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Fanfiction: Spirit of the Wolf - Part I

Fandom: Airwolf
Series: The Lost Season (Story 14)
Summary: As Airwolf undergoes tests, a mission to South America provides some excitement.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Hawke/Caitlin. 
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

Spirit of the Wolf

Part 1

‘I can’t believe I agreed to this.’ Stringfellow Hawke muttered as he paced the brightly lit white corridor. His blue eyes glared at the closed door behind which various tests were being performed and pushed away the rising panic that something was really wrong. He pushed a hand through his short brown hair in frustration. ‘It’s taking too long; it should have been over by now.’

Dominic Santini sighed deeply and gestured at the younger man with his red baseball cap. ‘Will ya stop pacing String? She’ll be fine.’

‘For once, Hawke, Dominic’s right.’ Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, the deputy director of the FIRM, stretched out his bad leg with a wince. He was only just recovering from surgery to fix his busted knee but he was sat in a wheelchair dressed impeccably as always in a white suit with a black eye-patch adding a touch of additional eccentricity to the outfit. He nudged his wire-frame glasses back up his nose. ‘These things take time.’

Hawke simply glared at him.

‘Hawke, stop glaring at Michael.’ Caitlin Hawke chided her husband, smiling to soften the admonishment. ‘Airwolf’s in good hands.’

The technologically advanced helicopter was undergoing a series of tests to check her programming after she had seemed to act independently on a couple of previous missions. They’d arranged with Michael to have her tested at the FIRM’s laboratory out at Devil’s Anvil and Hawke had relinquished the helicopter reluctantly to Karen Hansen, the FIRM’s expert on Airwolf’s complicated computer programme. They were all a little nervous; the last time Airwolf had taken control she’d been under the influence of a logic bomb hidden in her computer code and left there by her twisted creator, Moffett. If Airwolf’s recent actions were down to another logic bomb then Hawke knew he would have to ground the helicopter permanently. Given the possible outcome, it had been a difficult decision for Hawke to agree to the testing; Airwolf was the only leverage he had to force the FIRM to search for his missing elder brother, Saint John, but Michael had given his word to Hawke to find Saint John regardless of whether Hawke had Airwolf or not. Hawke was trusting in the deep friendship that had evolved between them that the spy would keep his word.

He sat back down by his wife and clasped her hand in his. He ran his thumb over the plain gold band around her finger, brushed against the solitaire on her engagement ring and wondered at both. They had married in a quiet ceremony in front of the lake by their home only a month previously and they were both still slightly in disbelief of their new marital status. It didn’t seem that long ago for either of them that they had settled for their relationship never moving beyond friendship. Thank God, they hadn’t continued to settle, Hawke thought. He caught Caitlin’s amused blue-green eyes with his and smiled as his gaze ran over the delicate features liberally covered in freckles. He brushed a stray lock of red hair away from her eyes and back behind her ears.

‘Why don’t I get you some coffee?’ Caitlin suggested.

Hawke sighed. ‘Good idea.’ He kept hold of her hand as she stood and made the offer to the others; kept hold of it until the last possible moment. His eyes watched her disappear down the corridor. When his gaze finally flickered back to Dom, the older man was grinning with amusement.

‘What?’ asked Hawke.

Dom held up both his hands in supplication as he chuckled. ‘I’m just happy you’re happy.’ He sat down opposite the boy he’d raised as his own son and smiled at him. Hawke’s marriage to Caitlin had changed the younger pilot; there was a sense of contentment and stability to Hawke that had been missing before, Dom realised.

‘I guess you two are still in honeymoon mode.’ Michael commented.

Hawke’s blue eyes flickered warningly to the spy.

Michael brushed a finger across his silver moustache. ‘Of course, if this waiting for Airwolf’s results is any indication of how you’re going to be when Caitlin’s in labour having your children, I’m telling you now that I won’t be in the waiting room with you.’ He said dryly.

Dom started laughing as Hawke glared at Michael.

