Comdex - 5 - Repercussions

They say everyone has a twin somewhere. What do you do when your twin is dead and her rich husband fixates on YOU?

Many thanks to my original editor Wendy, and my new Holly and Stan. Props to Maggie for her encouragement.


COMDEX

Repercussions

Though no more than 10 minutes passed since Linda left Kate sitting on the toilet, it seemed to take an eternity to find Dr. Tom. As he rushed to Kate’s room with Linda and Meri, he called Pat and Sheila.

When Linda opened the door she immediately knew something was horribly wrong. There was blood everywhere. She rushed to the bathroom only to find the door locked. “Kate, Honey, open the door,” she shouted, pounding as hard as she could. There was no answer.

Comdex — Repercussions Chapter 5
Copyright 2004/8 Beth Williams.

Cruise Ship Golden Princess, at Sea, 2240 hours EST, Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Though no more than 10 minutes passed since Linda left Kate sitting on the toilet, it seemed to take an eternity to find Dr. Tom. As he rushed to Kate’s room with Linda and Meri, he called Pat and Sheila.

When Linda opened the door she immediately knew something was horribly wrong. There was blood everywhere. She rushed to the bathroom only to find the door locked. “Kate, Honey, open the door,” she shouted, pounding as hard as she could. There was no answer.

“Excuse me, Linda,” Pat gently pushed her aside, then backed up and kicked the door in. Tom rushed through, immediately seeing the Vicodin bottle and could smell the raw alcohol of the vodka.

He turned the hot water off, and the cold water on full. Flipping the drain lever open he turned the shower on the unconscious woman. “Damn, damn, damn! Not this time; you were doing so well. Fuck! Meri, call the medical center, get a gurney up here stat! Then get me a drip, ringer’s lactate. And, uh better get me 20 ml of epinephrine.”

“Kate, why?” He struggled getting the body out of the bathtub and onto the floor. He threaded the IV line in and started the drip.

“Where’s that fucking gurney?” he shouted.

The gurney arrived, accompanied by Dr. Connors. “What the bloody hell has happened here?” was his not so professional question.

“Looks like attempted suicide after being brutally raped and sodomized,” Tom informed him.

“Oh God! Let’s get her to the surgery.” Tom and Dr. Connors, with the help of Meri and Pat managed to get the body onto the gurney, and left at a dead run for the medical center, Linda following close behind.

Sheila’s face grimaced into a mask at the violence done to Kate. Violence she and Pat were supposed to have prevented. “Do you want to make the call or should I?”

“I don’t care. God, I’m sick over this.”

Pat unpacked a satellite phone and dialed Jeeves’ private cell phone. “Hello?”

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Stevens Hall, Massachusetts, 2250 hours EST, Tuesday, December 18, 2001

“Boss, it’s Pat. We have a problem. Kate has been severely beaten and raped. Looks like she tried to end it all and they are rushing her to the ER right now.”

“Damn! Okay, what’s your next port of call?”

“Grand Cayman, we’ll arrive in about 7 hours.”

“Pat, do you have a perp?”

“We have a partial name, but no one in custody.”

“Okay, see if you can acquire him quietly. The gloves are off — and I mean all the way. If you can’t quietly take him into custody, we will pick him up in Ft. Lauderdale. Wait, change that; instead, Pat you stay with Kate at all times; armed - Openly armed and uniform. In addition, I want Sheila glued to Linda’s side. Am I clear on this?”

“Yes sir, guard Kate and Linda. Use whatever force is necessary.”

“Crap, what a mess, I’ll get things started from this end. Expect to be medevaced as soon as you reach the Caymans; possibly before. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Yes sir.”

Jeeves hung up the phone and walked down to Hal’s bedroom. Knocking, he went right in. “Hal, Kate’s been hurt, bad. Raped and beaten, she’s in the ER right now. I’ve instructed Pat and Sheila to guard them. I’ve told them deadly force is authorized. I suggest you get dressed; I’m calling in a security team, the pilots, and Dr. Bellows if I can get him.

