It's done!!! Whooo Hooo!! This is my first 'large' story. I wanted to see if I could write something longer than 10 pages. It took me a while (not one word, Teej or Jen), but I did it.

Thanks to everyone who pestered the Pester Queen and gave me continuous support.

Special thanks to Graywulf for the plotting and brainstorming. Double thanks to the Beta Monster, for never losing faith that I would eventually have her beta this.

Disclaimer: I don't own either The Sentinel or Magnum PI. I make no money from this story. If I were writing this for money, I would have spent too much time on it to actually make a profit.

 Idol Vacation
Lila Kulp

"Sandburg, get your butt in here!"

Blair Sandburg had just entered the lonely looking bullpen of Major Crimes when he heard the well-practiced bellow of Captain Simon Banks.

"I'm happy to see you too, Simon," the younger man said with a smile despite the growled greeting of the Captain. "Did I miss much?"

Simon reached up and rubbed the bridge of his nose, "Please, just tell me that your midterms are over. You have no idea how big a grouch your partner is when you're not around."

"Speaking of Jim, where is he?" Blair asked, looking around.

"I sent him home. Just tell me that you'll be coming in with him tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow? Yeah, sure, I can be here tomorrow, but next week might be a problem."

"Hey Chief, I was beginning to wonder when you were gonna get home." Jim Ellison met his roommate at the door with a smile on his face and almost a bounce in his step.

Blair dropped his backpack on the floor underneath the coat rack and kicked off his shoes while peeling off his coat and hanging it up. "I was beginning to wonder that myself. I swear that with all the students leaving for Spring break, the residents of Cascade have decided to come out of hiding. The traffic was awful, even without the rain."

Blair trudged across the room and plopped down onto one of the couches. He looked up to see his friend offering him a mug and gladly accepted it with a nod of thanks. He let the mug warm his hands as he sniffed its contents. "Mmmm, hot chocolate. Just what I was needing."

Jim just smiled as he sat next to his friend. "So, are you finished with your midterm stuff?" There was a hopeful look on his face as he glanced at Blair out of the corner of his eyes while taking a swallow of his own drink.

"Yep. I'm done with all my stuff for classes. I just have…"


Blair was interrupted by the kitchen timer.

Ellison sprang off the couch, "Ah, dinner's ready. Come on professor, let's eat."

The two men put their conversation on hold as they went about setting the table for dinner. While Blair poured the wine that Jim had picked up to go with dinner, his roommate dished up two plates of spaghetti and pulled the garlic bread out of the oven.

Blair took a deep breath as he sat down at the table. Jim wasn't the best cook, but his spaghetti was enough to make your mouth water in anticipation. He savored the first bite, letting the warm sauce and explosion of taste soothe him.

"You know, Chief, the guys at the station sure will be glad to have you back," Jim said after a couple of bites. "They all missed you, and Simon can be a real bear when you're not there for him to pick on."

Blair smiled in response, remembering his earlier visit with that particular bear. "You know, Jim, I've been thinking," Blair said in a casual manner before taking a bite of his garlic bread.

"That's good, Chief. I assume it would be hard to get through midterms otherwise."

"Ha ha, very funny. I was thinking that we need a vacation."

Jim smiled at his friend's words. He had been thinking the same thing himself. "Sounds like a good idea to me, Chief. I know a guy with a cabin near the border. He says the ice fishing is still good this time of year. I could give him…"

"Uh, actually, Jim, I was thinking along the lines of someplace warm."


Blair nodded.

Jim saw that look in his roommate's eye, the one that meant that Blair was calculating the best way to get him to go along with something.

"And would you have a particular place in mind?" Jim asked cautiously.


Jim wasn't too sure what he thought Blair had meant when he'd said some place warm, but Hawaii wasn't it.

"Hawaii!? Why Hawaii?"

"Why not?"

"Why not," Jim repeated with a bit of disbelief. He took a deep breath to calm himself. "One, the plane tickets alone, at this time of year, will cost more than either of us can afford. Two, the beach houses will all be taken by now, and that means we'd have to stay in a hotel. You know how I hate hotels," Jim continued, trying to keep the whine out of his voice. "They use cheap detergent on their sheets and towels, and they're always too noisy."

Blair just smiled as he listened to his friend try to dissuade him. "What would you say if I told you that I can get us first class tickets well within our price range and arrange for us to stay at a private estate?"

Jim sat quietly for a moment, trying to figure out what was going on inside his friend's curly head. "I'd say, it'd better be legal."

"Oh, it is," Blair exclaimed, letting some of his excitement show. He leaned forward and began using his fork to punctuate his words. "Do you remember that grant I applied for last spring? Well, it was from Robin Masters, the novelist. He recently purchased an artifact from a dealer here in Cascade and he wants me to take it to his estate in Hawaii. Apparently there was some trouble with another piece in his collection, a rare Japanese plate, I think, so he was going to send someone to travel with me. I'm guessing for security. So I called and asked if you could come instead. I figured the artifact would be just as secure, if not more secure, with a police detective, ex-army ranger, and Sentinel along. He thought it was a great idea, except for the Sentinel part. I didn't tell him about that, of course. So you and I have first-class tickets to Hawaii and will be guests at the Robin's Nest for a week. Does that solve your ticket and hotel problem or do you still want to go ice fishing?" Blair sat back in his chair with a smug look on his face and resumed eating his dinner while he waited for Jim's answer.

"That sounds great, Chief." Halfway through Blair's spiel, about the time a normal person would have taken a breath, Jim had surrendered to the inevitable. They were going to Hawaii. "So when do we leave?"

"Day after tomorrow," Blair stated matter-of-factly, a smile still plastered across his face.

Jim almost choked on his wine, "Day after tomorrow? This Sunday?! Sandburg, there's no way I can get Simon to give me a full week off with such short notice!" That darn smile was still plastered across the younger man's face, and now there was a mischievous gleam in his eyes. "You've already talked to Simon, haven't you?"

Blair nodded.

"And he's given me the time off?"

Blair nodded again.

Jim gave a sigh of defeat. "Knowing Simon, he said that if you weren't going to be at the station then he didn't want me there, either."

"Well, I'm not supposed to say," Blair said as they exchanged a knowing look.

"I just don't see why I had to come with you, Higgins. You're perfectly capable of picking up your friends by yourself." Thomas Magnum, dressed in his standard shorts, Hawaiian flower shirt, and deck shoes, was engaged in one of his favorite hobbies, irritating Higgins.

"I've told you, since you are in charge of security at Robin Master's estate, it is only proper for you to assume responsibility for the idol's safety as soon as possible. Detective Ellison, who along with Mr. Sandburg is a guest of Robin Masters, was gracious enough to provide security for the flight over. The least you can do is meet him at the airport." Jonathan Quayle Higgins was dressed in a more formal blazer and slacks. He was well aware of Magnum's attempts to irritate him and was responding with his usual calm.

The two were waiting in the Honolulu airport for Flight 208 from Los Angeles. The flight had been held in LA for a group of passengers whose connecting flight from Texas was late. This gave the waiting men extra time to argue and irritate each other.

"Ha! You just didn't want to leave me alone at the estate so I could look for my stuff that you've hidden."

The shorter man turned to face his companion, "Really, Magnum, why do you persist in accusing me of such childish actions? There is absolutely no logical reason why I would want to deprive you of any of your 'stuff', as you so eloquently put it." Higgins and Magnum were so focused on their own argument that they didn't notice the passengers departing the plane.

"Then why can't I find my chicken?!"

"Magnum, you are a grown man. If you are incapable of keeping track of your… toys,…" Higgins' retort was interrupted by someone behind him.

"Um, excuse me."

