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Fanfiction: Duplicity - Part VI

For disclaimers and author's note see Part I.

 

Part 11


Jo Santini rolled over in the bed and her hand closed on empty space. She opened one eye grumpily to confirm she was alone. She sat up and looked around the bedroom. A slow smile crept across her face. Detective Ricardo Marin was certainly full of surprises although the room itself was a typical bachelor’s bedroom; dark browns and greys, solid wood furniture. She stretched out under the covers and slipped out of bed. She grabbed Marin’s discarded shirt and put it on before going in search of her missing boyfriend.

The bedroom was located right at the back of the apartment, the bathroom opposite with a short corridor back out to the sitting room. Jo dipped into the bathroom before she continued down the corridor. The sitting room was dominated by a large television screen with the sofa directly in front of it. There was a small kitchenette at the back and a door opened out onto a small balcony.

Jo frowned as she neared the doorway to the sitting room; it sounded like Marin was on the phone to someone. He sounded annoyed. She padded to the slightly open door and listened.

‘Look, I’ve done everything you’ve asked.’ Marin hissed.

Jo peeked through the gap. Marin was pacing, the phone at his ear. He was wearing a white vest and jeans; he looked agitated, a dull flush on his olive complexion. His hand was clutching his hair as though he was extremely distressed.

‘No. You don’t understand. I’ve swallowed a hell of a lot to get my foot in the door at Santini Air not to mention getting you Santos.’ Marin snapped angrily at the person on the other end of the phone. ‘No, I’ve told you, I’ve got the niece and she knows something. I know she does.’

Jo felt her heart start to pound uncomfortably.

‘You want the proof. The niece is in my bedroom.’ Marin said. ‘I’m taking a bigger risk and I want more money.’

Jo wanted to run back to the bedroom, pull the covers back over her head and pretend that she hadn’t heard any of Marin’s conversation but her feet remained rooted to the spot.

‘OK. Today at twelve. Yeah, I know the Z Bar. It’s out by the desert road, right?’ Marin nodded. ‘I’ll be there. Just make sure you bring the money.’ He hung up.

Jo silently rushed back to the bedroom and stripped the shirt from her body. She dived under the covers and had only just pulled them back over her head when she heard Marin’s footsteps coming towards the bedroom.

‘Hey, sleepyhead.’ Marin drew the covers back.

Jo opened her eyes and blinked at him a couple of times to try to make it appear that she was just waking up. ‘Hey.’

Marin reached down and kissed her.

Jo pulled away and glanced around to see if she could see a clock. She latched onto the alarm clock with barely concealed fervour. ‘Is that really the time?’

‘I’m afraid so.’ Marin brushed Jo’s hair out of her blue eyes.

‘I should take a shower.’ Jo said slipping from his grasp and grabbing his shirt again to cover her body.

Marin grabbed her arm. ‘There’s no rush.’

‘I’ve got to get back.’ Jo said. ‘My uncle will be getting worried.’

Marin frowned at her as she pulled her blond bob out of the shirt. ‘Is there a problem?’

Jo attempted a smile. ‘Of course not.’

‘Then why don’t I believe you?’ Marin said. He blocked her step toward the door.

Jo tried to ignore the fear knotting her stomach. She gave a sigh and rubbed her arms. ‘Look, waking up with you and everything…I guess it’s just hit me that we’re just moving a little fast.’

Marin stared at her for a while. ‘I guess things have moved a little quick.’

‘Maybe we ought to slow down just for a little while.’ Jo suggested.

‘Sure.’ Marin said. He stepped away from the door. ‘Why don’t you take your shower? I’ll make you some breakfast.’

‘Sounds good.’ Jo forced herself to drop a kiss on Marin’s lips.

The phone rang.

Marin kissed her again. ‘I should get that.’

‘Sure.’ Jo gestured at the bathroom. ‘I’d better get that shower.’

