out from the large majority of those seeking refuge there.
There was no physical sign of Danny Williams and yet Frank felt he was missing something. The big formidable doctor was undoubtedly the key with his nosy questions and watchful ways. Biding his time and having no real place to go, Madison was seething inside as he waited near Pete for a few hours. He needed a plan or a lucky break. He needed something to prove his own suspicions right.
That opportunity arrived as he was beginning to doze near the cot. The sharp reports of a gun reached everyone's ears in the large medical tent. Madison lurched to his feet with others who reacted to the gunfire and screams which sounded from the direction of the food tent. When the M.P.'s were forced to break up an unexpected violent brawl, Frank took his chance and disappeared into the storm.
His only goal was the row of tents behind the large hospital area. He had lost Ramirez to this very direction long ago, but Frank was a patient, obstinate man and he valued his own life. Madison needed to secure the wayward Detective before Darien was the wiser. The big doctor's attention was strange and the fact that an M.P. had monitored his every move clearly indicated a concern.
Williams was here.
He felt it strongly as he pulled up the hood to his jacket and hunkered down in the darkening shadows to wait. Along with a satellite phone, the small box holding a vial and syringe plus extra zip-ties lay inside the pack on his shoulder. In the pocket of his jacket though, he fisted his black hood and caressed the loaded handgun with the hope that he'd need to use his special tools once more.
As new shouts came his way, Frank grinned at his contrived luck. Someone was looking for Doctor Ramirez to help with the latest emergency; when he stopped by one particular tent, Frank had his answer.