Higgins turned to see a young man of about his own height with long curly brown hair. He was accompanied by a taller man with a definite military bearing. "Yes? Can I help you?"

The young man pointed to the sign in Higgin's hand. "I'm Blair Sandburg."

Each pair of men quickly sized up the other with a practiced ease.

The two locals were an odd pairing. The shorter had an aristocratic air about him. His accent hinted of a British origin and despite his age, looked healthy and spry. The taller one could only be an American, born and raised. His posture and clothes suggested a carefree, easy going nature, but anyone who looked deeper could easily see how he kept a subtle surveillance of his surroundings and a readiness to take action.

The two men from Cascade were also a contrasting pair. The shorter man's long curly hair, casual clothes, and cheerful attitude gave him an appearance of being younger than he was. There was an obvious excitement about him, but not so much that he wouldn't be taken seriously. His friend was a few inches shorter and a few years younger than the taller local was. His alertness was obvious as he openly scanned the area. His appearance and bearing was that of someone with a great deal of self-discipline, but there was a hint of a smile on his face when he looked at his young friend.

"Oh, of course, Mr. Sandburg." Higgins extended his hand to the young anthropologist.

"I'm Jonathan Quayle Higgins and this is Thomas Magnum, head of security for Robin Master's estate."

"Nice to meet you. Please, call me Blair," the young man began to bounce as he shook hands with their hosts and introduced his friend, "and this is my friend, Jim Ellison." There was more hand shaking and a brief pause before Higgins decided to get the group moving.

"You must be tired after your trip. I suggest we collect your luggage and get you settled in at the estate so you can rest."

Without a word, Magnum turned and led the group through the crowd towards the baggage claim. Higgins and Sandburg followed him as they struck up a conversation and Ellison brought up the rear.

They walked through the airport and down a flight of stairs to the baggage claim area. After checking the boards to see which carousel the luggage would appear on, they quietly waited.

Jim's bag was first to appear and was quickly grabbed and placed next to the detective. The group watched as bags and suitcases of every variation appeared and traveled around until their owners picked them up.

Blair began to shift impatiently as they saw numerous musical instruments arrive to be claimed by obviously relieved owners and his own bag was still absent.

Jim's suspicion began to grow as the number of bags dwindled and the crowd dispersed and there still was no sign of Sandburg's luggage.

Higgins had no more opened his mouth to direct the group to the service desk, when they heard a soft voice behind them.

"Um, Mr. Sandburg?"

The group turned to see a young woman wearing a United Airlines uniform.

"I'm looking for a," the young woman consulted a slip of paper in her hand, "Blair Sandburg."

"I'm Blair Sandburg," the young man said, stepping forward.

The young woman, whose nametag said Rachael, gave him her best professional smile. "I'm afraid that there's been a problem with your luggage. If you'll come with me, I'm sure we can get everything sorted out." She then quickly turned and headed off. She could handle the 'Why me?' look on the face of Mr. Sandburg, but the 'I-would-hope-so-for-your-sake' look from the short man in the jacket and tie and the look of determined curiosity on the face of the tall man in the Hawaiian shirt made her uneasy.

The fourth man's glare just plain gave her the creeps.

Rachael led them to a conference room where an older woman in a skirt suit met them. She introduced herself as Ms. Amber Brockman, the Assistant Manager for Customer Services.

Ms. Brockman showed the group into the conference room. Inside was a large table on one end of which was Blair's suitcase, or at least what was left of it. The sides had been ripped out and partially shredded. Blair's clothes were piled in a heap in the middle of the table and there was evidence of shredding there too. On the other end of the table was a pile of other items that had also been in the suitcase.

Blair slowly approached his demolished belongings. He reached out and carefully lifted the remains of his suitcase. "Aw man, I loved this suitcase." He turned to Jim with a lost look in his eyes. "It's been everywhere with me; Borneo, Iryan Jaya, Kenya. It was a Bar Mitzvah present from my cousins."

Ms. Brockman approached Blair, "Mr. Sandburg, we are deeply sorry for the damage to your property. We have no idea how this happened. We will of course reimburse you for all items damaged or lost. We know this is not how you wanted to start your vacation and we will do everything in our power to see that this does not affect your stay here in Hawaii. There is some paperwork that we'd like for you to fill out and if you would, please go through the items on the table and list anything that is missing or too badly damaged, we would greatly appreciate it."

While Sandburg and Higgins dealt with the paperwork and procedural details, Ellison and Magnum examined the table's contents.

The private investigator concentrated on sorting through the two piles of belongings. He noted that the damage appeared to be following a pattern. It wasn't the kind of damage that a machine would have made, but the kind that someone who wanted to make it look like a machine would make.

The Sentinel, meanwhile, was examining the suitcase itself and he didn't like what he found. The zipper pulls were still attached as if the it had just been unzipped, instead of them being popped off track or missing altogether which would have been the case if it had been torn open. The tears themselves looked more like punctures at the beginning and the material had stress marks, which could have been left by a hand applying pressure in order to increase the tear.

After the paperwork for the damaged luggage was taken care of, the group headed out to the parking lot. At first, Higgins had been concerned about the artifact, but Blair quickly explained that it had been in his backpack for the entire flight. There was a quick debate about whether to replace Blair's things now while they were in town or wait until later. Deciding to head for the estate so Jim and Blair could rest up from the trip, they climbed into Robin Master's Mercedes. Higgins and Blair took the back seat, allowing the taller men to sit up front where there was more room.

Higgins, ever the good host, did his best to keep a friendly conversation going. "I trust that the plane ride over wasn't too tiring."

Jim relaxed and let his eyes take in the passing scenery, realizing that small talk was not a problem as long as Sandburg was around.

"The flight went just fine. Actually I've never flown first class before. You know the differences between first class and coach are very interesting. Did you realize that the social structures are similar to the…" and Sandburg was off and running in full lecture mode.

Jim snuck a quick look at each of their hosts to see their reactions to their first exposure to the Sandburg Zone. Higgins actually seemed interested in the latest Sandburg lecture. Jim made a mental note to avoid those two if they started talking academics. If Magnum noticed the activity in the back seat, he didn't pay any attention to it. He was, however, paying plenty of attention to the rear view mirror.

"Is there a problem?" Jim had seen the way the other man had examined the ruined contents of Blair's suitcase. Those were the actions of a man who was used to examining evidence and thought with a suspicious mind. That kind of man could be a good friend or an enemy and until that was decided, would bear watching.

Magnum glanced at the rear view mirror again before answering, "I think we've picked up a tail." As he spoke he quickly took the next turn.

The sudden change in direction ended the lecture in the back seat and prompted a few comments.

"Magnum, what are you doing?" There was a hint of irritation in Higgins' voice. They hadn't even gotten to the estate yet and already Magnum was involving their guests in a car chase. With first the luggage incident and now this, Higgins was sure that their guests were beginning to wonder about their stay at the estate.

Jim turned in his seat, trying to get a look at the driver of the car following them. Blair gave him a questioning look, which he answered with a shake of his head. Magnum had turned onto one of the winding rural roads. Between the trees, curves and Magnum's driving, Jim wasn't able to get a good look.

"Magnum, I demand to know the meaning of this," Higgins ordered as they took a sharp right.

"We're being followed," was the terse reply from the driver, as he turned right again. Higgins would have rolled his eyes if he hadn't been trying to keep from being tossed about by the rough road and Magnum's driving. "What? Why? By whom?" was all he could manage.

"I don't know, Higgins, but I'm not about to stop and ask them!" Magnum pulled back onto a main road, mixing with the traffic. "And yes, I know the estate is the other way. I just want to make sure we've lost whoever they are."

The rest of the trip was completed in a tense silence. Magnum continued to give extra attention to the rear view mirror, while Jim used the side mirror to conduct his own surveillance. Higgins and Blair both sat quietly in the back seat, each trusting their friend to keep alert for further danger.

