Crash and Burn - Chapter 12: Ka lima kokua

Chin and Kono arrived later than usual, each bringing the bad news of not finding anything new, and found Steve and Danny finishing with presenting the two cases to Sabrina, who wanted to be useful to the team in some other way while they waited for her friend to come through with the video and her contacts to get in touch with any news on Wo Fat.

Steve sent a questioning look the cousins’ way, but they just shook their heads. They had nothing new, the alibis were airtight, there was no possible connections between them...There were no other possible suspects, and unless they relegated both cases into random-murders section, they had an absolute zero.

“So that’s pretty much it,” Danny finished his briefing, looked at Chin and Kono, turned back to Sabrina, and added, “Yep, that’s it.”

She swiveled her chair to face the screens, her eyes scanning the data, the photos...

Strangers on a Train,” she said.

While Danny, Chin and Kono looked at her in incomprehension, Steve shook his head. “I thought of that. There’s nothing that connects them. I checked their jobs, vacations, pass time, transportation, favorite hang-outs, friends, family, acquaintances, medical history, mechanics...Everything I could possibly think of. And I checked their alibis for the time of the other murder. Nothing.”

“How about browsing history?”

“That too.”

“Okay, so we’re missing something.”

“Well, we checked everything possible.” Danny indicated the four of them. “What do you think we’ve missed?”

“Hired kill?”

Kono shook her head. “There’s nothing in their financials to indicate they’ve recently paid anyone a sum large enough to merit a kill.”

Reena turned to the four. “What if it wasn’t money?”

Danny perked up. “Meaning?”

She motioned to the screens. “This can’t possibly be random. It’s not a serial, the MO doesn’t match. So why would someone just kill two women. Two totally unrelated women, from two different parts of town, from two different backgrounds, different ethnicity. You have your motive right there, you have your suspects, but you can’t pin anything on them. Why? Because they didn’t do it.”

“Are you saying they’re not guilty?” Chin asked.

“Oh no, they’re guilty all right. They just weren’t the ones to wield the poker or the gun. They paid someone else to do their dirty job, while they made sure their alibis would stick.”

“I just told you their financials are clean,” Kono argued.

“Yes, because they didn’t pay with money, they paid in favors.”

Steve placed his palms on the table, leaned forward, his eyes intent on Sabrina’s profile. “What are you thinking, Reen?”

She turned to Danny, grinned. “See, he calls me Reen.”

“Sabrina,” Steve groaned.

“Focused on the case, boss,” she replied sweetly, looked down and with a few quick taps brought up the employment records for both men.

“Anthony Roth, Hawaii Medical Center West. Keanu Liwai, Nene Software. Nothing important when you look at it on the surface, but what if I was looking for something specific, something these two men might get me, something I couldn’t really get through legal channels?”

Kono, Chin, and Danny approached the table.

“I checked all that,” Chin said. “Nothing popped up.”

Reena smiled slightly. “Because you haven’t been looking for specifics. Let’s see, Roth is Chief Pharmacist for the hospital. Oversees the budget and pharmacy stock. Hm, that’s interesting, he’s recently signed for an order of morphine for the department of Oncology. Even more interesting is that the log shows a lesser amount received than it had been shipped from the mainland.”

She pulled up both logs. “See?”

“How did he explain that one?” Danny asked.

“Apparently there’s been a mix-up with the shipping logs on the other end. They’ve recorded a higher amount than it had really been shipped.”

“Inside job.”

“Exactly.” She accessed Liwai’s file. “And look at this. Liwai’s company is a subsidiary of Firewall Inc.”

“I heard of them,” Chin said. “They make virus protection software.”

“They’re a development company for the CSS,” Reena said.

“And how do you know that?” Danny asked.

“It’s classified.”

Danny looked at Steve. “You are soul-mates,” he whispered.

Steve ignored him. “Do you know what they’re working on?”

“Nothing pops up, at least not in Liwai’s firm, but he is a computer genius. And...” She accessed a file. “...was quite popular in the hacking community when he was a minor.”

No one commented on the fact that juvenile records were sealed.

“And trust me...” She looked at them triumphantly. “...those are skills you don’t forget that easily.”

Danny, Kono and Chin looked at her with a mixture of surprise, awe, and grudging respect, while Steve straightened and clapped Danny on the shoulder.

“You asked me what she did,” he said. “This. And she’s damned good at it.”

Reena smiled. “Thanks. The only problem is, we don’t have any proof. It’s just a theory.”

“Better than what we had,” Chin put in.

“Do we get them both?” Kono asked.

Steve crossed his arms over his chest. “No, one will be enough.”

“Which one?”

Reena lifted her hand. “Can I make a suggestion? Go with Roth, he’s the easiest bet. Just a lackey in the company and completely whipped by the bimbo he’s seeing. Once you get him, you can press Liwai, he won’t talk otherwise.” She nodded toward the screen. “Not with that record.”

Steve checked his gun. “Let’s go.”

“Can I come?” Reena asked.

He smiled, nodded. “But first, do something about that shirt.”

She picked up the hem of his shirt, knotted it at her waist, clipped on her badge, adjusted her holster, grabbed her helmet, and dashed after the rest of her new team.

It had been easy, Reena mused as she watched Steve and Danny gang up on Anthony Roth in the interrogation room. He had gone with them without much fuss, and had started talking as soon as he parked his butt on the chair in interrogation. He hadn’t even asked for a lawyer.

Reena chuckled. Steve didn’t even have to glower for the guy to sing like a canary. He’d told them everything about his wife’s refusal to give him a divorce, Lola’s—the girlfriend—demands he marry her, how he’d been approached by a couple of men one night at a bar, telling him they’d overheard his recanting his troubles to a friend earlier in the week and were willing to offer their help in exchange of a few favors...

He had no idea who they were, only that they’d looked like cops.

“Chin,” she said, “how about the ballistics on the bullet?”

“Traced it to a gun that’s been used in a murder a few years back. Open and shut case. The gun’s been logged as evidence—”

“And then disappeared from the evidence locker,” she ended for him.


“If the men that approached Roth looked like cops it’s because they were cops.” She played with the hem of the black polo shirt she’s changed back into when they returned to HQ. “Can you access HPD personnel database?”

“Sure. What do you need?”

“Why don’t we show our nice guest some pictures?”

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