Every Mother's Son
y Peg Keeley

Part 3

"Apparently not. We've been piecing together what happened. He initially fired one shot." Che pulled a report from his file and handed it to Steve.

"What's this?" Steve murmured examining the diagram of a human form with all sorts of lines, arrows, and letters.

Che looked mildly nervous. "They've got this new kid just started at HPD in forensics. It's a computer analysis."

"Computer?" Steve asked.

"Latest thing. He developed this program. We enter trajectories, angle of entry and so forth. It gives us this."

The meaningless lines suddenly sprang to life as McGarrett interpreted the little coded numbers. His gaze fixed on the point determined by the computer as the T3 rib in the back where the straight line spread out like a firework. The single hollow point had sprayed shrapnel throughout Danno's chest. There was a major line leaving that point and terminating outside the front of the drawing at an "x" marked #2LDt. That point had been Steve's left arm. Beneath the figure was the computer-generated assessment of angles and points of origin and so forth.

"Approximating where you and Danny were standing, from witnesses and blood stains, looks like he stopped a hit meant for you," Che added.

Steve took a slow breath. His mind flashed back to the moment. He recalled how Danny had turned between him and the hotel just as the shot was fired. He remembered Danny being thrown into him. The blood. Trying to hold back the flow as it ran through his fingers. It wasn't a stalking of the team; it was a stalking of him. He felt an unexplainable crushing responsibility for this horror. How could this happen? What did this Robert Chaney want? Danny had been used as an expendable pawn, a lure. And it worked--almost.
   Che could see the profound effect the visual aid had made. What would prove to be a valuable tool for the department on its initial run had been all its programmer promised. It helped the detective recreate the moment of impact vividly; this time a little too vividly. "Sorry, Steve."

Steve made no reply. This happened because of me. Why didn't it happen to me? It should have been me. He kept reliving the moment of impact. He could now recall the gasp and the look of astonishment that had flashed across Danny's face. He had no idea we were being set up.

Ben declared he was going back to the office and asked if he should pass a message on.

"Keep looking, but be careful," Steve replied, automatically.

Che lingered a moment longer, wondering if McGarrett would like a listening ear, but if he wanted one, Steve did not express it. Che went out, spoke with the officer at the door, and left.

Steve sat in solitude, struggling to keep his emotion in check and failing. He ached to have Chin Ho at his side and the mere thought caused him to smile. Chin had always been his patient counselor. Oh, how he missed him. Chin should have died as an old man in his bed with three generations of family at his side. Was he alone in death? Steve had never wondered about that before. I may not be able to keep Danno from dying, but I can keep him from dying alone. He pushed the call button and demanded a wheelchair.

Steve's demands overrode the protests of the nurses who were responsible for his care. Having worn them down, they and the uniformed officer assigned to Steve's protection made him reasonably comfortable in a wheelchair. Right leg elevated and towels and pillows stuffed into strategic spots, he was ushered by the officer up two floors to ICU. As they exited the elevator, the officer gave a wave to the one stationed outside ICU. The visiting hours for intensive care were very limited and strict, five minutes on the hour and only two members of the immediate family. The charge nurse met Steve at the door, accepted the wheelchair without comment. The two officers remained, gratefully behind.

"How is he?" Steve asked of the nurse.

"About the same," she replied. "Look, we have limited hours here, but you can stay as long as you like. It's sure not going to matter to him. Just understand that if he--he gets suddenly worse, we are going to boot you out."

Unlike last night when he had remained outside the glass wall, this nurse took the wheelchair into the cubicle.

"Call me if you want me, I'll hear you." And she was gone.

Steve felt his heart sicken as he again was confronted with the magnitude of the situation. Danno was propped half on his side by pillows that were arranged to provide support to his body and reduce pressure on his skin. The tape on his eyes had been replaced with two small oval patches of gauze. The respirator still breathed for him 12 times a minute with no spontaneous breaths recorded on the machine. The cardiac monitor showed what Steve supposed was a fairly normal pattern but slow--58. The room was remarkably quiet except for the regular hiss of the respirator since all the alarms were channeled out to the desk. Although the web of wires and tubes was intimidating, Steve gingerly reached out and touched Danny's IV laden right hand. There was no response and Steve was a little surprised at how hot the skin was.