There was a collective sigh of relief when they reached the estate without further incident. The two Cascadians climbed out of the car and took in the luscious grounds. The estate had large open lawns with various shrubbery and flowering plants arranged so that they formed smaller areas and gardens. The drive ended in a wide area in front of the main house, around the side of which one could see the ocean.

Jim hid a smile as he heard Blair whisper, "and you wanted to go ice fishing." He had to agree, this was a beautiful place for a vacation. Except for the flowers, he amended as he sneezed.

The peace was broken by barking, as two Dobermans came running around the side of the house.

"Argh! Higgins call them off." Magnum was poised to dive back into the car and never took his eyes off the advancing dogs.

The dogs however, ignored the private investigator. They didn't even acknowledge the presence of their master, Higgins. They went straight to the two visitors, calmly sat in front of the Sentinel and looked up expectantly.

Jim bent down and scratched the nearest dog behind the ear. "Whose dogs are these?" he asked, looking up at Higgins.

Higgins was shocked that the lads would be so friendly without being introduced. He had expected them to at least challenge the visitors. "They belong to Robin Masters. They patrol the grounds." Higgins then addressed the dogs. "Zeus! Apollo! Patrol!" Zeus and Apollo didn't move. They looked at Higgins for a moment then looked back to the visiting detective as if asking for confirmation of the command.

Higgins gave Jim a questioning look while Magnum looked at him in awe. Blair was mischievously interested, his mind already forming theories. Jim just shrugged his shoulders as he stood up and addressed the dogs. "Go on. Patrol."

Zeus and Apollo immediately took off to patrol their territory.

"How odd, I've never seen the lads behave in such a manner. Normally they are very well behaved," Higgins said as he watched the dogs disappear around the side of the house.

With the dogs gone, Magnum ventured to the back of the car and began removing the luggage from the trunk. "Why don't you two head on into the house and take care of whatever it is that you academic types do with idols and such?" he asked Higgins.

"Yeah, we can get the luggage, or at least what's left of it," Jim added with a teasing look at Blair.

"Just for that, I'll let you carry my luggage, Ellison," Blair replied with a similar teasing look.

Higgins and Blair then headed towards the house and were soon discussing some obscure culture.

"You didn't have any other difficulties on the way over, that I should know of, did you?" Magnum asked as they gathered the luggage and made their way to the house.

"Surprisingly, no. We didn't even have much turbulence on the plane ride," Jim replied.

Magnum paused inside the front door to examine an umbrella stand, "Surprisingly?" Jim leaned against the stair railing as he sorted out the best way to explain. "There are times I swear that Blair is a close relative of Murphy. Some of our vacations are enough to make you want to stay home."

"How so?" Magnum asked as he began to inspect the inside of a credenza.

"Well, it's probably just my imagination, but it's almost like we can't go anywhere without some sort of trouble finding us. For example, we go on a simple fishing trip and get tied up in a federal case tracking down international poachers." The two investigators headed up the stairs and Jim continued, "Then there was the time a group of criminals drugged an entire town and faked a quarantine so they could hijack a money train."

Magnum stopped at the door to Jim's room and allow the guest to enter first, "It sounds like the both of you are related to Murphy."

"Oh no, it's Sandburg, trust me," Jim assured his host as he began to empty the contents of his duffel bag into the dresser, while Magnum looked under the bed. "He's the one who had his home blown up by the drug lab next door and can't even get an artifact appraised without getting involved with a hostage situation. Don't even ask about the time he asked out the girl next door and ended up getting kidnapped so she and her ex-boyfriend could use his car to smuggle drugs into Canada."

There was a thud and muffled curse as a shocked Magnum stood up, "You're joking."

"I wish I was. I swear if there is trouble around, it will find him," Jim stated.

The two men proceeded to the next room with Blair's things. "I have to be fair, though," Jim continued, "I am the one who got kidnapped by my old colonel the night before one of our fishing trips."

They repeated the scene from the previous room, with Magnum exploring the closet this time. "Your colonel? That's as bad as some of my encounters with my old Navy buddies."

Both men were silent as they each thought of their respective military pasts.

Magnum finally broke the silence, "Well, we'll just have to do our best to see that old Murphy doesn't show up on this trip."

The two ex-military men shook hands and exchanged smiles and then headed downstairs to join their friends for dinner. When they paused so Magnum could search the linen closet, Jim asked, "Magnum, what are you doing?"

Magnum didn't miss a beat. He kept searching as he answered. "I'm looking for my chicken."

Jim opened his mouth to ask for clarification, but decided against it. It had already been a long day.

The first order of business the next day, was replacing Blair's things that had been damaged or destroyed. This meant a trip to the mall, with Magnum playing tour guide.

"Well, here we are, the Waikiki Mall." Magnum spread his arms out to emphasize the area around him. "It's got food," he pointed in the direction of the food court. "It's got shopping," he gestured in the opposite direction.

Just then the mall was filled with the sound of a large marching band. Jim winced as the percussion echoed in his head. "It's got loud noises," he grumbled.

Blair walked over to where a poster hung on the wall, followed closely by his companions, "It says that there's a band contest today; concert bands, jazz bands, even pep bands and percussion squads."

Magnum cursed softly under his breath, "That's right; damn, I'd forgotten about that." He turned around and began scanning the crowd. "This place is going to be crammed with people today."

Blair reached out and placed a hand on Jim's shoulder, "You going to be okay in here? We could come back tomorrow."

Jim smiled down at his friend, "You need to replace your suitcase and other stuff. We're here, let's just get it over with so we can relax and enjoy the rest of our trip, okay?"

Blair gave the older man a long hard look, "You sure?"

"Yeah, just stay close."

Magnum, having completed his surveillance, turned back to his little tour group. "Unless you two want to watch the contest, I think we should get this done as quickly as possible." He received two enthusiastic nods of agreement.

The trio moved into the nearest clothing store. Blair dove right into the sea of clothing racks, making a beeline for the brightly colored Hawaiian style flower shirts. Jim did his best to keep up, but his larger size made it more difficult to maneuver through the winding aisles. They were arranged so a shopper would pause and scan their contents, not to allow for a paranoid detective to keep track of his friend.

Magnum had opted to remain in the wider traffic way and avoid the entangling merchandise all together. He could easily keep track of his companions and various other goings on, while at the same time staying out of the way.

Jim finally caught up with Blair, only to have several shirts shoved into his arms. Out of habit, the anthropologist began a running monologue theorizing about the effect of environment on fashions, as he headed for the shorts section. The Sentinel eagerly latched onto his Guide's voice and tried to keep up.

After the first set of purchases were made, the group made their way to the shoe store to replace Blair's sports sandals. Magnum once again took up his position near the entrance. Ever the private investigator, he watched the stream of people as they passed by, scanning the myriad faces and observing subtle clues.

Jim remained close to his partner, glaring at the hovering sales people, allowing Blair to scan the displays without being harassed. At the same time, he kept an eye on the various pairs of shoes that his companion was inspecting. Jim's years in the army had taught him to never skimp on footwear and he was determined to see that Blair didn't either.

Finally with all of the smaller items replaced, they proceeded to one of the anchor stores to replace Blair's mangled suitcase. Only instead of examining the various pieces of luggage, the grad student stood with his back to the items and gave his friends a stern look.

"Chief, is something wrong?" Jim asked as he extended his senses and began scanning the area.

Blair crossed his arms and continued to glare at both Magnum and Jim for a moment before answering. "Are you two going to do this the entire week?"

"Do what?" Jim replied, still looking around.

