Only one phone call away
Jack had been surprised by the call, it had been quite a while since they had last spoken with work interfering and so on. That might just have been the reason why he decided to actually accept it instead of letting it go to voicemail and call back when they were home and he had the time to talk. They still had a two day drive ahead of them after all. Jack loved driving and roadtrips and as far as this one went, it definitely was worth it even if the initial reason had been a sad one. His little family had grown even closer together and wasn't that just the best reward for driving to Springfield and back again in the span of four days.
There had been amusement in his voice, as it always was, when his phone announced a call from 'The wimpy water baby'. That amusement faded quickly however.
"Jack..." was the first word spoken on the other end and Jack involuntarily straightened, his expression turning serious. That one word or rather the tone it had been said in put Jack on high alert immediately. "...it's Steve."
The thing was, Jack knew his buddy Steve McGarrett well, they had worked together on some dicey missions and it wasn't easy to rattle the man, he was a SEAL after all. And despite Jack's teasing, he knew the man was one tough guy, the best of the best really. Usually well hidden behind his friendly Hawaiian mask granted but when he was at work the man was a beast. But that uneasy undercurrent was what Jack was able to hear in that greeting, unnoticeable for anyone who didn't have the same training they had.
"What's up Steve, isn't it like five in the morning on your end?" Jack asked after quickly counting back the hours between them. Because that was another thing, the SEAL never had qualms disregarding time differences and calling Jack up in the middle of the night but it rarely was the other way around.
"Jack, I need your help!"
Somehow the Phoenix agent had expected that sentence but it still sent a shiver down Jack's spine. He quickly turned when he heard a door open, catching Mac's questioning gaze over the car. Of course his partner had watched him in the mirror and of course he noticed that something was obviously wrong.
"What is it? What can I do for you?" the Delta asked calmly, making it clear that he would do whatever he could to help no matter what.
Mac stepped closer, gently touching Jack's elbow in silent inquiry to which his partner answered with a raised, open palm in the universal gesture of 'give me just a minute'. The blond nodded in understanding but stayed close by.
Jack could hear the slow, measured breaths Steve took to calm down now that he was sure of his friend's support.
"To answer your question, yes it is still early here but it's not on your end and that's what's important right now. I know your team is based in Los Angeles but might there be anyone in Washington you know and trust who owes you a favour you could call in? There is a situation, I'm pretty sure it's not yet all over the news but it is very real. Some group has hi-jacked the White House, there are a lot of hostages in the building right now, many of them kids. We're too far away, we'll never get there in time... one of the kids is the daughter of my partner, Jack." Steve relayed the core of his problem.
"Not sure, I know anyone in the city but I can do one better, my team and I are currently in Springfield, if we start now we should be there in an hour. Whatever the situation, we'll get them out in one piece, alright?" Jack nodded at Mac to get in the car while he did the same. "We'll get on the street now, I put you on speaker so my team can hear you as well, tell us everything you know already, buddy."
Jack added the friendly endearment without much thought at this point. Steve had given him a mission and Jack was currently talking to a concerned party, projecting calm and control was second nature at this point. Mac had warned Riley and Bozer that something was up when he got in the car and took the phone without question.
"Alright Steve, we're listening!" Jack called out while pulling into traffic.
"What we know isn't much exactly. We called it in to the local authorities but otherwise it's difficult to really assess the situation. There hasn't been an official message sent out yet apparently, neither did we get a ransom call. We probably wouldn't even know what was up if it wasn't for Grace. My partner Danny got an video call from his daughter. Grace is fifteen and her class is on a school trip to the mainland in Washington. Today's itinerary was the visit of the White House. Danny expected his daughter to call him about that, forgetting about the different timezones but Grace didn't talk to him, all he got was the video feed of what was happening around her. A group of masked people, armed with several weapons is gathering the visitors and staff around, they are yelling but the sound quality is not good enough to understand what they are saying. Several shots have been fired but as far as we can tell by the feed and the general crowd reaction, they were all warning shots, no casualties yet." Steve explained to them.
"Is that video call still on-going?" Riley asked from the back seat and one look in the rear view mirror told Jack that she already had her rig out.
"Yes, our best guess is that Grace quickly started the call and slipped the phone in the clear front of her bag. The camera seems stationary so she likely left her bag somewhere it didn't attract attention." the concerned man said.
"Smart girl!" Mac commented and that startled a short laugh from the other end of the line.
"Well her dad is a damn good cop and she grew up around our Five-0 taskforce, she picked up a thing or two, that one."
"Can you tell me her phone number?" Riley had tried to locate the call by herself but hadn't managed it yet. But even with the outgoing number, she couldn't find her way into the feed yet. "Damn, we're still too far out, I need to be closer to tap into the feed." she grumbled.
"Shouldn't we inform Matty?" Bozer asked cautiously next to her.
"That's a good point. Steve, we're going to involve our boss in this, she can make sure we're going to take point on whatever plan they think of or ignore the plan they think of and do our own thing, depending on if the plan makes sense. We call you back in a few minutes, keep an eye on the feed."
"Will do, Jack. Thank you for your help, guys, we owe you one."
