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Fanfiction: Hidden Truths - Part I

Fandom: Airwolf
Series: The Lost Season (Story 8)
Summary: Hawke is called on for a top secret mission but are there problems closer to home?
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Hawke/Caitlin.  Dominic/Rosa.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

Hidden Truths

Part 1


Stringfellow Hawke finished stoking the fire to a cheerful blaze and straightened to frown at the pictures on the mantel. He straightened the picture of his missing brother Saint John, briefly touching the frame before he turned to look critically at the rest of the room. Scatter rugs softened the polished wooden floor; the walls were crowded with the art his grandfather had once collected for his grandmother, the grandeur of the pictures strangely complementing the understated furniture. It was an eclectic mix of old pieces except for the sofa and chairs; they were brand new although in the same style as those he’d replaced. With the lamps casting an amber glow over the room and Tet, his dog, stretched out in front of the blazing fire, the room was filled with a cosy atmosphere. It looked perfect, he thought.

Hawke glanced across to the kitchen where Caitlin O’Shaunessy stood at the stove stirring a pot with intense concentration. It was hard to believe that they’d only been living together at the cabin since the new extension had been completed a couple of weeks previously. But then, he thought wryly, it was hard to believe that there had been a time when they’d settled for being simply friends; he couldn’t imagine his life without her. Yeah, he thought again as she turned to smile at him, everything was perfect.

Hawke headed over and slid his hands around her waist. Her long red hair was pinned up and he took advantage dipping his head to kiss the curve of her neck. She leaned back giving him easier access.

‘I should put my hair up more often.’ Caitlin murmured and felt him smile against her skin. She turned to face him and ran her hands over his shoulders. He leaned in for a kiss and stopped just before her lips, his sensitive ears picking up the approach of a helicopter. He groaned and rested his forehead on hers.

‘Whose idea was this anyway?’ Hawke asked. His old friend and mentor, Dominic Santini, had returned the day before from Italy where he had been recuperating from collapsing with chest pains; a warning sign of a potential heart attack. Much to the amusement of the young couple, Dom had been accompanied by a new lady friend, Rosa Delmitri and they had invited them to the cabin for dinner to get to know her better.

‘Mine but you agreed.’ Caitlin reminded him, hooked her hands behind his neck and kissed him anyway.

‘I must have been mad.’ Hawke sighed.

She wiped her lipstick of his lips. ‘You’d better go greet them.’

He released her and headed out to the porch to watch the couple approach. Dom had smartened up for the evening and was dressed in a suit; even his usual bright red satin cap was missing. Rosa’s arm was tucked into his. She was a handsome brunette with sherry brown eyes and a broad smile. Hawke guessed she was in her fifties. She was dressed in a comfortable red pant suit that suited her warm colouring.

Dom smiled and greeted his surrogate son with a hug. Rosa stepped forward and gave him a European greeting with a kiss on each cheek.

‘It’s nice to see you again Rosa.’ Hawke said politely.

‘It was good of you to invite me.’ She gestured at the vista in front of them; the sun going down over the mountain turning the lake a beautiful pool of gold. An eagle cry cut through the sunset. ‘It is bellisimo.’

‘Thank you.’ Hawke stepped back. ‘Please come on in.’

There was a flurry of activity as Caitlin left her cooking to greet the couple and the wine was poured. Finally, they all settled down to talk in front of the fire.

‘So how did you two meet?’ Caitlin asked, sitting down on the arm of the chair Hawke sat in, their hands tangling together. Her frank curiosity gleamed from her unguarded eyes.

‘You tell it, Dominic.’ Rosa said, her brown eyes sparkling in merriment.

‘Well, there I was on my second day in the Piazza del Marco shopping for groceries and I turn to get some tomatoes and I knock down poor Rosa here.’ Dom gestured.

‘So I’m on the floor…’ Rosa interjected.

‘The vegetables are rolling everywhere…’ Dom said laughing.