‘Funny, Michael.’ Hawke muttered crossing his arms across his chest.

The spy’s good eye twinkled irrepressively. ‘Are you telling me we’re not going to be hearing the patter of tiny feet soon?’

Hawke shifted on the hard plastic seat and scowled at the older man. ‘You’re worse than my mother-in-law.’

The comment sent Dom into fits of laughter again.

‘Angelina wants to know.’ Michael said defensively. His ten year old daughter was the apple of his eye and had acted as flower-girl at the wedding.

‘Sure.’ Hawke said. ‘Angelina wants to know. She’s ten.’

‘They’ve just done reproduction in her biology class.’ Michael explained.

‘Isn’t she a little young for that?’ Hawke asked trying to divert the topic.

Michael shrugged. Angelina was extremely smart and taking classes ahead of her age group. He smiled knowingly at Hawke. ‘You still haven’t answered the question.’

‘You know I’m kinda interested in hearing the answer myself.’ Dom admitted.

Hawke shot the older pilot a dirty look before he caved under the combined pressure from both men. He sighed. ‘We thought we’d spend some time just the two of us before we add kids to the equation.’ Hawke viewed the differing reactions on both men with a well-hidden amusement.

Michael was relieved. Hawke guessed the spy had been concerned that if Caitlin were pregnant it would curtail her Airwolf activities and probably he would prefer to have the crew intact for a while longer.

Dom had openly sighed in disappointment. Hawke guessed that it wasn’t a surprise to the older man that the couple were going to wait but that Dom had hoped to be able to fuss over a surrogate grandchild sooner rather than later.

Dom frowned at Hawke. ‘You’re not waiting until you’ve found your brother, are you?’

Hawke wasn’t surprised at the question; he’d put a lot of his life on hold with the search for his brother. ‘No.’ The answer was short and sincere. ‘Like I said, Dom, we just want to spend sometime together.’

Dom nodded in acknowledgement. He fidgeted for a moment. ‘I can’t believe you rebuilt this place.’ He said to Michael and gestured at the building around them. ‘I thought it would be the last place on earth you’d want to be.’

Michael looked around at the structure and shrugged. ‘I wasn’t going to let someone like Moffett drive me away from Red Star.’ Airwolf’s creator had destroyed the FIRM’s Airwolf command centre when he’d stolen the machine but they’d slowly rebuilt it. Michael was currently using it as the base for his new project; the design and build of a new generation of Airwolf helicopter.

Hawke nodded at Michael. He could understand the sentiment. ‘How’s your leg?’

‘Holding up.’ Michael said shortly. The original injury had been sustained during Moffett’s attack but it had been injured again on a mission to retrieve his ex-wife from a scientific research project in the Antarctic. He knew from painful experience that it was going to take weeks of therapy to achieve the same amount of motion he’d had before his surgery.

Hawke smiled as Caitlin rejoined them. She handed him one cup of coffee and handed the other one to Dom who thanked her with a smile.

‘Any news?’ She asked.

Hawke shook his head and blew on the hot black liquid before he took a scalding sip. ‘No.’ His hand slipped around hers again.

Caitlin leaned into him as her eyes wandered to the closed door. ‘What is taking so long?’

‘I have no idea.’ Michael admitted. He tapped his ever present cane on the linoleum floor. ‘Maybe they’re rerunning…’ He broke off as the door opened and Karen Hansen stepped out.

If Hawke hadn’t been so intent on hearing the results of the tests he would have marvelled anew at the change in Karen since his initial experience of her on the original Airwolf project back in the early Eighties. Gone was the dumpy geek and in her place stood an independent handsome woman in her late thirties with her dark red hair cut into a sharp, medium length bob that just missed her shoulders and bright hazel eyes that were no longer hidden behind thick brown glasses. An ubiquitous white lab coat covered the fashionable but comfortable clothes and her hands were pressed deep into its pockets.

‘Well?’ demanded Hawke rising to his feet.

Karen shrugged. ‘You’d better come through.’

