APPLES AND SERPENTS IN PARADISE

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Submitted Date 12/01/2019
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Prelude:

In 1954 the United States set off a thermonuclear device called Castle Bravo at it's Bikini Atoll testing sight. The weapon was supposed to be a six megaton explosion. It turned out to be a fifteen megaton explosion. The consequences of the explosion were felt around the world, but most felt from Australia to Japan.

This consequence was radioactive fallout which settled on islands across the Pacific. Some had to evacuated. The natives of these items suffered from radiation poisoning. The Japanese fishing boat 'The Lucky Dragon #5' was not so lucky, the crew suffered from extreme radiation sickness. The United States compensated for the damage caused by the fallout.

Some of the radiation took the form of caesium 137. A radioactive form of potassium appeared in the coconut milk of nearby islands and the water. This fallout would contain other radioactive elements.

Castle Bravo began a worldwide concern about nuclear testing. It was after this bomb exploded that as part of the antinuclear protest the peace symbol was designed that was so popular in the sixties. Nevil Shute wrote the book 'On The Beach' in 1957 inspired by the radioactive fallout of the Castle Bravo explosion. Japan compared it to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it also inspired the monster Godzilla.

These tests were part of the Cold War between 'free' countries and 'communism'. It would be a war that held the threat of nuclear war over the heads of the entire world. The consequences of that war was extreme paranoia and the fear of losing one's personal freedom to the point where the 'free' countries prohibited 'free speech', free thought, and organized witch hunts against communism that often didn't even involved communists. An example of this is the McCarthy Trials in the United States.

To this day the United States is feeling the fallout of nuclear testing and the Cold War. There is a lingering paranoia that has yet to let go of the American conscious. This is reflected most in those political movements that claim to support freedom and the United States. To this day we are divided by the political agendas that were derived from the Cold War. Many citizens of the United States and other countries are still unable to let go of those agendas to work together for the benefit of the United States and eventually the world.

 

Teuila Arihi sat at her patio table eating drinking coffee, reading the newspaper, and listening to a classical piece playing on the radio. She had finished her breakfast, pushing the empty plate to the side. Teuila placed The Waka Post newspaper down and looked across the table at the ocean view she had from her patio. Waka Tifi was a tropical paradise that many Americans dreamed of living in. Teuila, like many islanders, tended to take her surroundings for granted. As she looked out over the ocean Teuila realized how fortunate she was to live on Waka.

Many of the islands in the Pacific were formed by ancient or still active volcanoes. Waka Tifi wasn't formed by an ancient volcano, it was the volcano. It was a fertile field surrounded by the crumbling remnants of the ancient volcanic rim, forming a U shape around the island. The Southern part of the island the rim had completely collapsed. Extending the field in the center of the island out towards the ocean.

Kingston was the only real town on the island. It was a hundred and fifty years old. Dating back when the British had made the island a protectorate and built Kingston as a port. It was located on the Southern portion of the island that opened up into the sea. Islanders thought of themselves as British in many ways. Their pagan ways were lost nearly a hundred years ago. The islanders thought of themselves as modern civilized people. When the British abandoned the island during the war, the islanders thought of the Americans as their saviors, becoming Americanized from the moment soldiers from the United States set foot on the island.

When the Americans left the island after the war, Waka Tifi remained a American protectorate. Teuila remained the tribal chieftess and her council was still in charge of the legislative and judiciary duties of the island. While Teuila made the executive decisions. There on only a eight hundred islanders, three hundred were children. The five hundred adults were farmers, fishermen, and townspeople. Twenty-five adult islanders were represented by a Advisor on Teuila's council. A total of creating a council of twenty advisors that Teuila met with once a week. They advised her on the best course to take for the health and welfare of the island. Teuila was left to make a majority of the everyday decisions concerning the island by herself.

As Teuila began to appreciate her portion of paradise the phone rang. Teuila sighed. Took her plate and coffee into her bungalow as she went inside. Placing them in the sink, before answering the phone. Catching it before it had rung more than seven times. The average time that most people on the island waited before hanging up.

"Good Morning, Tay." It was Doctor Li Jun Bao. He was the resident physician. "I'm sorry to disturb you this early in the morning."

"Is there a problem?" Of course there was, or Bao wouldn't have called her.

"I have a half dozen farmers who have come in reporting of nausea and vomiting. I think that there may be a virus on the island. Or it could be just poor hygiene." Bao said. "Could you come over and we can talk about it."

"Sure, Li." Teuila hung up.

Hygiene itself was not usually a problem. Islanders bathed themselves. No, it was washing hands regularly. Proper cooking. Things like that which were the problem. If there was a stomach virus going around the island, it was due to people not properly cooking their food or washing their hands properly before they ate.

Teuila washed her breakfast dishes. She changed from her robe into a green sundress. Before leaving she donned a wide brimmed straw hat. Slipping into her sandals, Teuila grabbed her purse before she left. Putting on a pair of sunglasses before she left the house. Teuila didn't look the part of a royal princess of some exotic island, just a American woman off to visit the neighbors.

Teuila's first stop was the Kingston Police Department. Commonly called the jail. One of the few British citizens left from before the war was Shawn Needham. He was a seedy, lazy, annoying man. Not typical of the British she had known most of her life. Shawn proved to be a lousy example of the people whose kingdom Waka Tifi had been part of for a hundred and fifty years. The only reason that Needham remained as the Chief of Police was because the council hadn't gotten around to replacing him.

Despite his faults, Shawn Needham proved to know his job when it came to investigating and handling crimes. The problem was that Teuila suspected that he handled the criminal situation so well because he was part of the problem. Excepting bribes to ignore certain criminal activity. The problem was that there was no proof.

"Mornin' Miss Tayweelah." Teuila was greeted by Timothy Lagi, who was sitting at the outside desk of the police office. He tended to to exaggerate Teuila's name. Emphasizing each syllable. Ahreehee being the pronunciation of her last name.

"Good morning Tim. Where is Needham?" Teuila had a feeling he hadn't even arrived at work.

"Over at Doc Bao's." Tim told her. "Had a hangover, went to get some medicine."

"Anything I should know about." Tim shook his head.

"Mike Moa hit his wife again." Tim shook his head again. "Had to take him in for his own protection. Johnny said Tula nearly killed him this time. You'd think he'd learn from the first time."

Teuila shook her head too. "Some people never learn from their mistakes."

Tim worked the day shift, Johnny at night. Johnny had the longer shift, but nothing happened on the island at night that was considered that serious. There was some smuggling in the dock district of the town, moonshiners in the interior of the island. All was very low-key activity that didn't call any real attention to itself.

Waka Tifi had been a dry island since Teuila's grandfather's time. Teuila's Father had seen what the alcohol abuse did to other islands, he insisted that the ban continue. Teuila determined the same thing after seeing alcoholism in some of the other islands. It was not a popular decision among foreigners who remained on the island. Some islanders defied the law by creating moonshine which they often sold to visitors from other islands. Smuggling it off the island as well. It was one of those quiet crimes that didn't call attention to itself.

Being a dry island itself there was seldom any of the alcohol related problems such as physical abuse, debt, neglect, robbery, and other crimes. Mike and Tula Moa was an acception. Mike Moa got drunk on moonshine, spending most of his earnings on it. Tula got angry and fought with Mike, Mike tried to exert his masculinity and Tula was having none of it. Resulting in Mike getting hurt.

Mike was asleep when Teuila entered the cell block behind the Police Station. There were six cells, not that Taka needed six cells. It was left over from when the American's occupied the island. When soldiers or sailors on shore leave got arrested the United States military needed six cells.

Teuila slammed the island door behind her. Mike moaned in his cell that was closest to the door that entered into the middle of the cell block. Just to be sure that Mike was awake Teuila opened the door and slammed it again.

"Ahh, stop it." Mike stood up to see Teuila standing in front of the cell block door, arms crossed and looking angry.

"Miss Tay, it's not right, you making all of that noise. Knowing I've a hangover and all." Mike held his head with both hands, stumbling towards the cell door.

"Who gave you the liquor, Mike?" Teuila could care less how much the man's head might hurt. He chose to drink last night.

"Oh, I don't remember Miss Tay, I truly don't. Me head hurts." Mike was lying.

He remembered full well who gave him the liquor.

Teuila left the cell block. Slamming the cell block door behind her. Mike moaned and collapsed on the bed. Teuila came back in with Tim Lagi trailing behind her. She slammed the door again.

"This door needs oil." Teuila said. Opening and slamming the door again.

"I don't know, Miss Teuila," Tim now opened the door, slamming it shut. "You see, I don't hear no squeaking. It shuts well enough."

Teuila opened and slammed the door again. "I think the door may be loose, it seems a little stiff."

"Please stop." Mike begged.

"Who? Mike. Otherwise I might need to check every iron door in this cell block to be sure that all of the cell doors are in good working order. Slamming and opening them all several times to be sure." Teuila knew that Mike's head must ache at this time.

"You know I can't tell, Miss Teuila. I'd get in trouble if I do. Nobody would sell me no liquor anymore. I got to drink. You don't know what it's like living with Tula day in and day out." Mike whined. "I need to drink."

"Oh, let him go." Teuila said. "Next time, I will keep you here Mike until you do tell me who is selling you liquor."

Teuila had hoped that Mike would break. He wouldn't, not if it meant he'd lose his source. Not only that, but ratting out his source would mean no one would ever sell him liquor again. Not that it would be a bad thing. Just that Teuila knew that she couldn't stop Mike from the self destructive path he had set himself on. She had other things to handle that was more serious, so Mike and his source would have to wait.

Prelude:

In 1954 the United States set off a thermonuclear device called Castle Bravo at it's Bikini Atoll testing sight. The weapon was supposed to be a six megaton explosion. It turned out to be a fifteen megaton explosion. The consequences of the explosion were felt around the world, but most felt from Australia to Japan.

This consequence was radioactive fallout which settled on islands across the Pacific. Some had to evacuated. The natives of these items suffered from radiation poisoning. The Japanese fishing boat 'The Lucky Dragon #5' was not so lucky, the crew suffered from extreme radiation sickness. The United States compensated for the damage caused by the fallout.

Some of the radiation took the form of caesium 137. A radioactive form of potassium appeared in the coconut milk of nearby islands and the water. This fallout would contain other radioactive elements.

Castle Bravo began a worldwide concern about nuclear testing. It was after this bomb exploded that as part of the antinuclear protest the peace symbol was designed that was so popular in the sixties. Nevil Shute wrote the book 'On The Beach' in 1957 inspired by the radioactive fallout of the Castle Bravo explosion. Japan compared it to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it also inspired the monster Godzilla.

These tests were part of the Cold War between 'free' countries and 'communism'. It would be a war that held the threat of nuclear war over the heads of the entire world. The consequences of that war was extreme paranoia and the fear of losing one's personal freedom to the point where the 'free' countries prohibited 'free speech', free thought, and organized witch hunts against communism that often didn't even involved communists. An example of this is the McCarthy Trials in the United States.

To this day the United States is feeling the fallout of nuclear testing and the Cold War. There is a lingering paranoia that has yet to let go of the American conscious. This is reflected most in those political movements that claim to support freedom and the United States. To this day we are divided by the political agendas that were derived from the Cold War. Many citizens of the United States and other countries are still unable to let go of those agendas to work together for the benefit of the United States and eventually the world.

 

Teuila Arihi sat at her patio table eating drinking coffee, reading the newspaper, and listening to a classical piece playing on the radio. She had finished her breakfast, pushing the empty plate to the side. Teuila placed The Waka Post newspaper down and looked across the table at the ocean view she had from her patio. Waka Tifi was a tropical paradise that many Americans dreamed of living in. Teuila, like many islanders, tended to take her surroundings for granted. As she looked out over the ocean Teuila realized how fortunate she was to live on Waka.

Many of the islands in the Pacific were formed by ancient or still active volcanoes. Waka Tifi wasn't formed by an ancient volcano, it was the volcano. It was a fertile field surrounded by the crumbling remnants of the ancient volcanic rim, forming a U shape around the island. The Southern part of the island the rim had completely collapsed. Extending the field in the center of the island out towards the ocean.

Kingston was the only real town on the island. It was a hundred and fifty years old. Dating back when the British had made the island a protectorate and built Kingston as a port. It was located on the Southern portion of the island that opened up into the sea. Islanders thought of themselves as British in many ways. Their pagan ways were lost nearly a hundred years ago. The islanders thought of themselves as modern civilized people. When the British abandoned the island during the war, the islanders thought of the Americans as their saviors, becoming Americanized from the moment soldiers from the United States set foot on the island.

When the Americans left the island after the war, Waka Tifi remained a American protectorate. Teuila remained the tribal chieftess and her council was still in charge of the legislative and judiciary duties of the island. While Teuila made the executive decisions. There on only a eight hundred islanders, three hundred were children. The five hundred adults were farmers, fishermen, and townspeople. Twenty-five adult islanders were represented by a Advisor on Teuila's council. A total of creating a council of twenty advisors that Teuila met with once a week. They advised her on the best course to take for the health and welfare of the island. Teuila was left to make a majority of the everyday decisions concerning the island by herself.

As Teuila began to appreciate her portion of paradise the phone rang. Teuila sighed. Took her plate and coffee into her bungalow as she went inside. Placing them in the sink, before answering the phone. Catching it before it had rung more than seven times. The average time that most people on the island waited before hanging up.

"Good Morning, Tay." It was Doctor Li Jun Bao. He was the resident physician. "I'm sorry to disturb you this early in the morning."

"Is there a problem?" Of course there was, or Bao wouldn't have called her.

"I have a half dozen farmers who have come in reporting of nausea and vomiting. I think that there may be a virus on the island. Or it could be just poor hygiene." Bao said. "Could you come over and we can talk about it."

"Sure, Li." Teuila hung up.

Hygiene itself was not usually a problem. Islanders bathed themselves. No, it was washing hands regularly. Proper cooking. Things like that which were the problem. If there was a stomach virus going around the island, it was due to people not properly cooking their food or washing their hands properly before they ate.

Teuila washed her breakfast dishes. She changed from her robe into a green sundress. Before leaving she donned a wide brimmed straw hat. Slipping into her sandals, Teuila grabbed her purse before she left. Putting on a pair of sunglasses before she left the house. Teuila didn't look the part of a royal princess of some exotic island, just a American woman off to visit the neighbors.

Teuila's first stop was the Kingston Police Department. Commonly called the jail. One of the few British citizens left from before the war was Shawn Needham. He was a seedy, lazy, annoying man. Not typical of the British she had known most of her life. Shawn proved to be a lousy example of the people whose kingdom Waka Tifi had been part of for a hundred and fifty years. The only reason that Needham remained as the Chief of Police was because the council hadn't gotten around to replacing him.

Despite his faults, Shawn Needham proved to know his job when it came to investigating and handling crimes. The problem was that Teuila suspected that he handled the criminal situation so well because he was part of the problem. Excepting bribes to ignore certain criminal activity. The problem was that there was no proof.

"Mornin' Miss Tayweelah." Teuila was greeted by Timothy Lagi, who was sitting at the outside desk of the police office. He tended to to exaggerate Teuila's name. Emphasizing each syllable. Ahreehee being the pronunciation of her last name.

"Good morning Tim. Where is Needham?" Teuila had a feeling he hadn't even arrived at work.

"Over at Doc Bao's." Tim told her. "Had a hangover, went to get some medicine."

"Anything I should know about." Tim shook his head.

"Mike Moa hit his wife again." Tim shook his head again. "Had to take him in for his own protection. Johnny said Tula nearly killed him this time. You'd think he'd learn from the first time."

Teuila shook her head too. "Some people never learn from their mistakes."

Tim worked the day shift, Johnny at night. Johnny had the longer shift, but nothing happened on the island at night that was considered that serious. There was some smuggling in the dock district of the town, moonshiners in the interior of the island. All was very low-key activity that didn't call any real attention to itself.

Waka Tifi had been a dry island since Teuila's grandfather's time. Teuila's Father had seen what the alcohol abuse did to other islands, he insisted that the ban continue. Teuila determined the same thing after seeing alcoholism in some of the other islands. It was not a popular decision among foreigners who remained on the island. Some islanders defied the law by creating moonshine which they often sold to visitors from other islands. Smuggling it off the island as well. It was one of those quiet crimes that didn't call attention to itself.

Being a dry island itself there was seldom any of the alcohol related problems such as physical abuse, debt, neglect, robbery, and other crimes. Mike and Tula Moa was an acception. Mike Moa got drunk on moonshine, spending most of his earnings on it. Tula got angry and fought with Mike, Mike tried to exert his masculinity and Tula was having none of it. Resulting in Mike getting hurt.