"This!" Blair gestured between the three of them. He and Jim were standing in the middle of all the displays, while once again, Magnum stood on the perimeter of the cluttered area. "I'm an observer, Jim, and I've observed you and the rest of the department enough to know a protection operation when I see one."

Both Jim and Magnum looked chagrined at being caught.

Jim shrugged and tried to explain, "Call it a preemptive strike."

"No, I call it annoying. I plan on spending my time in Hawaii with my friends, not my bodyguards," Blair stated sternly. "So, quit the Guido routine and relax."

Magnum walked up to join his companions, "With logic like that, who can argue?"

Magnum smoothly pulled the Jimmy into a parking spot and cut the engine. "Well, here we are. The North Shore, best surfing anywhere."

The trio climbed out of the SUV and while Jim and Magnum got the surfboards out of the back, Blair scanned the beach for a good spot. They quickly staked out a patch of sand and were ready to hit the waves.

"Are you sure you don't want to join us, Chief?" Jim asked as Blair made himself comfortable on the sand and began digging in his backpack. "The surf's not too high and I could show you the basics."

"Nah, but thanks anyway, Jim. I'll just sit here, soak up some sun, and read my book." Blair pulled a book out of his backpack and held it up for Jim to see.

"Isn't that the book H was talking about the other day, the one with 'The Luggage'?" "Yeah, after he told us about that dream about my backpack, I figured I should read it for myself," Blair explained with a laugh.

"As long as I don't have to house-break your backpack, Sandburg," Jim called over his shoulder as he headed for the water.

Jim quickly paddled out to join Magnum. The warm sun and salt water worked to soothe the Sentinel's nerves. The crowded mall had taken its toll. He had tried to use his senses to check for unwanted surveillance, but the bands and crowds had made it too difficult. Jim took deep breaths of ocean air and let the tension drain away.

Magnum just watched his companion for a moment. It was times like this that he realized how he took life in paradise for granted. He often forgot that not everyone had access to a private beach for a midnight swim after a hard day. But they hadn't come here to soak up the sun. They had come to surf.

"Is he just going to sit on the beach while we surf all afternoon?" Magnum asked, nodding his head toward the beach.

Jim took another deep breath before answering. "Don't worry about him. The professor's got a book, so he'll be just fine. Besides, if he gets bored with reading, there's always bikini watching."

Magnum noted the look on Jim's face and summarized that Blair would get a good dose of teasing about his bikini watching later that evening. "Well then, what are we waiting for?" Magnum expertly caught the next wave, not even looking to see if Jim was following.

Never one to pass up a challenge, Jim headed towards the beach, too.

The next hour was relaxing. Blair watched as Jim and Magnum showed off on their surfboards. It was obvious that Jim was out of practice, but he soon got back into the swing of things and he and Magnum had an unofficial competition going.

At one point Blair read a section from his book out loud to Jim while he surfed, making him laugh so hard he wiped out.

Jim broke the surface gasping for air. It was hard to laugh while under water. He held onto his surfboard as he caught his breath.

"Problems, Ellison?" Magnum asked with a smirk as he came up beside his new friend.

Jim just chuckled as he climbed back on his board. "I was just thinking of something Sandburg said earlier." As he mentioned his partner, Jim looked across the waves towards the beach. What he saw there almost caused him to lose his breath again. "Sandburg!" he yelled as he headed for the shore.

Magnum chased after Jim, "What's wrong?"

"Those two guys on the beach have Sandburg at gunpoint!"

Sandburg laughed when he saw Jim hit the water. After the stress of midterms, it felt good to be able to joke with his friend. He reached for his bottle of water, which was sitting next to his backpack, only to pull his hand back in surprise when he realized his backpack was no longer sitting next to him.

Blair looked up to see a large native man going through the leather bag. Next to him was another man of the same size and obvious Viking heritage. "Hey! That's mine. Give it back," he demanded and made a grab for his property.

The second guy grabbed the back of Blair's neck and held him still. He then turned to the first goon, "Is it there?"

The first goon shook his head, no.

Turning back to Blair, the second goon said, "Then I guess we take you with us." As Blair began to struggle, the man pulled a gun and pressed it to his captive's side. "Now that's not nice. You wouldn't want me to start shooting, would you?" The leer in his voice made it plain that Blair wouldn't be the only one injured.

With the cooperation of their hostage insured, the first goon swung the backpack over his shoulder and headed for the parking area. The second goon followed close behind with Blair. Neither noticed the two surfers discard their boards and charge up the beach as they drove off with their hostage.

Jim stared at the car as it drove away, trying to memorize as many details as possible before it disappeared around the curve.

"Damn," Magnum swore and headed for the Jimmy. After a few steps he realized that Jim wasn't following. He turned around to see the visiting detective still staring after the car. "Ellison. Jim!"

Jim shook his head and started towards the Jimmy, "Yeah, I'm coming." He had been on the edge of a zone-out when Magnum had yelled at him.

By the time the two detectives made it through the parking lot and out into traffic, the car with Blair was nowhere in sight, even for Jim.

After checking the beach for clues and collecting their surfboards, Jim and Magnum headed for the local police station. They had to inform the authorities and Magnum wanted to talk with Lieutenant Tanaka.

The desk sergeant looked up as Jim and Magnum approached. "And to what do we owe the honor of this visit?"

Magnum ignored the sarcasm in the sergeant's voice. "We're here to speak to Tanaka. Is he here?"

The sergeant looked at Jim, then at Magnum, then back at Jim again. He finally just shrugged his shoulders, deciding it wasn't worth the headache. He motioned to the activity behind him and went back to his paperwork as he said, "Sure thing Mack, go on back."

Magnum led the way through the desks to where a short, middle-aged Asian man sat.

The lieutenant looked up as he heard someone approach. He smiled as he recognized who was standing in front of his desk. "Aren't you lost, Mack? The morgue is over on West Waikiki."

At the mention of the morgue, Jim's jaw tensed and his face became a stoic mask. Surely there hadn't been enough time for the thugs to kill Blair and for his body to be in the morgue already.

Magnum glanced back and forth between Ellison and Tanaka in confusion. "Lieutenant, this is Detective Jim Ellison from Cascade, Washington. He and his partner, Blair Sandburg, are guests at the estate." To help clarify the situation, Jim pulled out his badge and ID and showed them to the Hawaiian police officer.

Tanaka gave Magnum a long hard look, trying to find any sign that this was a joke. Finding none, he turned to the visiting detective and stuck out his hand. "I'm sorry for the confusion Detective Ellison, but you have a strong resemblance to one of our homicide detectives," Tanaka explained as he shook Jim's hand. He motioned for his guests to have a seat and sat back in his own chair. "So, what can I do for you gentlemen?"

Jim shifted forward in his seat. "My partner has been kidnapped." He quickly relayed the recent events, answering questions as they came up. He explained about the idol and the incidents with the luggage and the tail on the way to the estate, ending with what happened at the beach.

"Let's see if I've got this right," Tanaka began. "Your partner, who's also a student at Rainier University, was sitting on the beach while the two of you were surfing." At nods from the other two, Tanaka continued, "and you're concerned because he got into a strange car with people you don't know and left without telling you."

Jim's jaw tensed again. He didn't like the way Tanaka had phrased things, but he nodded and waited for the lieutenant to finish.

"I'm sorry, but it sounds like he met some people and decided to go see some sights with his new friends." Completely oblivious to Ellison's growing fury Tanaka continued, "This sort of thing happens all the time with tourists, especially during Spring Break. I'm sure he'll show up before the end of the day."

Magnum opened his mouth to argue, but Ellison beat him to it.

"He was forced into the car at gunpoint and you think he just went off sight seeing?" The Cascade detective was on his feet leaning over Tanaka's desk.