Marin headed into the sitting room as Jo stepped into the bathroom and locked the door. She turned the shower on, put the lid down on the toilet and sat on it putting her head in her hands. She took a gulping breath and stripped his shirt off. She got under the rushing water and turned the heat up. She felt dirty and she scrubbed her skin until it was pink. She wrapped herself in a clean towel and took a deep breath before stepping out of the bathroom. The apartment seemed quiet.

‘Hello?’ Jo said. She padded into the sitting room and her eyes caught on the note propped up on the coffee table. She snatched it up.

‘Had to go into work. I’m afraid you’ll have to take a cab to the airfield. I’ll call you. Ricky.’ The number of the cab company was on the bottom.

Jo’s eyes flew to the clock. It was ten in the morning. If she hurried she could get to the airfield and tell her uncle and Hawke about Marin’s duplicity. She hesitated with her finger over the numbers and wondered if she should just call the airfield. She dialled the number for the cab company; she would convince Hawke and her uncle better in person.

Part 12


Caitlin put the phone down on the movie producer and blew the fringe out of her hair. She had just finished cancelling their work for the next few weeks and some of the conversations hadn’t been all that friendly. She got up and poured a mug of coffee. She looked at the dark brew and grimaced; she was supposed to be cutting down. She patted her tummy.

‘Sorry, baby, but Mommy really needs coffee after that conversation.’ She took an appreciative sip.

Hawke walked into the office; he was wearing beige overalls and an irritated expression. They were supposed to be fixing the Steerman but every time they got one bit right, something else just went wrong. His blue eyes landed on Caitlin’s coffee mug and he frowned.

‘One word.’ She threatened.

Hawke pulled a rag from his pocket and wiped his hands. ‘There another one of those in the pot?’

Caitlin shook her head and repressed the smile that she wanted to make; usually she was the one who missed out on the coffee. ‘It was the last.’

‘Great.’ He looked so downhearted that Caitlin sighed and relented; she passed him her mug. He dropped a grateful kiss on her lips. ‘You’re a great wife.’

‘Yeah.’

Dom pushed open the office door. ‘String, what’re ya doing in here? That Steerman ain’t going to fix itself.’

‘More’s the pity,’ muttered Hawke.

‘What?’ demanded Dom.

‘I said I’m just having a coffee.’ Hawke replied.

The older pilot gave him a suspicious look which increased when Hawke attempted an innocent expression. Dom sniffed. He nodded at the coffee mug. ‘I could do with a cup of that myself.’

‘This is the last.’ Hawke said cheerfully.

Caitlin rolled her eyes. ‘I’ll make a fresh pot.’

‘You’re an angel.’ Dom said.

‘Jo timed it well.’ Hawke pointed to the cab rolling up outside the window. ‘She always did know when there was coffee.’

Dom glowered at the sight of his niece in the same clothes she had worn to go out the night before and rolled his eyes heavenward.

‘She seems upset.’ Caitlin commented curiously as she took in the other woman’s appearance and frantic exit from the car.

Hawke shrugged at Dom’s inquiring expression. Who were they to question female intuition?

‘Thank God you guys are here.’ Jo said breathlessly as she dumped her handbag and coat on a chair; she tried to catch her breath.

‘Are you OK?’ Caitlin asked.

Jo waved away the other woman’s concern. ‘Marin is dirty.’ She gasped out.

‘What?’ Hawke’s blue eyes snapped to Jo.

‘I overheard him on the phone.’ Jo said. ‘He was talking to someone. He basically said that he had his foot in the door with us because of his relationship with me and that he’d done everything the guy had asked even finding him Santos.’

‘You mean he was behind the break-in?’ Caitlin’s voice rose.

‘Why that dirty little rat!’ Dom shook his fist. ‘Wait till I get my hands on him.’

‘Where is he now?’ Hawke asked.

‘He said he had to go,’ Jo said, ‘but he made an arrangement to meet this guy to get some money at twelve today. The Z bar?’

‘That’s right out in the desert.’ Dom said. ‘He’ll be long gone before we can get there.’