Mike was asleep when Teuila entered the cell block behind the Police Station. There were six cells, not that Taka needed six cells. It was left over from when the American's occupied the island. When soldiers or sailors on shore leave got arrested the United States military needed six cells.

Teuila slammed the island door behind her. Mike moaned in his cell that was closest to the door that entered into the middle of the cell block. Just to be sure that Mike was awake Teuila opened the door and slammed it again.

"Ahh, stop it." Mike stood up to see Teuila standing in front of the cell block door, arms crossed and looking angry.

"Miss Tay, it's not right, you making all of that noise. Knowing I've a hangover and all." Mike held his head with both hands, stumbling towards the cell door.

"Who gave you the liquor, Mike?" Teuila could care less how much the man's head might hurt. He chose to drink last night.

"Oh, I don't remember Miss Tay, I truly don't. Me head hurts." Mike was lying.

He remembered full well who gave him the liquor.

Teuila left the cell block. Slamming the cell block door behind her. Mike moaned and collapsed on the bed. Teuila came back in with Tim Lagi trailing behind her. She slammed the door again.

"This door needs oil." Teuila said. Opening and slamming the door again.

"I don't know, Miss Teuila," Tim now opened the door, slamming it shut. "You see, I don't hear no squeaking. It shuts well enough."

Teuila opened and slammed the door again. "I think the door may be loose, it seems a little stiff."

"Please stop." Mike begged.

"Who? Mike. Otherwise I might need to check every iron door in this cell block to be sure that all of the cell doors are in good working order. Slamming and opening them all several times to be sure." Teuila knew that Mike's head must ache at this time.

"You know I can't tell, Miss Teuila. I'd get in trouble if I do. Nobody would sell me no liquor anymore. I got to drink. You don't know what it's like living with Tula day in and day out." Mike whined. "I need to drink."

"Oh, let him go." Teuila said. "Next time, I will keep you here Mike until you do tell me who is selling you liquor."

Teuila had hoped that Mike would break. He wouldn't, not if it meant he'd lose his source. Not only that, but ratting out his source would mean no one would ever sell him liquor again. Not that it would be a bad thing. Just that Teuila knew that she couldn't stop Mike from the self destructive path he had set himself on. She had other things to handle that was more serious, so Mike and his source would have to wait.

From the police office Teuila walked over to the post office where she picked up her mail. She was looking forward to a new Sears Catalog. It didn't come in today, so Teuila continued on to Doctor Bao's office. As she approached she saw one of the two Police vehicles parked in front of the office.

A old WWII jeep painted black and white with a flashing red light installed on it's dashboard. It's old leather seat covering faded and pealing off the seats. It was meant to be used for trips into the interior. Not to be used to pick up prescriptions for hangovers. Caused by illegal liquor. Needham and Teuila would have to talk. This kind of behavior couldn't continue if Needham wanted to keep his job.

Teuila walked into the office, hoping to confront Needham about his misuse of island vehicles. Needham wasn't in the waiting room of Bao's clinic. Behind a old gray wooden desk sat Bao's lovely wife, Kane Bao. She looked up and smiled at Teuila.

"Good Morning." Kane said in a cultured British accent. Her husband and her had fled Taiwan before the Japanese had arrived. They had arrived on the island and stayed.

"Li wanted to see me?" Teuila's accent was more American. She had spent a great deal of her life around American's much to her Father's dismay. Picking up their accent.

"Oh, yes. Go on in, Mr. Needham is simply getting his usual medicine." Kane was politely phrasing that Needham had come in with another hangover.

"That man has far too many headaches. It might be time to find someone less prone to health problems." Teuila said.

Kane simply smiled. If she had an opinion she didn't voice it.

Doctor Bao came out of the back examination room with Needham behind him. Needham had a glass of water and was taking a couple of pills. He nodded to Teuila. Teuila smiled back at him, not so much in friendly greeting, but relishing in the thought how his head must be hurting at this time.

"Ah, good." Bao saw Teuila smiling and smiled back. "I want to talk to you about hygiene. I have had several farmers from the Northern end of the island coming in with a stomach virus. Would you be so kind as to tell your council of advisors to please tell their constituents the importance of good hygiene."

"I'll do better than that, I'll talk to Nash Spencer and ask him to write an article on it." Teuila replied. "Not that I won't speak to the advisors concerning the issue. But, we aren't meeting for another couple of days."

"Well, those that can read will benefit, assuming they even bother to read the article." Bao was cynical and had a certain class snobbery in him. He thought better of Teuila and a few of other townspeople, but he looked at most of the islanders as peasants. "I guess that will do."

Bao went back into his examination room. Having expressed his concerns he had more pressing tasks. "I'm sorry." Kane said. "He can be such a snob sometimes. He doesn't even understand that by insulting the islanders he is insulting you as well."

"I'm not offended. He is right that we lack education. Some of the farmers and fishermen can't read and write. I hope that our next generation will be better educated with the new school we have planned to take the place of the old British one." Teuila said. "In the meantime we do what we can."

"Shawn. I'm glad you brought Doctor Bao one of the Police Department Jeeps." Teuila had not forgotten Shawn who had just about to walk out the door. "Don't forget to leave the keys. I appreciate you anticipating that Doctor Bao might need a Jeep at some time to make an emergency call to the interior."

Shawn glared at Teuila. He walked over to Kane's desk and tossed the keys onto the desk. Shawn knew Teuila better than to challenge her. The last time she caught Shawn misusing a island Jeep she charged him for the gas and maintenance for his little trip across town. Teuila remembered her conversation with Tim Lagi. Some people did learn from their mistakes. Shawn still misused police vehicles, but he knew better than to challenge her again.

There weren't many vehicles on the island. Most of them were old Jeeps left over by the Americans. A majority of the islanders road bicycles. Those who needed to move their farm products from the interior to the town market for sale used wagons drawn by oxen or tractors hauling a trailer behind it.

When the Americans came they built a base beside Kingston. It was incorporated into the town when the American troops left the island. Part of that base was a gas depot. These tanks, the building, and the pumps were converted into the island's only gas station. All gasoline on the island was stored at the depot. Rationed to those farmers who owned tractors. The rest was used by the Police Department and the only other people with a vehicle on the island. The two scientists who lived in what was once the base hospital.

Bao's clinic was a 'free' clinic. Although not really 'free'. Islanders paid for the clinic through their taxes. Just as they paid for fertilizer for the fields, gas for fishing boats, the Police Department, and other social needs for the island. What both Doctor Bao and Teuila wanted was to move the two scientists out of the old hospital base and use it as the new clinic.

"Want to play Majong tonight." Kane asked as Needham left.

Kane had brought the game with her from Taiwan. She had taught Teuila and her best friend Sefina Lanuola how to play. Sefina had taught it to Charlie King and Teuila to Nasher Spencer. The only other Americans on the island. It wasn't like there was much excitement on the island, Majong proved to be a novelty.

"Sounds like fun." Teuila said. "I'll let the others know."

Teuila walked down to the local Waka Post. Two native men were running the single printing press. Printing the evening edition of the press. Not that there was that much to print for the evening edition of the post. The morning edition usually covered it. It consisted of a couple pages of articles and three pages of ads.

Nash was talking to another native man explaining something concerning a page of the paper that was being printed. He noticed Teuila come into his printing shop. Nash finished up his business and walked over to embrace Teuila.

"Tay. What brings you here." Nash broke off his embrace as the noisy printer started up. "Lets go to my office."

Teuila walked back into Nash's office. Nash had his arm around her waist. Guiding her away from the noisy printing room and into his office. "Aside from my undying adoration what brings you to my humble shop."

"I want you to print a article on hygiene. Consulting with Doc Bao, of course, but I'd like it in the Evening Edition if you can arrange it." Teuila settled herself in one of the comfortable, art-deco chairs that decorated Nash's office. Nash sat on the edge of his desk.

"I'll walk over to Doc Bao's as soon as we are done." Nash went over and locked the door. "The printer is running and we both know that my couch is comfortable."

The couch was a art-deco day bed and it was comfortable enough. "I have other places to go, you have an article to write."

"Business before pleasure as always." Nash frowned. "It won't take long."

"It never does for you. For me, I like a little longer to warm up." Sex was a casual thing to the islanders. Not necessarily taken lightly, but never the strict, serious affair that whites seem to consider it. Nor was it often a secret who was having sex with whom on the island. "Besides, I don't want to come out of this office smelling of sex and my clothes and hair messed. Like I said, I have places to go."

"You should stop by Waka Radio, then." Nash said. "If we are going to launch a hygiene media campaign we ought to include a radio broadcast. A sort of public service message. That would get the message to those who can't read, and that's about seventy percent of your islanders."

"You are right. Let's meet up for lunch at Victory Cafe. We'll talk about a date tonight." Teuila smiled. "Kane wants to meet up to play Mahjong."

"That wasn't exactly what I had in mind when you said date." Nash didn't like the idea of having to share Teuila's company tonight. "I was hoping we'd have some time by ourselves."

"Later tonight, I promise." Teuila wanted the company of others tonight. She'd invite everyone, but at the end of the night she'd invite Nash to stay the night.

Teuila didn't mind an extra trip to the radio station. It gave her a chance to talk to her best friend Sefina. Who spun the records and made the news announcements on the station. In a way, the radio station was competition for the Waka Post. Especially since it was easier for the islanders to get a radio then to learn how to read and write.

Walking into the station, Teuila was greeted by Jane Tamati, Johnny's sister. "Miss Tay, it's so nice to see you."

"Hi, Jane." Teuila gave her usual smile. "Is Charlie available."

"When isn't he?" Jane smiled back at Teuila. "All he does when he isn't working on the radio equipment is lay around in his hammock. He leaves the real work for Sefina and me."

"Kane want's to play Mahjong tonight. If you want to come over, feel free."

"Not my cup of tea, luv." Jane said.

"I better go talk to Charlie."

Teuila knew better. Charlie King 'King of the Airwaves of Waka Radio' was for from lazy, despite what some people thought. King had taken the old equipment left behind by the Americans and British when they left the island after the war and turned the old communications post into a proper radio station for the island. It took a lot of effort and skill.

Teuila knocked on Charlie's office door. "Enter." Came a irritated voice.

Teuila opened the door to see Charlie at a type writer pounding away. Paper was piled in the waste basket. Charlie turned to see Teuila. "Come in, I'm glad you are here."

"I came to talk to you about a social service announcement concerning hygiene." Teuila said.

"Tequila. Anything for you." It was Charlie's private nickname for Teuila. The similar spelling was too much of a temptation for Charlie to resist. "Have you talked to Nash about this?"

"Yes, he's on board. He suggested I come to you." Teuila knew that the two often collaborated on things like this, even though they were technically competition for each other. "Talk to Doctor Bao, before writing anything, get his opinion."

"Will do." Charlie said. He turned back to the typewriter. Frowning. "I wonder. Could you talk to the local government scientists about this as well."

Charlie turned his WWII surplus office chair back in Teuila's direction. "I know there has been some supposed stomach virus going around." Charlie said. "I'm thinking that one of those scientists are a biologist. He might have some insight."

Charlie had nothing but surplus war office furniture. A metal desk, a few filing cabinets, a table, and other stuff that was left over from when the place was abandoned after the war. Not like the comfortable, fancy furniture of Spencer's office. It was a very casual, disordered office compared to Nash's more organized fashion.

"I'll talk to Doc Bao about it." Teuila said. "He'll know more about what to ask those scientist than what I would. Perhaps I can get Nash to stop by then share the information with you."

"I'll do one better, I'll send Sefina, she'll wile her way into their hearts and pull out anything we need to know with her charms." Charlie relied a great deal on Sefina. She was usually his reporter as well as everything else.

"Let me talk to Doc Bao first, like I said, he knows more about what to ask these guys about." Teuila wanted to save Sefina from another chore. She seemed to be doing enough for Charlie as it was.

Teuila left Charlie's office. But, not before she invited Charlie and Sefina to play Mahjong. Charlie accepted and promised to tell Sefina. Teuila stopped at the window that looked into the broadcast booth where Sefina was on the air and waved at Sefina inside. Sefina saw Teuila and waved back as she was talking in the mike. Teuila mouthed 'Bye' and left the station.

"That was Heartbreak Hotel sung by Elvis Presley." Sefina's rich voice said over the cafe radio. "Next a number by Perry Como."

As Perry Como crooned over the cafe speaker Teuila and Nash took a seat at the Victory Cafe. The cafe was founded when the Americans had used the island as a port for their ships. The cafe sold food similar to what the Americans enjoyed, including Polynesian dishes that the troops were getting used to in the islands. When the American's left the cafe remained.

There was one thing that the Victory Cafe did not have. Beef. There were no cows locally. It was decided they were too large. Pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, were all local animals. Grown on the farms. Cream, cheese, and butter were all made of goat's milk. Ice cream was popular, but imported. As for the burgers, meatballs, and other items served at the cafe, they were all made of pork, goat, or chicken.

Ordering their pork burgers with cheese and lettuce and tomato the couple sat at one of the outdoor tables on the patio that looked out over the sea. Another thing that was imported from America, besides the ice cream, was Coca-Cola. Which both Teuila and Nash had ordered. There were no alcoholic drinks served at the cafe. The bar had long since been closed after the Americans had left. Last, but not least was French fries made from island grown potatoes.

"Your little slice of America here on the island." Teuila commented as she snacked on a French fry. "Even if it doesn't have any beef."

"It could be that pineapple chicken with soy beans for all I care. As long as you are with me." Nash reached across and took Teuila's hand. "I wish you would marry me, I still have that engagement ring if you've changed your mind."

"No. I can't marry you." Teuila said as firmly as when she rejected his proposal last year. "Sex is one thing. My people wouldn't accept my marrying you."

"Why wouldn't they. I'm as much a part of this community as you are. As Charlie King. As Shawn Needham, if not more so. At least I care about this community." Nash couldn't understand why they could have a sexual affair, but not get married. "You even said that if you have a child it would still be considered a legitimate heir to become island chief."

"Only if we don't get married. Because there is no proof of it being the child of an outsider. If I marry you, an outsider, any child would be legitimately that of a white man outside the tribe. Not eligible for title of chief. Only marriage to an islander will allow that or a child with no Father to claim it."

"So a bastard can become chief, but not a child of mixed blood from a legitimate marriage." Nash simply couldn't understand the logic behind that.

"Perhaps in a few generations, but the Americans and the British tended to exploit our people. Not all of our people, not all of the time, but there were incidents. Rape, thief, abuse, and other things that helped to alienate white people."

"We are the same people who saved your island from invasion. What do you think would have happened if we hadn't used your island as a port." Nash had raised his voice. His comment turned the heads of both the counter man and the waitress. Both islanders. "If you think the Americans were bad, what do you think would have happened if the Japanese invaded your precious island."

"Keep you voice down." Teuila said in a voice that the others could hear as well. "Don't think that we aren't grateful for that, but remember there were still problems with your occupation of our island as well. Your superiors often considered us as inferior and you know it."

Shawn Needham was a prime example of that attitude of condescension and prejudice. Doctor Bao might have been snobbish, but Needham was hateful. Despite having islander blood as well. It was also proof that just because someone had some islander blood it didn't mean that they were well accepted by islanders.

Teuila had watched the American forces ignore and mistreat her Father who was chief of the island back then. A American Commodore had actually tried to rape Teuila. Nearly causing a war between the American forces and the islanders. Had it not been for Teuila diffusing the situation by saying that it was a cultural misunderstanding, the Americans would have been attacked, and a lot of people would have been hurt and killed. Teuila's Father Moaro Ahiri accepted the commodore's apology, as did Teuila. That same commodore was reduced in rank to captain. That went a long way in healing the division between the islanders and the Americans.

"We do appreciate what the Americans did for us." Teuila gestured to the Victory Cafe they sat in. "But there are some bad memories too. We need more time as a independent nation to completely appreciate what was done for us."

"You are still an American protectorate. You even fly the American flag." Nash said.

"But, we are an independent government. Protected by, but not part of the United States. You have forty-eight stars on that flag. If Alaska is accepted to statehood it will be forty-nine, but we will not be the fiftieth star on that flag. We want our independence, for now, at least. We want to be Waka Tihi. Nothing more or less than what we feel we deserve."

"You're stubborn." Nash replied. "You are all just stubborn."

Teuila laughed. "Yes, we are. Stubborn and independent, just like you Americans. That is why we immolate you. We admire your country."

It was close to ten o'clock when the last of Teuila's guests had left. After a few games of mahjong the small party had begun drinking some wine. There was actually a ban on selling or distributing alcohol on the island, not possession of it. So, Teuila didn't question when Nash brought a couple bottles.

Teuila was cleaning up. Nash had stayed, not so much to help her clean up as to spend the night. Teuila wondered if she shouldn't tell Nash to go home. To break off the affair completely. It couldn't go anywhere. They had already gone as far as it was possible for a islander and a white. Only Teuila couldn't bring herself to do it.