Hawke exchanged worried looks with Dom and Caitlin before he led the way into the lab. Airwolf was parked by the large outside doors; cables ran from her open doors out to the consoles on the other side.

Hawke’s stomach churned uneasily at the sight. ‘What’s all this?’ He said waving at the sight.

‘I’m still running some tests.’ Karen explained. Her hand patted his arm comfortingly as she took a seat. ‘Don’t worry. She’s fine.’

Hawke leaned against a console and folded his arms. Caitlin flanked him on one side; Dom on the other. The older pilot had brought Michael’s chair to a halt next to them and when Karen spun around on the chair to face them, the sight of all four lined up behind her and looking at her expectantly gave her a small start.

‘OK,’ she began hurriedly, ‘the good news is that it isn’t a logic bomb.’

‘So, this isn’t Moffett trying to exact some kind of revenge like last time?’ Michael checked. Moffett had left a logic bomb in Airwolf’s programming designed to destroy his creation if he had lost control of her. It had been a simple enough device; a password not entered over a period of time would prompt Airwolf to self-initiate her autopilot and weaponry in order to destroy Moffett’s designated target; the FIRM. They had almost lost Airwolf before they had been able to purge the code from her programming.

‘I think Moffett was under the delusion that his original logic bomb was too brilliant to ever be disabled.’ Karen said dryly. ‘As far as I can tell, he only left the one we dealt with a couple of years ago.’

Michael nodded. ‘So what’s this if it’s not a logic bomb?’

‘This…is a little more complicated to explain.’ Karen admitted. She clasped her hands together. ‘Let’s start with the logical explanation.’

‘Yes, let’s.’ Michael agreed dryly.

‘The first incident where we think there may have been independent thinking was during a mission to rescue Zeus, correct?’ Karen continued.

‘Correct.’ Hawke said.

‘Airwolf’s computer had accessed an external security system which the in-flight engineer was using to provide access in and out of buildings?’

‘That’s right.’ Dom said. ‘But there was no one at the engineer’s console when String inputted that code to get into the basement.’

Karen nodded. ‘Well, her logs basically show that she saw the code register, recognised it as the Airwolf security code and determined that she should open the door.’ She sighed. ‘Based on the logs, I would agree with the original assessment that she was just extrapolating the external system as an extension of her own programming.’

‘See?’ Dom slapped Hawke’s shoulder. ‘What did I tell you?’

‘What about the next incident?’ Hawke asked.

‘Her recognition of the SOS in Morse code and pinpointing of your and Caitlin’s position?’ Karen shook her head. ‘Same thing. Airwolf constantly initiates a variety of scans as part of her programming. She identified the SOS just like she identifies an approaching aircraft. There was nothing personal in it. If the bombers had sent the SOS, she would have identified that communication and pinpointed their location.’

‘OK, but how do you explain her shooting down a chopper?’ Caitlin asked. ‘Or taking off on her own without a pilot?’

Karen sighed. ‘Now those are the more interesting questions.’ She picked up a remote and hit the top button. A portable projection monitor slid down from the ceiling and Karen transferred the output from her computer to the larger screen.

‘What are we looking at?’ Hawke asked perplexed.

‘Code.’ Karen stated succinctly. She stood up and walked over to the monitor before pointing at a couple of lines on the screen. ‘I think this explains it.’

‘And for those of us who don’t read computer code?’ asked Hawke impatiently.

‘According to the logs, these were the codes activated just prior to both actions.’ Karen said. ‘I think these two lines are a self-preservation command.’

‘A self-preservation command?’ Dom frowned and gestured at the computer programmer. ‘You mean, if Airwolf was in danger of being destroyed, she has a command that…that means…’

‘That means she can act to save herself.’ Karen completed. ‘Yes although this code doesn’t say that exactly.’

Michael rubbed his moustache. ‘I didn’t realise you had programmed such a command.’