‘Not if we take the Lady.’ Hawke bit out.

‘We should call the police,’ Caitlin said exasperated, ‘or Michael.’

Hawke took in Jo’s bedraggled appearance; Marin had obviously seduced the younger woman just to get close to the Airwolf team. His blue eyes iced over. ‘This is personal.’

‘I’m with you.’ Dom said fiercely.

Both men turned to leave.

‘We’re all going.’ Caitlin said firmly.

‘Now wait a minute…’ Dom began.

‘If Marin works out that Jo overheard his conversation, he could come after her.’ Caitlin pointed out. ‘Neither of us is safe staying at the airfield.’

‘She’s right.’ Jo said. ‘I think I fooled him but I don’t know for certain.’

‘Don’t worry.’ Hawke stated and surprised her with a quick hug. ‘You’ll be safe at the Lair.’

‘Well, what are we waiting for?’ Dom asked.

The four of them took the jeep out to the Lair. Dom and Hawke changed into their Airwolf uniforms.

‘I don’t think you want to walk into the Z Bar wearing lilac.’ Caitlin commented.

Hawke shot her a look as Dom laughed.

‘We can do the surveillance from Airwolf.’ Hawke said. ‘I want to know who Marin is talking to.’

‘I want to come along.’ Jo said. ‘I want to give Marin a piece of my mind.’

‘No.’ Hawke and Dom said in unison, heading for the helicopter.

‘You just stay here, honey.’ Dom said. ‘Leave this to us.’

Jo slumped into a chair on the platform.

‘I still think we should call Michael.’ Caitlin said as she held the Airwolf door ready to close as Hawke climbed into the cockpit.

Hawke reached for his helmet and looked back at her.

She raised an eyebrow and he sighed.

‘OK.’ He said. ‘Call Michael and bring him up to speed. Tell him we’ll call him for back up as soon as we’ve got Marin pinned down.’

‘Right.’

He leaned over and kissed her. ‘We’ll be in touch.’

Caitlin watched Airwolf ascend before she glanced back at the platform and her compassion stirred at the downcast look on Jo’s face. She headed to the provisions locker and pulled out some soda drinks before she headed for her seat on the platform.

‘Here.’ She offered one of the bottles to Jo who took it with a nod of thanks.

Jo took a thirsty gulp before she screwed the top back on and watched Caitlin make the call to Michael. It didn’t take long and Caitlin soon turned back to the other woman.

‘You OK?’ Caitlin asked.

‘I feel like an idiot.’ Jo admitted.

Caitlin smiled sympathetically. ‘If you’re planning on moving back in June like you said, you should probably know that it might be the first time someone uses you to get to Airwolf but it definitely won’t be the last.’

‘That’s encouraging.’ Jo muttered. Her blue eyes finally met Caitlin’s compassionate gaze. ‘Something tells me you have some experience of this.’

Caitlin’s smile was rueful. ‘Some.’ She shrugged at Jo’s curiosity. ‘Let’s just say I’m glad I’m married to Hawke and don’t have to worry about whether someone’s only interested in me for my connection to him and to Airwolf.’

‘Well, I can’t marry String.’ Jo complained grumpily.

Caitlin gestured with the bottle. ‘Nope. I’d fight for him and I’d fight dirty.’

‘You don’t need to worry,’ Jo said with a smile, ‘String’s too much like an annoying older brother to me for me to even think about him that way. Saint John, though…’

‘Crush, huh?’ Caitlin said taking a sip of the soda.

‘Major.’ Jo admitted. ‘Saint John was so cool and handsome. Although I don’t think he ever saw me as anything more than a bratty little kid which kinda cured me of the crush after a while.’ She shook her head. ‘It’s weird to think that he and I might have been working for the same agency all these years.’ She gave a throaty chuckle. ‘It’s weird to think he’s alive at all.’

She pointed her bottle at Caitlin. ‘Can I ask you a question?’

‘Sure.’