The bed in Teuila's bedroom was large enough for her to sleep in. When the two of them occupied it, it seemed far too small for their activities. For two creative, experienced adults that bed hardly sufficed. Teuila forgot about their differences. As Nash pushed in and out of her. As she rode on top of him. For a short time she forgot who she was, where she was, and what was expected of her. Lost in the moment, as the sexual pleasure consumed her, Teuila knew why she didn't break off her affair. She needed this release, Needed Nash to help her achieve that release.

 

"This flu seems to leave it's victims irritable and fatigued." Bao told Teuila a few days later. "I don't see it becoming serious. No one has remained seriously ill or died from it so far."

"Lets hope it reverses itself before it gets any worse." Teuila sat in the front office. Bao was sitting in a chair across from her.

"I think your media campaign is helping." Bao was receiving a few less clients. Or the flu was simply running it's course. Bao wasn't sure which.

The phone rang, Kane answered it. "Yes, Charlie, I'll let Teuila know right away."

"Teuila, would you please check on your friend Sefina. She didn't come in to the station today. Charlie is having Jane work the booth, but he says he'd rather have his best woman doing the booth." Kane had hung up the phone.

"Sure. I guess I can stop by today." Teuila loved her friend, but she found her trying. She had a habit of getting drunk now and then. No doubt buying her alcohol from the same source that Nash, Needham, and the others bought theirs.

Teuila walked back to her house and got her bicycle. Riding it across the island to her friend's bungalow. Not much smaller than Teuila's own place. Teuila knocked on the door. If Sefina actually had a phone Teuila wouldn't have had to ride all the way up to her house. Teuila heard nothing from her friend, so she opened the door and walked in.

Sefina was retching in her bathroom. Teuila walked in to see her bent over the toilet. A rather new addition to most islander homes. It looked like Sefina had been throwing up for a while. Sefina turned her pale face to Teuila. She almost looked white.

"What happened?" Teuila helped the poor girl to her feet. All she had been doing was dry retching. There was nothing left in her stomach. "Don't tell me you got some bad booze."

Sefina gave Teuila a dirty look. "No." Was all she managed to gasp.

"It's the flu, then." Teuila said.

Sefina nodded. Sefina had a tendency to go for the younger, muscular farmers. Usually more than one partner. Some rumors said more than one at a time. Although Teuila didn't listen to such rumors about her friends. She neither wanted to know such things or to think about them. Sefina was her friend, that was all that mattered. Who she slept with or how many she slept with wasn't any of Teuila's business. After all, she had her own indiscretions and a fair share of rumors told about her.

Teuila got Sefina into her bed. She rode down to Waka Radio. It was where the closest phone was. Teuila jumped off her bike. She saw front desk was empty. Charlie had to be in the back. No doubt typing some news report, or similar thing for Jane to read later. Teuila grabbed the phone off the desk and called Doctor Bao.

Charlie came out of his office. Carrying a dozen sheets of paper. All typewritten and ready to be read by Jane in the booth. "What's wrong with Sefina? Hung over again?"

"I thought the same thing, but no." Teuila said. "She's got that flu. No doubt from one of the farmers she flirts with."

Charlie huffed. The gangly, middle-aged man shook his head. "I love the girl, but she is just too wild. All that flirtiness is fine on the radio, but she should think of her reputation now and then."

"I called Doctor Bao and asked him to stop by Sefina's. I'm going back to stay with her at least as long as she starts feeling better." Teuila was already heading out the door.

Teuila had sat beside Sefina's bedside. She had a high fever. She slept restlessly. Doctor Bao had given Sefina some medicine that seemed to help. Placing a wet rag on the sleeping woman's forehead Teuila wondered if there was anything else to do to bring down Sefina's fever. Sefina moaned, she didn't awaken.

There was a knock on the door. Teuila heard the door open. "Sefina? Tay?" It was Charlie King. He had called Teuila by her informal name. Instead of the Tequila he usually called her as a joke. A sign of his concern.

Teuila stood up and went into the living room. Like most of the little homes on the island, Sefina's house consisted of a small bedroom. A main room and a kitchen off to one side. The bathroom had been built on later and was likewise tiny. Teuila saw Charlie standing in the living room with flowers in hand.

"She's asleep. Most likely for the best." Teuila whispered as she came into the room.

"Will she be okay?" Charlie seemed very concerned. As he should be, Sefina was a great asset to his station with her charming personality and clear rich voice.

"She is very sick. Doc Bao seems to think that she will recover. He gave her some medicine to help her sleep." Teuila took the flowers from Charlie's hand. "These are very sweet."

"Least I can do." Charlie mumbled.

"Why don't you have a seat." Teuila said as she found a vase in the kitchen for the flowers.

"I have to get back to the station." Charlie seemed restless. "Make sure she eats something when she wakes up."

"I will. It may help." Teuila agreed.

After Charlie left Teuila sat the vase with his flowers on the nightstand beside Sefina's bed. Sefina was still asleep. Teuila felt her hand. It seemed cold. Taking a blanket from the closet, Teuila laid it over Sefina. The night wasn't particularly cold. It was March, part of the rainy season. Spring in the Northern climates. This far South though it was more like Fall. Cooling instead of warming.

It was well into the evening when Nash Spencer showed up with take-out from the Victory Cafe. Nash had ordered burgers and fries. Nash had brought chicken broth for Sefina. He had taken one of the security Jeeps. No doubt bribing Needham to let him have the Jeep. Sefina was still asleep, so the two sat at her small dining table in the kitchen.

"Thank you." Teuila said. "Charlie was here earlier. He brought flowers."

"Charlie is fond of Sefina." Nash dipped a fry in ketchup. Twirled it.

"Sefina is a big help with his business." Teuila bit into the pork burger.

"Not just that. Charlie loves Sefina."

Teuila choked on her burger for a moment. Drank down the water. Coughing. "Love!"

"You didn't notice?"

"Charlie is in his forties. He is more like a mentor to Sefina. She is only in her twenties. Don't be silly. Charlie couldn't love her. He's too busy with his electrical toys and the station." Teuila simply couldn't believe it.

"I'm in my forties. You're younger than me. It's not silly. I'm not too busy with my toys to come bring you food while you sit with your sick friend." Nash shook a french fry at Teuila while he lectured. "You mean you didn't notice."

"Of course not. It's not like she shares it like I do yours." Teuila thought she would regret saying that. Since nothing could really come of that love. "Sefina is too wild. You know how you whites are particular about women who sleep around. Charlie would know better then to fall in love with a girl like Sefina."

"Sefina is an awful flirt. I don't think she sleeps around like some of the islanders say she does." Nash had heard the rumors. "Besides, love is like blinders on a horse, all the horse sees is it's goal, not the distractions to either side."

"Charlie wouldn't see it. Is that what you are saying." Teuila shook her head. "It's hard to ignore that Sefina is pretty loose. She is my best friend, I see it clearly, even though I rather not."

"Charlie may not care." Nash said. "That is what I'm saying. Despite everything, I still love you. Even if you won't marry me. Who are you to criticize Sefina anyway. You slept with me."

"I slept with you, no one else." Teuila threw a fry at Nash. "Sefina doesn't seem as particular about who she sleeps with as long as he has muscles. Which, I will remind you, Charlie is not her usual muscular type. He is fit, but lean, not bulging like Sefina likes them."

"You know. It is possible you underestimate your friend."

"Not bloody likely."

Sefina's fever broke just before midnight. With the worse of it over, Teuila took a nap on the sofa in the living room. As the sun came over the horizon Teuila woke up to hear Sefina crying. She threw off her blanket and went into the bedroom to find Sefina sitting in her bed holding strands of hair in her hands.

"What's happening to me." Sefina's melodious voice was a mere scratchy whisper.

"It's alright. You had the flu that has been going around." Teuila went over and hugged the younger woman. "It's nothing that won't grow back."

This wasn't one of the symptoms that Bao had described. Of course, Sefina seemed to have a much worse case of the stomach flu. Bao had said he hadn't seen symptoms as bad as Sefina had. It was possible that the hair falling out was just a reaction of the body to the severity of the flu.

"It appears to be cyanide poisoning." Doctor Bao had given Sefina a sedative when he arrived to check on her in the morning. Sefina was now sleeping. "I wonder how it happened?"

"Rat poisoning. Some chemical that Charlie uses. She got some on her hands, it got into her food, or what she drinks." Teuila thought how easily a virus was transmitted. How easy was a poison to pass into the body in a similar way.

"Sefina kept asking me if her hair would grow back. I promised her it would." Bao said. "I'm sure once the poison runs it's course her hair will grow back."

"I'll hire a woman to look after Sefina until she gets better." Teuila knew there were island affairs she had to get back to.

Sefina recovered quickly. Much to Teuila's relief. Charlie King was happy to have her back. She had been three days absent. Coming back, Charlie had her trade shifts with Jane who was now fairly familiar with broadcasting. Once Jane had begun doing it, she found she liked it. Her voice was 'fair' according to Charlie. Trading shifts with Jane helped Sefina conserve her voice, which was still not completely healed from the trauma of the flu.

Advisor was the closest translation from the 'Old Language' that English could come to describing it. An advisor to the Chief. There was one advisor per every twenty-five people on the island. The Council of Advisors consisted of twenty people who acted as the island's congress, Senate, and judiciary system. Teuila's Father guided the council with a firm, yet gentle style. Teuila seemed to be pounding her head against the wall when dealing with the council. Despite this feeling, Teuila, had the last word. The council didn't always like it, but as custom demanded they respect her decisions.

They met in the old church. A Protestant church established by the British back in the last century. It was used by the island's American Divisional Chaplain during World War Two. Who held multi-denominational services through the war. After the war the church was used by the Island Council of Advisors for meetings with their island Queen.

"According to Doctor Bao this may not be a stomach virus, but some sort of poisoning in the water supply, or from some other source. Doctor Bao thinks it may be cyanide." Teuila had already explained to the council how the poisoning was originally thought to be a stomach virus. She spoke about the hygiene campaign she had started with the help of Doctor Bao, Nash, and Charlie.

"What about Charlie King's recent claims that this may be radiation poisoning?" Mike Hatta spoke up. A advisor for the fishermen.

"Eddie Reed and Tony Fetcillo are the American scientists who are studying the radiation exposure due to the fallout from the Bravo bomb four years ago. According to them the radiation in the water is only ten rads. Apparently far from even messing with our chromosomes at some later date. The hills and the mountains to the South have higher rads, but it should still be safe. As for the valley, it has less than four rads of radiation which I'm told is only slightly higher than average exposure from natural sources of radiation."

"Nasher Spencer wrote an article that the mountains of the South stopped what was called black rain, that was radioactive, from doing any real damage to the island." This was Nehila Lagi, a sister of Timothy Lagi. "If that is so, what would the radiation be like on the 'spit' that is at the bottom of the Southern side of the mountains?"

"According to Tony Fetcillo the spit had anywhere between one hundred to two hundred rads." The area called the 'spit' was formally a sacred area for the islanders. After the arrival of Christianity the spit had been abandoned as much as the local beliefs were. "It is enough to cause mild to serious radiation sickness, but no one ever goes there, so there is no reason to believe that this has caused the poisoning of the islanders."

"With only a few exceptions, I have heard most of the victims of this poisoning are people from the interior. The farmers." This was a farmer representative Joseph Kahali. "Is it possible that the mountains didn't block all of this black rain. Maybe the regions around the mountains are more contaminated than the scientists think it is.

"You make a good point." Teuila said. "I'll have the scientists test the area around the mountains. I'll check with Doctor Bao and find out if the patients are generally from the areas close to the mountains."

"That doesn't explain why Sefina got sick." Nehila said. "Jane told me that Sefina was really bad sick. Her hair falling out and everything."

Teuila knew about Sefina's hair falling out. She had been there. Sefina had been very sick. If this was a poisoning, how was it that mainly the interior farmers got sick, not the towns folk or the fishermen. True, some of them had gotten sick, but not as many as those from the interior.

"Sefina may have visited the farms in the course of her duties as a reporter for the radio station. If Charlie has become concerned about radiation poisoning as the cause of the sickness on the interior, he may have sent her to investigate." Teuila didn't believe that. It was better then saying that Sefina was sleeping with the farm boys and may have gotten exposed to the poison as a result.

"Sefina might have visited the farms for a lot of reasons." Nehila agreed. This brought some laughter from the other advisors. "I hear there were a few others who were not farmers though."

"True, but these people might have had their own reasons for going into the interior." Teuila added. "Just like Sefina might. Before we get too judgmental here, let's not toss the first stone until we have evaluated our own sinless lives."

Properly admonished the other advisors looked a little taken back. "I'm sorry, Tay, I forgot that Sefina is your friend. You are right, let 'he who has not sinned cast the first stone.'" Nehila quoted the Bible verse that Teuila had paraphrased.

A majority of the islanders thought of themselves as Christians, even though many of them no longer bothered to go to church or read the Bible. Which was why the church they were now in was a meeting place for the council instead of the Christian Community. Teuila's Father had been Christian, as had the generation of islanders before him. These days, the islanders didn't bother much with religion. Teuila wondered if she shouldn't let the Christian missionaries establish a church on the island again. She had been ignoring their requests on the behest of the Council itself.

Missionaries were considered outsiders. The islanders might consider themselves Christians, but the very people who had converted the islanders were now considered outsiders. It was an odd situation. Teuila wondered what would happen if she brought in a missionary despite the disapproval of the council. Teuila decided it wasn't worth it.

Subjects like finance, health care, trade, environmental issues, even tourism was discussed. In the end the advisors simply instructed Teuila to continue to use her best judgment. Teuila assured the advisors that she was doing everything possible to find the source of the poisoning and fix the problem. Acceptance of missionary applications to come to the island and practice their brand of Christianity was only briefly discussed and dismissed. No one felt a need for them.

What the council would approve was the testing for the soil, water, and other sources by the two American scientists Edward and Antonio. The two scientists seem to distance themselves from the rest of the islanders. They were only seen around town or at the Victory Cafe now and then. Despite their aloof behavior, Eddie and Tony as they were often called, were accepted as much as any outsider might. Possibly because they had the respectable titles as scientists.

"We've tested the water and the land near the mountains. There is no usual traces of arsenic or mercury in the water or soil. There is no unusual amount of radiation." Eddie Reed assured Teuila.

They were sitting on the back porch of Teuila's bungalow. Eddie Reed, Tony Fetcillo, Nash Spencer, and Charlie King were all there drinking tea. "What about testing the people for radiation." King spoke up.

"It's possible." Tony said. "It is possible that if it is radiation poisoning that not only are the people affected, so are their surroundings. Find the sick people, we find the source of the poisoning."

"I have a record of the people who were sick from Doctor Bao." Teuila produced papers with the names of the people who were sick and where they were from on the island. "I was trying to coordinate who were sick, and where they were on the island. A majority of these people are from the interior, most of them towards the South."

"That would certainly indicate the mountains." Charlie said. "It's possible that radioactive material was blown down from the mountains into the plains during the rainy season."

"I think most of that material has absorbed into the soil itself by now." Eddie said in a dismissive tone. "No, that wouldn't have happened."

"What about the collapsing of that same soil. Coming down the slope in the form of a landslide. What would happen then?" King said.

"That is possible, but the people affected would have to actually be in the area of the landslide, nor have we heard of such a landslide." Eddie was beginning to dislike King. He asked too many questions.

"Teuila." King looked over at Teuila as he spoke. "Most of the native animals that are still on this island are in the mountains, the same with plants. Is it possible that people are going into the mountains looking for plants or animals that were once native to the island?"

"I don't know why. The British first discovered this island a hundred years fifty years ago. Since that time they ruled our island as a protectorate. Over the last century every native plant and animal was replaced with European or some non-native tropical plant. Our animals are pigs, chickens, goats, and the like. If there are animals or plants who survived in the mountains after the colonization and the fallout then they deserved to be left alone." Teuila didn't think much survived in those mountains, they were mostly barren jagged rocks. The ancient bobes of the long dead volcano that formed Waka.

"What about the spit?" Nash remembered that there was a bit of land on the other side of the mountain. "Is it possible that natives are going onto that part of the land for some reason."

"No." Teuila said. "The spit is a bit of black, hard lava where nothing grows. There are no plants or animals. After the fallout, not even the fishermen go to that side of the island. When the British first colonized the island, there were rituals that were held there. The last ritual held there was seventy-five years ago. After that the islanders became Christians. The rocks are dangerous, there is no land passage past the mountain. Nobody has a reason to go there."

"But, the radiation level there is high enough to cause radiation sickness." King noted.

"Yes, which is another reason why the islanders have avoided the spit." Teuila pointed out. "No one wants radiation sickness."

