A United Airlines flight is inbound to Honolulu. A requested notepad is handed to a passenger named Bridger (Dick Cook) by the stewardess (Margie MacLeay) so he can send a message onto Honolulu via the pilot. As he is waiting, he draws a picture of a woman (Linda Marsh) sleeping across the aisle from him. Another man (Theodore Bickel) stands close to the crew door and asks for a "scrap of paper". The stewardess obliges, tearing off the top sheet of the notepad. This second man figures out what is written by smearing cigar ash over the impression left from Bridger's note.
A telex arrives at the Intelligence Office for Hendricks (Bill Reddick) who immediately calls McGarrett. In the meantime, the flight lands in Honolulu. The second man, now seated behind Bridger, sends the point of his umbrella into Bridger's back. His seat mate (Alex McAngus) says nothing. As the airplane parks, everyone calmly disembarks, everyone except Bridger. The passengers walk past Danno and Hendricks who are waiting for Bridger outside on the tarmac. When the stewardess notices Bridger still in his seat, she goes to wake him but he falls over, already dead.
McGarrett leaves Iolani Palace in a hurry going to the County Morgue where Danno and Hendricks await his arrival. All they know at the moment is that Bridger died on the plane but "Doc's working on it". Turns out Bridger was tailing someone codenamed 'Beast' aka Erich Stoss. McGarrett wonders why they missed Stoss, but there was no description available so Danno and Hendricks had no idea who to look for. They did hold up the luggage until they checked it all, but there was nothing for Stoss.
All three walk inside, studying Bridger's personal effects on a table. McGarrett looks over Bridger's passport, "last stamp, Maracaibo, Venezuela, five days ago". Needing more information, McGarrett presses Hendricks finally giving the ultimatum: "You tell me, I'm in. You don't, I'm out". Hendricks relents, telling McGarrett and Danno about a secret meeting between several revolutionary groups around the Caribbean "arranged by a high-level communist," probably China because Washington believes that's who Stoss is working with. McGarrett wants Hendricks to get details and Stoss' picture if one exists. McGarrett then looks over the picture Bridger drew on the plane. Hendricks doesn't recognize the woman but thinks Bridger thought she connected to Stoss in some way.
The coroner (Robert Brilliande) steps out after finishing the autopsy. Doc briefs Bridger was stabbed by a small, thin blade that made its way through an airline seat. He shows McGarrett the area of entry by using Danno as a demo model just to the left of the spine, his aorta was torn and death instant -- appearing as "heart arrest". Any sounds would have been after he died. McGarrett, Danno, and Hendricks leave.
In the Five-O office, McGarrett sends his men out to find the girl -- who she is, where she is and what she's up to. He doesn't want anyone to move in on her, only to set up surveillance. When Hendricks asks "why not go after Stoss the same way?" McGarrett figures chances are better with the girl as Stoss is too clever to be seen immediately. The main issue bothering McGarrett is the "why" -- why did Stoss come to Hawaii?
Stoss arrives at a house via limousine with his seat mate from the plane and another man (Soon Taik Oh). Quon Li (Philip Ahn) greet the men as they step into his house, but it is not pleasant. His relatives living in Shanghai have been threatened. Stoss sets his own rules -- needing seven hours of solitude and that no one should even remotely approach the briefcase he carries.
The Five-O team go about trying to track down the girl in Bridger's drawing. Danno's at the airport, Kono at a hotel and Chin talking to cab drivers. Chin gets a lead as Danno and Chin watch her hail a cab from her hotel. She tries to be sneaky, taking a back alley to the place she needs, but Danno and Chin are hot on her heels. She enters a Chinese herb store with a list of specific ingredients and demands they be ready by 9am the next morning. The owner (C.K. Huang) is somewhat skeptical since many of the items are "rare ... it will be expensive". She's quite rude saying to him he's too old to be alive after he tells her she is young to have such chemical knowledge. A young man walks speaking Cantonese to the owner with information she's being followed. The owner shows her an alternate exit and she leaves. Now paranoid, she looks around in the back alleys not paying attention when she steps out in front of a cab.
McGarrett steps out of the elevator meeting Danno on the lanai of the hospital. The girl has "bruises, shock, nothing broken". McGarrett isn't amused as "an enemy agent" is running around and she is Five-O's only link. Telling Danno "you blew it" McGarrett gets push back, "all right, but we're still in the ball game because we got her". Acknowledging that Stoss is getting to him, McGarrett mentions Bridger's wife -- she's traveling to Hawaii to take her husband's body home to his kids. A moment reprieve, McGarrett and Danno focus on what they have, the girl.
