This arti­cle is part 3 of 9 in the series The Honolulu Retribution

“Raymond, this is Michael Tate.  How’s it going?”

“Michael?  Bloody ‘ell, ‘ol boy.  How long has it been?”

“At least a cou­ple of years, Raymond,” I respond­ed.  “I apol­o­gize for not stay­ing in touch.  I trust you are well.”

“Not bad, not bad at all, ‘ol boy.  It’s great to hear from you.  How are you doing?”

“Reasonably well, Raymond and I hate to be call­ing out of the blue to ask a favor, but I real­ly need some help right now.”

Raymond Tudor was an old friend in MI‑6, the British secret ser­vice.  I had helped extri­cate him from a rather sticky sit­u­a­tion in the Middle East about three years ago, and we had become close friends.  He always said that he could nev­er repay me for help­ing him then.  I was about to give him the chance to try.

I relat­ed to him what had hap­pened over the last cou­ple of days, giv­ing him as much infor­ma­tion as I could about Trane.

“Ah yes, the infa­mous Lionel Trane,” came the snide retort over the phone.  “Mr. Trane has many alias­es.  He likes to make up fun­ny ones like that one.  Another favorite of his is Clark Barr.  He’s some­what of a rogue agent of your NSA.  They’re reluc­tant to claim him, but he’s def­i­nite­ly on their pay­roll.  And you say he made an attempt on your life?”

“Well, I don’t have any hard evi­dence,” I said.  “But planes don’t typ­i­cal­ly just explode in mid-air as flight 2620 seems to have done. I just have this nag­ging feel­ing that my rev­e­la­tion to him that I was quit­ting the busi­ness may have trig­gered some defen­sive notion in his mind that I was no longer reliable.

“Anyway, I need your help in track­ing him down.  As I said, the last time I saw him was on Maui in Hawaii.”

“Yes, well, his real name is Hugh Standish.  I’m quite sure we have a file on him.  I’ll have a look tomor­row.  It’s eight p.m. here now.  Let’s see — we’re eleven hours ahead of you there.  I’ll call back around ten our time tomor­row morn­ing.  That will make it one a.m. your time.  Is that going to work for you?”

“Sure, Raymond.  This is my cell phone num­ber.  You can reach me on it.  And Raymond.  I real­ly appre­ci­ate it.”

“Not at all, ‘ol boy.  Least I can do.  Cheerio,” were his final words as he rang off.

Typical British, I thought.  They make out like track­ing down some­one half a world away is every­day rou­tine.  No won­der the Germans lost!

I decid­ed to forego the hotel con­ti­nen­tal break­fast and go in search of break­fast out on the street.  It’s some­what iron­ic that, amidst all the glam­our of the Waikiki beach area, there are a few lit­tle places some­what out of the way where one can get a great break­fast for six or sev­en dol­lars, includ­ing eggs, sausage, pan­cakes, and cof­fee. Whereas one would have to pay thir­ty-five dol­lars for the break­fast buf­fet at the Royal Hawaiian.

I guess the impend­ing excite­ment of the chase had pro­duced a great appetite in me.  I was fair­ly rav­en­ous, and I had near­ly four­teen hours to kill wait­ing for Raymond’s call.

After one of these hearty break­fasts, I walked back to the hotel and asked the concierge to arrange a rental car for me for at least a week. I took a map of Oahu and sev­er­al brochures about activ­i­ties on the island.

After a very brief peri­od dur­ing which I scanned the mate­ri­als, she informed me that the car would be deliv­ered to the hotel park­ing garage with­in an hour and that I could pick up the key at her desk.

I returned to my room to relax for a bit, look over the brochures, and see what news was break­ing on CNN.

CNN was doing its usu­al job of cov­er­ing the crash of 2620 almost to the exclu­sion of all oth­er news.  It seemed that, unless some­one set off a nuclear device some­where in a city sub­way sta­tion, noth­ing could drag the net­work cov­er­age away from the air­plane crash.

There were sev­er­al Navy ships in the crash area now, and some debris had been found, but no bod­ies and no “black box,” which is always the sub­ject of the most intense search.

Several Navy planes were also rotat­ing duty fly­ing over the area to try to spot any signs of the crash, which may be out­side the sur­face search area.

There was some com­fort in know­ing that Trane was undoubt­ed­ly assum­ing that the body of Michael Tate was also among those not yet found.

By the time the concierge rang my room to let me know that my car had been deliv­ered, the news on TV was just repeat­ing itself, and I had decid­ed to spend the remain­der of the day at Pearl Harbor and vis­it­ing the Punchbowl.

Tomorrow would be plen­ty of time to begin my search for Trane, wher­ev­er he may be.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.

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