"Yet, it seems we have cases of radiation sickness anyway." King said. "There has to be a reason for it."

Eddie and Tony may not like Charlie King, but they were aware of the fact that he was right. Where there were cases of radiation poisoning, there had to be a source of radiation. They didn't want to suit up in radiation suits. It would cause unnecessary questions. Especially from Spencer and King. They took their radiation meters though.

Driving out in their Jeep, one of the few on the island, the two men arrived at the mountains at the Northern end of the islands. Mountains was a misnomer. It was the rim of the ancient volcano that created the island. Tall narrow ridges. Made up of hardened lava, as solid as any granite outcropping. The black rim of the volcano had protected the island from the Castle Bravo fallout. It protected the island from tropical storms from the North. Now it was a possible concern.

"Tony, there is only 2.5 rads indicated in this area." They stood in the thin strip of hills that lined the ancient rim. "That could actually be typical background radiation."

"We check the entire rim if necessary." Tony said. "I'm taking plant samples. I want to see what amount might be in the plants themselves."

"You think they may be absorbing Caesium-137? Like on some of the islands near the Bikini Atoll." Caesium-137 was similar to potassium in many ways, only radioactive. It had been present in the coconut milk on the other islands, causing the evacuation of the islands.

"I hope we don't have to evacuate the island." Tony hated the thought of leaving the island after four years of study. It was the long term effects of low level radiation on the inhabitants they came to study. The water had about 2.5 rads of radiation. The food roughly the same. Tony and Eddie were so confident that the long term effects were negligible that they hadn't bothered not to drink the local water or not eat the local cuisine.

"Only if we find a higher radioactive absorbed dose than usual." Radioactive absorbed dose was often abbreviated to rad. "Lets say over twenty rads."

Tony pulled back some vines to find the entrance to a cave. It was about four feet wide and five feet six inches high. It was made of the black hardened lava of the mountains. Leading into a grayish cliff face. Using their flashlights didn't help the two men see very far into the cave, since the black rock the cave was made of absorbed their light. They did see foot prints in the gray dirt on the floor. There was a used torch at the entrance. This cave was being used for something.

"The further in we go, the higher the radiation count." Eddie told Tony.

"We may be on the right track. Why do you think the natives are using this cave?" Tony emerged into a large cave.

"Wow, about fifty rads here." Eddie noticed that the further South he went in the large cavern; the more radiation was indicated. "Seventy five rads over here. It's not good to stay here long."

The cavern was close to a hundred feet long, sixty or so feet wide. There was a black volcanic block of rock that looked to be an altar. A large pool of water that was fifty by thirty feet. Water so clear that Tony could see the bottom of the pool some fifteen feet below.

Tony knelt and used a container to take some water from the pool. "I'm going to get a water sample, get some rock samples and lets get the hell out of here."

Eddie got samples of rock from the wall with the entrance, the altar and a column of rock near the altar. He also went to the far wall for a rock sample. He found another tunnel. The radiation was even higher. He chose not to go down that tunnel which ascended up. Possibly to another radioactive cave. This was was dangerous enough.

Tony and Eddie drove back to their laboratory that was located on the South-East end of the town. Where the hills began. Formally the military clinic. Doctor Bao tried to obtain it as a hospital, but it was the one building that the United States Government didn't give up to the islanders. Despite Teuila's skills at obtaining what she wanted, the United States wouldn't give up the clinic for a hospital for the islanders.

That proved prudent since the scientists had taken up residents since 1947. Tony and Eddie had taken up residence in 1954. After Castle Bravo. The other four scientists who had already been there had been transferred over the years. Only Tony and Eddie remained. After four years the two were almost accepted by the islanders.

After retrieving their radiation suits, Eddie and Tony returned. It was later in the evening. Most islanders went to bed early, since they often woke up before sunrise. Which was early in the tropics. It seemed a good idea to wait, so no one would see them suited up. It might cause questions among the islanders that Eddie and Tony weren't willing to answer.

Getting into the cave with the radiation suits on would be difficult. Tony and Eddie agreed to change at the far end of the cavern and continue into the most radioactive areas. As they were lugging their test equipment up the hill they saw the people going into the cave. No one had seen them, so the two men hid behind a rock.

"What the hell are they doing?" Eddie saw them lined up, going in the cave one by one.

"I don't know, but I saw Sefina go in wearing next to nothing. There are both men and women." Tony shook his head. They were barefoot, the men bare chested. No wonder they were getting sick. "Do you think it's some sort of orgy? You know they islanders have pretty loose morals."

"Uh, not that loose." Eddie replied. "I mean individually, they are pretty wild, but not altogether. They are shy in that respect."

"Lets get out of here. I don't want to find out what they might do if they found out we know about their secret meeting." Tony started to slowly back up.

"Why do you think it's some sort of nefarious secret meeting?" Eddie asked Tony as they made their way back to the Jeep.

"Why else would they be going into a cave, at night, in an isolated part of the island." Tony threw his Geiger counter into the back of the Jeep along with the suit. "It could be they are plotting some sort of revolution."

"Against Teuila? Give me a break." Eddie laughed. "Sefina was there, she is Teuila's best friend, everyone knows it. She isn't going to be part of some revolution against her."

"Maybe she's reporting on it or spying for Teuila." Tony didn't really believe that either.

"Charlie King wouldn't chance endangering her, nor would Teuila. Sefina is no Mata Hari." Eddie said. "There is a simple way of finding out. Ask Teuila what she knows, if anything."

"Eddie and Tony say that they are meeting in a cave that is radioactive enough to cause this sickness." Teuila sat up in the bed. Her back resting against the headboard.

"So, they have no idea why the islanders are meeting there." Nash lay on the bed looking up at the naked, beautiful Teuila. Wondering why fate was so generous to allow him to share this bed with Teuila.

"They thought I might know, but I don't." Teuila got out of bed. Heading to the bathroom.

"There is one way to find out." Nash said. "Go ask Sefina."

"She'll think I'm spying on her." Teuila said from the bathroom. Water was running. Nash guessed she was fixing a bath.

"Would you rather I go and actually spy on her?" Nash figured it was time to go home. It was early morning. Too early for islanders to see him leaving, but late enough that the fishermen would be going down to their boats soon.

"No, I would not. All the same, we have to stop them from using that cave, so I guess I'll have to confront Sefina about it.

"Do you want me there? As support." Nash was simply curious what it was all about.

"No. She might not tell me with an outsider around."

lol10

"Well, we know how your Dad was Christian. We didn't want to cause him problems with the British or Americans. Practicing heathen rites and all of that." Sefina sat in Charlie King's office with Teuila. While Jane worked the booth and Charlie sat at the front desk typing some intro or something.

"There is no one to object anymore. Why continue to hide it?" Teuila had heard rumors that the islanders still practiced the native beliefs in secret. She just thought it was merely gossip.

Sefina shrugged her shoulders. "It's not really for outsiders. We don't want people staring and gawking at us. It's sort of sacred. Our rituals and beliefs that belong just to us."

"But not to me." Teuila was actually hurt that no one had told her about this.

"I didn't know you'd care. In fact, I thought that maybe it was better for you not to know." Sefina said. "What you didn't know wouldn't hurt you."

"How would it hurt me to know that my people were still following their traditional customs." Teuila felt a certain pride that her people had managed to preserve some part of themselves in these rituals that they practiced in secret.

"I figure if some outsider complained you could just turn your nose up at us and say that you had no idea such heathen rites were being practiced on your island. You would be just shocked, shocked to find out such a thing." Sefina said with a slightly mocking tone to her voice.

Teuila laughed. "Okay, lets call it cultural beliefs practiced by the ignorant in the interior."

"Exactly." Sefina smiled.

"In fact, I'm thinking this could work to the advantage of the community." Teuila's imagination began to kick in. "I'm not saying we practice what you have been doing. Only that we give the tourists a little taste of it. You know, something relating to our cultural mythology and customs, but not what we practice."

"We?" Sefina raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure?"

"Afraid I'll take your place." Teuila smiled. "Don't worry. I want to observe and understand what you are doing, not to become the priestess."

Sefina shook her head. "You don't understand. Teuila, you are the leader of the tribe, but you are also it's shaman. When your ancestors became Christians then the other members of the tribe became Christian, because those ancestors were their religious leaders. We hid our beliefs from your Father because he believed himself to be Christian and it wasn't right to publicly defy him. If you say that it's okay, and practice these rights, then you are the religious leader and we will follow you."

"Sefina. I don't know these rites, because I was never taught. Apparently, you were. So, you have to act as my advisor and to continue as their spiritual leader. Similar to the way that the Generals had a chaplain to advise them. I need you to act as my chaplain and advise me in these spiritual matters." Teuila said. "Besides, it still allows me a certain amount of denial of actually being part of it. I just know about it, I don't have any influence on it."

"If you are sure." Sefina said.

"Yes. Now, you can't meet in that cave anymore. It's radioactive."

"It's sort of sacred." Sefina sounded disappointed.

"I know, but it's tainted now by the Bravo bomb." Teuila knew that the loss of the cave would be a serious blow to the islanders. "Look at this way, it lets you come out of hiding and allows you to practice in the open, if not in front of outsiders."

Sefina still wasn't happy about giving up the cave. "It won't be the same."

"Yes, but you won't have to worry about your hair and teeth falling out or puking your guts out." Teuila didn't want any other islander worried about that either. The cave had to be off limits.

"I've contacted our superiors concerning the cave incident." Eddie had found Tony working in the lab. "They are concerned about Teuila allowing the islanders to continue their little rituals."

"Why should it matter?" Tony didn't see how it had anything to do with their purpose here.

"It's not just this incident. Teuila hasn't approved any missionary requests. There is no Christian church on the island. Do you know that the farmers and other islanders put most of their earnings into a account. Teuila uses this account to pay Dr. Bao for his services to any islander. She uses that same account to buy and distribute food and products that islanders usually need."

"Sounds reasonable." Tony said.

"Well, our superiors feel it's the beginning of communism." Eddie didn't believe it. Yet, the argument was persuasive. "Her inherited title, the Council that advise her, socialized medicine, and her refusal to let in any religion lead them to believe the island will eventually turn communist."

"Oh, that's ridiculous. If Teuila was really communist she'd never allow the islanders their little cult either. Teuila inherited her title, from her Father. She respects her council's wishes. Her decisions are in the best interests of her people." Tony felt that their superiors were dead wrong.

"They are sending someone to 'evaluate the situation'. It could mean trouble." Eddie didn't like the sound of it. Life was simple here. It wasn't a rich island, but all of the islanders were cared for, and if they worked hard, they were also happy.

Vic (Victor) Thrayer arrived on the island by a tramp freighter. He was accompanied by Adam Kresler and some men they recruited in Hong Kong. Vic had the men row him ashore. There were seven of them total. They bought the life boat for an exuberant amount of money. Hardly worth it. Vic had learned that it was always best to have a escape route others didn't know about. The life boat was part of that escape route.

Vic was fifty-five years old. He had started his career as a bootlegger in the twenties. When prohibition is repealed in the thirties he turned to running drugs. In the forties he used his criminal contacts to help in World War II. His contacts put him in the OSO. Later the GID and finally the new CIA. Between working for the government Vic supplemented his income the old fashion way, he smuggled drugs.

It was night, with a full moon, when they arrived on the island. Led by a signal fire on shore. It was dangerous approaching the island from this direction with the coral reefs and rocks. Vic's guide was a island native. He had been a fisherman on the island until the island's Chieftess tried to arrest him. Vic didn't pry as to why. What mattered was that the fisherman knew how to get them on shore, and knew the island's interior and the town of Kingston. He could get them through the obstacles and safely ashore.

Tony didn't like the looks of the man that met them on the shore. He was a burly man about six foot six. He looked to be in his fifties. His face was craggy and hard. He had mostly white hair. His eyes were like flint. As hard as flint as well. The other man was a muscular, handsome man who was about four inches shorter than the older man. With them were four oriental men, much shorter, with greasy hair. The fifth man was a man who had a arrest warrant on the island. A fisherman who raped a woman in town. He had a death sentence on his head. Raping a woman on Waka meant death.

"Do you have what I need?" Vic asked the two men as he approached.

"There is a bomb shelter on the island that no one knows about." It had been built in 1942, soon after the United States occupied the island. Eddie had been told about it in case there was ever trouble on the island. "It's been kept stocked up with food and water. There are some munitions as well. Teuila Arihi didn't know about it, it was kept a secret from her Father."

"Hidden as in underground?" Vic said.

"Built into a hillside." Eddie told him.

"One way in and out?" Vic didn't like not having a back door.

"No. There is a back entrance, but the front door is hidden as well."

"There will be no more contact between us." Vic told them. "I will contact you through Adam here." Vic gestured to the younger man. "He has papers and will 'officially' arrive on that freighter in the morning. He is my front man on this island. If you have any messages for me, contact Adam."

The tramp steamer Odysseus arrived at port the next morning dropping off one passenger. His passport and everything else was in order. Shawn Needham cleared him for island access. Just another American coming to the island to make a profit. Shawn didn't care as long as some of that profit came his way. Since the Waka government led by Teuila took most of his paycheck for island services, Shawn Needham looked for other ways to obtain extra money, often through bribes.

Adam Kresler felt that Needham was a man he could use against the present government. He had a file on the man. Some of the information provided by other sources on the island. Like the two scientists he had met last night.

Adam Kresler was a patriot, unlike his present boss. Victor Thrayer was a thug. A manipulative, sometimes charming thug, but a thug all the same. Adam would give his life for his country, where as Victor would never do such a thing. That didn't mean that Adam wouldn't use men like Victor Thrayer and Shawn Needham to obtain his country's goals, after all, patriotism had nothing to do with morality. It had to do with protecting the country no matter what the cost. And at present he felt that the government on Waka was a threat to the United States.

 

The old military bomb shelter was designed to hold most of the island administration who were stationed here during World War Two. It consisted of administration offices, a common barracks, private officer's quarters, a clinic, and a mess hall. There was also an armory consisting of several M1 Garland rifles held over since the war. Four dozen fragment grenades, Colt 1911's, a half dozen Tommy guns, and a Bar machine gun. There were also pump shotguns and a Springfield sniper rifle. Newer models. Enough to overthrow the island in a small war if Victor Thrayer had a dozen or so more men.

According to Adam the security forces on the island consisted of a corrupt police chief and two other cops. As for weapons, nobody hunted on the island, so there were no weapons on the island except for those used by the police force. Six hand revolvers, two shotguns, and a rifle. That was supposedly the entire firepower of the island. Compared to what was in the armory, it came pitifully short of being able to stop Victor from taking over the island.

That would be a last resort. The United States government wanted to discredit the present government by corrupting the islanders. Making the criminal situation so bad that when it stepped in to fix the situation the islanders would be happy to trade their present government for a more democratic form of rule. At present the government was too close to communism for the comfort of United State's authorities.

Victor was going to set up gambling, drugs, and prostitution from this secret base. He would hide it all as much as possible using his enforcers from Hong Kong to help him keep things quiet. He would use them to intimidate the islanders as much as possible. Then there was Amio Leaga the fisherman accused of rape by the present government. He was the incarnation of evil to the islanders. He had been a bully, sadist, and considered a bad seed.

Florence Lega was a towns woman. She had been dating a fisherman when she had been raped by him. Flo had liked rough men. During the war she had been attracted to the rough soldiers and sailors who passed through the port. He liked their rugged, if sometimes crude, ways. Especially the love making. She'd had a few men hit her, those men she didn't go back to. She'd never had a man force her like Amio Leaga did.

After Amio, Flo had lost her taste for rough sex. She didn't have a lot to do with men period. She lived in her little apartment above the printing shop where she worked. Nash Spencer was a good man and a good boss. That Teuila had chosen him as a sexual partner was proof of that. No one doubted that Teuila didn't choose the best man on the island. Native or not, Nash was quite possibly the best match for Teuila.

After the rape, Flo had been confused, and frightened. Kane Bao had helped her learn that the rape was not her fault, despite what many of the islanders thought. Teuila had come with Shawn Needham to hear Flo's testimony. Kane had assured Flo that Teuila would take her complaint seriously. Unlike Shawn who had essentially told Flo that she deserved it.

Teuila had made Shawn wait in the outer office of the medical clinic while she heard Flo testify to what happened. "I'm proud of you, for being so brave." Teuila had sat beside Flo on the medical exam bed and hugged her. "Don't worry, we will get justice for you."

Teuila didn't get justice for Flo, but it wasn't her fault. Amio had fled the island before the police could catch up with Amio. Flo had the satisfaction that Amio could never return to the island, because if he did, he would be arrested. Then have his head chopped off in the traditional style of Waka islander execution.