"No need, Commander McGarrett, we do what we can to help!" Mac replied to the gratitude. He had quickly figured out who they were talking to exactly even if Jack didn't introduce them formally and he hadn't met the man before.
"Guys..." Jack began the moment the call ended, eyes on the street and pushing the speed limit.
"Yeah, let me stop you right there, Jack. He's your friend that's more than enough reason for us to help in any way we can!" Mac interrupted his partner and the two in the backseat nodded.
"Absolutely! I mean we're close by, it wouldn't feel right not to!" Bozer added.
"What he said, Jack. If we were at home, it probably wouldn't have made much sense but like *this*, absolutely. Especially if there are kids at stake here. I mean he's your friend, right? He would do the same for you!" Riley put her two cents into the conversation as well while still trying to tap into the video feed.
"Thanks! He absolutely would, Riley!" Jack agreed, feeling a warmth in his chest only the unconditional support of his family was able to ignite.
"Alright, I'm calling Matty now!" Mac announced, putting the call on speaker again.
It only ringed two times before the Phoenix Director answered.
"Jack, I was about to call you, tell me you're not on your way home yet!" she greeted.
"Hey Matty, it's Mac. You're on speaker and no, we're not. Actually we're on our way to Washington DC because there-"
"...because there is a hostage situation at the White House. Yeah I know, what I don't know is how you already know about that. And not only do you know but are already on your way there when I only just got off the phone with someone of the Secret Service informing me about this mess." their boss questioned curiously.
"That's because I just got a call from Steve McGarrett, Matty. Five-0 taskforce on Hawaii, I'm sure you heard of them. His partner's daughter is among the hostages inside. They're back on the island and there's no way they will arrive in time to be of any immediate help, so he asked if I knew someone who could help. Since we're already in the area, I kind of volunteered us." Jack explained.
"Shit, alright that's not necessarily the kind of news I wanted to hear but that makes sense even if I don't understand how he would know when the guy of the Secret Service assured me that things are under decent control, that they're keeping it on the down low and that there haven't been any demands as of yet. Anyway, I would have sent you over there now anyway, Jack, don't worry about it." Matty replied to that.
"Well, that's actually quite genius. This clever girl apparently quickly grasped what was happening and initiated a video call with her father and managed to leave her phone positioned well enough to let him see what is going down inside. I'm still trying to establish a connection so we can see as well but we're not close enough yet to be able to get visual." Riley told her and there was true respect for the guts this teenager had proved to have in her voice.
"Now that's actually good news. So we do have eyes on the inside, or we will have, that might be the advantage we will need if we want to resolve this in time. Good, get back on the phone with MacGarrett and his partner, have them tell you everything they can see or hear, any detail that will help us determine who we're up against until Riley has contact herself. I'll make a couple of calls, make sure that there is a full Tac team ready and waiting for you at the scene. If we're going to help, I want you to lead this operation. Do you have an ETA for me?"
"You got it, Matty. And I'd say we should arrive on location in about 35 minutes, given there's no traffic. Maybe faster if Jack pushes the limit a little more." Mac informed her.
"You know what? Push it to the max, Dalton. The faster you get there the higher the chance this will go down without casualties. I'll deal with any speeding tickets you end up with and in case someone tries to stop you, give them my number. Your arrival at the White House is now a priority."
"Yes ma'am!" Jack quipped and did just as he was told, earning a squeak from the back seat when Bozer got pushed into the seat.
"I like your enthusiasm, Jack, but while you're following Matty's orders, please make sure we actually *do* arrive in one piece or this whole operation won't go down at all." Mac sighed. He had full confidence in Jack's abilities, he was more concerned about the other drivers on the street. Jack just chuckled in response.
The blond called back the team on Hawaii, knowing that by now the whole taskforce surely had gathered around the phone. It wouldn't be any different if it was one of them. They brought them up to speed on what Matty had told them and got a play by play on what was happening inside.
"Crap..." the soft curse startled them all out of the loop of secondary information. They had just passed city limits and would shortly arrive at the scene.
"What is it, Riley? You managed to tap into the call?" Jack asked, looking at the hacker over the mirror.
"Yeah no, still working on that but our window of 'under control and on the down low' just closed with a bang. Listen to this..."
Riley started a video on her laptop. It started off with several shots, accompanied by the terrified screams of the hostages in the background.
"Citizens of America, people in charge, this isn't a social call. We are here because it's time to take matters in our own hands. We took over the White House because we demand the immediate resignation of the President and every single one of his lapdogs. In addition we demand the release of several unlawfully imprisoned people whose names you will receive shortly and 50 million dollar in cash. You have three hours to provide us with proof of the fulfillment of these demands. Should you fail to comply, be warned that we will kill one hostage for every five minutes you exceed your time. We have been generous, ladies and gentlemen, a lot more generous than you deserve. Use your time well or you will have the blood of innocent people on your conscience."
"What the fuck?" Jack exclaimed a little startled.
"I second the sentiment, Jack... *this* is messed up!" Bozer nodded. He had seen the video that had accompanied the sound, had seen the startling calm and determined way the person hidden behind a mask had issued his demands.