Tanaka stood up in response. He was not about to be intimidated at his own desk. "Detective, if you were in the water at the time, I find it hard to believe that you would have been able to see what was happening on the beach well enough to see specifics." Tanaka kept his voice quiet and calm. He'd been able to calm witnesses and unnerve suspects with that voice. "You're probably still stressed out. I know how the job can get to someone. That combined with the sun can play funny tricks on a person. I suggest that you and Magnum go back to the estate and wait. You of all people should understand that I can't file a missing person report for at least twenty four hours, and unless I have evidence of foul play, I can't treat this as a kidnapping."

Tanaka then turned to Magnum, "I've got my own cases to work on. Take your friend home and if you find anything of interest, let me know."

Ellison moved to argue again, but Magnum stepped in front of him. "Come on, Jim. Let's go." Then a bit quieter he added, "I have some people we can talk to."

Jim was silent as he fought an internal battle between going out and looking for Blair himself and forcing the issue and getting the police to help. The only sign of the struggle was the twitching of his jaw muscles. Eventually the Sentinel's desire for action won out. His face became a blank mask as he asked, "Could you at least run a plate for me?"

"I think I can manage that," Tanaka replied.

Jim opened his mouth to say something more, but noticed the slight shake of Magnum's head and quietly wrote down the plate number and followed the other man out of the station.

Blair regained consciousness suddenly. He looked up to see one of the goons from the beach standing over him with a bucket that until recently had held water. Slowly the fog surrounding his brain began to clear and recent events began to come back to him. He had been climbing into the car when he had seen Jim and Magnum headed towards the beach. When Blair had hesitated, the goon with his backpack gave him a shove. He remembered hitting his head on something, then nothing until awakened by a bucket of water.

The man standing over him tossed the bucket aside and bent down, trying to intimidate his captive. "It's not here. Where is it?"

Blair looked over to where the first goon from the beach had dumped the contents of his backpack on a table. He was in what looked like a closed restaurant. There was a stack of tables in one corner and chairs in another. Looking back at the goon in front of him, he asked, "Where's what?"

The goon was silent for a moment and a perplexed looked crossed his face. "The thing, the umm, umm," He snapped his fingers as he spoke as if trying to find the right word. He looked to his cohort for help, but his friend only shrugged his shoulders. Looking back at Blair the goon continued, "It's about this big." He held his hands about eight inches apart. "And it looks like a really funny looking old guy."

Blair almost laughed at the goon's actions, "Oh you mean the idol. I already gave that to Higgins. It's at Robin Master's estate. Don't tell me you thought I'd be carrying it around with me. I'm not that dumb." As soon as he said it, Blair realized that he had let his mouth run ahead of his brain again. It was generally a bad idea to imply that someone larger than you was dumb, but it was an even worse idea when that someone had kidnapped you at gunpoint and was now holding you hostage.

The two really large men were glaring at him. Goon number two reached down, grabbed his arm and pulled him up to stand. "Then we'll just have to keep you. Maybe your friends will trade." As he spoke, he dragged Blair through the doors to the kitchen. He paused briefly while he looked around and then, finding what he was looking for, dragged Blair over to the walk-in refrigerator. "This should keep you out of the way until we can figure out what to do with you." He opened the door and shoved his captive inside.

Blair stumbled to a halt and turned around to face the door. The two goons stood guarding the doorway like a couple of guard dogs. For some reason, an image of Phobos and Deimos, from Greek mythology, popped into his head. The first goon actually growled as he shut the door. "Definitely Phobos," Blair thought to himself. "That would make the other one Deimos. Fear and Panic, yeah that sounds about right." He turned around, looking at his makeshift cell. It was definitely the walk in refrigerator for the restaurant and probably the only working appliance in the place. As he began to shiver, he wished that Deimos had used an alternate means of waking him up besides a bucket of water. "Cold and wet is my world."

Upon returning to the estate, Magnum informed Higgins of recent events while Ellison went to call his friend and captain, Simon Banks.

"You lost him? What do you mean you lost him? How could you lose him?" As expected, Higgins was not taking the news of Blair's abduction quietly.

"We didn't lose him, Higgins. He was kidnapped." Magnum tried to explain, but Higgins didn't look appeased, so he continued. "He was forced into a car at gunpoint by two huge thugs."

"And just where were you at the time?" Higgins wanted to make it perfectly clear that at least for now, he was blaming Magnum for this.

Magnum opened his mouth to answer when his little voice informed him that telling Higgins that he was surfing at the time was not a good idea. He quickly reworded his reply, "That's not the point. What's important now is finding out who took him and why."

As Magnum answered, he headed towards the study to find out how Jim's phone call was going, and also to try and get away from Higgins.

"Thanks anyway, Simon. I'll keep you informed." Jim sighed as he hung up the phone and turned to see Magnum and Higgins enter the study. "Apparently Simon had the files pulled as soon as we left town. He says that as far as he can tell there isn't currently anyone in Hawaii who would have a grudge against me because of something I did as a cop. There're no family members, no one recently released or paroled, no one." Jim leaned against the desk and rubbed the bridge of his nose. Why was it that things could never be simple with Sandburg?

Magnum's eyes suddenly widened and his face lit up. "What if it has nothing to do with you being a cop?" he asked as he walked over to the bookshelves where the idol sat, all eyes following him. "The only reason you're in Hawaii is because of this idol, right?"

Jim nodded.

"So what if someone's after the idol?" As Magnum spoke, he picked up the idol and began examining it. "That would explain why Blair's luggage was vandalized and the tail on the way home from the airport."

Jim was about to comment on Magnum's theory when he heard a rattling sound as Magnum turned the idol over to look at the bottom. Jim tilted his head slightly as he watched Magnum turn the idol right side up again. He heard the rattle again. "Here, let me see that," he said, holding his hand out for the artifact.

Magnum handed Jim the idol and watched as he began his own examination. Higgins and Magnum quickly became engrossed in watching the Sentinel's actions. He turned the idol upside down then right side up several times. Then he began running his fingers gently over the surface and looked over every inch of the small figure. The study was quiet as a smile appeared on Jim's face. He grabbed the body of the idol in one hand and the head in the other and twisted the head off.

"OH MY GOD!" Higgins exclaimed, stepping forward to rescue the damaged artifact from its abuser, only to stop short as Jim tossed him the decapitated head.

"It's a fake, Higgins," Jim explained as he turned to face the desk.

All three men gathered around to watch as Ellison poured the contents of the idol's body out onto a sheet of paper. Recent events began to make sense as a pile of diamonds formed.

Blair blew into his hands and hugged himself as he paced the length of the refrigerator. It wasn't so cold that he was worried about freezing to death, but it was cold enough to be uncomfortable if he stopped moving.

Blair's mind was, as always, as active as the rest of him. He turned to walk the length of his cage again, continuing his one-sided conversation with the universe.

"And why does it always have to be at the beginning of our vacation, huh? Why can't we have a few days of peace and quiet so we can recharge from the stress we've already been under before we have to deal with more?" He blew on his hands again and ran in place before beginning his next pass.

"It's not like I'm asking much. I'm not even asking to not get kidnapped, though that would be nice, too. All I want is a few days off beforehand."

He turned towards the door and yelled, "Hey guys, it's cold in here!" He punctuated his statement by pounding on the door a few times. "Could you at least turn up the temperature?"

He was answered by a hiss as the compressor kicked on adding more cold air. "Gee thanks. You're all heart," Blair mumbled to himself as he resumed his pacing. "And why is it that I can never get kidnapped by nice bad guys? Why can't they ever be considerate of my feelings and needs, huh? Do I ever get held hostage in a penthouse or by half naked women? Noooooo. I get kidnapped by Phobos and Deimos, the Dogs of War. Just what the heck would those two want with the idol anyway? They really don't strike me as collectors, and they definitely aren't bright enough to deal artifacts on the black market and last long."