Stepping inside, Chin shows McGarrett the formula she left at the Chinese herbal shop. The hospital lab tries to lend a hand in identifying the mixture as "spore-breeding mulch ... No idea how the stuff is used, unless we wanna make our own penicillin". The chemist isn't much help either saying the ingredients would make "purple water". After Danno looks over the information, he offers, "one part of the formula is missing". Before a more in-depth discussion, a nurse tells McGarrett he can see the girl and Chin receives a phone call.
In the hospital room, he introduces himself. "I just wanna ask you a few questions, Miss de Nava." She helps him along, "Well, I am from Barranquilla, which is in Colombia, which is in South America". McGarrett asks why she's in the state and she says for vacation. He gets to the heart of the matter: she flew in on flight 507 and did she know the man who died? "I didn't know anyone had died," she maintains she knows nothing. When McGarrett mentions Stoss, she flinches slightly and denies ever hearing of him. When he shows her the formula and tells her it matches her handwriting, she claims it's a doodle mentioning she was a former chemistry student. She also claims to have merely browsed the Chinese herbal shop. Yawning, she turns on the charm but McGarrett isn't buying any of it.
McGarrett meets Danno and Chin at the nurses' station where Chin hands over a picture of Stoss. McGarrett says, "Now that we know what he looks like, let's make it a big game hunt. Circulate it all over the islands". Danno asks if McGarrett got anything with McGarrett answering that "she's lying. Now all we have to do is prove it".
Lao, the other man with Stoss earlier, walks in to Quon's house with a flyer giving it to Stoss. "Five-O is looking for you," he warns. After commenting on his photo being an "old passport photograph" he wants Lao to tell him what he knows about Five-O. "Run by a man named McGarrett ... [dangerous] and ruthless," Stoss appreciates the threat Five-O is to him. However, this does not deter him from proceeding with his plan as he commences a meeting with his accomplices. Stoss puts his cards on the table, "I can now tell you that within the next 72 hours we shall have accomplished an act of sabotage of such magnitude I should not be surprised if it is considered almost a second Pearl Harbor". Esteban, Stoss' seat mate on the plane, stands up when called upon by Stoss. Esteban is from an embargoed country producing a large percentage of the world's sugar, which does not have a current market. Stoss' plan is to create a shortage by destroying Hawaii's sugar crop "for the next five years," he opens his briefcase showing four vials. With their plan, the world will have no choice but to buy its sugar from Esteban's country and their prices. The plan will start "tonight" Stoss informs them as he dismisses the meeting.
Stoss requests Lao remain behind. They discuss Marianna de Nava being in the hospital and under McGarrett's eye. Stoss considers her a threat even though her dossier shows total commitment "to the cause". Stoss demands contact because without her, the vials "cannot be activated". Stoss states "loyalty is a commodity bought and sold on the open market". Lao inquires as to the next move with Stoss demonstrating his umbrella.
Lao arrives at the hospital, bullying Nurse Mako (Emma Veary) to allow him admittance into Marianna's room. Nurse Mako clears Lao by the police officer and Lao enters. As the door closes, Lao moves in telling Marianna she has "failed" but she has a chance to redeem herself. Lao first requests the formula, handing her a notepad. After writing the complete formula, Lao advises Marianna she will be questioned again and the "danger exists" she could betray the cause. Lao gives her something to commit suicide while she begs for her life. "It's an order," Lao reminds her, "you promised to die for the cause" then walks out passing McGarrett at the elevator.
McGarrett walks into Marianna's room unaware of what has transpired. She calls McGarrett "an oppressor of the people" and "I admit it with pride" she is a communist. Unwilling to mess around, McGarrett asks point blank, "where is Stoss?" Marianna gasps in pain, telling McGarrett she took poison and he alerts the nurse. Marianna names names: Lao, Esteban, her and the plan -- Stoss intends to destroy the sugar cane fields with a fungus. She dies immediately. Dr. Webber is noticeably confused, "what happened?" McGarrett answers "she was killed ... by a beast".
Meeting with the governor, McGarrett briefs him on what's happening. The governor calls the plan "diabolical" with the other men, including an officer (Fred Titcomb) from an organization, in the meeting not ready to jump on McGarrett's bandwagon. McGarrett requested the presence of the Department of Agriculture and the governor introduces Leonard Burleson (William F. Bigelow II). Burleson briefs sugar cane can be susceptible to many things including various diseases, viruses and insects. When the question comes up about fungus, Burleson notes there are over 100,000 varieties to choose from and it's not only the current crop but also the next year's crop that could be damaged or destroyed. With "forty-one point six percent" of the world's sugar being produced by Hawaii, the problem could demolish the state's economy. The governor lays it out: "One, a group of enemy agents, three professionals and an unspecified number of local recruits are somewhere on this island. We'll need a coordinated effort by all law enforcement agencies to find their hideout. And two, these people have already committed murders, and their assignment is the destruction of one of our major industries". The introduction method is straightforward -- dropping spores via aircraft preferably on a northeast corner of a field and allow the trade winds to do the work "like crop-dusting".