“Oh God, not again! … What’s the prognosis?” Hal sprang out of bed, and then fell back heavily, his face drained of all color as the news sank in.

“Hal, I don’t know. Pat indicated she tried to kill herself after the rape.”

“Okay, Andy, let me get dressed. I’ll tell Annie, and she can tell the kids in the morning.”

Hal quickly dressed. Outside of Annie’s room, he paused, knowing how much a blow this would be. “Annie?” he called, “I need to see you. Are you decent?”

Annie was reading in bed. “Come on in,” she called. Hal entered the room, and Annie went pale at the look on his face. “Hal, what’s happened? Oh God, it’s Kate, isn’t it?”

“Annie she’s been hurt. Someone raped and beat her. We don’t have much information yet, but I’m leaving for the Caymans as soon as the plane is ready. I need you to tell the kids in the morning.”

Annie looked as though she had been slugged, then the tears began to flow. “She doesn’t deserve this,” she wailed.

Hal sat on the edge of the bed, holding the distraught weeping girl. “No she doesn’t, but we’re going to go get her and bring her home. I’ll do anything for her, you know that.” Annie nodded. Hal continued, “Annie, I’ve got to get things moving. I hope to be airborne within the hour.”

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Jeeves walked to the Security office, and called the duty office at Cendar Security. “This is Andrew Jeeves; let me speak to the watch officer.”

“Bill Reilly here, what can I do for you sir?”

“Bill, I need a rescue team. Mrs. Stevens has been badly hurt, and we may have to acquire the perpetrator. I expect four officers will do, pack tactical and forensic equipment, and wear casual clothes, I expect them at Beverly airport within the hour. We’ll be in the Caribbean, so have them pack accordingly. And while you’re handling details, get a good trauma nurse to the airplane as well.”

“Yes sir. I’ll get it done.”

Next, he called the two most senior pilots for Cendar. Jeeves instructed them to prep the Boeing business jet for departure within the hour, and to be ready for a medevac mission.

Finally, he called Dr. Bellows. “Dr. Bellows, it’s Jeeves at Stevens Hall. I’m sorry to wake you, but Kate’s been raped and tried suicide. Can you fly down with the team to pick her up?”

“What? … Certainly; where do I need to go?” Jeeves was grateful for the quick decision.

“How soon can you be at the Beverly Airport?”

“Let me throw some clothes on, tell my wife what’s going on, and I should be there in half an hour or so.”

“Dr. Bellows?” asked Jeeves.

“What?”

“Thanks, from the bottom of my heart. I owe you for this.” Jeeves voice cracked with emotion.

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Annie dressed and packed an overnight bag and dried her eyes before she walked down the hall, and knocked gently at Lisa’s door. “Lisa, are you awake?” she called through the door.

In answer, Lisa opened the door. “Hi Annie; what are you doing up so late? Have you been crying?”

“No, just the sniffles. I’m working on a project and I need your grandmother Williams phone number, I want to contact her about Christmas and things.”

“Sure, here I’ll write it down for you, but couldn’t this wait until morning?”

“Well of course it could, but I wanted to get everything lined up. Besides, it’s 3 hours earlier out there, remember? I’m going to have a very busy day, and if you were asleep, I knocked quietly enough that it wouldn’t wake you. Anyway, thanks, good night!”

Puzzled, Lisa wished her good night, and went to bed.

Annie went back to her room, and dialed the number Lisa had provided. “Hello?”

“Hi, is this Mrs. Williams?” Annie asked.

“Yes, and who is this?”

“Mrs. Williams, this is Annie Anderson, I’m the personal assistant to Kate Stevens, your son John.”

“Annie, how nice to meet you, even if it is by phone; both John and Linda have mentioned you.”

“Mrs. Williams, I’m sorry to say that Kate, that is John, has been raped and beaten. If I arrange transport, can you come here to watch Tim and Lisa while Hal and I go and pick Kate up?”

“Oh my God, how badly is he hurt?”

“Actually it looks pretty bad. I also think it would be a good idea for you to be here for a while. Kate is going to need you. Can you come?”