Rosa continued. ‘And Dom helped me up…’

‘So we ended up going for an espresso.’ Dom smiled at her.

‘An unnecessary apology.’ Rosa laid a hand on Dom’s knee.

He smiled at her and took her hand in his. ‘And we spent all afternoon talking and it turns out that we have a lot in common.’

‘So he invited me to dinner and dancing.’

‘This really great little jazz club out on the main square.’ Dom added. ‘And somehow we just seemed to end up spending every day together…’

‘Until my sister called me.’ Rosa ended. ‘She’s not very well poor thing and asked that I come and stay with her.’

‘And when I found out that Rosa’s sister just lives down the coast, well, I decided I might as well come home too and I offered to fly Rosa back.’ Dom explained.

‘And here we are.’ Rosa finished. The couple smiled at each other.

Hawke and Caitlin exchanged an amused look. He cleared his throat to get the older couple’s attention. ‘So is your sister feeling better?’

‘I think it’s a nerve thing.’ Rosa confided. ‘She won’t leave the house.’

‘Is she younger?’ Hawke asked, swirling his wine.

‘Yes, younger.’ Rosa smiled. ‘I guess that’s why I felt I needed to come out to look after her. An older sibling thing.’

‘You have any more brothers and sisters?’ Caitlin asked.

Rosa nodded, sipping her wine. ‘Two more sisters and two brothers.’

‘Just like my family, four girls and two boys,’ chimed in Dom.

‘Dom tells me you are one of five, Caitlin?’ Rosa smiled at the younger woman.

‘Yes. Two older brothers, an older sister and a younger sister.’ Caitlin confirmed.

‘And they are in Texas?’ Rosa said.

‘Yes.’ Caitlin nodded. ‘My family has a ranch out there.’

‘Dominic tells me your sister is getting married before Christmas. You must be looking forward to it.’ Rosa said.

Caitlin smiled tightly and felt Hawke’s fingers squeeze comfortingly around hers. Her family had never approved of her relationship with Hawke and her sister was marrying one of Caitlin’s ex-boyfriends; in her opinion the wedding had all the makings of a disaster waiting to happen. ‘It’ll be nice to see everyone again.’ She said noncommittally.

‘Your parents must be very proud of you.’ Rosa continued seemingly oblivious to Caitlin’s growing distress.

‘More wine?’ Hawke said getting up to refill the glasses and hoping to distract Rosa into another topic of conversation.

‘Oh thank you.’ Rosa proffered her glass. ‘This is very nice. Italian?’

‘Of course.’ Hawke said returning to his seat and taking Caitlin’s hand again.

‘He got it specially.’ Dom said proudly.

‘I’m honoured.’ Rosa smiled at the young pilot. ‘So, Dom tells me you have an older brother.’

‘Yes.’ Hawke said. ‘Saint John.’

This time it was Caitlin’s hand that tightened comfortingly on his.

‘And he’s still missing after the Vietnam War?’ Rosa asked.

Caitlin stood up. ‘I think dinner is about ready. Why don’t we head to the table?’

‘Can I do anything to help?’ Rosa asked, getting up.

‘Oh no.’ Caitlin waved her to the table. ‘Please. Sit and relax.’

She served out whilst Hawke saw their guests were seated. He came into the kitchen to help her take dishes back out. They sat down and Caitlin determinedly started a conversation about Italy. They were serving dessert, a lime cheesecake when Hawke asked Rosa whether she was also from Amieto, the small Italian town where Dom’s sister lived.

‘Oh no. I live in Rome.’ Rosa said.

‘So you were just visiting Amieto when you met Dom?’ Caitlin asked forking up a piece of cheesecake.

‘A wonderful twist of fate.’ Rosa said. ‘I was there on business.’

‘Oh what do you do?’ Caitlin asked.

‘I’m an interior designer.’

‘You mean go into people’s houses and design rooms for them?’ Caitlin checked.

‘That’s right.’ Rosa looked around. ‘I find the choice of décor you have fascinating, Hawke. Eclectic. And the art is just incredible.’