He could hear nurses chatting as they changed shift at the desk outside the door. One joked about a TV show last night and the laughter seemed almost obscene. Their tones dropped as they reported on their patients. An old man in hypertensive crisis was ready to move out to the floor. A seventeen-year-old MVA was still in a coma. One mentioned the gunshot wound in room one and Steve felt his pulse quicken.

"Use sterile technique on that dressing," the off going nurse advised. "They left a hole behind big enough to lose a tennis ball in."

There was a sudden silence, as if they had realized he was close enough to hear them.

"Well, anyway," she went on, "he's unchanged."

Steve felt as if the hole was in his chest. Chaney. What did he want? What connection was there between him and Karen?

He heard footsteps and glanced back to see Dr. Wallace. "They told me downstairs you were up here," he commented in a friendly manner. "You really need to stay on your back to keep pressure off that hip."

"Didn't know you were a bone doc, too," McGarrett remarked coldly.

Wallace was taken aback. He didn't like the nurturing stuff. Fine, I did it once, now let's be professional. "I brought the consent."

"Consent?" Steve murmured.

"For the EEG."

Steve gazed at the silent, pale face of his friend. God, Danno, how could you do this to me? He remembered the day Danny had asked him about the power of attorney in the office. Agreeing seemed like the right thing to do. Of course he realized it might actually happen. But not like this. Not when I should be the one lying there. "Let me think about it a while."

"Sure," Wallace replied. "No hurry really. Look, nobody's wanting to do anything rash here. I need a baseline is all." He hesitated, then added with conviction. "I want to see him make it, too." He turned away.

A nurse entered the room humming quietly. The baggy blue scrubs made her look younger than the forty-ish she actually was. Her light brown hair was cut short, and there was the suggestion of wrinkles in the smile lines of her eyes. McGarrett watched her, as there was little else to do. In spite of the nature of her high adrenaline job, she seemed remarkably at peace. She glanced at McGarrett as if to acknowledge his presence as she checked the pump rates on the IVs. "Might dank in here." Even the mild Scottish accent was comforting. She reached up and drew back the blinds on the small window in the corner. Sunlight streamed in to strike the far wall. "Better." She checked the chest tubes. "Better, too," she said cheerfully. "Serous drainage." She carried on the rest of her examination of the equipment and Williams, pausing to make brief comments.

Steve slowly realized she was not talking to him but Danno. In interest, he watched her. Her quiet cheerfulness was a balm to his wounded spirit. Finally he could resist no longer. If there was any word of hope, it would come from her. "Nurse, is there any change?"

She didn't answer right away but finished making a note on the ventilator record. She came around the bed to stand directly in front of McGarrett. "These places are awfully small for all this stuff, aren't they?" She waved a hand towards all machinery. "The name's Shelley MacIntire. Shelley will do."

"Steve," he replied.

"And where have ya escaped from, Steve?" she asked.

"You didn't answer my question."

"Aye," she agreed. She walked back to the ventilator and drained the collected moisture from the tubing. As she reconnected it, she looked at Danny. "You ought to sit up and tell 'im yourself," she said gruffly.

Steve stared at her in awe.

She chuckled quietly at his expression. "We know so little about unconscious consciousness, subconscious. It's been said that hearing's the last thing we lose, the first thing we regain. I talk to all my comatose patients. And as for your question: he isn't any worse. That's something. Medicine and the ventilator are keeping him stable. He's not loosin' ground like he was last night. So, that's got to be an improvement. I'd say he's home but locked in the bath and can't come to the door. He needs time to find the key."

McGarrett found himself liking this unusual person. "Doesn't sound very professional."

She stuck her hands in her pockets. "Well, in my professional experience, I've discovered very few people whose emotions are professional. We all need someone to believe in us, sometimes believe for us. Ever have anybody who believed you'd make it when no one else did?"

He didn't respond.

"Well, I believe he'll make it."

"But nobody else does," he concluded.

"You do." She finished her work and left Steve to brood and watch. He was painfully aware that regardless of how positive she might sound, Shelley had not really given a lot of hope. But it was enough for him to know he'd hang on a little longer and using his power of attorney refuse the EEG--today.