“Yes, of course. Let me pack a bag. What airport should I go to?

“Mrs. Williams, I’ll have a driver there as soon as possible, but it will probably take a little while to charter a flight at this time of night. Oh, what airport would be best?”

“Ontario, Okay, I’ll pack and wait, do you think I should tell John’s brother?”

“Mrs. Williams that is something you would know better than I, but I’ll say Kate’s condition is pretty serious from what little we know.”

“It’s still early; I’ll go ahead and call him. Thanks Annie.”

“I’ll see you soon, bye.”

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Cruise Ship Golden Princess, at Sea, 2300 hours EST, Tuesday, December 18, 2001

EKG leads, an oxygen canella and an oxygen monitor had been attached, and the vitals, while depressed, were stable. An IV dripped into her left arm. Additionally, Kate had been catheterized by Tom.

“Tom do you know what she’s taken?” Dr. Connors asked. “And by the way, call me Frank.”

“My guess is Vicodin with a vodka chaser. Let’s get a nasogastric tube down her, and start lavage. In addition, do you stock blood? If so, let’s push a unit of O negative, she’s lost quite a bit.”

Dr. Connors pulled necessary equipment together, and they quickly started washing out the contents of her stomach. The nurse returned with the required blood and started it through the IV.

“Do you have N-Acetyl cysteine in stock? I’m afraid of the liver damage from all the Acetaminophen in the Vicodin.”

“Yeah, and we can start a narcotic antagonist to counteract the hydrocodone.”

Pat walked through the door. “Mr. Stevens has been notified, and my orders are to not let Kate out of my sight.”

“Yeah, right,” Dr. Connors stated. “At the moment, you stay the hell out of the way and we might be able to save her life.”

“Sheila is with Linda, with similar orders.”

“Nothing like locking the barn door after the horse gets out, is there?” Pat turned red, but did not reply; the truth was, he felt the same way.

With the first drugs administered, the doctors turned to other tasks. “Can we get a set of x-rays; at least of the skull and upper torso?” They monitored her condition while a technician rolled in the equipment. As soon as the X-rays had been taken the technician took the plates away for developing.

Finally having a few moments to do nothing but observe, Dr. Connors called the bridge and informed the watch officer of the attack. A few minutes later, Captain Breton himself arrived. Dr. Connors, with Tom, explained what they knew so far and led the Captain over to Kate. She lay there, unconscious, both eyes swollen nearly shut. Traces of blood could be seen around her nose and mouth.

“My God, what happened to her?”

“As near as we can determine a passenger named John raped and then beat her savagely. Linda can positively ID the man who escorted Kate back to her room, and Kate told Linda that John had raped her before she tried to suicide.” Tom explained.

Pat interrupted. “I’ve been told to expect a medevac flight as soon as we dock — assuming the Doctors approve it.”

The technician came in with the x-rays. The doctors looked at them. “Damn, would you look at that? The nose is broken, and it looks like the TMJ may be all screwed up; and then there’s the clavicle … well, looks ugly, but it can wait.”

“Yeah, but there’s no cranial fracture that I can see,” Tom noted. “And the fractured clavicle is something we can go ahead and start treatment on with little difficulty.”

Tom watched as Frank set Kate’s broken clavicle by gently forcing her left shoulder back, allowing the clavicle to line up naturally. Once in place, a figure eight bandage held the bone in position And ice packs were applied to reduce the swelling.

“Captain, I suspect Mr. Stevens will be bringing someone to investigate this. I dare say, Cendar Security has greater resources than Princess Cruises. We’ll provide complete records, but since the prosecution for this act will take place in a US Federal Court, I want to be sure we preserve the chain of evidence,” Pat said.

“Normally, I would protest that in the strongest terms. However, given the circumstances I’ll have my master at arms coordinate and cooperate with you and Cendar.”

“Thank you for that. Would you order the room sealed until the investigation can begin?”

“Certainly, I’ll to that presently. Gentlemen, please keep me informed,” Captain Breton said as he left the Medical Center.