Blair ceased pacing suddenly as a thought occurred to him. "What if they're natives and the idol is one of their religious figures and they want it back?" He thought for a moment, then shook his head. "Nah, Deimos wouldn't have said it was a funny looking old guy if they were. They're more like hired goons just doing what the boss tells them."

Another thought occurred to him and he couldn't help chuckle, "With my luck, the idol really is a fake and someone is using it to smuggle stuff like drugs or stolen gems. Man, I've been hanging out with Jim and the guys at the station too long."

"Hey, Magnum, over here!"

Jim and Magnum headed over to where one of Magnum's friends was saving seats for them at a table.

After they had found the diamonds hidden in the idol, Magnum had placed several phone calls. One had been to Lt. Tanaka, who had stopped by the estate on his way home to check out the evidence.

To say that Jim had not been happy with the man was an understatement. When Tanaka had made a comment about finding diamonds inside an artifact being as good a reason as any to kidnap someone, Jim had nearly gone ballistic. He informed Tanaka, in no uncertain terms, that had he started the official investigation when they had talked earlier, then they would be that much closer to finding Blair and solving the case.

Luckily, Magnum and Higgins had been there to help defuse the situation.

Except for that one outburst, Jim did little more than glare at the police lieutenant all evening. That is, until Tanaka mentioned that the license plate number that Jim had given him earlier had been reported stolen by an elderly couple on the other side of the island. Magnum quickly shepherded Ellison out the door, figuring that it would be better for all involved if Tanaka and Ellison were in separate locations, and the King Kamehameha Club was as good a place as any.

"Hey, TC, this is Jim Ellison. He's one of our guests from the mainland. Jim, meet TC, chopper pilot extraordinaire." Magnum introduced his friends.

TC cheerfully shook Jim's hand, "Nice to meet you. Higgins told me how you were going to be helping Thomas out with security for Robin's new artifact. Hopefully, with your help he won't need to con the rest of us into doing his dirty work."

Magnum stopped making shushing gestures and sighed.

TC's smile disappeared, "Oh, man, don't tell me."

Magnum just nodded his head.

"I knew it. You always drag us into your cases, Thomas, and my chopper always ends up with bullet holes. I still haven't gotten the ones from the last time patched." TC paced a small section of the floor during his tirade. He stopped suddenly and pointed a finger in Magnum's face. "You are not getting me to fly you anywhere in my chopper unless it's on a tour of the islands."

The private investigator moved around TC's finger and sat at the table. "Easy TC, we're just here to see what Rick got from Icepick."

After calling Tanaka, Magnum had called Rick Wright and asked him to find out what the ex-mobster knew about diamond smuggling in the islands.

Magnum was about to order something to drink when Rick came up, flipped a chair around backwards, and sat at the table. "Hey Thomas, I've got that information you asked me about. And let me tell you, Icepick is not pleased that you interrupted his dinner. Again."

Jim and TC quickly took their seats, eager to hear the news.

Almost as an afterthought, Rick looked over his shoulder and tossed a wave at the visiting detective. "Hi, Mack." He did a double take when he was answered with a glare instead of the cheerful comment that he'd been expecting.

"Rick, this is Detective Jim Ellison from Cascade Washington. Jim, this is Rick Wright." Magnum hoped that Rick didn't push the issue. For some reason he didn't think Jim was in the mood to have to deal with being mistaken for someone else for the second time in one day.

Rick just looked at Jim for a few moments while his brain processed the new information and applied it to what his eyes saw. He finally decided that stranger things have happened and turned back to Magnum and began relaying the recently acquired information.

"Icepick says that there are several people who could be smuggling diamonds. The problem is that from what you said about the idol, he doesn't think any of the usual players are involved. He says that if he were to put money on it, his choice would be a guy named Edward 'The Greek' Costas. He's a transplant from Chicago. Apparently he's trying to prove himself to the family back home and figured to make a name for himself in the islands. Icepick says that this guy's been trying to get his hand into everything from sports betting to the ladies. Anyway he, ARG!!!" Rick jumped clear out of his seat and turned white as a ghost when a hand landed on his shoulder. He'd completely forgotten about the man sitting behind him.

Jim held up his hands in a placating gesture indicating that he meant no harm. "Whoa, easy there. I was just going to tell you to breathe. Sandburg does the same thing. He'll talk till he's blue in the face if I don't remind him to breathe between sentences."

Rick took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself, then with a wary eye on Jim, he repositioned his chair so that he could see all the occupants of the table. He took one more deep breath, while giving Jim a 'happy now?' look and began relaying the rest of the information.

"Like I was saying, Edward's trying to get his hands into just about everything on the island, so it's not too far of a stretch to assume he might try smuggling, too. The two guys you described sound like a couple who've been known to work with him, and Icepick says that the whole fake artifact thing is just his style."

Rick kept a close eye on Ellison as he took a deep breath and started in on the next chunk of monologue. "Now, seeing as how we're looking for this friend of yours who managed to get himself kidnapped, I took the liberty of looking for some places where they might be holding him. It was a bit difficult, since he doesn't have his name directly tied to any property, but I managed to trace a few places to some companies in Chicago." Rick pulled out a piece of paper with a list of addresses on it and handed it to Magnum who had sat quietly during his friend's entire speech.

Before Magnum had a chance to look at the information on the paper, a bartender came up to the table. "Hey, Magnum, there's a phone call for you."

Magnum handed the list to Jim and took the phone from the bartender. Jim pretended to read the information on the paper as he listened in on the phone call. If it was about Blair he wanted to know right away.

Magnum's face was serious as he answered the phone, "This is Magnum."

Both men immediately recognized the voice of Higgins. "Magnum, I'm glad I caught you. Get back here as soon as you can. We jut got a ransom call."

The detectives were out the door before their toppled chairs hit the floor.

"I wonder if I could sneak some sage in?" Blair had progressed from reciting lectures to one of his favorite hobbies, devising tests for Jim. "Nah, that would be too easy." These weren't just any tests. These were his special sneaky tests that Jim didn't even know about. Blair's favorite was to have something fixed on the Volvo and see how long it took Jim to memorize the new pattern of noises. He'd added three more to his bag of tricks, thanks to his confinement by Phobos and Deimos.

As he approached the door on his current tour of his cell, he heard voices coming from the other side. One voice in particular was very loud and angry.

"What do you mean you don't have it? I gave you a simple job! How could you screw it up?"

This was followed by some muffled sounds. Blair put his ear as close to the door as he dared. He really didn't want Jim to show up to rescue him and find him with his ear frozen to the door. Jim would never let him live that down.

"Yeah, right, like he's going to let me live this down anyway. I can hear it now, 'Sandburg, only you can go to a tropical paradise and almost freeze to death.' Thanks, Jim," Blair mumbled to himself.


The sudden shout caused Blair to jump. Whatever was going on out there, someone wasn't very happy. "Sounds like the boss, Mars, finally showed up."

Blair moved back to listen at the door. As much as he loved devising tests for Jim, the events on the other side of the door were sure to have more immediate results.

"I can NOT believe you two," Mars said with a viscous growl. "Must I do ALL the thinking?"

There was a hiss as the compressor switched off. "Man, I don't know who you are, but thank you," Blair thought.

"I've got to figure out a way to clean up the mess you've gotten us into. Now listen up."

Blair heard the sounds of three people walking away. Damn, he had hoped to gain some useful information.

Jim and Magnum entered the study to find Tanaka pointing out something on a map to several other men. "Now I want several plain clothes here in this area. We don't want to have too many people too close, but they should be able to respond quicker if things start to go bad. Ah, Magnum, Ellison, we were just finishing up the preliminary arrangements for tomorrow's exchange." Tanaka waved the two newcomers over to join the group.