‘Why do you call String, Hawke?’ Jo asked.

‘It seemed to suit him better and I don’t know, it kinda stuck.’ Caitlin said grinning. ‘Besides, now he say’s he knows he’s in trouble if I call him String.’

Jo grinned back. Her smile faded. ‘They’re going to be in trouble going after Marin aren’t they?’

‘They can handle it.’ Caitlin said confidently.

‘Hawke looked mad.’ Jo sighed. ‘I guess Marin’s spying on him really upset him.’

‘I think he was mad that Marin hurt you.’ Caitlin said bluntly. ‘He cares a lot about you.’

‘And you’re worried I’m going to hurt him.’ Jo surmised.

‘Maybe.’ Caitlin admitted her blue-green eyes shining with the honesty that was so innate to her. ‘Your being involved with the Company’s kinda unnerved me too.’

Jo nodded at the statement. ‘I swear, Caitlin, I would never say anything or do anything to hurt either of them intentionally. I couldn’t do that to Uncle Dom or to String.’

Caitlin nodded slowly. ‘I guess you and I just don’t know each other all that well yet, Jo. After all, we’ve barely spent any time just the two of us in your past visits.’

‘Maybe we should work on changing that.’ Jo suggested.

Caitlin smiled and raised her bottle in a toast. ‘I’ll drink to that.’

They clinked bottles and took a drink.

‘I hope they don’t pound on Marin too much.’ Jo said softly.

Caitlin raised an inquiring eyebrow.

Jo tipped her bottle at the redhead. ‘I want him to be conscious when I punch his lights out.’

‘I can empathise.’ Caitlin smiled and glanced at the clock. She repressed a sigh and tried to push her own worry away. The guys would be fine and by her reckoning Airwolf should have just taken position for the surveillance.

In Airwolf, Dom checked the position. ‘We’re right where we should be, String.’ He confirmed.

Hawke checked the altitude and shifted in his seat a little. ‘Any sign of Marin?’

‘Scanning.’ Dom pursed his lips as he tapped the instructions into the screen. ‘I have to tell ya, String, when I get my hands on that scumbag, he’s going to wish he’d never been born.’

Hawke let Dom continue to malign Marin’s parentage, morals and personality, remaining silent and not wholly unsupportive of the more imaginative descriptions of what Dom was going to do to the cop when they got hold of him. He also knew the older man needed to let off steam and that however mad Dom was, the older man knew there was more at stake than beating up the guy for his treatment of Jo.

‘I’ve got Marin approaching on the old Valley road.’ Dom said. ‘He’s about ten miles from the Z Bar.’

‘Keep a lock on him.’ Hawke ordered. ‘I want to know exactly where he goes and who he meets.’

‘Gotcha.’ Dom issued the instructions and gave a pleased smile at the computer’s confirmation of the lock.

Suddenly the automatic identification program clicked in. Schematics of various known aircraft flashed across the screen until Airwolf settled on the picture of a Huey and started to list the weaponry enhancements to the helicopter.

Dom whistled. ‘String, we’ve got a Huey approaching. It’s got sidewinders and guns.’

Hawke frowned. ‘What’s its course?’

Dom checked and his dark eyes widened. ‘It’s on a direct intercept course with Marin’s car. It should be in range in a minute.’

‘Combat mode and give me turbos.’ Hawke instructed tersely. It looked like whoever Marin was working for had decided the cop was no longer of value. His thumb hit the red button and they shot forward.

Hawke focused on the Huey ahead of them in the sky, angled Airwolf’s nose, balanced her weight and shot past the other helicopter close enough to send it lurching in the sky at the moment it shot a missile.

The projectile missed its target of Marin’s car but hit the road in front. Marin swerved wildly and the car hit a verge; it flipped over and lay still.

The Huey had regained its balance and as Airwolf made another pass, launched a missile.

Dom deployed a sunburst and the missile was dispatched harmlessly. The two helicopters were racing across the desert floor; the Huey pursuing Airwolf.