 

In a week Vic had the gambling hall set up. Among the games was roulette, craps, and a island favorite called Mahjong. There were card games as well, Blackjack, and Poker. He was importing prostitutes in from nearby islands and Hong Kong. Some of the old officer quarters were converted into rooms for the prostitutes to entertain in. The infirmary room had been turned into a place for the islanders to sleep it off when they got too drunk or were just doing heroin or opium.

Drugs had been the first thing that Vic had introduced to the island. Alcohol was something else. The islanders didn't have much money, so Vic was glad to extend credit. He would start collecting later, much later, but for now Vic was offering a great deal of lenience. He wanted some of the islanders to be completely in debt to him. So he could use them to help his ultimate goal of displacing Teuila and her advisory council.

"Miss Teuila." Said the voice over the phone. "I'm sorry to wake you this early, but we got bad news. Mike Moa killed his wife."

Teuila took a moment to digest what John Tamalti was telling her. She looked over at the glowing paint on her alarm clock. It was nearly four in the morning. "Killed?"

"Yes, Miss Teuila. He stabbed her five times. You know she's a big woman. Took a lot." John sounded a little distant.

"I'm sorry, John, I know the Moa's were friends of yours." Teuila remembered that they had created so much trouble on John's shift with their domestic quarrels that he had gotten to know them very well.

"I wouldn't go that far, Miss Teuilla, but I knew them pretty well. I mean, Mike and I got along. Tula Moa, well, she got along with me, I guess. It's just that I never saw a murdered person like that. I mean, I knew about the bad things during the war, but we islanders never saw much of it." John was rambling a bit. Nerves, Teuila thought.

"I'll come over. Don't bother with Needham. Unless you called him already." Teuila didn't feel like dealing with the corrupt, irritating man.

"No, Miss. I didn't think about that. I should call him, shouldn't I?" John seemed to miss what Teuila had said. It was obvious he was shaken.

"No. He'd most likely be hung over and in the way." Teuila assured the young man. "You did right to call me first. Make sure Mike is awake when I come in to see him."

"Miss Teuila, you may not want to do that. Honestly. He seems strung out on something. I don't know what, but he's bad. Like he's got the radiation sickness or something." John sounded almost panicky.

"John, you are not to repeat that to any one else. I also want you to call Doc Bao right away." Teuila hung up the phone. She was up and dressed in a blouse and capri pants. She slipped on a pair of sandals and was almost out the door before she called Nash Spencer. "I need you to get dressed and come to the jail right away. I'll fill you in when you get there. Tell John it's okay for you to be there. Curb your reporter instincts until I get there."

Nash was dressed in a pair of slacks, sandals like Teuila's own, and a t-shirt as he met Teuila on the way to the jail. "How important is this?"

"Mike Moa killed his wife. He may be suffering from some sort of sickness." Teuila said.

"Not radiation sickness?" Nash had hoped they wouldn't have to deal with that sort of thing again after they had closed up the cave that Sefina's little cult was worshipping in.

"I'm not sure." Teuila waited for Nash to open the door to the jail for her, then stepped through.

John was waiting for Teuila, he was surprised to see Nash, the publisher and editor of the Waka Post. "Should he really be here?"

"Yes, Nash is a reporter, and needs to know the facts." Teuila told John. "Now, why don't you tell me what you know."

"You know how word gets around here. People tell their advisor that things are happening. Their advisor has a phone, you make sure of that, and they call us at the station if things are serious." John explained this more for Nash's sake. As he said, Teuila knew how word like this got to station. "So, when the advisor called, I went down to the Moa farm to check it out. I took the Jeep, because you know Tula would beat on Mike when he got her mad enough, I didn't want her to hurt him."

"You were afraid of taking Tula to jail."

"She's a big woman, strong too. So, yeah, I don't look forward to anything like that." John admitted. "Anyway. I got there and Mike's rummaging through the house, while Tula's got a knife in her belly."

"God, she was still alive, Miss Teuila." John fought back his emotions and continued to report. "I tried to help, Miss Teuila. Only, it was too bad, she was just bleeding out all over."

"Well, Mike comes out screaming and cussing up a storm. He's got a log of firewood he's swinging at me. So, I had to take the log from him and hit him a few times until he allowed me to put the handcuffs on him."

"First Mike's all wild, then when I get him cuffed up he starts throwing up. I notice he's sweating, so he's got a fever, I figure. So, I'm thinking radiation sickness. It's all that makes since, you know. Why he'd kill Tula; it was the radiation sickness that done it too him."

"Is he able to talk." Teuila knew she had to see Mike, talk to him to determine what happened.

"I don't know if it will do you any good, Miss Teuila, but you can try, I guess." John got the keys to the iron door that led to the cells beyond.

Teuila saw the man in the cell dressed in cut off shorts. Barecheasted. He was covered with sweat. Smelled of body odor. "Mike, can you understand me."

"Bad dream, is what it was. Just a bad dream." Mike was shaking. He'd thrown up on the floor of his cell. "Miss Teuila. It was a bad dream."

"Mike, why did you kill Tula?" Teuila felt like it was a bad dream. Tula was dead.

"NO!! Just a bad dream. All of it." Mike began to rock back and forth.

"Tell us about the dream." Nash said. "Mike, tell us what dream you are talking about."

Teuila hadn't noticed that Nash had come into the cell block with her. She might have stopped him otherwise. She wanted him to have only the information she wanted to share with him.

"You know. I killed Tula. I dreamed I killed Tula, only I'm so sick I don't know it wasn't a dream. Maybe it was real." Mike didn't look at them. He just stared at the floor. Teuila wondered if he really knew they were there.

Teuila walked out of the cell block. "It's obvious he is delirious. We can't hold him accountable for his actions. Let's see if Doctor Bao can't tell us more in the morning. Keep an eye on Mike and let Doctor Bao know if the condition get's any worse."

John nodded. "He was looking for something in the house. I'll ask Tim to go take a look."

"Good idea, Tim will be coming on shift at six, if I remember right. That's just a couple hours from now. I'm going back to bed, to get few more hour's sleep." Teuila went out the door.

"He's on drugs." Nash said when they were out the door. "I didn't want to say it in front of John, but he was most likely looking for money. You know what that means."

"I want Doctor Bao to confirm it." Teuila replied. "When he does, that is when I'll be sure and I will take actions. We can't have drugs on this island."

"That was 'Kisses Sweeter Than Wine' by Jimmie Rodgers." Sefina's voice came over the radio, with it's touch of untamed sexuality. Teuila listened as the voice over the radio sobered. "I have some bad news today. Mike Moa is in prison today suspected of killing his wife Tula Moa. Tula was stabbed five times by an unknown assailant, it is suspected that Mike was the perpetrator. Mike was found delirious and taken into custody. Doctor Bao has confirmed that Mike was suffering from heroin withdrawal when he supposedly attacked his wife."

"I'm sure the entire island will be praying that this all works out in the end. If you know anything about someone who may have sold Mike the heroin please contact us at the radio station or the police station. Remember, the person who sells drugs to someone who commits a crime is considered guilty of that crime as well. So, if you know something, help us put this criminal in jail."

Sefina went on to play 'In The Mood'. What the radio station didn't know, yet was that Mike had hung himself during the morning using his own cell bed sheets. John blamed himself. Shawn Needham blamed him as well. Until Teuila found out that Shawn had relieved John before the suicide. John knew that Mike was alive before he left, because he had checked on the man just before Needham had arrived. Tim would come on shift fifteen minutes later.

Teuila didn't bother to place any blame. No one had suspected that Mike might commit suicide. Doctor Bao didn't have a chance to do a examination while he was alive, so Teuila insisted on a autopsy. Needham objected. He said it wasn't necessary. It also took some persuasion to get Eddie and Tony to let Doctor Bao use some of their equipment to test the blood for drugs.

"It was a positive result." Doctor Bao had called from the old medical clinic that the two scientists from the United States government occupied. "Heroin."

Teuila called both Nash and Charlie after she got off the phone to Doctor Bao. Charlie had taken no time to broadcast the results. Nash would go into more detail. Teuila liked how Charlie had written the story so that some doubt was given as to whether Mike had actually been guilty. Teuila had insisted on keeping Mike's death as quite as possible.

"Why?" Was the question the men who knew of the death had asked her. Her answer was: "If who ever sold the drugs believe that Mike is still alive, they may turn themselves in before he testifies who sold him the drug."

People who sold drugs or alcohol on the island were considered responsible for any crimes a intoxicated person might commit. They were often considered an accessory to the crime; if not actually guilty of it. That would mean that the person who sold the drugs was as liable to have their head cut off as Mike was for committing the murder. If not more so, because Mike was under the influence or withdrawing as the case was, he might not be punished, but the drug dealer would certainly be.

"Shouldn't we get a electric chair or something more modern." Sefina sat across from Teuila as they had lunch at the Victory Cafe. Eating fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn. All grown on the island.

The Victory Cafe might specialize in American cuisine, but it had to adapt to what was raised or grown on the island. There was never any beef. Only chicken, pork, goat, and fish. Fish items had gone from just fish and chips to blackened Cajun style with hush puppies. Teuila had elected to try the Cajun fish. She found it a little too spicy.

"It's traditional to cut off a person's head during an execution. Aren't you the one who says we should stick to tradition." Teuila drank some more Coca Cola. It did little to help the burning in her mouth from whatever peppers they were using on the Cajun fish.

"Yeah, we also used to run around practically naked and traditionally lived in grass huts. Thanks, but I'll pass on certain traditions." Sefina was priestess of the local island mythology cult.

"I have my first performance in the town square today, by the way." Sefina reminded Teuila. "I hear there are tourists in town, who have heard of the event. I hope we get a crowd."

Sefina had originally performed the island rituals in the privacy of a secret cave, only for other islanders. Now, the cave was contaminated from fallout and the group had been forced into the open. Instead of telling them to stop, Teuila had arranged for the group to perform their rituals for tourists. It was beginning to attract tourists visiting other islands.

Sefina performed a exotic dance that told the story of the island goddess making love to the ocean god and giving birth to the island of Waka, named after the goddess. Voluptuous Sefina had filled out in places that Teuila had not. When she danced men lusted and women were jealous. It was great for tourism.

"It might help if we modify one of the old base buildings into a hotel. I'm thinking of the black soldier barrack at the East end of the island. Its one of the more rundown buildings, but I think it can be fixed up to look like a decent motel at minimum cost." Teuila had long since used the white soldier barrack to create a small apartment complex for some of the fishermen. "It's one of the few buildings that are left from the old base."

"You know how the American tourists feel about Colored people. Do you think that they'll appreciate staying where the Colored troops were kept during the war." Sefina had remembered seeing the first Colored troops come onto the island. The islanders were afraid of them, because they were so different. "We don't want to insult them."

"We don't have to tell them to begin with. Besides, it won't look the same after we remodel the place. Knowing how eccentric Americans are it wouldn't surprise me if they wouldn't consider it a bit of a novelty." Teuila never did understand Americans. They fought a Civil War to free colored people from slavery then suppressed them for years afterwards. "It's not like the American tourists would ask a lot of questions anyway, they live in the present. The here and now, not the past."

"When it comes to Colored people they seem to live in the past. They can't see past skin color." Sefina said. "Even with us they don't see past the color of our skins."

"Nash and Charlie do." Teuila wondered if the islanders would ever get past the color of Nash and Charlie's skin. "There are other white people like them."

"Why doesn't Nasher Spencer marry you then?" Sefina crossed her arms and waited for a response.

"He asked. He wanted to get engaged. I said no."

"Why did you do that? I know you love him. I didn't know he felt that way about you. The whole island thinks that he's just taking advantage of you, that you are letting him. Accept the ring at least, so people know how things stand." Sefina had never known about the proposal. Nor did the rest of the islanders from the rumors.

"He's an outsider. What would people think?" Teuila shook her head. "I can't marry an outsider, it has to be an islander, from this one or another island in the Pacific."

"Now who isn't seeing past the color of a person's skin." Sefina was shocked that her friend was so bias. "The islanders accept Nash, they would rather think that you are going to marry him, then think he's just using you for sex. Teuila, the islanders want to see you marry and give us an heir. You are thirty-three years old, Nash is possibly the best match on the island. If you ignore his skin color."

"It has nothing to do with what I think about his skin color. I don't even care. I'm worried that the islanders won't accept an heir who is white. They might think any child of ours is an outsider." Teuila didn't want her child rejected because he or she was white. "If I have a child out of the marriage then that child has to be accepted, no matter what, as the heir. Since there can be no proof that Nash is the Father."

"People will know anyway." Sefina laughed. It sound absurd to her. "What does it matter if the child is partly white at birth, as long he or she respects our people. No matter what the child is going to be part white anyway, all that matters is that the child respects the island and it's people."

"I suppose in the same way that a building doesn't matter if it housed Colored soldiers at one time. Some people don't care that it's no longer housing Colored people, only that it had at one time." Teuila said. "It matters to some people simply because they can't stand the thought that some Colored persons were in that building and if they slept in that building they were sleeping in the same building a Colored person slept in. It's crazy, but true."

"Some people won't be able to get past that I married a white man and our island was occupied by white troops for a hundred and fifty years. All they may see is that my child is white, another white person occupying our island and telling us what to do." Teuila knew it was true.

"They'll think that no matter if you marry Nash or not. So, why not marry him. They can accept the child as heir or not. It doesn't matter, if you have a baby it's the only heir we are going to get and it will be legitimate heir to the island. Whether the islanders like it or not." Sefina knew this was true too.

Nasher Spencer took out the velvet box that held the expensive diamond he bought a year ago. He had offered it to Teuila, only to be rejected. Why? Because he was white. It had hurt his ego that if he was to continue a relationship with Teuila, he'd have to accept the fact that they would never be married. Nasher couldn't accept that. He'd continue to keep the ring, until, by some miracle Teuila agreed to accept it.

Mike wasn't the only person to have opium withdraws on the island. It was an equal number of townspeople, farmers, and fishermen. Nearly fifty were diagnosed by Doctor Bao as having opium withdraws. None of the islanders would talk about where they got the opium or heroin. There was also a income problem. Both fishermen and farmers were not making their usual income quotas. Later the townspeople also seemed to be suffering from money problems. Which there was no reason for it.

"Tell me why you haven't been able to make your quota?" Teuila asked George Homa, whom was one of many fishermen she had interviewed. "You have no family to worry about."

George shook his head. "I've got crew, friends, and we all have some sort of family on the island. Or on other islands."

"I need to know who is threatening you and the others, if I'm going to do anything about it." Teuila knew this was happening, but not who was threatening the islanders. "You will be protected."

"Miss Teuila you don't know these men, they have everyone in their pocket. You don't know who to trust. I trust you Miss Teuila, but you don't know who is being bribed." Teuila had to promise to interview George Homa alone, in secret, before he would even talk to her. They met on the docks in one of the warehouses.

"George. Tell me this. Who do you know is being bribed?" George hesitated. "I won't do anything that will let them know you told me. I need to know."

"I'll tell you one. Shawn Needham. He's one. The dockmaster. People say that Eddie and Tony are involved. I don't know how. I also know that the knew man who doesn't seem to do anything. Adam Kresler. He's part of all of it. Some people even say Nash and Charlie King are involved too." George felt he was taking a chance telling Teuila. If she was involved or Nash, the men could decide to kill him.

"We don't talk anymore." Teuila said to George. "This meeting never happened. I'm going to be waiting and watching everyone you talked about. In the meantime, you may want to try fishing at one of the other islands where you have folks for a while."

 

John Tamalti met Teuila in her home before he went on his shift. "I haven't seen nothing to indicate that Chief Needham or Timmy are being bribed Miss Teuila."

"Just keep your eye on them. If you see anything suspicious you let me know." Teuila served tea flavored with coconut milk. "I'm afraid we can't trust anyone at this point. Don't tell anyone about this meeting. If someone does find out I asked you about the Moa home."

"But you know all about it." John said. "We gave you the report on it. There was nothing special there. No drugs. Not even a secret stash of money."

"John, Mike was looking for something in that house. He killed Tula outside. He went in and practically tore the place apart looking for either drugs or money that Tula must have hid there." It was a terrible loss that Teuila didn't get a chance to talk to Mike again. If he hadn't killed himself she might have found out who was dealing the drugs.

"If they ask, about what we talked about. What do I tell them?" John wanted to coordinate any story they made up.

"I asked you about the house. What you thought Mike was looking for in there. That I might want to personally take a look at the place." Teuila said. "You couldn't tell me anything. Besides, I might tell Nash, and we all know he's an outsider. He doesn't need to know anything else about Mike and Tula. It was bad enough that he knows what he does."

"You know what people have been saying?" John didn't think that Teuila knew some of the islanders felt that she was too close to Nasher Spencer, that the outsider was manipulating and using her. "I'm sorry what people have been saying. I don't personally believe it."