‘I didn’t.’ Karen sighed and slumped back into her chair. ‘When I recreated Airwolf’s programme after the logic bomb, I used a copy of the original programming that I’d taken as back-up when I had tried to fix her. Obviously I deleted out the redundant code where Moffett had hidden the logic bomb but otherwise it was the same code.’

‘So this is part of her original programme?’ Caitlin clarified.

Karen nodded. ‘And Moffett didn’t leave a manual.’ She gestured at the screen. ‘I remember he used to claim that Airwolf was more of a living creature than any of us realised. I used to think he was just referring to the educational module he programmed her with.’

‘Education module?’ Caitlin asked.

‘Airwolf has the ability to record every moment of her existence, to analyse it and to improve her performance if she encounters a similar situation.’ Karen explained. ‘It enables her to keep her systems at optimal performance during flight and combat in ways that her pilot and engineer are just physically not capable of doing because of the speed at which the adjustments are required.’

‘But that wasn’t what Moffett was referring to?’ Michael prompted.

‘Well as you know Robert Winchester discovered to his cost that Airwolf contains her own design as part of her programming which is another attribute of a living creature; we all contain a copy of our design within our DNA.’ Karen sighed. ‘But this…the instinct to survive is a very basic animal instinct.’

‘And Moffett gave it to Airwolf?’ Michael asked. ‘Why?’

‘I think…’ Karen sighed uncomfortable with what she was about to say and gestured at her boss. ‘I think Moffett...’ she searched for the right word, ‘seeded the ability for Airwolf to simulate artificial intelligence within her programming.’

‘But only simulate artificial intelligence?’ Michael checked. ‘You don’t think she actually is exhibiting artificial intelligence?’

‘Logically, that’s correct.’ Karen said carefully.

Michael gave a sigh of relief.

‘Then why don’t you sound convinced?’ Caitlin asked Karen.

‘Because the first time the code was executed was July last year.’ Karen said. ‘Airwolf sustained some kind of massive disruption to her systems but somehow she managed to activate this code.’ She pointed at the monitor. ‘It allowed her to effectively reboot critical systems which returned control to the pilot.’

‘My God.’ Caitlin murmured. ‘That has to have been the night we almost crashed.’

Hawke shuffled a little disturbed. He could clearly remember the events of that night; they had just shot down a helicopter when a secondary explosion from within the burning debris of the helicopter had sent Airwolf’s systems haywire; they’d been in a dive and hadn’t been able to pull up…until the very last moment when her systems had suddenly responded as if by magic. He gestured at the helicopter. ‘So do you think she’s acting independently or not?’ He asked bluntly.

‘Logically, all of the instances you’ve detailed can be explained by her programming.’ Karen admitted.

‘So no artificial intelligence,’ murmured Michael unsure whether he was pleased or not.

‘Great.’ Hawke shoved away from the console he was leaning on. ‘Then I’m taking her home.’

‘I’d like to run some more tests…’ Karen said trying to halt his march down the ramp to the helicopter.

‘What for?’ Hawke asked.

‘To see why she initiated the code that first time.’ Karen said. ‘I haven’t had a chance to review the logs.’

‘We were about to crash.’ Hawke stated with exaggerated patience. ‘It required a survival response; Airwolf acted on this…’ he waved at the monitor, ‘this code you found. End of story.’

‘I guess that’s possible.’ Karen admitted. ‘But I’d like to confirm that.’

‘I agree with Hawke on this, Karen.’ Michael said almost smiling at the brief flicker of shock that crossed Hawke’s face. ‘You’ve identified that she is acting within her programming. There doesn’t seem to be a need for further tests. You’ve done a good job.’

Karen sighed at the note of finality in Michael’s voice and started to assist the Airwolf team as they unhooked the cables from Airwolf’s systems and readied the helicopter for departure.

‘You need a lift somewhere?’ Hawke zipped the lilac uniform and turned to Michael.

The spy shook his head. ‘I have some things to do here. I’ll catch up with you later.’