‘Thank you.’ Hawke said. ‘So you were working a job in Amieto?’

‘No just searching for antiques and other object d’art. I like to have a stock for inspiration.’ Rosa gestured at the paintings. ‘They are almost perfect copies.’

‘Oh they’re not copies.’ Dom said missing Hawke’s sharp look.

‘Dominic, stop teasing!’ Rosa slapped his hand playfully. ‘Caitlin, Dominic tells me you are moving in here soon so there will a woman’s touch around the place?’

Caitlin blinked at the remark and wondered whether to feel insulted. She glanced quickly at Hawke and saw his blue eyes cooling. ‘Oh I’m moved in already.’

‘Oh my mistake.’ Rosa pressed her hand to her chest. ‘I feel just awful. My tenses, I sometimes mix them up in English.’

‘It was probably my fault.’ Dom said gallantly. ‘My Italian is rusty and I may have gotten my tenses mixed up.’

‘It’s fine.’ Caitlin waved away the apologies and got to her feet. She started to collect the plates. ‘Truth be told, I guess I haven’t looked to do very much redecorating since I moved in.’ She stopped by Hawke and touched his shoulder briefly. ‘I kinda like the cabin the way it is. Shall we move to the fire for coffee?’

A half an hour later, Hawke leaned against the porch post and watched the Santini helicopter leaving with a worried look. Tet whined picking up on his mood. Hawke ruffled the dog’s coat and headed indoors, Tet followed at his heels. Caitlin was in the kitchen wiping down the surfaces. She threw the cloth in the sink at the sound of the cabin door closing and turned to him with a tired smile.

‘I don’t know about you but I’m ready to call it a day.’

‘Yeah.’ Hawke held out his hand. ‘Let’s go up.’

The fire crackling in the bedroom hearth was the only light in the room when Caitlin climbed into bed to join Hawke. His arms were crossed behind his head and he was staring into the flames, brooding. She slid over to cuddle into his side, her head on his shoulder, her hand sliding over his chest. He shifted bringing his arms down, one sliding around her shoulders to pull her closer and the other drifting over the arm she had around him, stroking it gently.

‘You don’t like her.’ Caitlin stated quietly after a while.

Hawke sighed. ‘I don’t trust her.’

‘Me either.’

He paused in his absent-minded stroking of her arm for a split second before resuming. ‘I don’t know what it is.’ He confided.

‘Me either.’ Caitlin repeated sighing. ‘So what are we going to do?’ Her fingers absently traced his ribs and she raised her head to look directly at him. ‘You know if we say anything, Dom’s going to think we just don’t like her because of that decorating crack. He’s completely smitten.’

‘Yeah. She’s got him hook, line and sinker.’ Hawke noted unhappily. ‘I guess we’re going to have to be subtle, get him to see it himself.’

‘That’s not going to be easy.’ Caitlin warned.

‘I know but we have to try.’ Hawke said evenly and she nodded. She sank back down, resting her head on his shoulder again.

‘Cait, about the decorating thing…’ He cleared his throat, ‘you do know you can change anything you want. This is your home now too.’

She raised her head again and squarely met his eyes. He was trying to hide it but she could read the worry in them. ‘I know and I meant what I said. I kinda like it the way it is.’ Her eyes remained locked on his. ‘I kinda like you the way you are too.’

Hawke moved suddenly so she was sprawled beneath him. ‘I don’t want to talk anymore.’

Caitlin was smiling when he kissed her.

Part 2

Subtle, Hawke reminded himself the next day, he needed to be subtle. He wondered briefly if he had the patience for it and handed Dom the wrench he needed. They had been working on a chopper all day doing maintenance. It was the type of work that bored Hawke but he was happy enough to spend the time with Dom although it had been hard getting the older man to talk about anything other than Rosa. Hawke forced himself to tune back into the conversation.

‘…and I’m planning to take her out to a nice restaurant for Christmas dinner so you needn’t worry about me crashing your day with Cait.’

