Commissioner looked at the list and his knees buckled when he saw the four names. Jay and Doctor Foster quickly grabbed him and helped him to the nearest chair. “Commissioner, what happened? Are you okay?”
“N-n-n-no.” He whispered hoarsely. “Greg Peters and Gwen Jordan were two of my best officers. They were the leaders of a task force I set up to investigate and prevent violence against LGBT people. I had them set up the fellowship group. Kevin Jordan is relatively new to the force. He’s Gwen’s brother. Dave….” His voice broke and tears came hard. He buried his face in his hands and sobbed while Jay and Doctor Foster each put a hand on the Commissioner’s shoulders. After a time he regained his composure. “Dave is more of a son to me than he was a boss. I don’t know what I’ll do if he….” was all he managed to say before losing it again.
Doctor Foster went around the desk, selected a chart and started looking through it. “Am I to assume then that you are his next of kin, since there are none listed in his records?”
The Commissioner nodded. “He was an only child. His mother died of breast cancer when he was five. His father blamed himself for her death and drank himself to death two years later. My wife and I took him in and raised him with my son. I should probably go see her and tell her what’s happened. She’ll be devastated. She loves Dave like a son. His being there helped her tremendously when our biological son died of AIDS complications three years ago.”
“Good enough for me. He’s in a medically-induced coma. He lost his right leg in the explosion and nearly bled to death. If he hadn’t been found when he was, he would not have survived. They were able to save his left leg. His eyesight may be impaired as shrapnel had to be removed from both eyes. The extent of the damage won’t be fully known until he regains consciousness. The pericardium, which is the sack around his heart was punctured and had to be surgically repaired. His gall bladder and spleen had to be removed. His liver was lacerated in several places but it will heal on its own, eventually. His doctors are cautiously optimistic about his recovery. We’ll do everything in our power to make sure you don’t lose your other son.”
“And Greg Peters?”
Doctor Foster pulled out his chart. “Officially, he’s listed as deceased. Special Agent Williams believes that his former partner and precinct commander may be behind the bombing of the LGBT Center as a form of retribution for them both losing their jobs. We’re referring to him as ‘John Doe’ for security reasons. He suffered several broken ribs, skull fracture, subdural hematoma, punctured lungs, broken left arm, torn left rotator cuff and separated left shoulder. He’s in a coma that was not medically induced. There’s no way of knowing when he will come out of it. It could be days, weeks, months or even years. There’s just no way of knowing for sure.”
Jay asked “It’s been awhile. What, again, is a subdural hematoma?”
“It’s bleeding between the brain and the skull which can exert damaging pressure to the brain.”
“Has he suffered brain damage then?” Jay asked, fearful, remembering what Kyle had told him about what Greg had done to protect him from his abusive ex-partner and how he had snuck Tommy in to see him in the hospital. He owed Greg a huge debt and silently prayed that he’d be okay.
“It’s too soon to tell.” Doctor Foster replied after consulting Greg’s chart again. The EEG shows decreased brain activity, but that could be due to the coma. We won’t know anything for sure until he comes out of it.” He tactfully didn’t add if he comes out of it, which was a distinct possibility. It was Jay’s turn to become weak in the knees and be helped into a chair quickly brought to him by the nurse on duty. She called to one of the aides to fix coffee for the three men. “Does anyone know how to contact his next of kin? There’s none listed in his file.”
The Commissioner’s face started to turn red, an indication of his growing anger. “He told me his parents and brother refused to have anything to do with him after he told them he was gay. While he was with the Boston PD he was instrumental in breaking up a huge drug-trafficking ring. He was shot several times over and spent a long time in the hospital and almost a year learning how to walk all over again. Not once did any of his family come to see him, call him or even send him a get-well card. I’d love to take his parents in for child abandonment, but I can’t. I don’t understand how anyone could be so callous and cruel towards their own child and brother.”
“I got in touch with them in New Orleans while we were waiting for you and I explained the situation, letting them know to disregard any information about his death unless they heard it directly from me. They told me that as far as they all were concerned, his brother Steve is an only child and not to call them ever again.”
That information made the Commissioner’s blood boil. He wanted to fly down to New Orleans, find the parents and beat the shit out of them, something that he knew he couldn’t do. He’d just have to do whatever it took to provide a father figure for Greg. “And the Jordans?”
Doctor Foster consulted a couple charts, frowning. “Hmmm. Gwen Jordan has a broken neck, numerous internal injuries and broken bones. According to her scans, her spinal cord is undamaged, so she just has to remain with her head immobilized until her neck can be repaired. Kevin Jordan…” he double-checked the chart, his face falling as he read it. He wanted to cry. The kid’s only twenty-two. He had his whole life ahead of him, and now this. “Kevin’s back was broken between the S2 and S3 vertebrae and his spinal cord was damaged. Barring a miracle, he will most likely be paralyzed from the waist down. I’m so sorry.” He added as he noted the stricken look on the Commissioner’s face.