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Dorothy Williams’ Household, Corona, California, 2020 hours PST, Tuesday, December 18, 2001

“TJ, it’s your mother.”

“Hey, Hi mom! What’s going on?”

“John’s been hurt — badly I’m told. Can you get some time off?”

“Lord, what happened?”

“I don’t have many details. His company just called. I’m flying out as soon as they get a driver here. Do you think you can get some time off?” she asked again, “I’m scared, and I would appreciate it if you could go with me.”

“Well, I have the vacation time available. What time is your flight?”

“Apparently Cendar, John’s company is chartering the flight. Can you be to the airport in Santa Barbara in an hour?”

“Mom, if you think it’s that important, of course I can. I’ll be waiting.”

“Thanks, TJ, I appreciate it. I love you.”

“Love you too; see you in a little bit.”

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Cruise Ship Golden Princess, at Sea, 2315 hours EST, Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Linda sat in the lounge area of Golden Princess’ Medical Center. Sheila sat next to her, acutely aware of her own failure to protect Kate.

Sarah Matthew, the Senior First Officer came into the lounge. “Mrs. Williams? I hope you remember me from your first day. I’m Sarah Matthews, and ship’s security is my responsibility. We’ve put together a compilation of photos of male passengers named John. Are you up to looking through them? We would like to make a positive identification of Mrs. Stevens’ attacker.”

Linda looked through the photos. There were thirty-seven photos. The twenty second was Kate’s attacker. “That’s him, John Maxwell.”

“Mrs. Williams, are you sure?”

“Sarah, I’m absolutely certain. I danced with the creep earlier this evening.” Linda teared up at the thought of Kate’s treatment by this man.

Sheila asked, “How did you compile this list so fast?”

“We did a search of our A-Pass (Automated Personnel Assisted Security Screening) system, which monitors passengers and crew as they enter or leave the ship.”

“Can you leave a copy of this picture with me?”

“Oh, certainly. The Captain was most insistent that we cooperate fully.”

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Beverly Airport 2330 hours EST, Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Hal arrived at the airport wearing casual clothes. in one hand he carried a garment bag, in the other hand a weapons case. He boarded the jet and settled in the master suite. Jeeves was right behind him, also loaded for bear. He smiled at the four hard faced men casually dressed, seated and ready to go.

Dr. Bellows boarded as Jeeves began to brief the men. At the last minute, Annie rushed to the plane, with a small carryon bag. There was a certain amount of argument, but Hal quickly backed down. Annie would not be denied rushing to her adoptive mother’s side.

“I know you wanted me to be with the kids, but I called Kate’s mom, and asked her to come out from California, please don’t be mad, I called TWC Aviation, and they will pick her up and be airborne within the hour. The kids will need her more than they need me.” Annie’s eyes were red from crying.

Hal relented, and moments later, the Boeing Business Jet rolled down the runway bound for the Cayman Islands,

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Cruise Ship Golden Princess, at Sea, 0345 hours, Wednesday, December 19, 2001

“Well Doctor, I think we’ve got a winner,” Tom informed Dr. Connors.

“Yeah, I agree. The vitals are up a bit, and they’ve steadied some. If nothing else goes wrong, she will make it.”

We need to get a rape collection kit in here to document the crime. Frank can you see to that while I talk to Linda?”

“No problem, I’ll get it taken care of.”

Tom stepped into the lobby, and gave Linda the news. “Kate’s going to make it. It’s going to take some time, but we’ve turned the corner on the overdose. Officially, that’s what it will be labeled, an “accidental” overdose. We’ll keep a close eye on her. Why don’t you go back to my cabin and get some sleep? Meri won’t mind, and they’re going to take your cabin apart inch by inch, documenting everything — and frankly, I wouldn’t want to sleep there right now anyway.”

Linda began to cry anew at the news. “Tom, I can’t. I have to stay here with her. You don’t know what it was like to find her. Whatever that bastard did, he took away her soul. When I first got there it was like she was dead already.”

“Linda.”

“No, I mean it! This is all my fault. If I had stayed with her, she wouldn’t have taken those pills.”