"It is and it's getting worse guys. Who ever these people are, they are good, they must have someone extremely skilled running their tech because they managed to override all the big TV stations' signals to send this message all over the country. It's not been five minutes since the broadcast and social media is about to break down and a frightening huge part of the population is on the side of these people." Riley told them, her laptop ping-ing up a storm with all the alerts coming in.
"That's not all that surprising given the political situation, this is well-timed with the general discontent." Mac murmured, already thinking about how the little information they had so far could help them. "Riley, is there anything in the video that could tell us who we're dealing with? Some sign, special clothing, anything?"
"Can't say yet, sorry. Give me five minutes to analyse the video once we arrived at the op center, provided I can get access to a proper connection and link back to the Phoenix network. Then I should be easily able to patch into the call feed of Grace as well."
"Well that shouldn't be that difficult, we've reached our destination guys, let's get this show on the road!" Jack had stopped the car a little way away from the already gathering crowd of TV people, people with protest signs and the police. "I'll go check in with the police guys... Boze, could you grab the black bag behind your seat please." he asked but it sounded more like an order before he quickly left the car. Jack naturally went into Tac leader mode with a clear objective in mind, get a picture of the situation, get in, get the civilians out safely, take down the hostiles, go home.
"Alright, I think that's it for us for now. We call you guys back as soon as we know more about the situation and the plan, okay?" Mac turned his attention to the phone in his hand where the call with the Five-0 taskforce was still on-going although nothing had been said for a while.
"Sounds like a good idea, Mac... Chin and I continue monitoring the call feed. Steve and Danny left a little while ago, Steve called in a couple more favours, so they should be almost on their way to you. Even by private jet the flight will take a while but they will come to you soon enough." Kono replied before ending the call.
Mac wasn't surprised in the least, if he was in the shoes of Detective Williams he would want to come here as well if not to help to at least be able to hug his daughter the moment she was out.
He pocketed the phone and followed Jack who was still talking with the police men around the White House area.
"... n't care how you do it, all these people need to leave. I want an additional half mile security perimeter around the whole area. Nobody gets close to this fence without me knowing about it, understood?"
The officer Jack had been talking to looked a little scared but nodded quickly and then turned on his heels to run back to his car and call in his need of immediate assistance.
"This whole thing is a bigger mess than I expected but at least Matty came through and made sure who's boss here now and that everyone knows about it too. The crisis command center is around the corner." the agent said when his remaining team members came close and started leading them where the officer had pointed him, swiftly taking the bag Bozer had brought with him. When it came to his gear, Jack was almost as paraniod as Riley was after all.
The crisis command center was buzzing with activity. The broadcast of course had turned the situation into a media nightmare, not to mention that the knowledge that they were dealing with people who had a clear plan and the means to achieve what they want made things additionally difficult.
"Agent Dalton, I presume?" they were greeted by a grey haired man in a black suit. "Director Webber already informed us that you would be coming. I'm Marc Johnson, Secret Service. We're very grateful for your assistance." the man told them, shaking Jack's hand.
"We're here to help, Agent Johnson. This is my team, Agents MacGyver, Davis and Bozer." Jack quickly introduced the others, then turned to Riley.
"Riles, go do your thing, get this video feed up and running, I want eyes on what's going on in there, then see what you can find out about this broadcast thing. Affiliations, identities, ideally a number as to how many hostiles we're up against, you know what to do. Boze, you have a good eye for details, go and help her." Jack directed them, not that the two of them would have needed him to.
"Oh and Riley, I'd like a connection with Matty as well, having her in the loop could help us a lot." Mac called after the hacker who nodded in understanding.
"Alright, where are we at in terms of plans?" Mac then addressed the man from Secret Service.
"Not far enough, I fear, Agent MacGyver. Our tech people are still trying to get back visual inside but so far they couldn't gain access to the security cameras. From what the scouts around the area call in there are two armed guards for every door and three additional men walking the perimeter. No idea how many are inside though." the older informed the Phoenix team.
"Okay that's at least ten guys outside and who knows how many on the inside. The problem with the cameras schould be solved soon enough, Riley is a pro in that department after all. I assume Director Webber informed you about the Tac team?" Jack said and Mac only barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes at Jack's obvious show of pride in that moment. It wasn't like the people from Secret Service weren't professionals at what they did either.
"Yes, a team of ten agents is on route and will be here in ten minutes, ready to go." Johnson nodded.
"Good. Agent Johnson are there blueprints of the building we can look at? We know the exact plans are probably highly classified but we need to know what we can work with."
"What are you thinking, Mac?" Jack asked his partner curiously.
"Well, from the little we know so far, these people take great pains of securing all entrances and the perimeter which leads me to believe that the way from above probably isn't guarded and if it is, by far not as heavily." the blond explained.
"That's all well and true but how do you propose getting passed the people surrounding the building to actually get *on* the building... oh... okay, a diversion, got it." the older Phoenix agent said, correcting himself quickly however, when he saw Mac's raised eyebrow and small smirk despite the situation.
