Danny stood with Grace and Steve looking at the helicopter that was being prepared for them. He didn’t know how Steve had talked him into taking this trip, especially since Steve was going to be the pilot. He looked at Grace, and remembered how. Grace had wanted to see the Napali Coast which her class had studied near the end of the school year. Grace had talked almost non-stop about all the different things that can be seen there.
One evening Steve had listened as Grace talked about the Napali Coast again. He had an indulgent smile as he listened to the avid commentary Grace was giving. After Grace had gone to bed Danny became worried, Steve had that, ‘I have a plan’ face which usually meant trouble for Danny. He was right; the difference was that the plan didn’t involve bullets and explosions this time. Steve’s plan involved a friend who would fly them to Kauai where the three would stay for a couple of nights so they could take both an aerial and boat tour of the Napali Coast. Then they would be camping at the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park. Danny agreed for two reasons, one, they could drive to the camp, and two, Steve did know what he was doing despite anything he said to be contrary. Well, Grace also used the puppy dog eyes and Danny just can’t say no to those. The cost would be minimal since Steve’s friend flew to Kauai every other day making deliveries and picking up merchandise. The ride would be a little crowded but bearable since it was free. Chin and Kono knew the owner of a Bed and Breakfast in Koloa. Steve and Danny received a nice discount on a two bedroom suite. The only real cost was the two tours which Steve insisted on paying for most of it since it was his idea. Between being a SEAL and in Navel Intelligence, read covert ops, Steve had been paid very well, and invested wisely. He had never had anyone to spend the money on before and wanted to treat his family. The cost for the aerial tour was minimal, since Steve would be doing the flying. His friend knew the owner of Kauai Air Tours and arranged for them to rent a chopper to Steve.
Danny focused on Grace again who was bouncing she was so excited as well as asking Steve lots of questions about helicopters, Steve’s ability to fly one, how hard it was to learn and more. Danny smiled indulgently at his daughter while he continued being impressed with Steve’s patience in answering her many questions thoroughly at a level that she could understand. He focused on the conversation.
Steve was speaking as he looked from Grace to the helicopter. “I think they’re almost ready for us. I hope you packed everything I told you in your backpack.”
“I did ΄Anakala Steve. I have food, water, a flashlight and the special knife you gave me. Why do we need all of this stuff if it’s just a tour?” Danny wanted to know that too.
Steve crouched down so that he could look Grace in the eye. “Well, Leia, I was always taught to be prepared for anything when I was a SEAL. There’s always a chance that something bad can happen. That doesn’t mean that I believe anything will happen, but it’s better to be prepared than caught short. Also, the place we are going to have our picnic requires a small hike. Having the bags packed and ready to go makes things much more efficient. That reminds me let me take a look at your bag to make sure that it’s properly balanced. A balanced bag makes it easier and less stressful to carry.”
Grace smiled satisfied with the answer watching him rearrange her bag quickly and efficiently. “What’s in your bag ΄Anakala Steve?”
“I have food, water, my own knife, water purifying tablets, some MRI’s, some space blankets and a first-aid kit.” He reached behind his bag, grabbing another one to hand it to Danny. “I made a bag for Danno too so he wouldn’t feel left out.”
Danny took the bag glaring at his partner while Grace giggled. “Thanks Steve, you’re a pal.”
Steve smiled; he noticed something out of the corner of his eye and turned to see one of the ground crew headed their way. “Well, looks like it’s time to go.”
The man introduced himself as he offered Steve his hand. “Aloha, I’m Kekipi Chee. The helicopter is ready to go when you are; I just need to see your pilot’s license please.”
Steve shook his hand before pulling out his license. “I’m Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett; this is my partner, Detective Danny Williams and his daughter Grace. Here's my license and a copy of the route we will be taking.”
Mr. Chee shook both their hands. “It’s a pleasure to meet you both. I will be right back; I just need to make a copy of your license Commander.”
“Of course, I understand.” Steve looked at Grace and Danny. “I think it would be a good idea to use the facilities here before we go. We’ll be in the chopper for more than an hour. I’ll wait while the two of you go, than I can go. I still need to get my license back anyway.”
Danny appreciated Steve’s ruse to make sure that Grace wasn’t left alone waiting for the two men to finish in the restroom. “You heard the man, Monkey; let’s go before he leaves us behind.”
Grace looked up at Steve curiously. “I would never leave you behind Gracie. Danny on the other hand is another matter.” He winked at her.
She giggled. The first time the three of them had spent together, Grace didn’t know how to take the men’s interaction, now she found it funny. “Come on Dad. I wouldn’t want him to leave you behind while we had all the fun.”
Danny sputtered before pointing a finger at Steve. “This is your entire fault. You have turned my own daughter against me.” He then took a giggling Grace’s hand heading for the facilities, leaving a laughing Steve behind.
Mr. Chee rejoined Steve as Danny and Grace walked off. “Here is your license back Commander. Your friend Makani has good things to say about you. We’ve also heard about the Five-0 task force here on our humble island.”
“I’m not sure if I should be concerned about what Makani said or not.” The two men smiled. Steve looked to the restrooms. “I have a good team to work with every day. They help make Five-0 the success it is today.”
Chee nodded. “I hear that. I appreciate you giving us your business.”
Steve noticed that Danny was headed his way. “My pleasure. Grace is looking forward to the flight. Well, I better follow their example and use the restrooms before we go.”