"I want you to make sure that people think you do believe it. If they think you don't trust me, you may be safe from any reprisals and people may not be expecting you to be watching and reporting things back to me." Teuila trusted Tamalti. "If you need to contact me, do so through Jane. But, be discreet about it."

 

A while back, Nash had mentioned how comfortable his sofa bed was in his office. As they lay together on the bed after making love, Teuila began to tell Nash what George Homa had told her. He took it all in, then heard how Teuila had enlisted John Tamalti to help her keep track Needham and some others George had mention.

"I want you to talk to Charlie King, see what he knows too. Nobody is going to suspect my sleeping with you is anything more than sex." Teuila said. "People think that you are manipulating me so they won't suspect that I am actually using you to help me find out what is going on on my island."

"I hope something more than sex is between us." Nash kissed Teuila who passionately returned it. "I still have the ring."

Teuila reached up and touched Nash's cheek. "Let me think on it."

"That isn't a no." Nash stared into Teuila's wide brown eyes. Trying to guess what she was thinking.

"It isn't a yes, but it's not a no. It's me considering what to do about it." Teuila got of the couch and began to put on her shorts and blouse. "Ask me again when this is over."

Most of the farmers had known Mike and Tula Moa. Teuila stood beside Nash on the rocky shore. Land was a premium on Waka. People were not buried here. Europeans were taken to where ever they came from to be buried. Islanders were buried at sea. Their bodies wrapped in canvas with stones inside the canvas to make sure the body sank. Islanders gathered on the rocky shore on the West side of the island. To sing to the dead as they began their final journey to see. A song that wished them happy journey to the other world at the bottom of the ocean.

 

"This Teuila appears to be clueless." Adam assured Vic. "She seems too busy screwing with her boyfriend to notice that her people are in trouble."

"What about this Nash Spencer." Vic sat in his office in the underground bunker. Adam on the other side of the desk.

"He was a war reporter during the war, staying on the island, relating what information he was allowed to." Adam had dealt with his share of reporters during the war. "After the war he stayed on to start the Waka Post. Charles King came here ahead of the McCarthy trials. He started Waka Radio by taking over the old communications building that was still full of outdated equipment. He fixed it and got the radio station running within a year."

"You think that King is a communist?" Vic didn't care, he just thought it might come in useful.

"Not really. He's too interested in making profits. Communists don't care about profit." Adam still didn't like King. "He's asking too many questions. He's got that nosy little doxie snooping around too."

"I don't like it, but we can't do much against them." Vic knew that if he assassinated the owner of the radio station or his popular disk jockey it would force Teuila to act. Needham would have no choice but to act as well.

"Suppose there was an accident." Adam suggested.

"Perhaps later. Right now this King is just fishing around. Let's not make any rash moves."

Vic dismissed Adam who stepped from the office into a corridor that had offices and quarters on either side. Walking down the long hall Adam opened the door to the former mess. The dining area was now the gambling casino. There were twenty or so islanders in the room. Adam nodded to Amio who was watching the room. Men and women had been brought in from other islands to run the games. They were watched over by Chang or Chin. Who had been with the men who had come here originally. The other two men, Han and Mon were now watching outside the compond.

Adam peeked into the infirmary where he saw a few islanders passed out from alcohol or drugs. He went on to the guard room that was now a bar. There were a half dozen islanders drinking. Both men and women were coming to the compound for drugs and gambling. Two of the younger women had been recruited as prostitutes and worked in the rooms down a hall past the infirmary. There were six prostitutes now, four from Hong Kong.

Money was being filtered away from the island through this compound. Islands who were becoming addicted to drugs were failing at their jobs. Farms went feral, fishing boats remained at the harbor, essential work at the town was being neglected by the common workers. Adam was sure if this kept up the island economy would completely collapse in time. Causing revolution and replacing Teuila as their leader. The island would become a capitalist democracy, as an American protectorate should be.

 

*Author's Note: (I'm not saying in this story that America is bad, that democracy is bad, or even capitalism. What I am saying is that there are bad people who misinterpret what democracy, America, and capitalism should be. Teuila might be the hereditary leader of her people, but she listens to her council. This Council of Advisors represent her people. Teuila might have the final say, but the advisors influence her decisions. It may not be a democracy as we understand it. But, the islanders are free.

Economics, politics, and life on the island are very simple. Figure the island has roughly five hundred adults and possibly three hundred or more children. The island itself could possibly maintain a thousand or so people before land started to become a premium and island population is no longer self maintaining. Vic and his illegal activities are interfering with that sustainability.

America has used it's espionage organizations to usurp other governments if America's political leaders felt it served their best interest. Other governments which were considered possibly communist or even socialist have been subverted by United State's intelligence services. Some of these governments were actually benevolent. This kind of subversion doesn't make the United States Government evil, nor am I suggesting it. The upper echelons of power made these decisions, without consulting the United States people. It has nothing to do with our Constitution, Government, or our Nation. It has everything to do with people in power who were afraid of losing that power.)

 

John Tamalti knew that Shawn Needham was taking bribes. He just didn't know how he took them. Who was sending them. Nor did he know where Needham picked up his bribes. It was not possible that these drugs were filtering through the harbor without both the harbor master and Shawn knowing about it. Tamalti also suspected that the island's economy was being ruined by some other illegal activity.

Tamalti was a patriot. He loved his little island, appreciated having Teuila and the Council as his country's governing body. John would die for Teuila if it was necessary. Although he certainly wouldn't want to have to make that choice. He knew that if he had to, he would die for the Waka community.

Tamalti knew that following Shawn Needham when he left the jail for the warehouse district was dangerous. John also knew that he needed to know for sure that Needham took bribes from someone. Tamalti also hoped that he might find out who the source of the bribes was. Needham walked down the Avenue Four then turned onto Corridor D. Passing through to Avenue Three. As Needham continued to walk straight across the island to the warehouses near the docks.

There was the occasional fisherman still out tending to his nets. Most were either at home or asleep on their boats at this time. Street lights lit the way, but there was no moon, and the streetlights were few. Most of the time Tamalti followed Needham in the dark, led by the glow of the cigarette that Needham was smoking.

Needham stopped at one of the warehouses that had begun to disintegrate. It's wooden roof that collapsed a few years ago. Needham opened a door that was set on rusty hinges. They made John cringe. He realized he wouldn't be following Needham in that way.

John picked a dark corner near one of the other warehouses and waited. There was the smell of salt in the air mixed with fish. Bells, horns, voices came from the docks. A solitary fisherman came down the street. He had a bottle in his hand. Alcohol. John was tempted to just arrest him, find out where he got the alcohol. The island was supposed to be dry. The person who sold the fishermen the booze might be the same one who was selling drugs to the other islanders.

It surprised John when the man went into the same warehouse as Needham had entered. John waited for a while. When neither man came out he approached the warehouse. The front windows had been boarded up. John peeked through the cracks, he saw only darkness. Walking up to the door, John drew his revolver. A 1940 Webley, left from when the British had left the island during the war.

John kicked the door in. The noise from the hinges and splintered wood John hoped it would startle the two men long enough for him to have the advantage. The room was pitch black. Despite this, John sensed no one was in the large room. Which was empty. Except for the remains of the roof that had fallen in.

Picking his way around the fallen ceiling John found the back entrance to the dilapidated warehouse. The door had long since fallen off of hinges that were rusted through. John went back into the warehouse. He saw a couple of cigarette butts that were Shawn Needham's brand.

"It figures that Needham is on the take." Teuila was sitting in Charlie King's office with Charlie, Jane, and Sefina. "I don't want John to follow him again. Jane, you make sure that John knows this. Needham is dangerous."

"I can keep an eye on Needham." Charlie sat behind his beat up metal desk in his well worn office chair. "I have some experience in that sort of thing."

"No, we know he's on the take. We know he's dangerous. I know he can't be trusted, that's the important thing." Teuila sat in the more comfortable chair, across from a matching one that Jane sat in. Sefina had parked her ample rear on the corner of Charlie's desk.

"I'm dangerous as well." Charlie said. "You need to know who Shawn is taking his payment from. That mysterious fisherman that John told Jane about, could lead you to the source. I can find that information out."

Teuila almost laughed at Charlie King. Silly, distracted, comical Charlie was not dangerous. Love smitten, yes. Dangerous? Not Charlie. "Let's wait on that option."

 

"Charlie King manages to leave the United States one step ahead of the McCarthy Trials. He arrives on the island with enough cash and equipment to start up Waka Radio. He keeps track of public notifications, advertisements, the latest music, the most popular radio shows in America. Both Canadian and British music and radio show trends. He types many of his own announcements, commercials, and even some short stories he airs at night."

Nasher sat with Doctor Bao in his art deco office. Teuila had finished her meeting at Waka Radio. This separate meeting at the Waka Post was so that no one became too suspicious. Teuila often met with Nasher and King separately. For either advice or to coordinate public messages.

Nasher finished his report concerning Charlie.

"Do you think he's dangerous?" Teuila knew if there was something she didn't know about Charlie, Nasher might know.

"I wouldn't underestimate him. He might seem like some absent-minded professor, but I suspect he's more a mad scientist." Nasher had to admit that to all outward appearances that Charlie seemed harmless. Nasher had learned during the war that trusting in appearances could get you killed. "He could be dangerous, because we don't know he's not."

"Use your continental contacts." Teuila said. "Find out."

"To get here, Charlie King would have to go through Australia, Japan, or Hong Kong." Doctor Bao was kept in the loop because Teuila trusted him. She needed all the help she could get. "If he came through Hong Kong, I might be able to find some information about him."

Doctor Li Ju Bao might seem impassive to most people. That was because he didn't where his emotions on his sleeve like some people did. This island accepted Bao and his wife after they were forced to flee China during the Japanese occupation there. Teuila had befriended his wife, learning Majong from her. Keeping Kane company when she was lonely and afraid. Trying to adjust to the simple island life. For this reason alone, Bao would do anything he could to help Teuila and the rest of the islanders.

 

It was stupid of these men to arrange a meeting for bribe payment on the same day at the same general time every week. Charlie was on the roof of his radio station with a telescope set up. It was a waxing moon, not much light, but the stars made up for it. In the Pacific, on the islands the stars were very bright.

Needham took the same route. What was wrong with the man. Behind him was John attempting to shadow the man. Charlie sighed. He wished that young John had listened to Teuila in this case. He was far more capable of watching Needham from a distance, then John could up close. Besides, it put John in harm's way.

Following Needham discreetly was easier the second time around for John. If Needham had not noticed John following him before. John was sure he wouldn't notice him this time.

When Needham went into the warehouse, John decided to go down the dark alley and wait for them to come out that way. That was what happened last time, John figured, the two men had left through the back way. Which was how they eluded John.

There was a drunken fisherman in the alley was passed out. John thought about checking on the man. To see if he was alright. Possibly needed help to get home or to his fishing boat. Despite John's nature to either arrest or assist drunks when necessary. He felt it was more important to follow the man giving Needham his bribes.

As John passed by the man, he suddenly jumped up. Before John could react the man stabbed John in the side. Amio had become skilled at killing other men in Hong Kong during his exile. John was dead before he hit the ground. Part of the killing was revenge on the man for trying to arrest Amio.

Amio paid off Needham. He wished he could just kill the arrogant British pig, but he had his orders. Amio wasn't much for orders, but not obeying them would mean that either Vic or Adam would kill him. Possibly slowly, painfully to make him an example to the others about following orders. Amio obeyed their orders to avoid that fate.

Tonight Amio wouldn't be breaking orders, but he was taking a chance. Amio had found out where Florence Legas was. In the building of the outsider, Nasher Spencer. Waka Radio had broadcast his name all over the island after he had raped Flo. The Waka Post printed his name accusing him of rape. Only to Amio it wasn't rape. To him it was what Flo wanted. Rough sex. Suddenly she didn't want it because Amio was too rough. Amio thought she deserved what she got, because if she didn't want it she shouldn't be dating people like him.

Tonight he planned his revenge. Charlie King lived in a building outside the station, Sefina had a little bungalow further in town, Nasher King lived in the apartment above the building that Flo lived in. That left Flo living in a apartment separate on the second floor. All by herself. Amio decided that he had waited long enough to have his revenge. He just knew he had to be careful not to do anything that might point the finger in Vic's direction.

A old wooden fire escape led up to the room that had been modified for Flo's use. Amio carefully climbed the steps. Trying to be as silent as possible. When Flo had reported him to the police, Amio had learned the importance of stealth. He had used it to hide, sneak around the docks and warehouse. Finally stealing a small boat. His own motorized fishing boat had been confiscated by the island.

Amio used a fishing knife to jimmy open the door. He came into a dark apartment. This late, Amio had expected the apartment to be dark. He was used to working in the dark. Again, due to his days as a fugitive. He walked through the main living area. There was a kitchen built into the room off to the side. There were two doors at one end of the room. Another door in the wall to Amio's right.

Amio opened the door to the right to see it went into a hall. He left the door open and went to the right door at the end of the room. It opened into the bath room. Opening the last door Amio walked into the bed room. There was an open window letting in cool night air. The waxing moon let in a little of the moon and star light. To reveal an empty bed.

Amio took a deep breath. Resisted the urge to tear the bedroom apart in a fit of frustration. Those fits nearly got him killed after he first arrived in Hong Kong. Amio went back into the living room. He would simply sit and wait.

The waxing moon and stars were not bright enough for Charlie to see everything. He did not see John being killed. Nor did he see John and the other man depart. Charlie didn't even know there had been another man, until he finally located him. The figure was headed straight towards the Waka Post.

 

When a figure appeared at the door, Amio stood up, his knife in his hand. A hand flicked the light switch. Activating the ceiling light. Amio saw Charlie King standing in the door a 1911 Colt in his hand. It was the last thing that Amio was to see. King shot without hesitation when he saw the knife.

 

Shawn Needham had found John in the alley after he received his payment. When he learned that Charlie had shot Amio in Florence's quarters he realized that he could simply blame it all on Amio.

"Amio had returned to the docks. John must have learned about it." Needham told Teuila. She didn't believe him. "Poor chap must have tracked him down, then got himself killed for his trouble. Didn't even have a chance to pull his Webley."

Teuila was sure this had something more to do with John following Needham. If it wasn't for the fact that Amio had the knife that had killed John. Doctor Bao had confirmed that the wounds had matched the blade. There was no evidence that Needham was involved.

"Flo has been announcing at night. So that I don't have to rely on prerecorded programs. She signs off at ten. When I saw the man heading towards the Waka Post I watched him and realized that he was headed to Flo's apartment." Charlie was at the Police Station. He was talking to Needham and Teuila in Needham's office. He didn't tell anyone why he was on the roof.

"Where did Amio come from." Needham asked King.

"Hard to tell. I was watching the moonlight reflecting off the ocean. You know it's like diamonds." King didn't lie about the beauty of the light reflecting off the ocean, just about watching it.

It was just flaky enough of an excuse that both Teuila and Needham seemed to believe it. That was the advantage of being the resident eccentric. People didn't expect you to use subterfuge. Charlie King didn't care for lies, since the truth was far more interesting. But, he did when it was necessary.

After a review of the laws, it was determined that a white man owning a gun was legal. Only native islanders couldn't own firearms. Despite a general ban of firearms on the island, that technical detail allowed Charlie King to keep his weapon at the moment. The World War II Colt semi-automatic wasn't an unusual weapon to find on the island considering the former occupation of the island by U.S. troops the weapons were prolific enough. Most found years later, in poor condition.

"Where did you get the gun?" Teuila asked.

"Brought it with me. Had it when I arrived. I bought it at a pawn shop before I came here." Charlie lied again. There were things about his life he didn't share. Not even with his friends.

"I understand that you were rejected for service." Needham didn't need to point it out. He just said it to throw King off balance.

"No, I was not able to go into combat. I was in the Army." Charlie didn't lie this time. He had held the rank of Major at the end of the war. "I may not have fought in a battle, held a rifle, or any of those exciting things, but I contributed what I could for the war effort."

Needham spit. Which was disrespectful not just to Charlie, but Charlie felt it was disrespectful to do it in front of Teuila. "Oh, I'm supposed to admire you for that."

"Maybe not admire, but respect me for it." Charlie replied.

 

"Most men served in the war in one capacity or another." Nash said. "I didn't go on the front lines to fight. I did. As a war correspondent I saw plenty of action while doing my duty. If you had to fight, you fought. Even if you never expected to do it."

Nash lived on the second story of his print shop that produced the Waka Post. He had converted most of the upper story into a nice apartment. It was easily the largest living area in town. A spacious living room, a dining room, full kitchen. A large bedroom, a guest bedroom, and a study.