"A diversion indeed. But first we need to make sure there actually is a way in from above and how many people are inside. Plus, it would be really good to know what kind of weapons are in play, I don't exactly like stumbling over IEDs in there..."
"You don't? Are you sure?" Jack teased but quickly caught himself again when he got an odd look from Agent Johnson.
"We do have the plans in the back room, if you follow me." he led the way to a small room without windows where large sheets of paper lay on a table.
Mac stepped closer to the plans, focussing fully on the task at hand. Jack joined him, one hand on his partner's shoulder, eyes scanning the schematics. Both men unintentionally ignored Agent Johnson completely.
"If your assumption is right and they really don't guard the roof as well as everything else, I think this would be the best point of entry." Jack pointed at a skylight on the west side of the building. "The shrubbery is thicker there as well, would make sneaking inside easier as well. The question is, can we risk a ladder or do we have to find an alternative option."
"I agree, the point of entry has to be there... it's not ideal but it will have to do. One thing is for sure, we have to be really fast if we want to prevent anyone getting hurt. Going in there, would mean planting the diversion there..." Mac point at the opposite side of the building. "We need to know where they hold the hostages and how many are with them. The problem with the diversion is, it probably gets the attention of the people inside as well..."
"They will feel threatened and probably take it out on the hostages, damn..." Jack sighed. "And if we do it old-school?"
"Old-school? What do you mean, Jack?" the blond frowned at his partner.
"Yeah well, maybe not 'old-school', probably the wrong term but look... according to Johnson there are guards here, here and here... plus three circling the area. We go in in stealth mode... the Tac team hides out in the bushes and take out the circling guards silently... instead of a proper big diversion, we'll have to draw them out one by one... certainly takes more time but will keep the hostages safe." Jack suggested, pointing at various places on the plan.
"I don't like the time factor of this plan but it certainly is the safer option. If we start the attack here..." Mac pointed on the plan once more, indicating the west side of the building again. "You and I could go in over the roof at the same time while the team takes out the guards one by one on the outside, making sure the guys inside can't call them in for back-up. A two-person rescue team isn't ideal either but I like those odds better than risking hostages. Besides, it's not the worst situation we walked into with our eyes wide open..." Mac smile lopsidedly.
"Well you're not wrong there, kid... but given the situation, I think that's about the best idea we can come up with before the time will run out... speaking of which, how much time do we have?"
For the first time Jack looked up again from the plans and into the unsure eyes of Agent Johnson. It didn't take a genius to see that the older agent didn't like the plan they had come up with one bit.
"Two hours and 13 minutes and counting..." he said. "Are you sure about this plan? It does sound like a suicide mission to me..."
Despite himself Mac huffed a bit.
"Agent Johnson, I can assure you, it would be if we didn't know what we're up against, if I know my team mates well enough however, we should have everything we need to know to come out on the other side... trust us, alright? You don't know us, I get that, but we usually know what we're doing."
"Yeah, what he said... and if we don't, he tends to make things up as we go along..." Jack added good-naturedly, clapping Agent Johnson on the back. "Now we need to get back to Riley, gather the information we need to get this show on the road."
They returned to the main room of the crisis center where Jack and Mac easily spotted Riley in front of various computer screens with a good handful of techs around her, every single one of them sporting an awed expression.
"Tell me some good news, Riles!" Jack announced their return and the hacker briefly looked up before she returned to the endless lines of code again.
"We have good news, not so good news and bad news..." Bozer took over for Riley. "The good news is, Riley managed to get access to the security cameras, the not to good news is that the video call feed just went out and we're not entirely sure if it just was the battery giving out or if they noticed the phone... either way -and that's part of the bad news- we don't have visual of the hostages and their guards anymore. Apparently they managed to herd them together into one of the very, very few camera blindspots..." he explained.
"Okay and what's the rest? You said not having visual of the people anymore was *part* of the bad news..." Mac asked his best friend.
"The rest of the bad news would be the identity of our hostage-takers, or rather the group behind them." It was Matty who filled them in on that piece of information from a screen they hadn't really paid attention to before. "From the security cameras and the call feed Riley managed to identify a symbol all of them are wearing on their shoulders. We are dealing with a group of radicals. They call themselves 'The Voice of the People'. They're a relatively new group who are gathering more and more followers however, they target the people who are unsatisfied with the current government and are known for pretty extreme disruptions of political meetings and so on. Such a violent act like this one however is a first even for them." she told them.
"Given how many people they have already following and helping them, we can't say for sure how many are inside. This could be an act of a few but they can just as well be a lot of people inside. Not just that, the way they advertise their group, it's no wonder they have hackers in their team as well, plus they might just have members inside a lot of organisations and firms already as well, there's no way of telling how deep this is already going..." Riley added, finishing of the code she had been writing that was supposed to help them maybe ID those whose faces they had on camera despite the masks they were wearing.
"By the way I patched in Kono and Chin as well to keep them in the loop since the video call went out." she added, nodding to another screen off to the side where the two waved from.
"Mh... that answers the question of 'how' as well, I suppose... if they have followers basically everywhere already, they might just have people on the inside as well... crap..." Jack rubbed his forehead and sighed. "Okay, anyway, Riles if we do have visual now, can you at least determine how many of the armed guys are roaming around if not the exact number of people with the hostages?"