Chaney wandered the streets of Honolulu aimlessly. He felt lost, confused, without a sense of purpose. His entire reason for living and been knocked out from under him. Failure. A failure again. It had been a whole day and he still had no plan. The sun was setting on the water as he sat on the cinderblock wall watching people play on the beach. Watching, always watching. Never permitted to be part of the joy. You don't deserve the joy. You don't deserve anything. You are a failure, like everyone said. Can't do anything right. Stupid, stupid. He pressed his hands to his temples to quiet the voices. He felt empty, hungry. He had not eaten since yesterday. You don't deserve to eat. He stared at his distorted reflection in the window of a car. You failed. You couldn't do it. What kind of love is that? You didn't really love her. It was all he could do to keep from bursting into tears on the spot.

The radio playing from a blanket on the sand distracted him. "Locally, there are no new statements coming out of Five-0 regarding the shootout of yesterday afternoon at the Royal Surf Hotel. The mayor's office says reliable sources state that this was not random violence, but a plotted attack against specific members of the police. Mayor Gunterson emphasized that our tourist and local populations are in no way at risk. When asked about the investigation, Chief Paulua's office had no comment. Meanwhile, memorial services for Officer Farrell, killed yesterday, are scheduled for tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. Queens Medical Center has not released an update on the condition of Steve McGarrett or Dan Williams, but it is reported that officials will hold a news conference tomorrow afternoon."

Robert swallowed hard, remembering his brief friendship with the man he had accidentally shot. I didn't mean to. It was a mistake. No, McGarrett did it. He made it happen. He did it again. It is all his fault. I must find a way to rid us of him. I must make him pay.

The weight of the gun in his belt under his shirt was bothersome. He had to think of something. He wandered the streets in the dark, going his second night without sleep. It was nearly sunup when, exhausted and numb Robert slumped down on a stone bench behind a rest room at Kapiolani Park.

Duke Lukela had spent the last eight hours outrunning the sun westward as his jumbo jet headed him back home. A seasoned time zone traveler, he had tried to do his best to keep his body clock on time with Honolulu and was just now awakening to the aroma of fresh coffee and the touch of the steward's hand on his shoulder.

"We'll be arriving in thirty minutes," the young man told him.

He nodded, missing the days when all flight attendants had been young females. He grinned inwardly at his thoughts then he wondered what had happened in Fivo-0 during his absence. His phone calls with Ben had assured him Steve would be all right. He hoped Danno was still alive.

Ben met him at the plane; they exchanged a few words. Duke wanted to see his wife, but felt compelled to see Steve first. At Ben's insistence, he went home to shower and freshen up first.

I am a monster to them
. Chaney stood in front of a television display at Sears in the mall. The mid day news was on and all stations were covering the memorial service of Officer Farrell. They don't understand. They see McGarrett as a hero. The reporter had claimed McGarrett would be present at a news briefing later that day and gave an encouraging wish regarding the Five-0 chief's healing. McGarrett, the avenging angel, is holding a press conference at four o'clock. I know when, I know where. He thought about that as he wandered out of the mall and stood on the curbing. The glory of blowing McGarrett away in front of a crowd of the press seemed entertaining. I can tell them what McGarrett was really like. How he killed the most lovely mother in the world. They'll see I was justified in what I did. If they don't-- well, that wouldn't matter, because McGarrett will have paid his price. The more Chaney thought about it, the more he liked the idea.

A car horn tooted. "Need a ride?" a cabby called.

Robert realized he was standing in a taxi zone. "Yeah." He hopped into the cool, air-conditioned cab.

"Where?" The burly driver flipped the flag.

"Hum-I gotta friend in the hospital, Queens Medical Center."

He stuck the cigarette butt in his mouth. "If he's real sick, you got him at the right place. My wife's father has a bad ticker. They fixed him up real good there." He took off for the other end of town still talking about his father-in-law.

Duke found the two HPD officers outside ICU by the door. "How long have you been here?" he asked the one responsible for Steve.

He shrugged. "Two hours or so."

"Will he come out and talk?"