Hawke leaned on the chopper, stuffing his hands into his beige overalls and looked up at Dom who was on the ladder reaching across to the rotors. ‘You know you’re welcome to spend Christmas with us, Dom.’

‘Nah. I know you were looking forward to it being the two of you with me supposed to be in Italy and besides,’ Dom laughed, ‘Rosa’s looking forward to having dinner at some big, fancy place.’

‘Big fancy place, huh?’ Hawke asked, passing up another tool. ‘Sounds expensive.’

‘Arm and a leg, kid, arm and a leg.’

‘Spending money…you must really like her.’ Hawke noted.

Dom raised his head, shoved his red cap back and nodded a little shyly. ‘I do. I know she kinda upset you with the decorating thing but she’s a real honey, String.’

Hawke shrugged. ‘She may have done us a favour. I hadn’t clued in that Cait hadn’t made any changes.’

Dom looked at him nervously. ‘So you like her?’

‘She seems nice.’ Hawke said noncommittally.

Dom smiled. Hawke was always guarded about how he felt. ‘Well, good, ‘cos there’s something I want to discuss with you.’

‘Oh?’

The phone rang.

Dom nodded at it when Hawke didn’t move.

‘You want to get that?’

‘I thought you had something you wanted to discuss with me.’

‘It’ll wait.’ Dom gestured. ‘It could be a customer. Get the phone will ya!’

Hawke smiled and took the couple of steps he needed to snag the receiver up. ‘Santini Air.’

‘Hawke.’

Hawke sighed at the serious tone of Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, the deputy director of the intelligence agency the FIRM. It was no doubt an Airwolf mission. Hawke flew the technologically advanced mach capable helicopter in exchange for the FIRM finding Saint John.

‘Michael.’ Hawke acknowledged the other man and tried to keep the irritation out of his voice.

‘I have a situation...’

‘You always do.’ Hawke pointed out.

‘Dammit, Hawke, this is serious!’

Michael’s worry finally pierced Hawke’s annoyance at being disturbed. ‘What’s up, Michael? Is Angelina OK?’

‘Angelina’s fine. This isn’t about my daughter.’ Michael replied, the wonder of discovering the ten year old little girl still evident; it had been less than a week since Hawke and he had returned from Russia with her. ‘I can’t discuss this over the phone. Can we meet?’

‘Sure. Come to the Lair.’ Hawke said referring to the dusty cave in the Valley of the Gods that hid Airwolf from the world.

‘I’ll meet you there.’ Michael hung up, not waiting for Hawke’s reply.

‘What was that about?’ Dom asked. He’d halted his work to listen to Hawke’s side of the conversation.

Hawke shrugged. ‘Airwolf mission, I think.’

‘You think?’

‘He sounded worried.’

Dom frowned. ‘Well, we’d better go meet him. See what this is about.’

‘Yeah.’ Hawke agreed as Dom climbed down the ladder. ‘Let’s go.’

It took no time at all before Hawke and Dom got to the Lair and they waited on the steel platform that housed a range of communications and security systems along with a state of the art computer. Michael had installed the equipment when he’d finally discovered the location of the Lair and Hawke still viewed it with displeasure even though he appreciated that it had already come in useful. At least Michael was keeping his word and only coming to the Lair when invited. Both men looked up as the white soft-top jeep pulled into the cave. Michael climbed out, dressed as always in an all-white outfit with only his black eye-patch detracting from the overall effect. He wasted no time on pleasantries.

‘Zeus is missing.’ Michael pushed his wire-frame glasses up his nose and peered through his good eye at the two pilots who were reacting true to form at the news about the FIRM’s director; Hawke barely raised an eyebrow although a calculating look had entered the blue eyes whilst Dom’s eyebrows had shot up, his eyes widening in shock and disbelief.

‘Zeus has disappeared?’ Dom asked leaning back on the bright yellow railing circling the platform.