"Bozer and I went over the feeds and we counted at least seven or eight different people walking the hallways inside..." she answered.
Jack and Mac shared a look and the blond shrugged.
"Well, I already said it's not ideal... but I'd say the plan stays the same..."
"I agreed but I swear to god, Mac, if you don't duck and hide when I tell you to, I will kick your ass personally when all this is over."
"Yeah right, big guy... don't be so dramatic, it'll work out just fine..." Mac smirked back at his partner.
"As entertaining as this is, what plan exactly? Although I fear I will regret asking..." Matty wanted to know, pinching the bridge of her nose and Jack quickly detailed the rough idea of a plan they had come up with.
Matty was silent for a little while, processing and then nodded.
"Alright, knowing the two of you, this is actually more of an plan than you usually have, even if it is a pretty bad one... Riley, can you support them with the camera footage? Direct them through the building the quickest way?"
"No problem, boss, we can do that." the hacker confirmed, doing something to her gear and soon the screens all showed different camera angles all over the White House.
Jack turned to the Secret Service man.
"Alright, Agent Johnson, it's time to meet and brief the team and suit up!"
The older man nodded stiffly. He was used to being the one in charge, getting ordered around by someone way younger and who he didn't know didn't sit quite right with him. He could see the professionalism in everything the team of four from the agency he never heard of before however, so he swallowed his pride.
He led them outside to the two vans the Tac team had arrived in and introduced Jack and Mac to them.
Mac let Jack do the briefing on the details of the plan, assigning the guys all around the area while he strapped himself into a vest easily. He didn't necessarily like them since they limited his range of motion but despite everything Jack thought he did value his own life enough to appreciate the safety the vest provided him with. (Plus Jack would have a fit if he tried to go in there without one. Mac knew to choose his battles better.)
"Riles, can you hear me?" the older Phoenix agent asked after he put on the comm piece one of the Tac team had handed to them.
"Loud and clear, Jack!" the woman replied, a tense edge to her voice.
"Riley? Everything alright?" Mac wanted to know, frowing a little when he picked up on that.
A sigh sounded over the channel.
"Yeah no... you better get a move on, despite the hour still on the clock the guys inside seem to be getting restless..."
"Alright, in that case we'll head out to our positions, keep us posted if they're doing anything drastic!" Jack said, nodding at the team who quickly dispersed in the directions they had been ordered to. Two of them following Jack and Mac, who would make sure they're entry from above would remain hidden.
"Will do. You guys be careful alright? I buried one friend already, I don't want another one added to that!"
The two men exchanged a look as they crouched down behind the bushes where they planned to attack.
"We will, Riley, don't worry about us, we'll be out quicker than you think!" Mac told her, his voice warm and reassuring before his face turned serious and focused.
They had to wait a little for feedback from the other Tac team groups who were silently taking out the guards one by one.
When they were reasonably sure that even if the remaining guards noticed that something was off that Mac and Jack had enough time to scale the side of the building, the two Phoenix agents went to work.
Working together hand in hand, literally in this case, they quickly and quietly got up on the side roof and to the place where the skylight was drawn into the building plans.
Their plan faced the first small hiccup when they reached the window and realised that it was significantly smaller than they had expected, luckily not too small for them to fit through however.
Mac quickly took out a handful of things he had packed while Jack had talked to the team, mixing some kind of chemical solution that would weaken the window frame enough for them to be able to pull it up and out without making too much noise. Shattering the glass would have been a lot quicker but remaining unnoticed was more important at this point.
As quietly as they could they dropped into the hall, Mac turning left and right, trying to orient himself with the building plan he had committed to memory.
"Turn right, down the hallway and then the next left. There should be a small staff staircase down to the next floor." Riley provided them with the details, Mac had been working on.
"Hostiles?" Jack asked, walking down the hall as directed, his back towards the wall as best he could, his gun drawn, Mac right behind him.
"Nothing on the cameras on this floor, you should get down the stairs without trouble, stay inside the stairway however, we have two guards in the adjoining hallway." Bozer added to the information.
The two of them did as was asked, waiting patiently behind the door for the guards to pass by so they could sneak out and behind them, taking them out quietly as well. They pulled them to the stairway to hide them, hands and feet quickly bound with zip ties, mouths shut with duct tape from Mac's bag. Just in case the two of them woke up before Jack and Mac made it to the hostages.
They proceeded in that fashion, slowly but surely. Riley and Bozer leading them through the seemingly endless hallways of the building, past all the guards securing the place.
"Alright, that should be the last of the ones we know about, guys... nothing more to see on the cameras, apart of how many more are out of range with the hostages. You're on your own now, sorry." Riley informed them and Jack and Mac could hear the terrified screams once in a while from a place deeper in the building.
"How much longer until our ultimatum runs out?" Mac asked, checking his watch.
"Seventeen minutes and counting, Mac... this is getting close..." Bozer said.
"Closer than I would like, alright... we let you know what's going on..." Mac looked at Jack, who nodded with a tense smirk. Close calls were their usual deal after all.
