V for Vashon: The Daughter

by Mary Clare

No one paid any attention to the young woman as she moved quietly among the rows of graves. Dressed in black, she walked with her back to the wind, hair lashing her face, eyes shielded from the blinding sun by dark sunglasses. She proceeded slowly, searching.

Finally, the woman stopped before a group of three markers, all belonging to the same family. The first grave was the newest, not more than five years old; the other two had been there much longer.

The woman paused briefly to gaze at each of the headstones. At the last one, she stopped and knelt down. It was the grave of a young man who had died at the age of twenty-one. The woman ran her fingers across the curious inscription: "Murdered ... But Avenged."

No one noticed the woman get up and walk away. No one heard as she whispered into the wind: "This time, it will be different."

The tradewinds blew from the east across the Ala Wai Yacht Basin, raising small whitecaps on the crystal blue surface of the water. Steve McGarrett stepped from the cabin onto the sunlit deck of his cruiser and drew a breath of fresh air into his lungs. The morning was crisp, clear, beautiful. He allowed himself a small smile. It was going to be a good day.

While a fresh pot of Kona coffee percolated in the galley, McGarrett carefully set out in his mind the tools he would need for the work he had planned that day. He needed sandpaper, paint, caulk, and sealant. A recent storm had done some damage to the exterior of the cabin, and he had put off fixing it long enough. The Luana was getting so shabby that Sally kept threatening to refuse to set foot on the old scow. Even so, McGarrett noted with a smile, she had eagerly accepted his invitation to sail to Maui this weekend. Apparently, even with a few flaws, the seafaring life still had its charms.

Sometimes, McGarrett admitted to himself, he didn't know quite what to make of his relationship with Sally. He'd met Sally years ago when he was investigating a crime at her Waikiki nightclub, where she was also the featured entertainer. She had a beautiful singing voice and a special joie de vivre which infected everyone who heard her belt out one of her favorite Hawaiian standards. Off stage, Sally possessed a street-smart, wisecracking wit that had seen her through many hard years on the Waikiki nightclub circuit. She'd been around the block a few times, and she didn't particularly care if it showed.

Hell, I've been around the block a few times myself, McGarrett reflected. All he knew was that he enjoyed her company immensely, and he was looking forward to treating Sally to some gourmet cooking and a Maui sunset on Saturday. Besides, it provided him with an incentive to keep the Luana in good repair.

McGarrett poured himself a steaming cup and walked around the deck, inspecting the tack, rigging and other equipment. While going through his mental inventory of work he planned to do on the boat, he forced himself to go through a physical inventory -- of himself. He had been plagued lately by physical problems he couldn't explain, but today he felt just fine. True, his hands were a bit stiff and sore, which was not surprising since he had spent all yesterday replacing screws in the mainmast. All in all, his arthritis was not acting up badly. The side effects from his medication seemed to have finally disappeared. His mind was clear and his thoughts lucid. He felt sharp, energized, like he had turned a corner. That must have been the problem, he told himself. I just needed time to relax.

McGarrett finished his coffee and was hunting around for the sandpaper when he noticed two men walking purposefully along the pier. They turned down the wooden walkway and headed towards the slip where the Luana was moored. As they drew closer, McGarrett recognized the men immediately as Tom Lin, the current head of Hawaii Five-O, and his second in command, Jimmy Fiddler.

Tom Lin spotted him and raised a hand. McGarrett didn't return the wave. He felt distinctly unenthusiastic about being visited by the man who had taken over his job in 1981 when the new governor had revoked his appointment as head of Five-O. He still remembered Lin's impatience to move into his office in the Iolani Palace. He wasn't one for holding petty grudges, but Lin always struck him as the kind of boy whose mother had always told him he was very special, and who had yet to realize that mothers tend to exaggerate.

Lin and Fiddler approached the boat and stood there hesitantly, looking down at McGarrett. Lin finally said, with as much false cheer as he could muster, "Hi, Steve! Permission to come aboard?"

"Permission granted," McGarrett said. He watched as Lin and Fiddler climbed awkwardly down onto the deck of the Luana. It was obvious to Steve that neither of them had ever been in the military. Lin was dressed in a neat blue suit, but Fiddler had on a rumpled aloha shirt, khakis, and deck shoes. Sloppy, McGarrett thought disapprovingly. Today was a work day.

"To what do I owe the honor, gentlemen?" McGarrett asked, with only a hint of sarcasm. He accepted Lin's outstretched hand. "I don't get too many suits down here these days, Tom."

Tom Lin smiled. "Jimmy's more dressed for the occasion, I'm afraid," he said. "So how are you doing, Steve? You look great."

"I feel great, Tom," McGarrett said pointedly. He hated making small talk, especially with Lin. Too much politician, not enough cop, McGarrett thought to himself. Lin certainly never hesitated to criticize the old Five-O regime when trying to curry favor with his political patrons.

Lin drew in a breath of air, spread his arms and continued, "Beautiful boat -- must be nice--"

"Yeah, it is nice," McGarrett said impatiently. "And right now, I have a lot of work to do, so unless you gentlemen came down here for a sailing lesson -- "

"All right, Steve, all right, I'll cut to the chase," Lin said, exchanging glances with Fiddler. "We've come to ask your advice -- on a case."

McGarrett raised his eyebrows. He savored the moment more than he cared to admit. He put his leg up on the rail, rested his arms on his knee and regarded Tom Lin, a smile playing about his lips.