‘That’s not possible, Michael.’ Hawke said crossing his arms and tipping his chair back. He’d worked for the FIRM for a number of years and knew that only the President had better security measures than those that surrounded its director.

‘I’m afraid it is.’ Michael stroked his moustache. ‘He was snatched from outside his house this morning. His protection detail is dead.’

‘Dead?’ Dom said seeing the truth in the other man’s grave expression.

Michael nodded.

‘So why are you here, Michael?’ Hawke asked righting the chair and gesturing at the spy. ‘Hasn’t Special Order 11 been invoked?’ His tone was scathing giving away his own distaste for the FIRM’s rule of eliminating any operative potentially compromised by the enemy.

Michael sighed and sat down heavily in one of the office chairs. ‘I’m beginning to think that order needs to be scrapped.’

‘Finally,’ said Dom with a huff of laughter.

‘You haven’t invoked the order.’ Hawke stated.

‘At present, only I and the rest of the Committee know that he’s missing.’ Michael tapped his cane on the steel. ‘We want to keep it that way.’ He clasped his hands around the silver cane handle. ‘Besides, we don’t think Zeus has been kidnapped by the enemy exactly.’

Hawke sighed. ‘I have a feeling I’m not going to like this.’

‘You and me both, String.’ Dom muttered.

‘Zeus was ordered yesterday to attend a special meeting of the Senate Oversight Committee on Intelligence which takes place tomorrow.’ Michael continued ignoring their comments. ‘They’ve been reviewing the budgets of all the intelligence agencies but paying special attention to the operating costs.’ He pursed his lips. ‘Zeus was worried about it.’

‘Why?’ Hawke asked. ‘Don’t these guys review you all the time?’

‘They do,’ Michael agreed, ‘which is why I had Marella do some digging.’

‘And?’ Dom prompted.

‘And she hit a brick wall.’

‘So maybe there’s nothing to dig up, huh.’ Dom said.

‘Or there’s something big going on.’ Hawke corrected him. He might not like politics but he knew the way it worked.

Michael nodded slowly. ‘Something really big.’

‘You think Zeus has been kidnapped to stop him talking to the Committee.’ Hawke concluded.

‘But why?’ Dom asked.

‘I don’t know.’ Michael admitted. ‘Maybe discrediting Zeus or the FIRM for some reason gives someone an advantage.’ He tapped his moustache thoughtfully. ‘Politically, if it were revealed that the FIRM couldn’t even protect its own director…that he’d been delayed from appearing in front of the Committee because he’d been kidnapped…’

‘Or shot.’ Dom said interrupting. ‘You’re assuming whoever took him won’t kill him.’

‘If they wanted him dead they could have shot him outside his house.’ Michael said defensively. ‘What I do know is that Zeus needs to be at that meeting at eight am tomorrow and we need to find him and get him there. The Committee has authorised me to ask you to help.’

Hawke silently weighed up the situation; helping Zeus didn’t sit well with him, the two of them mutually disliked each other. He frowned; they didn’t like each other but at least the man did tolerate the deal that Michael had worked out with Hawke over Airwolf. If they didn’t help and Zeus lost his position, there was no guarantee that his replacement wouldn’t try to revoke that deal…

Hawke rubbed his chin. ‘Do you have any leads?’

Michael relaxed imperceptibly. He knew Hawke wouldn’t like the mission but he was glad that the other man had seen the sense of them doing it. ‘I have this.’ He reached into the inner pocket of his jacket and took out a computer disc. ‘Surveillance video from the outside of Zeus’ house.’ He threw it over to the pilot who turned to the console he was sat at and placed the disc in the CD reader. The video appeared on the monitor in front of them and both Dom and Michael moved to stand behind Hawke to watch over his shoulder.

The camera had obviously been on a wall focused on the front door of the house and driveway. They saw the security detail bring the car around to the door; Zeus exiting with two guards flanking him. The snatch was quick; shots were fired, the guards fell and a black van zoomed into view as Zeus dived for his vehicle. Another shot took out the driver and two masked men jumped out of the van to grab Zeus and wrestle him into it.