They followed the sounds of scared children and more importantly the angry yells with them. They soon found the room outside of the camera footage where the hostages were kept, Mac closing his eyes, listening carefully.
"It's difficult but I'd say at least four different voices..." he told Jack, who frowned.
"I counted five... you think we can risk a look?" he pointed at a small window right above the door.
"Dangerous but probably better then going in without knowing what we're dealing with, give me a hand."
Jack easily packed away his gun, linking his fingers to hoist Mac up.
"Buddy, I really appreciate that you're making these things so easy for me, but you need to eat more. I shouldn't be able to lift you up without actually making a real effort here."
Mac groaned softly.
"Seriously Jack? Right now? Can we please discuss my apparent lack in weight later? *After* we saved all these innocent people, preferably?" Cautiously he looked inside the room, counting the heads hidden behind masks.
"Fine, but we will talk about this! So? How does it look in there?" the older wanted to know once Mac was back on his own feet again.
"You might have been right, I counted at least five masked men and I'm not entirely sure if there isn't one more at least standing right in front of this door, I couldn't see." Mac nodded to the door they stood in front of. "I'm not entirely sure how we're supposed to do this, Jack. We probably can take out the one in front of the door but that's about as much of a surprise bonus we're going to get, that leaves us with five more armed guys. If they were going for us that wouldn't be so bad but it's more likely that they will go for the hostages instead."
Jack rubbed his chin, thinking about tactical advantages.
"Are the guys stationary or are they moving?"
"Some are moving, why?" Mac raised an eyebrow in question.
Jack took out his phone, pulling up the camera app.
"Riley, can you access the camera on my phone remotely?"
"Easy, yeah... oh nice floor..." she joked the moment the camera image appeared on her screen.
Jack lifted the camera.
"Say hi..." he grinned at Mac who just shook his head.
"Jack we don't have time for this..."
"I second that, get a move on!" Bozer's voice was tight with nerves.
"Right, here take the phone, I'll lift you up again, try to lean the phone against the window so Riley gets the best possible view." Mac blinked for a second then grinned.
"Good idea!" he said, doing exactly what Jack had told him to do.
"Yeah I do have good ideas once in a while, kid... you don't have the exclusive right on those, you know? How does it look, Riles?"
"Well, not awesome, but we now do have eyes on the inside, good job."
"Good, can you tell us the moment the moving guards leave your field of vision, that should mean they are in front of the door or at least close by, so we have a higher chance of taking them out at once." Jack told her.
"Copy that!" Riley confirmed.
Jack caught Mac's eyes.
"This is still going to suck big time, bud... you ready for this?"
"As ready as I will ever be, I suppose... let's do this and hope that they aren't as hard-nosed that there is a bit of delay in their reaction due to surprise." Mac nodded, preparing himself to kick in the door together with Jack.
It took a couple of precious minutes more, but finally Riley announced the loss of visual of two guards more. That would probably be as good as it was going to get for them so Mac and Jack charged at the door.
The screams, grunts and groans of confusion were almost deafening but Mac and Jack managed to knock out the three guards who were by the door, only to look up at three more guns pointed at them. But not only that, the three guys had also dragged up hostages to their feet, holding them close.
"That's how they answer to our more than generous demands? It's not exactly a lot we were asking for... the lives of innocent people isn't worth anything to them it seems." One of them spat, almost choking the girl in his hold.
"Generous he says..." Jack mutters.
"Shut up and put your gun down, slowly, hands where we can see them! I understand, the people in charge here aren't even trying to keep their end of the bargain, so we won't either... and you just volunteered to be the first ones to be executed..." the man growled.
Jack followed the direction unwillingly, eyes skipping between the three guys, keeping close tabs on their movements.
"You don't have to do this. I can see where your dissatisfaction is coming from but if you do this, the blood of innocent people will first and foremost be on *your* conscience, you do realise that, right?" Mac tried to reason with the man, not that he saw any sense in it really. They all knew a lost cause when they saw one but the longer he was occupied the longer Mac and Jack had time to figure out a way to save the day.
"You think I'm stupid? Of course I know that but I am willing to make the sacrifice for the people and all these people here should be happy in knowing that their sacrifice will pave the way to a better future for everyone else. You two will be the first ones, the most important ones in fact... the ones everyone will know about..." the guy slowly walked backwards, dragging the girl in his arms with him, towards a tripod stand with a camera. Probably the same camera they had used for the first broadcast. "Frank, Carter... tie them up and position them for me, will you." he ordered, keeping his gun pointed at the two agents.
Mac and Jack shared a quick look, a desperate plan forming in both their heads. The two goons roughly pushed their hostages back on the floor and advanced on the two.
Jack caught the scared gaze of the girl still trapped in the hold of the leader of the group, both of her hands seemingly desperately gripping the arm. It did take the older just a second but then he noticed the very particular placement of the girl's hands. A smirk formed on his lips.
"What are you smiling about?" Mr. Leader snapped.
"Oh nothing, just thinking that this is going to be fun to watch..." Jack replied, feeling the hands of the goon tightly around his wrists, but not tight enough for the Delta. Jack nodded at Mac and in seconds all hell broke loose a second time.