“When I find the bastards that did this, they will regret ever being born. Kevin hadn’t been on the force very long, but he had enormous potential.” He got out his cell phone. “Val, this is Commissioner Burke. Will you please file whatever paperwork is necessary to place Sergeants Gwen Jordan and Gregory Peters, and Officer Kevin Jordan, all from the LGBT Anti-violence task force operating out of the fifteenth precinct on indefinite medical leaves of absence due to extreme medical injuries sustained while on duty.” He listened for a moment. “No, unfortunately they are the only surviving officers caught in the explosion at the LGBT center. As soon as the hospital has notified all of the next of kin, I will provide you with a list of the deceased. As far as I’m concerned they all died in the line of duty. Thank you.”
Jay looked at the Commissioner with a couple of tears running down his face at what the Commissioner had just done for everyone. That meant full honors for the dead officers, and it also meant that Greg, Gwen and Kevin’s jobs would still be there when they recovered. The Commissioner had better hope that he gets to the perps before I do. There won’t be anything left of them if I get there first. Jay fumed. “So how do you want to proceed with the investigation?” Jay decided, even though he didn’t want to, that he would let the Commissioner lead the investigation and provide whatever support he could.
“Kenson was originally on the bomb squad, but failed his annual psych re-evaluation and was reassigned to a patrol in the tenth precinct, which he saw as a demotion, even though he kept the same pay grade, but lost his hazardous duty pay. From what little I know about him, I’d say he’s definitely the type who would seek retribution against Greg because Greg is gay, and he was terminated for his attitudes and threatening manner against homosexuals. Dave and I witnessed him attack one of a male rape victim’s friends for no reason other than the fact that Kenson believed that he was gay since he discovered the victim and tried to protect him from Kenson. The thing is how could he have pulled something like this while in jail? He may have masterminded it, but there’s no way he could have carried it out from inside his cell, unless…” He got out his cell phone and called the jail. “This is Commissioner Burke. What is the status of the prisoner Theodore Kenson? He was? When and by whom? Thank you.” He hung the phone up and dialed another number. “This is Commissioner Burke. I want a B.O.L.O. issued for former officer Theodore Kenson, wanted for questioning in regards to the bombing of the LGBT Center. I also want a B.O.L.O. issued for former Captain Charles Hicks, same reason.” He hung up and addressed Jay and Doctor Foster. “It would appear that Kenson was bailed out of jail two weeks ago by former Captain Hicks. I fear that you might be right on target with your suspicions Agent Williams. I’ve put out a B.O.L.O. on both of them, but it may already be too late.” As an afterthought, the Commissioner made a call to the same number earlier. “This is Commissioner Burke again. Please send descriptions of the suspects and their vehicles to the State Police and ask them for their assistance. Thank you.” He hung up. “They may already be on the run and out of our jurisdiction, so I’m having all of the pertinent information sent to the State Police and requesting their assistance in apprehending them. They’re not going to get away with this. I swear it!”
“Commissioner, I will place the full resources of the FBI Hate Crimes Unit at your disposal.” Jay promised.
“Thank you, Agent Williams…”
“Jayson” he interrupted.
“Jayson. I appreciate that. Can I see them now?”
“Of course, Jay, want to tag along?”
“Yes, I do.”
The three men entered the room were Greg and Dave were lying. The Commissioner approached the two men and took each of their hands in his. “I swear to the two of you by whatever Higher Power you believe in that I will catch the perpetrators of this heinous act and they will be brought to justice if it takes everything I have for the rest of my life. I will not stop until they are behind bars for however long they have left on this earth, which I hope will be a very short time.” He said, tears rolling down his cheeks.
Jay looked from one bed to another. “Doctor Foster, can I suggest something that might help bring them out of their comas?”
“I’m open to any suggestions.”
“I understand that, even though they’re totally unresponsive that they’re still aware of their surroundings and can hear us talking. Is that true?”
“Yes it is. So what is your suggestion?”
“Well, it’s a bit unorthodox, but if you will permit me….” He moved the tables from between the two beds, lowered the inside bed rails and, with the Commissioner’s help, pushed the two beds together. He removed the covers from the two men, brought their hands together and intertwined their fingers before covering them up again. He bent down and said “Greg and Dave, the two of you are together now as you should be. Come back to us as soon as you can. I love you guys and can’t thank you enough for all the help and support you guys gave Kyle when he was raped. The two of you are heroes in my book and I owe both of you a debt I doubt I can ever repay.” He placed a gentle kiss on Greg’s forehead, then went around to the other side of the bed and planted one on Dave’s forehead.
“You may have something here, Jayson.” He went out to the nurse’s station. “Jennifer please order up an extra-large bariatric bed and have John Doe and Dave Barton transferred into it together. They are a couple and I think it will help bring them around.
The nurse gave Doctor Foster a startled look over such an unusual request and was confused at first until she remembered that ‘John Doe’ was just a cover identity for Greg Peters. “It’s highly unusual, but if it will help bring them out of their comas…” she let her voice taper off then picked up the phone and ordered the double bed and extra linens for it. “I just hope it works.” She said, hope and compassion strongly evident in her voice.
“I do too, Jennifer, believe me I do too.”