"Now the kidnappers said that they want Magnum," Tanaka punctuated his words by pointing to his friend and then back at the map, "to be at the south end of Waikoioa Park at exactly 10:15 am. That's by the pay phones. We'll have officers in plain clothes here, here, and here. Uniforms will be here, waiting for Magnum to give the word that Sandburg is safe. Then we'll move in."

"What's this mark here for?" Jim asked while pointing to the map.

"Oh, that," a smile crept to Tanaka's face as he answered, "that's where I'd like to have a helicopter, but I won't be able to get one on such short notice."

"So, where do you have me?" Jim asked next, while studying the map.

Tanaka idly tapped the map near the helicopter location as he gave Magnum a questioning look. He'd only known the Cascade detective a short time, but he knew that his next words were not going to be well received. The lieutenant gave the map a final tap, and then turned to face Ellison.

"Technically, Detective, you are officially a civilian. You should be out sight-seeing, taking helicopter tours of the islands. Officially I can't have a civilian involved if I can help it. So, I'm sorry, Detective, but technically you can't be involved."

The room was silent. The only movement was the twitching of Ellison's jaw. Everyone was waiting for the eruption of Mt. Ellison.

"Technically?" Ellison finally asked in a dangerous tone.

Tanaka nodded, "Technically."

Jim looked at the map again, "Helicopter?"

Tanaka nodded again.

The granite face of Mt. Ellison softened as he turned to Magnum. "You wouldn't happen to know a good pilot who gives helicopter tours would you?"

Magnum's only reply was his brilliant smile, as the rest of the room breathed a sigh of relief.

Jim barely noticed the scenery as he and TC flew towards their designated spot for the ransom drop. Something had been nagging at him ever since they had finalized the plans for their end of the operation. Even the Lads had noticed Jim's mood and had tried to cheer him up by brining him Magnum's rubber chicken. If the circumstances had been different, Jim probably would have laughed at the look on Magnum's face as he saw his prized chicken and Jim told him where it had come from.

"How much further is it to the drop spot?" Jim asked, finally breaking the silence.

TC didn't even pause to think about his reply, "Just around the bend, ten minutes tops."

Just then Jim heard a growling sound. He slipped one side of his headphones off and began scanning the area. As they passed over a small-secluded beach Jim saw a flash of black.

"TC, turn around."

"What?" the pilot asked with disbelief.

Jim motioned behind them, "Circle around that beach again."

TC obediently did as he was told. He was used to dealing with Magnum's bizarre behavior, so Jim's demand wasn't too abnormal.

As they circled the beach Jim saw a black jaguar prowling along the shore. The big cat looked up at the helicopter then took off for a stand of trees.

"Over there." Jim pointed in the direction his spirit guide had gone. "What's on the other side of those trees?"

TC maneuvered over the trees to find a clearing, but he didn't see the Jaguar sitting there, waiting.

Jim, on the other hand, saw the big cat and understood what it was trying to tell him. "Set her down in that clearing."

"What? Man, you're as nuts as Magnum. We've got to get to the drop spot."

"Trust me."

TC gave a shake of his head and set the helicopter down and shut off the engine. "So what are we doing here?"

"Waiting," was Jim's only response. He was busy scanning the area with his senses.

TC just rolled his eyes, "Don't tell me you've got a little voice too. It drives me crazy when Magnum lets his little voice tell him what to do."

Jim looked at TC and smiled, "You could say that."

Magnum maneuvered the Ferrari through the parking lot and into a space near the public pay phones. As he shut the engine off he announced his arrival out loud, knowing that Tanaka and the others would be able to hear him over the mic he wore. He grabbed the idol off the passenger seat and climbed out of the car.

Magnum took his time and checked out his surroundings. He couldn't see the officers stationed in the area, but he knew they were there. For some reason his little voice was nagging him about something, but he couldn't put his finger on what it was. He tuned back into his headset in time to hear Tanaka asking about Jim and TC in the helicopter.

"Magnum, I thought you said that TC and Ellison would be here in the helicopter?"

"I did. They should be here by now. Don't tell me they're not." Somehow, knowing that Jim and TC weren't where they were supposed to be made Magnum feel more at ease.

Tanaka's retort was cut short by the ringing of one of the pay phones. Magnum looked at his watch, there were still five minutes till the trade was supposed to go down, but it didn't look like anybody else was going to answer it so he picked up the receiver, "Hello."

"You Magnum?" the voice on the other end asked.

Magnum tensed. "This is Thomas Magnum. Who are you?"

"Look in the phone book. You'll find an envelope. Meet us there in ten minutes."

"Tha…" Magnum began, but was cut short by the sound of the connection being ended. He swore as he slammed the receiver down.

"What's happening, Magnum? Talk to us." The voice of Tanaka spurred Magnum into motion. He quickly relayed the phone conversation as he searched for the mentioned envelope.

Finding the envelope, he tore it open, studied the map inside, and then took off for the Ferrari.

"Magnum wait. You can't go without backup." Tanaka's voice was drowned out by the squeal of tires as Magnum sped out of the parking lot.

Nine minutes and thirty-seven seconds later, Magnum was standing on a secluded beach, watching a purple and green Scarab racing boat approach the shore. As the boat got closer, he could recognize Blair, who was being held by the two men who had kidnapped him.

When the Scarab had slowed and come to a stop with its hull just barely touching the sand underneath, the three men climbed out of the boat. The large native and Blair stopped just out of the water, where the waves still lapped around their feet. A strong grip on Blair's right arm prevented him from going any further. The second kidnapper continued further up the beach until he was a little more than arm's reach away from Magnum.

"Did you bring it?" the goon asked.

Magnum held the idol up for inspection. "I brought it. Now let Sandburg go."

With a nod from his partner, the goon holding Blair marched him up the beach to stand with the others.

Magnum looked at the younger man, trying to determine if he'd been hurt or not. "You okay, Blair?"

Blair shrugged the best he could with his hands tied and Phobos holding onto his arm. "Just par for the course, man."

Deimos stepped between Magnum and Blair. "Now give me the idol."

Magnum held the idol out to the kidnapper while trying to maneuver so that he could make a grab for Blair.

Instead of taking the idol, Deimos grabbed Magnum's arm and yanked him off balance. Before the private investigator could do anything to defend himself, the goon rammed his fist into Magnum's stomach. Then, as Magnum doubled over, Deimos struck him on the back of the head with a double fisted blow.

As Deimos made his first move, Phobos grabbed Blair around the waist and took off for the boat.

With Magnum dazed, Deimos scooped up the idol and followed his companion.

Magnum tried to shake his head clear as he stumbled after the kidnappers and their victim. By the time he reached the water's edge all he could do was watch the sleek Scarab speed towards open water. Before he could even utter a curse, his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of helicopter rotors slicing though the air.

Magnum turned to see TC's helicopter rise over the trees and head towards him on the beach. Ducking his head against the blown sand, Magnum ran up to the helicopter and climbed aboard. "What are you two doing here?"

TC half turned to look at his friend as he replied, "Listening to Jim's little voice, which apparently is more reliable than yours." Seeing that his new passenger was secure, TC set off after the fleeing boat.

Deimos watched the distance between the boat and the beach increase for a few moments before turning back to the other occupants.

"All right! The boss's plan worked like a charm. We got the idol and we still have," Deimos grabbed Blair's arm and pulled him close. "What did he call you? Oh, yeah, our insurance policy."

Phobos turned around to make a comment, but was interrupted by the sound of a helicopter rapidly gaining on them.