Jack headbutted the guy behind him, dazing him enough to get his arms free and turn around to send him to the floor out cold.
A glance to the side told him that Mac wasn't as fast but still easily able to knock his guard out as well. A shot went off, snapping Jack's attention back to the leader before he gasped and cursed, one hand going to his upper left arm.
All the pain was worth it, however, as he watched the girl use her whole body weight to put a good amount of concentrated pressure at the point she was gripping the arm of her captor. The man yelped in pain as something snapped in his arm, letting go of the girl who didn't scramble away like everyone else would have done. Instead she first punched the arm the man was holding the gun with, resulting in the weapon falling to the floor with a clattering sound and then kicking the guy in the balls with all her might, easily sending him to his knees.
At this point Mac had come to her side, quickly pulling the man's arms together, securing them with a zip-tie.
"That's for ruining our school trip!" the girl hissed, punching the guy in the nose for good measure.
Mac couldn't help but laugh at that. Jack joined in on that even if his laughter sounded a little pained, with the blood dripping from his arm.
"Riley, you saw that? Send the others in, we have the hostiles secured... we also need an ambulance, Jack's been shot..."
"Yeah, I got that, they are already on their way... wait what?" the hacker had sounded pleased up until she had processed that last bit of information.
"It's just a graze, Riles, nothing much to worry about, it's just bleeding a bit and hurting a lot..." Jack tried to calm the woman down immediately, sending a dark look at his partner that conveyed the 'thanks for nothing, buddy' pretty well.
Mac just shrugged, he wasn't sorry one bit. Besides, judging by the blood pouring from the nose of the group leader after they had pulled off his mask, his nose was broken and needed to be looked after as well. Not to mentioned the probably cracked arm.
"Alright, so correct me if I'm wrong, little lady, but you must be Grace, am I right?" Jack addressed the girl who had actually helped them quite a bit just now and with the whole situation.
The girl startled, blinking up at Jack and then Mac as well when the blond appeared at Jack's side, some kind of bandanna in his hands that he had gotten from one of the other people, to bandage Jack's arm for now.
"Huh? Yes, that's my name, who are you and how do you know my name?" she narrowed her eyes at the two partners suspiciously.
"Well, I'm Jack Dalton and this is Mac. I'm a friend of Steve McGarrett. He called me for help after you so cleverly provided him and your dad with insight on the situation." the Delta explained.
"That was really clever, Grace! And it did help a lot!" Mac commented, interrupting Jack's explanation.
"He's right, that was really clever and more importantly extremely brave! Not many would have dared to even try that." Jack nodded, wincing as Mac pulled the knot tight around his arm.
"Thanks, I didn't really think about it, I guess if I had I wouldn't have managed it." Grace said. "Doesn't explain to me how you knew it was me?"
Jack chuckled softly.
"That move you used to get out of the chokehold and disarm the guy... that's kind of a SEAL classic... I assume Steve taught that to you?"
Grace grinned brightly.
"That's right, but don't tell my dad, yeah? Uncle Steve wasn't supposed to teach me that yet..."
"My lips a sealed. You learned to kick and punch from him as well? You do pack quite the punch for a small person, I have to say... for a second I felt almost sorry for the guy..." Jack smiled proudly, holding out a fist for a congratulary bump.
"He did teach me some things, yeah... but most of *that* I learned from Auntie Kono. She said it might come in handy when guys get too handsy... I don't think this is what she had in mind though... well... Danno will have a fit over this, he already wasn't thrilled by this whole school trip to begin with... now, I probably won't be able to leave the house without constantly checking in with him and Uncle Steve..." the girl grumbled, surprisingly calm about the whole hostage situation thing.
"We can assure them that you can look after yourself, Grace if that's going to help any..." Mac grinned, looking around the room that had filled with the Tac team and emergency personnel. Just when he looked up Bozer and Riley came through the door.
"Jack! Mac!" Riley called, running towards them, hugging Jack tightly before lightly punching his chest. "Didn't I tell you to be careful?"
"You did and I tried my best, this was an accident and really it's just a scratch, barely worth mentioning! Riley, Bozer, may I introduce you to today's heroine, Grace?!" he pointed at the girl.
"You're Grace? That video call idea was genius! And I saw you single-handedly taking down that guy, that was awesome! I'm Bozer by the way."
"And I'm Riley, nice to meet you! And before anyone whisks you away to check you over..." Riley held out her mobile phone. "Call Kono and Chin to let them know you're alright. Your dad and Commander McGarrett are currently on route here. We'll have to call them on sat phone later."
The teenager took the phone with a smile.
"Thanks! And really thank you for helping!" she said while dialling Kono's number.
Clean up after the incident took quite a while. The whole group had been taken into custody and were facing a pretty hard trial if Matty's assumption was correct. Threats against the President and the whole government, plus hostages and taking over a building like the White House, she said they probably would get charged like domestic terrorists.
The whole bunch of hostages were fine and well besides a few bumps and bruises that had been quickly taken care of. The psychological trauma however would probably run deeper, with the children especially. That would take quite a while to get over.