“Linda, you did what seemed best, you did what I would have done.”

“Please, just let me sit by her,” Linda begged.

Tom opened the door, pulled a chair next to the hospital bed and Linda sat there, holding the hand of the person she loved most in the world, wondering how she could pull that person back from the brink of hell.

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Cendar Business Jet, in flight 0600 hours EST, Wednesday, December 19, 2001.

Hal speed dialed Cendar’s chief counsel. “Erik, it’s Hal. Are you awake?

“Damn boss, I guess I am now. What’s got you going so early?”

“Erik, Kate’s been raped. I need you to coordinate with the US attorney’s office in Florida. We know who did it, and we are going to try to take him into custody. If so, I want to hand him over to the US Marshall for Florida later today.”

“Hal, I’m not certain this is completely legal.”

“Jeeves, and my agents are all police officers within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Can you attempt to get a special appointment from the US attorney in Boston?”

“Hal, I’ll try. I may have to call the Governor’s office, but I believe Jane would call in a few favors for you — under the circumstances. And I better get in touch with the British consulate, and maybe even our ambassador in Kingston.”

“Erik, do whatever it takes. I’ll be landing in the Caymans within the hour. I’d like to be nice and cooperative, but I will protect Kate, and I will have this bastard in jail.”

“Be careful, Hal. Let me get to work.”

“Erik, I meant what I said. Do whatever, spend whatever, promise or pay whatever it takes. Nothing means more to me right now.”

“Hal, you know I will.”

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Governor’s Residence, Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 0610 hours EST, Wednesday, December 19, 2001.

“Governor Wells? I’m sorry to wake you but Erik Moore is calling on behalf of Hal Stevens, and claims it’s an emergency. Can you take the call?”

Jane Wells rolled over and sat up in bed. “Hi, Erik. What’s so pressing?” She inquired groggily.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, Jane, but Hal needs a big favor. Kate’s been raped, and Hal has a team on the way to the Caymans. They know who did it, and they want to take him into custody.”

“Oh my God! Poor Kate! Is she all right?” Jane bolted upright, all thoughts of sleep gone.

“I don’t really know. I just found out about it, and I’m trying to get the legal ducks in a row. Do you know Susan Cobb?”

“Sue? Sure, we have met a few times. Why?”

“She’s the US Ambassador to Jamaica, and has jurisdiction over the Caymans. Could you call her and ask her to send the legal attaché to Grand Caymans? If there’s an FBI agent, see if he could also go, and get there just as quickly as possible?”

“Erik, I can and certainly will try.”

“Jane, for the record, right now this is the single most important thing in life to Hal.”

“Please convey my sympathies, and assure Hal I’ll do everything possible.”

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Cendar Business Jet, in flight 0622 hours EST, Wednesday, December 19, 2001.

“Hal? It’s Erik. Jane called the ambassador, and she will have the Legal Attaché, Bruce Tristan, and an FBI agent, Mark Chapman ready and waiting for you. Here’s the problem, you will need to pick them up. They will be waiting for you at the Kingston Airport, General Aviation facility, I told them you’d be there between 7:00 and 8:00.”

“Erik, I owe you one. How will it play out legally?”

“I will be on the phone with Pat, Sheila, and Linda. Based on their telephone depositions, I will request The US magistrate in Miami to issue an arrest warrant for a John Doe, name to be provided by the FBI special agent. It’s a bit dicey whether he will cooperate, but I’m hoping he will see reason. In any case, I’ve alerted our attorney in Florida who is filing an emergency hearing request at 7:00 this morning. So, if you will excuse me, I’ve still got a lot to do. If it all works out, you’ll have a facsimile copy in hand before you reach the Caymans.”

“Thanks, Erik. I’ll be waiting for your call.”

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Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica 0720 hours EST, December 19, 2001

Hal watched impatiently as the jet taxied to the main airport terminal, general aviation facility. The left engine was powered down, and an external stairway was jockeyed into position. Two men dressed in business suits carrying garment bags climbed the stairs. As soon as the stairway was removed, the pilots went through their checklists and restarted the engine.