Another missile and Hawke pulled back on the stick to let it pass under them, exploding into the countryside below. He executed a turn and came back down behind the Huey.

‘Patch me through Dom.’ Hawke ordered.

‘They can hear us.’ Dom confirmed.

‘Unidentified helicopter,’ Hawke radioed, ‘set down now before I make you.’

The Huey veered right.

Hawke stayed on its tail.

‘Guess they weren’t in the mood to listen, huh, String?’ Dom cackled.

Hawke slipped the visor down and targeted the Huey’s rotors. He triggered the guns; it was a direct hit. The pilot would have moments to set down before they would lose all control.

The Huey banked sharply and suddenly plummeted.

Hawke’s blue eyes widened as it hit the ground at tremendous speed and exploded.

Dom’s expression sobered. ‘I guess they really didn’t want to listen.’

‘Let’s get back to Marin.’ Hawke said making the course correction.

Dom scanned ahead and frowned. ‘String, his vitals are all over the place.’

‘Call an ambulance.’ Hawke ordered. ‘He’s our only chance at getting any information on who’s after us.’

‘Right.’

Hawke could hear Dom making the call in the background as he set down and climbed out of the cockpit. He ran over to the car and crouched down. Marin was slumped across the front seats and his neck was at an odd angle; Hawke could see it was broken. The cop was unconscious and probably only had moments to live. He could hear Dom running up behind him as he checked out how to get Marin out of the car. Maybe if he could get him free, he could get Marin conscious for a moment…

Dom came to a halt beside him and sniffed. ‘You smell that?’

Hawke paused and scented the air. Gasoline. His eyes caught on the drip of fuel on the road, the burning engine…he was already staggering to his feet as Dom pulled at his arm. They had barely back to Airwolf when the car exploded behind them. They hunkered down behind the open doors as the fireball plumed into the air; Dom protected Hawke’s head as metal flew in all directions. When the explosions had finally stopped, they rose up slowly and stared at the burning debris.

‘I’d better call Michael.’ Dom said.

‘Yeah.’ Hawke agreed. He shook his head and thumped his fist off Airwolf’s armour. They’d been so close.

It wasn’t long before the place was swarming with Michael’s people and a quick call from the spy had them heading back to the Lair for the debriefing. They had only just landed Airwolf when the white jeep pulled up into the Lair and parked next to the helicopter.

Michael joined the group at the metal platform. His good eye scanned the group, settling unhappily for an instant on Jo Santini before moving on to Hawke. ‘I can’t believe we almost had him and lost him.’ He said and rapped his cane on the floor angrily.

‘Hey,’ Hawke said defensively, ‘we wanted him too.’

Michael took a deep breath. ‘Sorry, it’s just…frustrating.’

‘I think we’re all a little frustrated, Michael.’ Caitlin said folding her arms across her chest. ‘Marin was the best lead we had on who’s after us.’

‘We still might be able to get something from tracking Marin’s last few weeks.’ Michael said. ‘There has to be something.’

‘I don’t know.’ Hawke said. ‘Whoever it is seems to be pretty good at covering their tracks.’

‘But remember they didn’t know Marin had been made.’ Caitlin pointed out. ‘They must have decided to eliminate Marin when he asked for more money.’

‘Maybe,’ Dom concurred, ‘but, Cait, that Huey destroyed itself rather than surrender.’

‘I think you’re both right.’ Michael said rubbing his moustache. ‘I think we’re dealing with a ruthless individual who is good at covering themselves and who obviously inspires loyalty or fear if a pilot is willing to sacrifice themselves rather than surrender.’

‘How does that help us?’ Dom asked.

‘It doesn’t.’ Michael admitted. ‘And that’s not the only thing that worries me.’ His eye landed back on Jo. ‘How much did you tell Marin, Ms Santini?’

‘Michael…’ Dom leaped to his niece’s defence.