Outside Jack had gotten properly treated and bandaged up while Grace got checked over right next to him.
They had called Steve on the sat phone, putting both men out of their misery by bringing the good news of the end of the situation. They still were a couple of hours away but were now able to relax a bit more.
The Phoenix team promised to keep an eye on Grace until they arrived some time later.
That wasn't all that difficult really since Grace and Bozer got along like a house on fire, quickly losing themselves in a lengthy conversation about a TV show or something.
"We did good, right kid?" Jack asked, watching Bozer and Grace talk and Riley help some of the regular tech guys with a few improvements on their system while she changed back a few things she had to tweak to take over the camera system.
"Yeah, I guess we did. Alexander would have been happy to know that we had been able to help because of his death, even if both events had nothing to do with each other." Mac replied, arms crossed in front of his chest, watching the scene in front of him as well.
"I agree, the old man would have gotten a kick out of that!" the older smiled.
"And hey, now I finally get to meet this mysterious SEAL friend of yours you keep mentioning..." the blond chuckled.
"That's right, although I admit, I would have imagined a a little less dramatic first meeting, but oh well... I'm just glad that he seems to have found a family just like me... we certainly are lucky..." Jack smiled but it was a lot softer around the edges, his voice calmer and a bit more emotional.
Mac looked up at his friend and partner, considered making a teasing comment but thought better of it.
"I suppose that depends on the point of view. If you ask me, we are the lucky ones to have you!" he said, gently bumping his shoulder against Jack's.
The old man didn't say anything to that but the happiness shining in his eyes told Mac more than words could have done anyway.
After a few moments, Jack inhaled deeply, locking his emotions back up and raised an eyebrow at his partner.
"So, now that we're not on a countdown anymore and not in danger as well, about what we were talking before... you, my friend, are too light! You could stand to gain a few pounds, it would serve you well in a fight as well!"
A little ways away Grace looked from the two man to Bozer.
"Are they always like this?"
Boze followed her gaze and grinned.
"Mac and Jack? Always... this is absolutely normal, you would be surprised when they really go at it... worse than a married couple sometimes..."
The girl giggled at hearing that.
"Reminds me of Uncle Steve and my dad, they are the same... and I overheard a couple of times how people commented on them 'bickering like a married couple' as well."
"Oh joy... I see you feel my pain, princess!"
She nodded, but smiled at the partners.
"I do, but then... I don't know about you guys, but I wouldn't want it any other way."
Jack had won his argument with Mac some time later (or in reality Mac had just given up) and had gone out of his way to buy burgers for them all.
Bozer had procured a blanket and now the Phoenix team and Grace were basically sitting in the grass in front of the White House making a picknick when they first heared them.
The girl looked up and around, quickly jumping to her feet and running away.
"Oh baby, don't you ever do something like this to me again, I was so so worried, you understand?" Danny whispered, all but crushing his daughter.
"Well dad, it's not like I *chose* to get taken hostage or anything..." the teenager deadpanned at that. "Hey Uncle Steve..." she grinned over Danny's shoulder.
The SEAL stepped closer, ruffling her hair gently.
"Hey sweetheart, glad to have you back in one piece!" he smiled, pressing a quick kiss to her hair before he turned to the team of four who had gotten to their feet at their arrival but had stayed back a bit.
"Dalton! I can't thank you enough for this! We absolutely owe you guys! Thank you." he said before pulling Jack into a hug. "Thank you, Jack!"
"If anything, this was a team effort and when I say team effort I'm including this little firecracker over there whole-heartedly. She's not only smart but lethal as well. You taught her well, my friend. Remind me later to show you the video of Grace taking down one of the bad guys all on her own. It's an absolute blast to watch."
Steve startled a little but a proud smirk played over his lips.
"Our Gracie... I knew teaching her was a good idea even if her dad didn't think so." His eyes fell on the bandage and then he noticed the blood on Jack's shirt as well. "You got hurt?"
"Just a scratch, don't sweat it." Jack reassured him as Grace and her father came close as well. "You are Grace's father? I'm Jack Dalton!" he took it upon himself to introduce himself to the older blond man.
"Danny Williams! Thank you so much for your help, all of you!" he introduced himself, shaking Jack's hand.
"Don't mention it, you would have done the same, I'm sure!" Mac said, holding out his hand for another handshake. "MacGyver, but please call me Mac. This is Riley and Bozer."
Steve's head tilted to the side, looking at Jack with a raised eyebrow.
"So this is the kid you've been telling me so much about? I have to say, I'm never quite sure how much I can believe of the stories Jack tells me about your escapades, Mac."
The younger blond grinned.
"Well, I'm not entirely sure as well, seeing that most of that is actually classified, Commander McGarrett." he gave Jack a look as he said that which made Steve laugh at Jack's slightly caught expression.
"Steve, please. After everything you've done for us today, there's no need for formalities. And don't worry about it, whatever might or might not have been mentioned between Jack and I, that's where it's going to stay."
"Oh I'm sure it will, Steve, otherwise you'll get a visit by our boss sooner rather than later. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I heared a lot about you as well. Only good things, though." Mac winked.