Hawke nodded and said his goodbyes before he climbed into the cockpit where Dom and Caitlin were already settled into their usual places. Karen pressed the button to open the hangar doors before she went to stand by Michael to watch Airwolf taxi out and depart.

Michael waited until the hangar doors were shut before he turned to her. ‘You took copies of Airwolf’s logs?’

Karen blinked in surprise at the question. ‘Yes sir.’

‘Then continue with your analysis.’ Michael said.

‘But I thought…’

‘Moffett put that code in Airwolf for a reason. I want to make sure we know exactly what it’s meant to do.’ Michael said firmly as he motioned for one of his aides to collect him.

‘Yes sir.’ Karen nodded. When she was alone she sat down heavily in the office chair and frowned at the monitor and the lines of code written there. ‘OK, Charles Henry Moffett’ she murmured, ‘what are you planning this time?’

Hawke hit the turbos and sent Airwolf flying back towards the Valley of the Gods and her Lair; he settled back in his seat to enjoy the flight. Her last mission had left her needing multiple repairs and apart from the brief trip to the Red Star complex, it was the first time he’d been able to take Airwolf flying without wondering whether one or more of her systems would crash. Airwolf streamed forward through the blue sky and Hawke let his own mind drift as he considered the results of the tests.

‘OK,’ Caitlin said shifting awkwardly with the heavy helmet to glance across at him, ‘what’s wrong?’

His blue eyes flickered to hers. It seemed to him that she was getting better at reading him every day.

‘String,’ Dom chimed in from the back where he was sat at the engineer’s console, ‘you heard Karen. Airwolf’s just acting on her programming.’

‘Maybe.’ Hawke allowed.

Dom rolled his eyes heavenward. ‘There is no maybe.’ He chuckled. ‘Believe me I wish there was.’ He smoothed a hand over his console. ‘I kinda liked the idea of her having artificial intelligence.’

Hawke glanced over his shoulder at the older man. ‘I’m not saying that I think she’s alive.’

‘Then what are you saying?’ Caitlin asked as he turned back to the front. ‘I thought you’d be pleased at the results.’

‘I am.’ Hawke said a little defensively. He sighed. ‘I just can’t help wondering why Moffett give her the code in the first place.’ His words were coated with the distrust he’d always had for Airwolf’s creator.

‘I don’t know,’ Dom said firmly, ‘and I don’t care.’ He harrumphed. ‘All I know is that little itty-bitty piece of code has saved our lives three times now.’ He gestured at Hawke. ‘You should just be grateful.’

Hawke sighed again. ‘I guess you’re right but I think we should still keep an eye on her.’

‘You really think Moffett had an ulterior purpose in writing a self-preservation code?’ Caitlin asked.

‘I think Moffett had an ulterior motive for everything.’ Hawke stated bluntly.

‘Well, I guess keeping an eye on our baby wouldn’t hurt huh?’ Dom said finally.

Caitlin nodded. ‘Copy that.’

Hawke felt some of the tension ease out of his shoulders and he glanced over the cockpit at his wife to see her smiling back at him.

‘You know,’ Caitlin said, ‘I’m surprised Michael didn’t insist we stay for more tests.’

Hawke shrugged. ‘It wouldn’t surprise me if he had Karen reviewing the copies of the logs.’

‘Now why would he do that?’ Dom asked.

‘Because he doesn’t trust Moffett either.’ Hawke said.

‘I still can’t believe they rebuilt that place.’ Dom said. ‘That plaque in the reception area…’ The small gold rectangle pinned to the wall had paid tribute to the people who had lost their lives in Moffett’s attack on the building.

‘Yeah,’ agreed Hawke. He’d recognised some of the names on the list; people had worked with when he’d been part of the Airwolf project.

‘I guess that’s why Michael kept our visit quiet.’ Caitlin said. They’d moved in and out of the Red Star complex under stealth mode. ‘Having Airwolf back…it probably would have brought up some bad memories for a lot of people.’

Hawke nodded. ‘It’ll be interesting to see what happens when they get the new chopper built.’