Lin squirmed uncomfortably, then forged on: "It's a real bear, Steve. We've got a gang war on our hands. Three members of the kumu have been killed already. Top dogs, too, not deputies. And yesterday, the head pake on Hotel Street went down. Chinatown's in an uproar."

McGarrett wasn't smiling anymore. He swung his leg down and picked up his sandpaper. "Sounds like a headache," McGarrett said. "But it's not mine. I am, as you never fail to remind me, just 'Citizen McGarrett' now."

"But Steve, I have reason to believe this is tied to a past case. Something you were involved with about eighteen years ago."

"That's your problem," McGarrett replied curtly. "I'm retired, Tom, remember? Retired?" Unable to hide his irritation, he turned away and began the methodical process of sanding the damaged paint off the side of the cabin. "Gentlemen, if you'll excuse me --"

Lin dropped his shoulders in frustration. After a few seconds he said, "I guess the name Vashon doesn't mean anything to you."

McGarrett stopped sanding. Tom Lin had his full attention now. He turned around, incredulous.

"Vashon?" McGarrett exclaimed. "Honore Vashon died in prison five years ago."

"That's right," Lin said slowly. "Honore Vashon is dead, but the Vashon crime family is back -- with a vengeance."

"But who? How?" McGarrett asked. "And why now, after all these years?"

"I don't know," Tom Lin admitted. "But Steve, I need your help to find out."

***

The best thing about becoming a father later in life, Dan Williams reflected, was that you never stopped learning. A year or two ago, he'd become the world's foremost living expert on dinosaurs. This year, he'd learned more than he ever wanted to know about airplanes. Right now he was trying to explain the theory of jet propulsion to his nine year-old son, Matt.

"OK, now imagine Kevin's an airplane," Danny said. Matt looked on dubiously as Danny held his two year-old, Kevin, in his outstretched arms.

"See, Matt, when an airplane takes off, the pilot fires up the jet engines," Danny explained. "Ordinarily, the plane is held to the ground by gravity. But when the engines start working, they make the plane go so fast that when the pilot lifts up the nose of the plane, the whole thing takes off." To illustrate his point, he zoomed a giggling Kevin along an imaginary runway and lifted him up into the air, making his best loud and juicy airplane noises.

Matt wasn't impressed. "Yeah, but can we build one in time for Saturday?" he wanted to know. "'Cause the scoutmaster said if I'm gonna be in the contest, I gotta sign up right now."

"Saturday, huh?" It was Danny's turn to look doubtful. Today was Thursday. Matt had a bad habit of waiting until the last minute --

"Daddy! Phone!" Six year-old Alison burst into the room, blonde ponytail flying. She jumped onto Danny's back and hung around his neck like a monkey. "Some guy's on the phone for you, Daddy. I told him to keep his shirt on, you'd be there in a minute."

Danny laughed out loud. One perk of being your own boss was that you could take the day off if you felt like it -- and the employees of Williams Computer Security knew that they called the boss at home at their own peril.

Danny deposited Kevin on the sofa and toted Alison back into the office he maintained for working at home. Since he left Five-O eleven years ago, Danny had built a thriving computer security business, serving a number of companies in California's Silicon Valley. The business was small but lucrative. It had enabled him to buy a beautiful home in a comfortable suburb in Costa Mesa, where his kids could grow up free from the crime and claustrophobia of the big city. They had good schools nearby, their own swimming pool, and everything else he could give them -- including his time.

Danny was a lucky man and knew it. He often joked to his wife Julie that it beat the hell out of working for the state. Sometimes, Danny half believed it himself.

He found the telephone receiver resting on the desk where Alison had left it. With laughter still in his voice, he picked up the phone. "This is Dan Williams."

"Dan, this is Tom Lin, the head of Hawaii Five-O," a voice crackled at the other end of the line.

Danny was surprised. He hardly knew Tom Lin. They had worked together on a couple of cases in the late 70's, when Lin was an investigator for the State Attorney General's Office. He had no idea why Lin might be calling him now. Cautiously, he said, "Hi, Tom. What's up?"

"My blood pressure," Lin joked. "Dan, we've got a situation here that we could use some help with. How would you like to come back to Hawaii for a little investigation work?"

"Depends on what you mean by investigation work," said Danny. "Tom, I haven't done that kind of work for a long, long time. I'm afraid I'm a little rusty."

"This is a special case. The Vashon case." Lin's voice sounded flat and tired. "You and McGarrett are probably the only two people alive who know all the details of that case."

Danny felt a sudden chill. He stooped down and let Alison slide off his back. "The Vashons? You're kidding."

"I'm not kidding," Lin said. "The Vashons are back in the islands. At least, that's the word on the street. We haven't been able to confirm yet whether it's rumor or fact." Lin sighed, then continued, "McGarrett has agreed to help us with the investigation under one condition: that you come back and work the case with him."

"Steve's on the case? He asked for me personally?" Danny exclaimed, thinking Why didn't you say so in the first place?

"Yes," Lin replied. "Please, Dan. We could really use your help."

Danny was about to reply when he glanced up and saw his wife Julie standing in the doorway. He wasn't sure how much of the conversation she had heard, but the bemused smile on her face told him she'd heard enough. Julie folded her arms across her chest and shook her head in wonderment.

"All right, Tom," Danny heard himself saying. "I'll be on the next plane out."

Go to Part 2

   
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