Soon the three travelers had stowed their gear in the helicopter and Steve was checking to make sure that Danny and Grace were properly secured. Grace was sitting in the front seat next to Steve with Danny in the back, Danny of course and argued against this but Grace had been persistent and since there was no copilot the seat was empty. She wanted a better view of the scenery so her ΄Anakala Steve could point out things to her easier. The doting father gave in and allowed it trusting Steve to take care of his daughter. Once Steve was satisfied all were buckled in properly he went through a pre-flight check before giving the signal that he was ready to take off. The ground crew acknowledged the signal and returned it, with that permission Steve took off.
"How long will it take us to get to Napali Coast ΄Anakala Steve?" Grace asked as she looked all around her in wonder.
Steve's brow was furrowed while he tried to remember that detail. "I think about 20 to 30 minutes Gracie. I'll let you know once we get there don’t worry. There's plenty of scenery to see before we get there so enjoy it."
"Danno look there's a double rainbow to our right."
Danny looked in the direction his daughter indicated. "I see that Monkey. If you look at the bigger rainbow and follow it, I think you can see the pot of gold at the end."
Steve stopped the helicopter and hovered so that Grace could look closer. "I see it daddy I see it. Can you see it ΄Anakala Steve?"
Steve had spotted that as well but didn't say anything waiting for Grace to find it. "I see it Leia. If you really like rainbows we should go to Manao Valley sometime, its nickname is the Valley of Rainbows. It's not that far from Waikiki."
Grace excitedly turned to Steve. "Really ‘Anakala Steve? You think we can go there soon?"
Steve headed them towards the destination again as he answered. "Your Dad and I can talk about it Leia." He briefly looked back to see Danny’s scowling face and smirked. "Maybe it's something that we can do with Chin and Kono too.”
“Uncle Steve and I will talk about it Monkey.” Danny interjected knowing that he would give in. Besides it was always nice doing something with the whole team.
A short time later Steve spoke. “We are at the beginning of Napali Coast Gracie. You can see the cliffs to our right from here.” Grace and Danny were looking at the mountains in awe. Even Danny was impressed with their beauty. Steve continued to point out and name what he could remember of the impressive scenery.
They were headed towards the Kilauea Lighthouse. About halfway to the lighthouse, Steve’s attention was caught by a Pueo, a native short eared owl. He pointed it out to Grace. “Grace, look to the front and down towards the trees. You will see a Pueo, a native owl flying above the trees.”
“Why is it flying during the day ΄Anakala Steve? I thought owls only came out at night.”
“Except for this breed of owl, all other owls do come out at night, the Pueo are diurnal, meaning they hunt during the day.”
Danny snorted. “Figures, even owls act odd in Hawaii.” Steve smirked at Danny’s comment.
As the three watched the owl it seemed to fly up towards them and then towards a small clearing. Steve immediately became concerned since this was not normal behavior for the owl; when the owl repeated the flight pattern, Steve swore it looked right at him. The last time an animal acted in such an odd manner one of his units had been in extreme danger. He’d remembered the Hawaiian belief in a person’s 'Aumakua he had learned as a kid. So to be safe he had sent out a couple of scouts while the rest changed direction slightly. If he hadn’t, his unit would have walked into a deadly ambush. Remembering the incident he changed course and began a slow decent as a precaution.
“What are you doing Steve? I don’t think we were supposed to get too close to the trees.” Danny asked trying to mask his worry.
He didn’t want to worry Grace, but he wasn’t going to lie either. “Something’s not right Danny. That owl is behaving very oddly.”
The crackling of the radio interrupted Steve. "Commander McGarrett, do you read me? Over."
"I read you. Who is this? Over."
"I think that I’ll remain anonymous Commander. Unfortunately for you, I do know who you are and about that task force you command. I'd like to expand my business into Hawaii, but I don't think it's a very good idea while you're still around. So I've arranged for you and your passengers to have a little accident. Pity about the girl, I don't like killing children unnecessarily. Unfortunately she’s traveling with you and your partner Detective Williams." "What kind of accident?" As soon as Steve had heard the threat he started to descend at an even faster rate while maneuvering the chopper towards the small clearing, it would be a tight fit. Still, it was better than crashing into the trees.
"I suppose it can’t hurt to tell you, it is far too late to do anything to stop it. I've arranged for a little device to be added to the helicopter that will shut the motor off causing you to crash." The mystery man answered.
Steve reached out and clasped Gracie's hand briefly in reassurance as they approached the clearing. They were close enough to the ground that the landing would be hard but survivable. "So what kind of business do you think you're going to be able to open up in Hawaii after you kill my partner and me?"
There was a short bout of laughter. "Don't think you can delay the inevitable commander. I just thought you should know why you were dying before you did. Oh yes, the radio won't work either so don't bother trying to call for help. Goodbye Commander."
The radio shut off just as the helicopter motor stuttered and stopped. Steve struggled with the controls as he tried to control the descent. "Hang on Danny and Gracie; I'm going to do my best to control the remaining descent of the helicopter. The chopper itself will spin as it descends. We're not too far from the ground so the landing will be hard but survivable. When we land, we need to get out of the chopper and as far away from it as possible. Danny, try and secure all three bags together so you can grab them and run." Steve concentrated on getting the chopper down as safely as possible, while Danny worked on the bags. Steve watched the ground as the chopper spun hoping to keep from hitting any trees if he could, if he couldn’t avoid it he hoped he could hit the tree with the tail of the helicopter.