"I doubt it. He won't come out for nothing. Was there most of yesterday. Went back this morning. Not been out," the big Hawaiian answered. "Rumor has it he wants to be there when Williams croaks." The look on Duke's face caused him to stiffen. "Sorry."

"Keep your gossip to yourself," he snapped.

The officer struggled to lighten the situation. "Well, I guess it keeps too many people from bugging McGarrett anyway."

Without further comment, Duke opened the door and entered. Steve was not going to like what he had to say, no matter how much it helped to develop the case about Chaney. The charge nurse approached him and he began to pull his badge.

She stopped him. "I know. Five-0, right?"

He nodded.

"I think I'll sell tickets," she remarked, motioning towards the doorway.

He could see the wheelchair just inside the door. He took a deep breath and went ahead. Duke did not like doctors or medical things. His wife took the kids when they were sick and he did not come to hospitals unless there was no choice. This was no exception. He stared at the bed, a lump in his throat. He felt oddly like he was at a funeral. "My God, Steve."

McGarrett looked up. "Yeah." He understood.

Duke pulled his eyes away. "I learned some things about this mess."

"Let's have it." Steve gave him his full attention.

"There's a connection between Karen Smith and Robert Chaney. She's his mother."


He nodded and handed Steve a picture. "It's Chaney."

Steve looked at the picture. "He's only a boy!"

"Well, that picture's three years old. It's the newest I could find. Karen Smith married Morris Chaney in 1954."

"Morris Chaney," Steve whispered. The name was familiar. "He was her high school sweetheart."

"Right. There was a long period of time she didn't see him. According to a friend, she renewed contact in late 1953. They were married in spring of 1954. Robert was born in November the same year. Morris Chaney was apparently no saint. The town louse. Repeated police problems, drunk and disorderly, reckless driving, breaking and entering his in-laws house. Those charges were dropped. Two reports of child abuse and one of wife beating, but--" he shrugged, "--nobody did much in those days. And she wouldn't file a complaint."

Steve sat rooted. Poor Karen, my sweet Karen.

"Robert Chaney doesn't have a remarkable past. Except for a short psychiatric history during his teen years, he's clean. Three years in the army. Expert marksman."

"I could have guessed."

"Morris Chaney died in an auto accident when Robert was eleven. Apparently drunk driving. Killed the young couple in the other car, too. Karen Chaney worked in odd jobs: waitress, house cleaning and such till 1976 when she died of cancer."

"She's dead?" Steve looked up, sorrow deepening.

He hesitated, regretting he had not broken it more gently. "I'm sorry, Steve, she was something special to you?"

"Yeah, something special."

"There isn't really much else. Chaney worked in a car dealership as a salesman till four weeks ago. Gave notice, vanished, turned up here."

"But why?" Steve studied the picture of Robert. He could see some of Karen in the boy. Karen--if only I'd known. Why didn't she every contact me? If only--Duke was still standing there, looking uncomfortable. "Update the APB."

"Already have," Duke replied. Another long silence. Duke wanted to leave, but felt he couldn't. He searched for something to say. "We're, um, still looking for the shrink who saw Chaney as a teen. Um, how's Danny?"

Steve shook his head. "He's got a nurse who'd tell you to ask him yourself."

"What?" Duke looked shocked.

"Never mind."

At last, Duke found a reason to leave and when he'd gone, Steve sat painfully inside and out, staring at nothing, seeing nothing, his mood as black as the slippery dark pit of depression he found himself unable to escape. Why would Karen's son come gunning for him? Karen--if only he'd known, he never would have let her go. At the time it had been right, but now it seemed all wrong. She was gone. No way to make it up to her. And her son? What was it Shelley had said: the conscious, unconscious? He gazed at the serene face of his fellow officer and friend. At some point over the morning, a nurse had removed the eye patches, making him look a little more human. Steve tried to convince himself that Danny looked to be at peaceful rest, but he could not evade the growing fear that he looked already dead. Did Danno have the answer to this puzzle? He suspected so. He was beginning to wonder if he would ever hear Danno's version of the tale. Karen, dear Karen. How he would have loved to discuss good old times with her son. That would not be likely to happen.

He ached. His pain medication must have worn off and he was tired. He would need to stretch out somewhere soon. But he lingered. Time is short, what if he dies while I'm gone? What if he awakens while I'm gone?