‘How far along did Michael say they were?’

‘Apparently the frame is done and they’re working on the shell.’ Hawke commented. ‘At this rate, she’s going to be flight ready by the end of the summer, way ahead of schedule.’

‘I still don’t believe it.’ Dom shook his head. ‘Another Airwolf. I kinda like our baby being unique.’

‘She always will be, Dom.’ Hawke said glancing back again. ‘To us.’

Dom smiled. ‘You got that right, kid.’ He checked the monitor. ‘Coming up on the Lair. We’re all clear.’

Hawke shifted in his seat. ‘Disengage turbos; reengage rotors.’

‘Rotors reengaged.’ Dom confirmed as they came to hover over the Lair’s funnel. Hawke lowered Airwolf slowly past the rock, automatically adjusting position without checking his clearance. He landed bringing Airwolf down carefully on the new wheel prop ensuring it could hold the weight. Hawke still couldn’t decide whether he believed Dom’s tale of what had happened to the old one; Airwolf being charged by a rhinoceros seemed a little unbelievable to him.

It didn’t take them long to secure the Lair and climb into the Santini Air jeep for the drive back to Dom’s air service. Hawke’s eyes remained firmly fixed on the sight of Airwolf drenched in the last of the evening sun as they reversed out until the shadows closed in and obscured the view. Maybe he was worrying for nothing, he thought. Maybe the self-preservation code was nothing more than it seemed and maybe his old distrust of Moffett was just making him paranoid. His mind turned back to their first meeting…

Hawke glanced around the bustling reception area of the Red Star compound and wondered what the hell he’d signed up to. His hand swept through his short brown hair; he’d worn it long for his last assignment as a FIRM operative and he was still getting used to the new cut. He scowled. His last assignment as a FIRM operative…that’s what he’d promised himself and where was he? He was standing in the middle of a FIRM building waiting to begin his next assignment for them. He sighed. Dom had definitely not understood his decision; he wasn’t sure he understood it himself but a week before, he’d sat in the FIRM headquarters and watched an incredibly boring presentation except for one thing…the idea of flying a helicopter that could make mach speed. Not that he could tell Dom that was his reason for returning, he thought wryly.

He glanced up at the click of stiletto heels walking across to where he sat and got to his feet to greet the Hawaiian woman approaching him.

Captain Hawke.’

Marella.’ Hawke took the hand she offered and shook it solemnly. She was a stunning woman. Dark curly hair that fell in waves to her shoulders; dark eyes swimming with secrets; smooth café latte complexion; a slim, attractive figure…and an intelligence quotient that was probably five times his own, he concluded. Not to mention the only man he’d ever seen her pay any attention to was her boss.

If you’d like to follow me, Captain Hawke, Archangel is running late.’ Marella led the way into the building. She reached into a pocket and handed him a badge. ‘This is your security badge. You have Alpha clearance which means you have clearance to every security level.’

Her voice was slightly disapproving as though she had disagreed with his status. Hawke clipped the plastic onto his suit jacket as Marella punched in a code to take them through a secure door.

Red Star has a number of buildings including this main office and laboratory complex.’ Marella said in the manner of a bored tour guide. She waved at the buildings on either side of the glass walkway they were walking through. ‘We’ve arranged temporary quarters for you in the building to your left; to your right are the hangars and flight centre. The flight control tower and test centre is approximately ten miles due east in the centre of the test range itself. You’ll want to familiarise yourself with the layout.’

Sure.’ Hawke said keeping pace with Marella as she strode to the building in front of them.

This is headquarters.’ Marella explained as she opened the door and led him down a pristine corridor. People moved past them, hurrying to whatever job they had in the complex. ‘We run three projects out of Red Star; you’ll be joining the main one.’ She led him into an elevator and pressed the button for the top floor. ‘Do you have any questions?’

No.’ Hawke said.