At Five-O, the team has accumulated a list: "Crop dusting and spraying companies, by island. Privately owned crop dusters. Rental planes adaptable for crop dusting. Private planes adaptable. Helicopters". Chin realizes the list is long and suggests a group like this wouldn't use anything as obvious as a rental aircraft or hire anyone. Rather, they would use the privately owned craft and they would use "worst kind" of pressure to gain their use specifically a grower with family still in China. McGarrett wants the lists worked immediately, Kono points out it's almost midnight and everyone's closed, McGarrett pounds his desk, "Well, then we knock on doors. Either we nail Stoss now, or we'll be growing toadstools instead of cane".
Stoss puts his plan into action, starting at Quon Li's house -- and with his helicopter. Stoss laments there cannot be an entire fleet to complete the job.
At an airfield, Danno calls in giving McGarrett an update. Ordering Danno and Kono to split the last few among themselves, McGarrett leaves his office. Meanwhile, Chin speaks in Chinese to a man (Galen Kim) who doesn't speak it. Switching to English, Chin asks him if he's bought a crop duster, when he shows Chin, it's obvious the airplane isn't going anywhere! Danno drives out to a grower who is getting ready to send his plane in the air again. Wondering what he's dusting for, he asks Danno if he's an expert on plant disease, "No, but I can get one out here in a hurry if I need him". The grower goes on to say it's a smut unlike any he's ever seen. "Is it a fungus?" Danno realizes he has a lead and the plan is being implemented.
McGarrett drives to Quon Li's house and once out of the car, looks around suspiciously. Quon Li steps outside, greeting his old friend. McGarrett's hackles are raised even more when they talk outside. Quon says, "there is sickness in my house. The door is closed only to protect your health". When McGarrett tells him he isn't there for social reasons but to inspect his helicopter and talk to the pilot, they are interrupted by Stoss. Stoss bristles at the mention of "the Beast" moniker and tells McGarrett his brilliant plan now lays in shambles because of the interference of Bridger, de Nava and McGarrett himself. Stoss contemplates his next move when McGarrett tells him, "you're under arrest, Stoss". Stoss laughs at him pointing out that McGarrett is outnumbered especially with three automatic rifles pointed at him.
Burleson inspects the questionable cane with Danno and the grower. Because there is no effective pesticide, the only recourse is to burn the cane. The field is set ablaze as Danno calls in to Five-O he discovers no one has still heard from McGarrett. "Well, call me back as soon as you hear from him, huh?"
Quon Li's helicopter returns toward the house as Danno spots it from the street and he gives chase the best he can from a car. Meanwhile, Quon brings some refreshments to McGarrett who is being held captive in his storage room. Quon explains the impossible choice he had -- betray McGarrett or his own blood relatives. McGarrett knows Quon's family will pay a price anyway as there is no honor in Stoss and his accomplices. Just then, Stoss walks in. He goes on to explain no escape route was planned for because one wasn't needed, "such was the confidence in our plan". Stoss tries to make a deal with McGarrett since "there are roadblocks all over the island". A ship with "sympathetic registry" is in the harbor; the challenge is getting there. Stoss knows the only way out is with McGarrett's help. Listing his demands, Stoss will release McGarrett uninjured. "No deal!" McGarrett is adamant, "a beast belongs in a cage". Stoss knows he is now on his own; ordering McGarrett's execution once the helicopter takes off.
Outside, Stoss contends with Lao who does not take the news of "activities here will have to be temporarily suspended" well. Lao understands quickly Stoss is abandoning him and the operation without giving Lao any say in the matter. Pulling a gun on Stoss, Lao refuses to go down quietly "as sacrifice". Stoss shows his true colors as a greedy mercenary creating havoc in the world. When Lao refuses to allow Stoss to pass, Esteban shoots him in the back.
The guard in the storeroom becomes distracted by the gunfire long enough for Quon to throw a bottle at him. It's enough for McGarrett to overpower him and take his rifle. Determined to stop Stoss, McGarrett runs after him, shooting into the air. McGarrett closes in as Esteban throws down his rifle, but pulls out a handgun when Stoss stabs McGarrett in the arm. Keeping the rifle aimed at Stoss, McGarrett forces him to drop the umbrella. Danno drives up shortly after, who searches Stoss for cyanide and cuffs him when it's deemed safe.
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