Kono appeared in the doorway. "Steve." His voice was hushed.

McGarrett sighed. "Yeah, Kono."

"Press conference."

"Find Duke to handle it."

Kono stared at him. "Steve?"

"Or Ben. He's handling the investigation, have him handle the statement."

Kono backed away. "All right," he replied, shocked. He had never seen McGarrett back away from a commitment before. He could easily excuse the maneuver, but it put him in a scary position. He glanced at his watch: 1:50. Ten minutes to find Ben and get him here. In the conference room downstairs, the pack of press was already growing.

The cab pulled up outside Queens and the driver pointed at the TV minicam truck parked by the main entrance. "Hope your friend is okay. You're in the hottest spot in town today. Might get to see something."

Chaney paid him and got out.

The cabby accepted his fare, noting the generous tip, shrugged and pulled away.

In the lobby there were clusters of news people speaking in hushed tones, many with video cams on their arms. A hospital representative came in.

"If you'll follow me, please, we'll be taking the briefing in the board conference room."

They began to move in a massive herd through the cattle chute of the corridor that emptied into the boardroom. Chaney blended in with the reporters and slipped inside. The table had been removed and rows of chairs set up with a podium at one end of the room. Spotlights had been hurriedly erected, and the reporters stepped carefully over the cables snaked around the floor.

Kono was nervous and frantic. Unable to locate Ben or Duke, the responsibility for this press conference was landing squarely on his shoulders. Finally, he straightened his tie, checked his hair and, taking a deep breath, stepped out into the conference room. All eyes and cameras focused on him as the tungsten lights blazed. He moved to the podium clung to it for dear life.

"My name is Kono Kalahaua. I've been requested to handle this news conference."

Everyone started to talk at once, and Kono raised a hand to still them. Just like the president, he thought as they quieted. He felt reassured. They accepted that he had the power.

"Please, I have a statement to make first." He cleared his throat. "As to the perpetrator; he remains at large. We are following several leads both here and on the main land. I cannot go into great detail as it would tend to hamper our case, but progress is being made. Steve McGarrett continues to improve. His condition is at present listed as satisfactory. Dan Williams is unchanged."

"Does that mean he is still critical?" someone spoke out.

"Yes, it does. HPD is setting up a fund to assist the family of Officer Farrell who was killed yesterday. Inquiries may be directed through the Honolulu First National Bank."

"Officer Kalahaua," A female reporter spoke up. "Is the sniper still out there? I mean here, on the island?"

"Yes, Ma'am, I believe so."

"Do you think he'll attack again?"

Kono shrugged his shoulders, realizing too late that it was not very professional. "That would be difficult to say. The facts do support this was not a random shooting."

People started buzzing. "There have been rumors that he was stalking McGarrett. Why would he be after him?" one man called out.

"Is his capture immanent?" the first woman called out again.

"I'm not at liberty to say," Kono answered her, ignoring the other reporter. That question he did not want to address.

"McGarrett was supposed to be here," a reporter Kono recognized as from the evening news said, "you say he's improving, but where is he? Is his condition worse than we were led to believe?"

"Um, he's just had a hard day." Kono winced internally. "I have no other comment in that regard."

Two more reporters started to speak at once.

Kono raised his hands again to still them. "We have a limited description on the attacker. He's male, white, mainlander, with dark hair, medium build, approximately six feet tall. His name is Robert Chaney. He's not familiar with the islands so he may be looking for help. We'd appreciate the public reporting any suspicious individuals, but he is armed and dangerous. We don't want anyone attempting to stop him."

On Kono's cue, a uniformed officer began passing out glossies of Robert's old picture.

Chaney felt his face reddening and glanced around. He moved back towards the door, away from the direction of the officer who moved through the group. Robert suddenly felt giddy as he realized that no one had noticed him. It seemed unbelievable that he stood as his description was read in a group of the most alert people in town, reporters and cops, and no one noticed. He had been initially disappointed that McGarrett was not going to show. He had wanted to prove to everyone that McGarrett was worthy of death. But he could find him. He was in this building somewhere. He would find him, stare him in the eye, and destroy him. He slipped out of the door.