Marella sighed and they made the rest of the elevator trip in silence. Hawke followed as Marella moved out of the elevator and down a corridor. She opened the smooth wooden door and motioned him inside. It was an outer office with two desks; one was empty and one was occupied by another of Michael’s aides, a blonde who he didn’t recognise but the flirtatious smile was certainly welcoming.

Hawke raised his eyebrows at the sound of shouting coming from behind the closed inner door.

Why don’t you take a seat, Captain Hawke?’ Marella indicated the sofa. ‘Can I get you something to drink?’

No thank you.’ Hawke replied. He spun around as the inner door was yanked open.

I’m telling you Archangel, I cannot work under these conditions.’ A mature man with grey hair yelled over his shoulder before he took an angry step into the room and stopped at the sight of Hawke.

Dr Moffett…’ Michael stalked out of his office after the genius and also came to a halt.

Hawke took his measure of the man staring at him. He was a compact man who carried the little extra weight on his frame well and there was an air of absent professor in the way Moffett was dressed; beige slacks, checked shirt and a brown cardigan. But the blue eyes in the sparrow-like face were cold and they ran over Hawke insolently before settling on the younger man’s ice blue eyes. One predator recognised another.

It was instant and mutual antipathy.

And who’s this?’ Moffett asked in his clipped cultured accent when Hawke didn’t speak.

Allow me to introduce Stringfellow Hawke.’ Michael said. ‘Hawke, this is Dr Charles Henry Moffett, the designer of Airwolf.’ He noticed that neither man offered their hand to the other. ‘Hawke will be leading the flight test team.’

Leading?’ Moffett raised an eyebrow. ‘I thought that decision was still to be made.’

It’s been made.’ Michael stated firmly and folded his arms over the tight white suit he wore.

Moffett glared at the spy before he turned and swept out of the room. Michael watched him go torn between frustration and amusement.

He held out his hand to Hawke. ‘Welcome to the Airwolf project.’

Hawke shook Michael’s hand slowly.

Come on in.’ Michael ushered Hawke into the inner office and closed the door. He waved Hawke into a chair. ‘Would you like a drink?’

No. Thank you.’ Hawke declined.

Michael poured himself a glass of bourbon and sat down in the white leather chair behind the antique desk. ‘You find the place alright?’

Yeah.’ Hawke said. ‘It’s…impressive.’ He added when he realised he was meant to say something more.

Michael hid his smile by brushing a finger over his moustache. ‘Well, Marella will take you over to the flight centre where you’ll have your main briefing shortly. I just wanted to say hello and welcome you here first.’ He rose to his feet.

Hawke stood up too recognising the dismissal. They shook hands again and Hawke made his way to the door. He hesitated with his hand on the door handle and turned back to the spy.

Archangel…’

Yes?’ Michael pushed his glasses up his nose and regarded the other man with some surprise.

Moffett…’ Hawke straightened his shoulders. ‘Don’t trust him.’ He opened the door without waiting for a reply and left the office…

‘Earth to Hawke.’ Caitlin’s teasing drawl had Hawke blinking and he focused on his surroundings. They were coming into land at the cabin. He couldn’t remember making the transition from the jeep to the chopper. He rubbed the back of his neck in chagrin.

‘Sorry.’

‘You’ve seemed like you’ve been in a different world since we left the Lair.’ Caitlin murmured as she landed the chopper and pulled off her headset.

‘Yeah.’ Hawke sighed and reached over to cup her cheek. ‘I was thinking about Moffett.’

She leaned into the palm of his hand. ‘This thing with Airwolf and the code really has you worried huh?’

Hawke shrugged. ‘A little.’ He admitted.

‘We’ll work it out.’ Caitlin said.

He warmed at the reassurance in her eyes. ‘Have I told you today how wonderful you are, Mrs Hawke?’

Caitlin smiled; she loved the sound of her married name. ‘You can tell me again.’

He reached over and kissed her. Michael was right, he thought; they were still in honeymoon mode. ‘Come on. Let’s get inside.’

Continued in Part II.

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