When Deimos turned around to see what his colleague was gaping at, Blair took advantage of the distraction. He swung his arms in a wide arc, throwing the larger man off balance and making him lose his grip. Blair then grabbed for the idol. Deimos struggled to regain his balance as they fought for the artifact.

Deimos was gaining the upper hand on the smaller man, when Phobos started swerving the boat erratically in an attempt to evade the pursuing helicopter. Just as Deimos freed the idol from Blair's grasp the boat swerved. Blair lost his balance and stumbled backwards over the side of the racing Scarab.

"SANDBURG!!!" The Sentinel could do nothing as he watched his Guide fall over the side of the racing boat and slip beneath the water. Time seemed to stand still until Blair's head appeared above the waves only to disappear again. Jim turned to the pilot as he pointed out the window. "TC, Blair's in the water…"

"I see him. Hang on." With the ease of experience, TC swung the helicopter around. Jim began to undo his seat belt in order to rescue his friend when he noticed Magnum already standing on the skid. Before he could comment, TC gave a thumbs-up and Magnum dropped into the water.

Magnum broke the surface of the water and quickly orientated himself towards his goal. With powerful strokes he began cutting down the distance between himself and Blair. The occasional glimpse he got of the younger man made it clear that he was struggling to not panic and keep his head above water, a task made harder by his bound hands and the ocean waves.

Magnum reached Blair just as he was about to slip under the water again and grabbed the outstretched hands. Tucking Blair close in the traditional lifeguard hold, he headed back to where TC was hovering the helicopter as close to the water as possible.

With Jim pulling from above and Magnum pushing from below, Blair was able to climb into the back seat of TC's helicopter, followed closely by Magnum.

"Buckle up everyone!" TC shouted as he rose to a more conventional altitude.

Jim turned around to make sure Blair was buckled in. "You okay, Chief?"

Blair smiled back at his friend, "I'm fine, just my usual cold and wet, but Deimos still has the idol."

"Don't worry about the idol, Sandburg." Jim held up a hand to halt the words that he knew were coming, "It's a fake."

Blair's eyes grew wide, "A fake? How do you know it was a fake? Why would..."

"I'll tell you all about it after we take care of your two friends down there," Jim cut Blair off before he could get into full ramble mode.

"Um, bad news about that," TC broke into the conversation.

All eyes turned towards the pilot. "What's the problem, TC?" Magnum asked for the group.

"Well, when we stopped to pick up Blair, the bad guys kept going. I've lost track of them." TC was slowly turning the helicopter so they could scan the horizon for the speeding boat. "So, unless any of you have any idea where they're headed?"

Magnum quickly pulled out the binoculars that TC kept for the tourists and began scanning the surrounding water. Jim copied his actions even though he didn't need them to search.

"There they are!" "I see them!" both Jim and Magnum shouted at the same time, each pointing in a different direction.

There was an awkward moment as everyone exchanged looks. Magnum took another look through his binoculars, "I can't get a good look at them, but it's the right type of boat and they're moving away from us pretty fast."

Jim glanced in the direction that Magnum had pointed, and then back in the direction he'd originally indicated. After a few moments of concentration he smiled and turned to the pilot. "My little voice says this way, TC," he said while pointing towards the boat he'd spotted.

TC nodded and manipulated the controls, sending the aircraft charging after the fleeing boat that the Sentinel had spotted.

Magnum leaned forward in his seat, "How'd you do that?"

"Do what?" Jim asked over his shoulder.

"Get him to go along with your little voice without complaining. Every time I tell him that, he just rolls his eyes and says that he'd better not get shot at."

"Ellison's little voice actually knows what it's talking about, that's how." TC answered for the police detective.

Now it was Blair's turn to question what had just happened, "Little voice?"

"I'll tell you about it later, Chief," was Jim's reply. He then turned to Magnum, "Any ideas on how to stop the moron twins?"

Magnum studied the racing boat, which was much closer now. He could easily recognize the two goons from the beach, now. "TC, how far away is the Coast Guard?"

TC updated the Coast Guard dispatcher with their current location and asked for an ETA. "About five minutes. The nearest cutter is already on its way."

"But at the speed they're going, that will be too late," Blair said.

Magnum and Ellison exchanged mischievous looks.

"Do you watch westerns?" Jim asked a smiling Magnum.

"You're not actually planning on jumping? Are you nuts?" Blair blurted.

"Do you have a better idea?" Magnum asked in reply.

"Actually, I have an idea," TC said as they overshot the goons in the boat. He swung the craft around so that it was traveling backward, facing the boat. Next he gained a bit of altitude and matched the boat's speed. He positioned the helicopter so that it was over the front of the boat.

He watched the waves and waited for the next swell, "Hang on, everyone," TC instructed as the helicopter dropped towards the water.

The racing boat swerved, but successfully crested the wave and started back down the other side.

TC tried again. This time he waited until the kidnappers had just gone over the top of another wave and were airborne. Once again he swooped down, hitting the boat with a blast of rotor wash. The gust of wind caused the bow of the boat to dip below the crest of the next wave, causing the entire craft to flip over.

Deimos and Phobos quickly grabbed the nearest solid handhold before the scarab crashed back into the water. It rolled twice before it settled upside down and drifted to a stop.

TC hovered over the wrecked craft and radioed an update to the Coast Guard. Fortunately the two goons surfaced and swam toward their boat before either Jim or Magnum had to dive in and rescue them.

It wasn't long before the Coast Guard arrived and took the kidnappers into custody.

"Are you sure you don't want a ride to the airport?" Higgins asked as Blair set his new suitcase down on the front step of the estate's main house.

"Thanks, but we'll be fine taking the taxi. You've got your poetry club coming. We wouldn't want to be any problem," Blair answered.

Jim and Magnum joined Higgins and Blair. "I'm surprised Lieutenant Tanaka isn't here with a patrol car to escort us out of town," Jim added as he set his duffel bag next to Blair's suitcase.

The quartet looked up to see a black and white police car pull onto the estate's drive. When the car came to a stop Lt. Tanaka stepped out of the passenger side. "I see that you two are ready for your trip home. I just thought I'd stop by, say my farewells, and update you on the case."

"Have either of them decided to talk yet?" Magnum asked.

Tanaka leaned against the patrol car, "Nothing useful. We have gotten confirmation on their identities. Their real names are Terrance Filmore and Demean Johnson. Terrance hasn't said a word and Demean just keeps saying that he isn't saying anything."

Tanaka moved forward and grabbed the duffel bag while the uniformed officer grabbed Blair's suitcase. "We've gone over the old restaurant that they were using as a hideout, but so far it hasn't told us anything we don't know already," he continued as the luggage was placed in the trunk. "We need a suspect to compare the samples to and we're still sorting out who the actual owner is. I'll be sure to let you know if we come up with any more information on Mr. Sandburg's Mars character. Would you two like a ride?"

Realizing that, with their luggage already in the trunk, it would either be placed on a plane or kept as evidence, there was no fighting the police lieutenant. "If you mean to the airport instead of to the station, then we'd really appreciate it," Jim said with a smile.

Jim and Blair said their final good byes to Magnum and Higgins the climbed into the patrol car.

"Hey Jim, did I ever tell you about the studies that have been done on how alpha males respond to subtle tactics?" Blair began as the car drove away.

Magnum and Higgins watched as their friends left the estate, then turned to go back into the house to prepare for the arrival of the poetry club that the estate hosted. "I'm glad you and Ellison were able to rescue Blair and that their visit ended better than it started," Higgins began with what Magnum recognized as his friend's story tone. "In fact they remind me of a couple of natives that I met in Kenya before the Mau Mau uprising. They were considered the guardians of a tribe I was visiting…"

Magnum quietly allowed Higgins to walk ahead of him and quickly ducked behind the bushes, leaving Higgins to continue his story uninterrupted.

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