‘It’s OK, Uncle Dom.’ Jo laid a hand on her uncle’s arm before she turned to the spy. She swallowed hard at the hard glare and stern expression. ‘I didn’t tell Marin anything about Airwolf.’

‘And what intelligence did you pass on in terms of routines and every day life?’ Michael bit out.

‘Well, I…’ Jo blinked. ‘Nothing much…’

‘But something.’ Michael stated.

‘We were dating.’ Jo said defensively and crossing her arms.

‘You do realise that every piece of information that you gave Marin he probably passed onto his contact?’ Michael stabbed a finger at her. ‘You may have given away a vital piece of intelligence that will lead to one or more of the people here getting hurt or possibly killed.’

Jo blanched.

‘Michael, that’s enough.’ Dom put his arm around his niece and glowered at the spy. He gestured furiously at Hawke to say something.

Hawke sighed and lifted a hand from the yellow railing he was leaning on. ‘What’s done is done, Michael. We’ll just have to see where the cards fall.’

There was an awkward silence.

Caitlin cleared her throat. ‘I meant to ask you; how’s Angelina after last night?’

Michael knew she was trying to smooth the waters and answered her with a conscious effort to make his tone lighter. ‘Much better. She was running around like normal this morning.’

‘Is there any news on this HX-2 thing, Michael?’ Hawke asked.

‘Not yet.’ Michael confirmed. ‘They’re still trying to locate it. I have a meeting with General Kendry at Jackson airbase later today to make the arrangements for your involvement.’ His good eye suddenly twinkled. ‘He’s not exactly pleased to have you on board.’

‘Great,’ muttered Hawke, ‘I can’t wait.’

Michael nodded. ‘I’d better get back to headquarters.’

There was a chorus of goodbyes as he got back in the jeep and reversed out.

Jo gave a deep sigh of relief. ‘How do you work with that guy?’

‘Michael’s OK.’ Hawke said.

Jo glared at him. ‘Yeah, I noticed you didn’t exactly jump to my defence.’

‘Jo…’ Dom began.

‘He had a point.’ Hawke shot back at Jo.

‘What d’ya mean he had a point?’ Jo took a step forward to stand almost nose to nose with Hawke.

‘You did tell Marin a lot of personal information about us.’ Hawke said angrily.

‘Why don’t we…’ Dom tried again.

‘I was dating the guy!’ Jo yelled her blue eyes flashing angrily.

‘You even told him about the baby.’ Hawke’s voice was quiet, dangerous, as he stated his main concern.

‘I didn’t know it was a big secret.’ Jo insisted furiously. ‘You should have told me.’

‘We didn’t think we had to.’ Hawke bit out, gesturing at her. ‘It’s usually understood that you don’t go telling the whole world.’

‘It is not.’ Jo shot back.

‘It is.’ Hawke insisted.

‘It is not.’

‘It is.’

‘Hey!’ Dom’s angry yell had them flushing like naughty children. ‘Have I gone back in time here? You’re both acting like children.’ His dark eyes glared at them. ‘You apologise to each other right now.’

Hawke shuffled uncomfortably under the paternal stare. ‘Sorry.’

‘Sorry.’ Jo muttered. She looked at Hawke tearfully before dropping her gaze to the steel floor. ‘I know I messed up.’

Hawke glanced at Caitlin who’d remained surprisingly quiet and she gestured with a quick jerk of her head at the other woman. He got the message. He sighed and vaulted over the railing. He pulled Jo into a quick hug, his chin resting on her blonde head as she cried on his shoulder, wrapping her own arms around him. He patted her awkwardly. ‘Hey. Marin fooled us too.’

Jo sniffed and pulled out of the embrace. ‘I’m really am sorry.’

‘We know,’ Caitlin said comfortingly, ‘but like Hawke said; we’ll deal with whatever happens and you’re not the first one of us to get played.’

‘Ain’t that the truth,’ laughed Dom.

‘Come on.’ Hawke gave Jo a quick squeeze. ‘Let’s go home.’

Continued in Part VII.

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