Even the mattress was larger than usual. Nash had bought the supersized mattress and had to have a special headboard and footboard made for it. It had been worth it to Nash. It amused Teuila whose playful sexuality allowed for the full use of the bed. Right now they were resting from such playful endeavors.

"Did you do a lot of fighting?" Teuila asked.

Nash seldom talked about his experience in the war, accept for the boring duties of correspondent. Frustration with the government rules and restriction on war correspondence. Even though he admitted they were necessary.

"No. When I did I was scared as hell. I still remember the face of the first Jap I shot. It was the first person I ever killed. I didn't have time to think about it until after. You don't get over killing a man. Sometimes you feel sick. When you have time to consider what you had to do."

Nash fell quite after that. Teuila had interviewed Charlie King in the morning. He was his usual or unusual self. A little distant, somewhat amusing, but he didn't seem any different.

"People who kill hold their feelings in. Don't they?" Teuila said. "Like Charlie King did in the interview I had with him."

Teuila had told Nash about the interview. Hoping for some insight. She hadn't mentioned that Charlie hadn't been very emotional about it. As if he was more withdrawn than usual. Almost distracted.

"Some do. If you don't find a way to talk about it though. With friends, other soldiers, the chaplain. Someone. Well, I think it eats people up inside." Nash had seen it all too often. Men driven crazy by all of the things they were holding inside.

"Do you think that Charlie would talk about it? If he needed to. With someone he cares about, or with you." Teuila wondered if she shouldn't talk to Sefina about it.

"I'll go pay him a visit. I think I'm one of the closest friends Charlie has on the island. Although he might talk to Sefina, but I doubt it."

Nash sat on Charlie's desk watching him play with some new equipment. A large reel to reel recorder. He had other items in his shop. A machine with three screens and mysterious dials and switches. Including a couple toggle switches. There were three movie cameras.

"I came over to see if you were all right." King turned to Nash and smiled.

"Why wouldn't I be all right?" King turned back to the cables he was unraveling.

"During the war I had to kill a few men. Japs. Despite being a correspondent I had to fight sometimes. To survive." Nash said.

"I've killed men before." King stopped what he was doing and stood up to look at Nash. "I know what you mean. Killing isn't something you forget. If you hold it in it gnaws at you. If you talk about it, it's hard. Only people like you and me really understand what we had to do. It isn't a club I want to be part of."

"I know. All the same. If you do need to talk, it helps to know that someone is there to talk to." Nash stood up to leave.

"Do you need to talk about it?" King surprised Nash. Nash's reaction was more of a surprise to him. He sat back on the desk and began to talk as King worked on whatever project he was cooking up.

"I don't regret killing Amio." King said when Nash had finished talking. "From what Flo has told me he was a vicious man. The world is better without him. I just don't see what Flo saw in the man to begin with."

"Flo seems to like greasers. She might view men like Amio as real men. A lot of women want men who take charge, are aggressive, and sometimes a little evil." Nash replied.

"I think men should be judge by their conduct. Men should be appreciated for their understanding, gentleness, and respect they give not only women, but each other." King was now connecting the cables to the box with the screens, the recorder, and the movie cameras.

"Some people would regard such qualities in a man as a weakness." Nash had tried to balance these things these days, it was difficult.

"That just makes them cowards. Afraid to show some compassion when it's necessary." King flicked on the switches on the box.

Screens turned on, but were blank. King moved his camera, a large bulky thing on a sturdy metal tripod. He adjusted the knobs that allowed the camera to swivel and move up and down.

"Needs more light." Charlie went over to a wall to flick a light switch. Spots overhead switched on to light up a corner where a sofa, coffee table, and a side chair had been set up.

One of the screens lit up with a picture of the scene. Charlie looked at the small screen on the huge camera that he manipulated. He locked the camera in place with the knobs and went over to the box again.

"What is it?" Nash asked.

"It's called video tape." King gestured to the cameras. "These are the camera that transmit the images. That box is the production board, that allows us to direct and edit the images and change from one camera view to another. That recorder is the video recorder itself."

"It doesn't look very different from a regular tape recorder." Nash commented.

"It performs a similar function." King said.

"You're not planning to create a television studio? No one on the island has a television. You can't be serious?" Nash comprehended suddenly what King was planning. He couldn't believe the ambition the man had. Who would he broadcast to?

"We only need a couple of televisions to start with." King assured Nash. "Our islanders will love being able to see new things. Programs with islanders in them, telling them news from the island. Maybe some short video plays."

"This is a foolish waste of money." Nash shook his head. It was typical of King to spend the obvious amount of money he had to expend on this equipment to create a product that no one would be able to see and appreciate. "There are no televisions on the island. Nobody will see your broadcasts."

"Not yet. People said the same thing about radio. No one had radios. Now, all of the islanders have one." King said. "This isn't new equipment either. The VTR broke down on one of the major news networks and they went for a newer model. They wanted to get rid of it and sold it to me for a tenth of the price. As for the other equipment, it cost me another two thousand dollars but was worth it."

"What did the VTR originally cost?" Nash asked, curious.

"Fifty thousand. Produced by Ampex. The new VTR that will replace the one I bought will be in color." King pointed to the bulky, huge machine. "Some day it won't look like that, it will be the size of a suitcase."

Nash took a closer look at the VTR. It wasn't a recorder on a table. The recorder and table were all one machine. A huge bulky monster that must have taken four men to situate in Nash's office. A monster machine that only recorded in black and white. Nash wondered how big the color machines were.

"I hope it's worth it." Nash said.

Teuila came to talk to King as soon as she heard about it. "How does this thing work." Teuila stood over the huge recorder.

"Video images are sent to the VTR through the cable that is taken by the camera. Sound and video are recorder separately and later spliced together." King gave the fast explanation.

"Can this equipment be set up somewhere else?" Teuila asked.

"All of this equipment is a single unit that operates together. I'd have to move everything to that new location. If that is what you are wondering." King didn't like the idea of moving his VTR and other equipment.

"Your equipment can transmit over the airwaves? Can the cameras transmit a image to your VTR without a cable?" Teuila hoped that King could.

"I can broadcast live through the VTR, once I hook it up the the transmission tower. Similar to the way I transmit radio broadcasts." King told Teuila.

"I don't suppose it's possible to get a portable unit?" Teuila doubted it, but had to ask.

"There are no portable VTR units; maybe in the future, but not for the present. I can't broadcast from the camera to the VTR without a cable. It might be possible to place a small antenna on the camera that would allow direct transmission, but again, that technology isn't available."

"Tequila, if you want to take a video of something, I've got a portable movie camera. I also have a tape recorder I can use for sound." King couldn't use the VTR, but the older film and audio technology was advanced enough for Teuila's purpose."

"You do know that my name is pronounced Tay-wee-lah. Not Tee-qee-lah." Teuila had put her hands on her hips and stared at King.

"Really, I never noticed." King smiled.

Teuila sighed. "I bet you didn't. Why don't you call me Tay, like most of my friends."

"I'm not like most of your friends, besides, I like Tequila. I like you, so I just automatically think Tequila when I see you."

Teuila shook her head. King might not be like her other friends, but Teuila was glad to have his help. She was particularly grateful after she explained her plan. King not only knew how to implement her plan, but how to improve it.

 

Adam Kresler had arrived on the island not long before the troubles had begun. He was a solitary man, who spent much of his time by himself. He had tried to rent or buy one of the two Jeeps on the island. He was refused. The few trucks, trolleys, and the four motorcycles weren't for rent or sell either. Adam had to have a motorcycle brought in. As well as the fuel, the islanders wouldn't sell him fuel after he got a motorcycle. So, he had to order regular shipments of fuel.

Teuila was no fool. She knew that this Adam Kresler was related to the problems with the islanders. He had a operation set up somewhere that included gambling, prostitution, and drugs. As well as alcohol.

Amio getting himself killed in his girlfriend's apartment proved inconvenient. Needham had fixed the problem by reporting that Amio had only appeared on the island recently. That he had been discovered by John Tamalti and killed the officer. Before coming to his ex-girlfriend's apartment to rape and kill her.

Had Amio did so, he would have possibly blown the operation. In which case Vic would have killed Amio anyway. All the same, using Amio as an errand boy for some things was convenient. Such as paying Needham his bribe money. The British greaser was starting to get on Adam's nerves. He never did like the Brits and Shawn Needham wasn't improving his opinion of them.

If Adam could find a replacement for the man, he'd do so in a heartbeat. As the situation stood, though. Needham had saved them from a investigation that might have turned up much more than a jilted boyfriend who murdered a cop and tried to rape his ex-girlfriend. He was arrogant, but useful for the moment. Adam figured that moment would eventually pass and Adam would kill him when it did.

In the meantime he paid Shawn Needham in the same warehouse location as usual. It never occurred to the two of them that John's death might throw suspicion on the place. Shawn had assured Adam that everyone on the island thought that Amio had killed John simply because John recognized him.

All of this was recorded. Teuila had her evidence against both Shawn Needham. Charlie King had showed her the film he had developed. The audio was on a separate tape, recorded through a hidden microphone, it wasn't particularly clear, but damning evidence all the same.

Tim Lagi was upset about John's death. He felt that some how he had failed the man. Teuila assured Tim that there was nothing that could have been done. In the meantime Teuila had hired two Americans. One a younger man to replace John. His name was Harry Milo. A tall, healthy, muscular man. The other man had obviously been built much like Harry when he was young. He had been a detective in New York and was now retired. His name was Zach Nathon. He was well into his sixties, but he was still alert and healthy.

Zach Nathon and Harry Milo met Teuila at the Victory Cafe. Both of the big men were pretty conspicuous on an island where most men were no more than five foot six, and the tallest of them five eight or five nine. These men were both over six feet tall.

They were built like bulls, with no fat on Harry, and Zach only beginning to develop some fat around his midsection.

"What do you want us to do?" Zach said in his gravely voice as the waitress left to get their order.

"I want Adam Kresler followed." Teuila explained. "I don't want Needham to know I hired you, yet. I want you to find incriminating evidence against Needham. We have essentially American based laws here. Although punishment is rather different. I also want to find the base of operations."

"What about our base of operations. If it's not going to be the police station itself, then we need to know where we will be operating from." Zach said.

"We have an old barracks that we are fixing up to be a hotel. Nothing has been done, except to fix the roof, walls, and floor so it's livable. I had them move in some desks, file cabinets, a typewriter, a chalk board, and some other things. If you need anything else, let me know."

"A vehicle. Gas. Weapons."

Doctor Bao had an emergency in the island farmland. Near the ancient volcanic rim. He had taken one of the Jeeps. As Murphy's Law would have it. The vehicle broke down out there. Needham was upset that he was now short a Jeep. Not that he could use it accept for interior work. In a way he blamed Bao. Because the Jeep was in his care.

In the meantime, Teuila said the Jeep was stuck there until the island mechanic had a chance to go out and fix it. It had also been given a couple extra tanks of fuel, in case Doctor Bao had needed it. That was sitting in the back of the Jeep. Needham was sure he could have used the extra fuel as well.

Aside from needing to get the Jeep to Zach and Harry. Teuila had used this excuse to find time to talk alone to Doc Bao. Li had contacted people he knew from China, Taewan, Indo-China, India, and Australia.

"Charlie King works for some sort of intelligence agency connected with the United States. I don't know which. It's not the new CIA. Some say he was employed by the GID and is now between agencies. Answering only to the President of the United States, but not a part of any traditional intelligence agency." Bao told Teuila.

"So, he has a vested interest in Waka as a American protectorate." Teuila felt that King did have a interest in protecting her island. "A lot of things are starting to make sense. Charlie is here to protect the island from the very thing that is happening. A criminal gang trying to take over the island."

 

Teuila had provided the men with a Jeep. Now, she gave them a old Webley revolver and a Colt 1911. Zach had hoped for more. His time in New York had given him some knowledge of bootlegging, even though he was assigned to homicide. He had often been in the home of a bootlegger by the name of Luke Mason. Never having the chance to catch him in the act of any criminal activities. One thing he learned was that it was good to have firepower.

"I borrowed this from the armory and a friend." Teuila explained. "He said if you would stop by the radio station tonight he will loan you some extra ammunition."

Zach was now driving over to Waka Radio. Where he was observed by a fisherman. Who was assigned to watch the station by Adam. He quickly took off to inform Adam who was now living in a small warehouse on the docks. Modified into a comfortable apartment.

Zach was unaware he had been spotted. Had the native waited, he would have seen Zach coming out of the station with a bundle. It was long and appeared a little heavy. Wrapped in canvas. It was more than what Zach had expected. Zach had expected to get a couple of boxes of ammo for the Colt and Webley. It turned out to be much more important.

Zach had gone through the front door as instructed. I pretty island girl smiled at him. A more mature, a little more seasoned woman sat in a chair near the desk. The girl behind the desk was in her twenties. The other woman as old as Teuila. Zach and Harry tipped their hats to the girls.

"Is Charles King in." Zach said as he looked around the main room. There was a window that looked into a empty broadcast booth.

"He's in his office. Go on in." The older woman said.

"Thank you, ladies." Zach opened the door that had office painted in black on the door.

It looked a bit like a movie studio with a office in it. There were three sophisticated cameras and other unknown bits of electronic equipment. A beaten up metal desk, a couple of ancient wooden file cabinets. The man behind the desk was a tall lanky middle-aged man. Green eyes, with a touch of blue, and plain brown hair. A bit too thin.

"Teuila said she'd send you by." Charlie said. He rose, came around the desk. He shook their hands. "I have something more than a few extra bullets for you."

Charlie went to one of the filing cabinets and pulled it from the wall to reveal a cache of weapons. He pulled out two rifles that resembled the old World War I M1 rifles.

"These are M14 rifles. Capable of semi-automatic fire." Charlie said.

"I used one of these during the Korean War." Harry said.

"I also have two fragment grenades, two Colts, and a couple of bayonets if you want them. Last, I just happen to find this old Bar machine gun in the same place I found the other weapons. Just don't tell Teuila where you got them."

Along with the weapons were cases of ammunition for all of the weapons. Zach now felt much better about this mission. How he would explain the extra weapons to Teuila, he didn't know, but Zach didn't intend to tell her that Charlie had given them to him. Zach appreciated the man giving up his stash of weapons to them.

"I don't like looking a gift horse in the mouth, but these M14s aren't left over from the Pacific Campaign of the last war." Harry told Zach as they drove back to their headquarters. The M14 has only recently replaced the M1 Garland. M1s are still used in some parts of the military."

"I know. I knew a bootlegger who helped me solved a series of murders by capturing the culprits. A gang of bigots. I learned at that time not to ask a lot of questions, but accept good fortune when I find it." Zach wish he knew what happened to Luke Mason. He had moved to Florida at some point and Zach lost touch. "I don't know where Charlie King got these weapons, but as long as it works in my favor I'm not going to ask a lot of questions."

The building that had once held the records for the United States military when they had a base on the island had been converted into a public library. After Charlie had given the two big men Teuila had hired a few of the weapons in his cache he thought about the old records in the library.

They were well armed, but neither of the men knew where the hideout was. If there were any old records in the library, it might help the men locate where the hideout was that the gambling, prostitution, and drug dealing was happening. There couldn't be many men there. At least that was what Charlie figured. The more men they had, the more conspicuous they'd be.

Shawn Needham watched Charlie take a sudden interest in the old archives. It was obvious he was searching for something from the war years that could be useful in finding the hidden casino. He didn't know what he was looking for, but Needham knew that once Charlie did find what he was looking for he would know it.

Shawn had been told about the two big men in town who stopped by the radio station and carried out a canvas wrapped package. Along with ammo boxes. It also appeared that these men had his Jeep. It wasn't broke down as at all. Doctor Bao had given the Jeep to these two men. How they were connected to Doctor Bao Needham didn't know. It was possible that they had some connection to Teuila. She was far from clueless about what was going on where her island was concerned.

Shawn was beginning to wonder if it was time for him to take his share or the profits, and beat it. While the getting was good. Shawn didn't know whether or not Charlie could find anything in those records to point him to Vic's hideout. He didn't want to be there if Charlie discovered the location of the casino.

Timothy Lagi was ordered to place Shawn Needham under arrest by the new Police Chief. Zach Nathon still in the future hotel looking over the map Charlie King had brought him. There were plans for the old shelter in the archives left after WWII. It might have been kept secret during the war, but once it was over the plans had simply been left behind like the shelter and the rest of the base the Americans used.

Charlie King turned up with more than the plans. He had Nasher Spencer with him. Both of them were armed with M14 like the ones he had given Harry and Zach. In addition both men had Colt .45s. With them were thirty sturdy fishermen, farmers, and townsfolk. All of them armed with M1 Garlands and Colts. Where the mass amount of weapons came from, Zach didn't know. What he did know was he suddenly had a small army he never thought he'd have.