‘These guys were professional, huh.’ Dom said solemnly.

‘Very,’ Michael agreed, ‘and the MO is SOP for all US intelligence agencies.’

‘And a few foreign ones too, Michael.’ Hawke commented.

‘The weapons are American.’ Michael pointed out. ‘Generally, even operatives use the weapons they are trained in.’

Hawke sighed and rewound the tape. The second time around he looked for clues that would assist them; anything. He paused the video and pointed at the screen. ‘There.’

‘License plate.’ Dom muttered and gestured at the screen. ‘Ah but we can barely see it.’

‘Hawke, zoom in on that section.’ Michael suggested.

Hawke was already tapping the instruction into the computer. The image reappeared with the section filling the whole screen. They all frowned at the fuzziness.

‘It’s covered in dirt.’ Dom said.

‘But you can just make it out.’ Michael said. ‘Except for that one. Is it a 5 or a 3?’

‘Let’s run both and find out.’ Hawke suggested. He got out of the chair and gestured for Michael to sit. The spy knew how to access the information better than he did.

Michael sat down and quickly accessed the systems they needed. ‘The first van is licensed to a Mrs Henry Appleton of Groveside, Orange County.’ Michael confirmed. He accessed all the relevant information he could about the woman. ‘She’s a caterer. Well connected with a sterling reputation for charity work.’ He shook his head. ‘I don’t think she’s our likely suspect.’

‘What’s the deal on the second license?’ Hawke asked.

Michael ran the information. ‘It’s a company vehicle licensed to…’ he stumbled to a halt recognising the name and leaned back in the chair, ‘…Solartech.’

‘Solartech?’ Hawke asked. ‘Don’t they make satellites and spy planes for the government?’

Michael nodded slowly. ‘Solartech was just awarded a billion dollar contract to build a new satellite and ten new automated spy planes to be used for intelligence gathering.’

‘Automated?’ Hawke asked.

Michael nodded. ‘They run off a remote flight control a bit like Airwolf’s ground flight control capability.’ His good eye suddenly twinkled with mischief. ‘No pilot required.’

‘Huh.’ Dom folded his arms.

‘The planes transmit all their data to a computer on the ground. So if they are shot down or compromised in any way…’

‘You leave the enemy with no data and no pilot to question.’ Hawke concluded. ‘Pretty clever.’

Michael smoothed his moustache. ‘Thank you.’

‘So why would these guys kidnap Zeus?’ Dom asked. ‘It doesn’t make any sense.’

‘Yes it does,’ contradicted Michael, getting to his feet. ‘Solartech is a subsidiary company of one of the intelligence agencies under review.’

‘Which one?’ Hawke asked.

‘The Federal Intelligence Agency.’

‘The Federal Intelligence Agency?’ Dom snorted. ‘Those guys are worse than you.’

Michael shot him a look. ‘Thank you for the critique, Dominic.’

‘Can we stay focused?’ Hawke snapped before the two men could get into an exchange of barbs.

‘OK. So Solartech have him. Where?’ Dom asked.

‘They have to have stashed him somewhere.’ Hawke noted. ‘Let’s run a search on the properties in the State owned by Solartech.’ He gestured at Dom to take up position at the keyboard.

Dom rolled his eyes at him but slipped into the chair and flexed his hands before giving the instructions to the computer. ‘They have six properties.’

‘These two are office buildings.’ Hawke noted. ‘They’d risk exposure if they took Zeus somewhere that was primarily used for legitimate business.’

‘I agree.’ Michael said. ‘That leaves four possibilities.’

‘Yeah.’ Hawke pointed. ‘These two labs and these two storage facilities.’

‘Now what?’ Dom asked.

Hawke turned and started toward Airwolf. ‘We’ll fly over and see if we can spot anything. If we get lucky we might find the van.’

It only took them a short time to suit up in the lilac uniforms and get airborne.

Continued in Part II.

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