Zach would have a lot of questions for Charlie King, but not until after everything was finished. Many of the islanders knew the secret location of the base, but few of them had much knowledge of the layout of the former Army base. With the plans, Zach had found out there was more than one way into the base.

"We could go in the old fashion way, like a bunch of coppers raiding a speakeasy, but that could get ourselves killed, as well as any innocent civilians who are in the base."

Charlie pointed to the front entrance of the compound. "Station a guard of five or so men here." Charlie pointed to a space designated a car garage. "Enter through here."

"Sounds good. We drive them through the compound to the front where the men there will be ready for them." Nash thought he understood what Charlie was thinking. He didn't.

"No." Zach said. "In the process we will end up losing our men and the islanders could be hurt as well."

"I suggest we take the rooms one by one." King said. "Once we secure one room, we move to the next. Civilians we send to the garage where a couple of the men can guard them as we make our way through the compound. The other men will try to move forward to the front gate. Or they could try to secure a room. Or even take hostages. If we can get them all in one room we can negotiate if they have hostages. The quieter we are, the quicker we secure rooms the better off we will be."

"People may still die." Harry commented.

"He's right." Zach understood what Zach was planning. "It will have to be done quietly. We clear each room. What happens if we cross a room with hostages or where the men are held up tight."

"Negotiate, or if necessary post guards on the room and continue." Charlie explained. "After we cleared the base we go back and either negotiate or wait them out."

"I'm going to have a lot of questions after this is over." Zach said as the men began to get ready to go to the base itself.

"We will all have a lot of questions." Nash had never seen this aspect of Charlie before. He had never shown any indication that he was anything but a flaky, absent minded electronics expert.

"I won't answer them, but you can ask those questions if you want." Charlie smiled at Zach.

From the looks of the garage doors which were painted the dark gray of the local rock formations, they hadn't been opened in a while. Next to the larger garage doors was a single access door. Zach put some of his skills to use to pick the lock. It was a newer lock then those he picked in the 1920s, but most locks had the same principle. It was just a matter of adjusting the tumblers in the lock.

A bit of oil on the hinges prevented them from squeaking loudly when it was opened. This door, like the larger garage doors, hadn't been used in a long time. The door led into what looked like a guard room. This room opened into the wider garage room where two trucks and four Jeeps were parked. These had not been used in a while. There were tool cabinets and boxes along the walls. Spare parts for Jeeps and trucks on shelves. The were covered in spider webs and rodents had attacked anything that they could chew on. The trucks and the Jeeps all had flat tires that were rotting on the ground.

"Nobody has been here for a while." Zach whispered to the others. "So far, so good."

"I wonder why they never utilized this area." Nash thought out loud.

Nobody had an answer. It seemed that the Jeeps and trucks would have been useful to the gangsters in their business. Dust on the floor told the men that there had been nobody, but them in this garage for nearly ten years.

One door in the back of the complex led out of the garage. It opened inwards. Zach pulled the door open to see nothing, but a wooden panel behind the door. It turned out not to be a panel, just the back of a large cabinet. Harry and Nash put their back to the cabinet and pushed it open to enter into a deserted gambling casino. The cabinet had been in the base originally. It was now used to store chips, cards, and other items used by the various dealers of different games.

"This may be to our advantage." Zach told the others. "If they don't realize that the garage even existed, it may be nobody knows we are inside."

Although Charlie King formulated the plan, Zach was in charge of carrying it out. Charlie and Nash stood behind Zach and Harry as they went through the building. They came out of the casino into into a room where some islanders were sleeping off drugs or drink. A look into another room revealed that the clinic was being used for creating new drugs. There was a bar with a couple of men in it beyond the clinic.

Once the two thugs in the bar saw the armed party they quickly surrendered. It was a quiet take down that didn't alert the complex. Beyond the guard rooms was a series of rooms that held prostitutes. None of them gave the men any trouble. Zach assured the prostitutes that if they caused no trouble, they would neither be arrested or harmed. If they tried to run away, or leave their rooms, Zach said that he couldn't promise their safety.

At the other end of the casino was a door that led into a long hall. There were doors on either side of the long hall. The first door they encountered had 'Armory' painted on the door. That door was locked. Stationing two men next to the door, just in case someone was inside, or someone might try getting to the weapons in it. There was a second door which led into a bedroom. Where one of the guards was sleeping.

This guard was quickly and quietly restrained and gagged. The men continued. This door had a glass window across the hall from the bedroom. There was a man who sat behind a desk looking at a dirty magazine. He reached for his gun, but Harry shot him before he could reach it. That shot woke up the rest of the compound. Men came charging out of the offices and bedrooms with guns blazing. The men were vulnerable in the hall, but so were the confused, half awake men charging out of the rooms.

M1s and Colt .45s that the islanders were armed with were more than a match for the American, Chinese, and British guns that the thugs had as personal sidearms. Without access to the armory with it's weapons the thugs had no chance against the well armed party.

Most of the dead and wounded were thugs. Zach lost an islander and Nash Spencer took a bullet to the shoulder. It was Nasher's own carelessness. He kicked in a door that was locked and standing in front of the door, took a bullet through the door. When Nash had fallen to the floor, Charlie kicked the door while putting most of his body behind the wall, only exposing enough of himself to plant a couple of firm kicks where the lock was. Once the door swung open the shooter shot again, but missed Charlie.

Charlie swung his M14 around to take aim, the man shot again, and missed. Charlie did not miss. The man was blown against the back wall of the room by the impact of the bullet.

Adam and Vic were in his office when the bullets started flying. Being in the largest of the offices, Adam and Vic locked and blockaded the door. Adam wondered what the point was, if they couldn't get out of the room. All the men had to do who were blocked out was to simply wait them out.

"Help me shift that cabinet over there." Vic told Adam.

Moving the cabinet revealed a door. Vic opened it to reveal a crude passage carved into the native stone of the island. There were actually handles that pull the cabinet they moved back into place in front of the door.

Of the ten or so men they had captured in the compound most of them sang like canaries. They told how Victor and Adam were behind the whole operation. American gangsters that came here because they thought the islanders would be an easy mark. They were until Shawn Needham was replaced by Zach and Harry.

A search of Victor's office revealed all of the communications between Victor and his American CIA handler in Hong Kong. Victor had forgotten to burn the papers when he left. Considering that his main priority was saving his own skin it wasn't surprising that Victor had left behind such evidence.

Those papers were coded, only Charlie King knew what they were. King knew, because he knew all of the codes of the American Intelligence Agencies. He gathered the papers and tucked them away until he could translate them for Teuilla. What no one knew was that King had a agenda that went beyond mere politics. A organization loyal to the United States, but unlike other intelligence agencies, not influenced by the political agendas of certain powerful individuals in the United States.

The crude passage let out not far from the clinic. Vic and Adam weren't taking any chances. They broke in the back door of the old clinic where Tony and Eddie were doing their work on radioactivity on the island. They came armed with Tommy guns. He had kept them in the office along with a couple of extra drums of ammunition.

Vic had Adam wake both Tony and Eddie and bring them to the laboratory on the first floor where Vic waited. "It appears we were found out."

"We?" Eddie said. "As in all of us?"

"I had to leave before disposing of certain papers from the CIA contact I have." Vic didn't mention that this contact wasn't listed as CIA. For all the raiding party knew, it was some crime boss back in Hong Kong. Vic didn't know that Charlie King did know who the man was behind the letters.

"All of the letters are coded Vic. Our pseudonyms are used in the letter. Neither Tony or I are implicated." Eddie knew how the CIA worked and that all of the correspondence was coded.

"They will know if they catch me." Vic said. "I need one of you to drive me over to the other side of the island. I have a boat ready to take me off the island."

"What about me?" Adam Kresler suddenly turned his tommy gun in Vic's direction.

"We don't know that they know you are part of this." Vic needed someone to remain on the island and start the process all over again.

"They know." Adam figured that if they knew about the base, they had guessed the rest of it. "If someone should stay, it's you Vic. Nobody even knew you were on the island, might as well that you were running the whole thing."

"The islanders know who I am." Vic had been sure that his name was feared over the entire island. So feared that no one dared mention who he was.

"They know my name too." Adam had made sure no one tried to report him to the authorities either. "Just like Needham knows who I am. If they have Needham they know the entire operation."

"We don't even know that they have any evidence against Needham." Vic said.

"They suspected him. Amio killed that cop who followed him."

"I heard that they arrested Needham just before they raided you." Eddie was nervous to have the two armed men pointing machine guns around.

Adam swung his weapon around to point it at Eddie. "Why didn't you two let us know they were on to us."

"We didn't know until this morning. After the raid. Or we would have contacted you." Eddie didn't like having a gun pointed at him.

"Both of us are going." Adam insisted. "You are going to take us both to the other side of the island."

"My boat doesn't have enough supplies to carry us both." Vic kept his gun lowered so as not to appear the greater threat to the two doctors.

"We'll manage or neither of us are going." Adam pointed the gun back at Vic.

"Okay, we'll work it out." Eddie took advantage of that moment. He grabbed a beaker on the table and flung it at Adam.

Adam screamed. The acid in the beaker spread all over his hands and he dropped the tommy gun. Vic leveled his weapon at Adam and shot once. Adam fell over dead. Vic turned his gun to Eddie. Who held up his hands and backed away. Tony who had been standing there the whole time trying to look invisible did the same thing.

Tony reached into his pocket. "Take the Jeep." Tony tossed Vic the keys.

"We'll say that Adam broke in here with one of his henchmen. They had a fight, then the henchman took the keys. We won't even mention your name." Eddie assured Vic.

Vic considered killing the men for a moment. He decided that they were still fellow government agents and the CIA wouldn't appreciate losing their only other agents on this island. He took the keys and left the scientists to explain Adam Kresler's body in their lab.

Adam Kresler was not the boss, as Zach Nathon had thought. From the information he had received from Teuila, Nash, and even Charlie who was usually accurate, Zach had expected the henchmen to rat Kresler out as their leader.

Zach knew the name. Victor Thrayer. He had been a bootlegger back in the late twenties. Like many bootleggers, Thrayer was involved in murder, rape, prostitution, assault, and a number of other offenses. Thrayer had literally disappeared during the war. All during the thirties, Thrayer had been a minor crime boss, until the war started. How Thrayer had escaped the building, Zach didn't know. There had to have been another way out of the complex that Zach didn't know about. Not on the original plans or possibly built after the plans were drawn up.

"He will head for the coast." Charlie informed Zach. "The only way off the island is by one of the coastal fishing communities or the docks in the town. I think it will be the docks, he must have contacts there and people who will help him out of fear of what he will do to them if they don't."

"That is completely on the other side of the island." Nash said. "If we are wrong, we'll never catch the man."

"What is the nearest village to the complex?" Zach asked.

"Fish and Chips." Nash was happy to supply something to this effort. It seemed that Charlie had all the answers.

"Really?" Zach laughed at the name.

"The island was controlled by the British for a hundred and fifty years. They had a strange since of humor where names on the island are concerned." Most of the villages had gone unnamed until the war, when locations on the island were important. So, the British named them, and the Americans kept the names.

The village consisted of thirty or so people who were mainly fishermen. Those who didn't fish were either family members or some sort of island official. It didn't take Zach long to determine that there had been no strangers or anyone who had tried to steal a boat in the village.

Wishing that he had listened to King to begin with, Zach went on to the docks in Kingston. Timothy Lagos had Shawn Needham in a jail cell. Tim had deputized two other islanders, old men, who had participated in the war twenty years ago. Despite their age, they were good men and knew how to use a gun.

Being a native islander, Tim was trusted. Now that he had arrested Needham, the islanders were willing to talk. Independently, Tim had learned the location of the complex that the raiding party had found, but Tim had already been told of that location. He didn't know that Adam Kressler was a lacky of Victor Thrayer. He didn't even know that Thrayer was on the island before this.

Tony Fetcillo came riding up to Tim on a bicycle. "Someone broke into the clinic, Eddie threw some acid on one of them and the other shot his partner." Tony was out of breath and had to catch it again to continue. "The other man took the keys to our Jeep and took off in it."

Tim drove Tony back to the old clinic where Eddie waited for them. Eddie and Tony had worked out their story. They pretended not to know who Adam or Victor was. Eddie was surprised that Tim knew about Victor being in charge of the operation. They didn't know that Needham was taking bribes either.

Needham was actually charged with treason against the island inhabitants. Which was punishable by execution. Needham had no desire to die, so he confessed everything on the condition he was deported, instead of executed. He would have denied it, but they had film of him taking a bribe from Adam Kresler. They even had audio.

"Adam Kresler had approached me first." Needham had said after his arrest. "We arranged for me to look the other way. To report anyone who ratted on Adam or the complex they had turned into their casino and brothel. I don't know where the complex is. After Adam made arrangements Amio paid me to look the other way and report."

"You know that Amio was a rapist. You must have known that Florence would be in danger. He was charged with rape and was going to be put to death." Tim was outraged that Needham would put someone in dangerous. "Yet, you not only let him run free, but took bribes from him."

"What was I supposed to do." Needham sneered. "Tell people that I was taking bribes after I arrested Amio. Maybe I was supposed to walk into that compound and arrest Adam Kresler himself. Not likely."

Disgusted Tim had left for the docks. Leaving Needham to rot in his cell.

 

Victor Thrayer had stashed a boat loaded with supplies enough to sail to either Indochina or Australia as the case may be. Victor had decided on Australia. The boat had a sail which powered the small craft across the ocean.

One of the reasons that not many villages were along the rough Eastern and Western points of the island were the hidden rocks and reefs. It didn't take Victor long before he hit a hidden rock and his boat began sinking. He managed to get the boat ashore. It was a black spit of land made of ancient hardened lava. Little, if anythng grew on this part of the island. A literal natural wall separated the spit from the rest of island. Victor had little idea he was on the most radioactive part of the island. Until he began vomiting. His hair, nails, and teeth began to fall out next.

Victor was already dead when Tony and Eddie found out that he had been trapped on that side of the island. Only Victor didn't know he was dead, his radioactive body was still moving and talking when the two scientist learned from fishermen that Victor was still alive on the spit on the Northern side of the island.

The fishermen were too afraid of Victor to pick him up and bring him back to Kingston. So, they left him there. To die. Eddie used the opportunity to watch how extreme radioactivity would kill a man. Giving them some idea of what would happen to much of the world's population if the Cold War between Russia and America ever became a shooting war. Victor's death would be useful to science.

It was a shame that Victor didn't know that the radioactive cave where the islanders had held their rituals led up to the spit. It was where the other tunnel led, which was why it was so radioactive.

"We now have a actual armory. Two bar machine guns. Four M14s. Thirty M1 Garlands. Thirty Colt 1911s. Not to mention what the Police Station had to begin with." Zach explained to Teuila. They were sitting on Teuila's patio that overlooked the ocean. "I am amazed that Charlie King let us keep the weapons. He told us to keep them in case we needed them again."

"Charlie translated the codes of the papers that he found." Teuila was given the translation of the papers by Charlie the day after the raid. "They implicate two characters known as Billy and Phil. I don't know who these two might be, but Charlie suspects they were Eddie and Tony, our local scientists. The only other Americans here who aren't loyal to the island."

"CIA sent Vic Thrayer here to disrupt they economic stability of the island and to essentially corrupt our island residents. Eddie and Tony didn't suggest it. From the papers Eddie and Tony had no choice, but to accept the situation."

"What will you do?" Zach found sitting on a patio discussing security of a tropical island very different from his experiences in New York.

"Nothing." Teuila said. "I hope they think that we know nothing about them. I want to keep them under observation. I'm also hoping that they won't send another Victor Thrayer to the island to cause more trouble."

"I think they won't make that ploy again. That doesn't mean they won't try some other attack." Zach thought it strange too that he was on the side against the CIA. Even against his own government. "If Charlie King isn't CIA, what is he?"

"A friend? He supported us against Victor Thrayer. He knew the CIA code, but he can't be CIA. To be honest I don't know what he is, but I trust him." Teuila hoped Charlie was a friend. He acted like one. That didn't necessarily mean he was.

 

Shawn Needham was exiled to Hong Kong, where he would be accepted since he retained his British citizenship. Teuila toyed with the idea of chopping off Shawn Needham's head. She thought about the Queen in Alice of Wonderland. She never read the books, but everyone knew the story. 'Off with his head.' Teuila would say, and the island would watch in awe as it was done for the first time in fifty years. Finally, Teuila exiled the man, after letting him wait for a few months.

Maybe it was time to get a electric chair. Perhaps the new form of execution would be more humane. This 'gas chamber' as they called it. Teuila sat on the patio of her bungalow. Looking out over the ocean. Her island was paradise with it's serpents as well as it's apples. Teuila sometimes wasn't sure which was which.

 

 

 

 

 

*END*

 

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