“Mr. Stevens? I’m Bruce Tristan, Legal Attaché, and this is Mark Chapman, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, US Embassy, Jamaica.”

Hal shook their hands, “Do you know the status of the arrest warrant? Erik Moore, my attorney, said you might have a copy.”

“There’s a bit of a problem. The US Magistrate in Miami wants something more than a “John Doe” description. Hopefully, Mark will be able to put enough information on John Maxwell and any accomplices together to have the warrant issued. But I have to tell you, the government would much prefer to make the arrest in Florida. It’s much cleaner. While I can certainly understand your anger and desire for justice; if we apprehend the perpetrator and transport him on your aircraft, there will be problems.”

“What kind of problems Mr. Tristan?” Hal asked.

“Well, if I were the defense attorney, I would certainly raise issues of due process and prejudicial treatment of my client. It’s possible a sympathetic magistrate would throw the case out on a technicality.”

“You can’t possibly mean that?” Hal asked with a look of disgust on his face.

“Actually, I’ve seen worse.

“Mark will begin the investigation on the ship. I understand your security division is sending a team?”

“As a matter of fact, they’re on the plane with us.”

“We’re going to have to be exceedingly careful. Mark will oversee the collection, and will take custody of all material evidence. Analysis will be in the FBI labs — not Cendar’s.

Fifteen minutes after touching down, the jet was back in the air.

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Beverly Airport 0725 hours EST, Wednesday, December 19, 2001

The TWC Charter flight from Santa Barbara arrived twenty minutes early, due to a favorable jet stream. TJ and Dorothy Williams descended from the jet and were met by a Cendar driver. Thirty minutes later they pulled up in from of Stevens Hall.

Entering the mansion, TJ turned to his mother. “You know, when John told me about this job I didn’t believe him, but after the flight, and seeing this estate, I think maybe if anything, he understated things.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place quite like this,” she agreed.

Vikki met them in the lobby and showed them to their rooms. “I was so sorry when I heard Mrs. Stevens had been injured. Annie asked that I make sure you’re taken care of. Tim and Lisa have been taking it easy, but they are normally are up by 9:00. If you’re hungry or need anything, please just dial the kitchen and I'll see it’s taken care of. Oh, and either Hal or Annie will call about 9:00 with the latest information.”

Neither TJ nor Dorothy were interested in lying down, the tension had both sleepless and anxious; “Thanks Vikki, but could we get some coffee?”

Vikki lead the way to the kitchen, playing tour guide along the way.

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Owen Roberts International Airport, Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island, 0812 hours EST

The jet coasted to a halt in the general aviation area. Hal, Jeeves, Annie, Dr. Bellows, Bruce, and Mark descended from the plane as soon as the stairway was brought alongside. The remaining members of the Cendar team would stay with the plane - for now.

At the foot of the stairs the Americans were met by Burl McGuire and Gerry Braggs, the Commissioner of Police and Chief Immigration Officer, respectfully.

Bruce Tristan spoke, “Burl, good to see you again, and you too, Gerry. This is Hal Stevens, Annie Anderson, and Andrew Jeeves of Cendar Corporation, and Dr. Saul Bellows. You know Mark Chapman, of course.”

“What a bloody business to wake up to. I’m sorry for what has happened to your wife. The Governor has requested we offer every help possible,” McGuire told Hal, shaking his hand.

“Thank you for that. Right now, I’d like to get to the Grand Princess as soon as possible. Has she docked yet?”

“Yes, she arrived at 0715 hours. Mark, you are from the American Federal Bureau of Investigation as I recall?”

“Yes sir, I’ll be the principal agent in the investigation of Kate Steven’s rape and assault.”

“If you’ll come this way?” Commissioner McGuire led the way to a pair of official cars.

From the airport to the cruise line terminal is less than five miles. Georgetown is a curious mixture of old style colonial and ultra modern contemporary architecture, so while the roads were adequate, the short trip still took the best part of 20 minutes.

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Cruise Ship Golden Princess, St. George, Grand Cayman Island, 0835 hours, Wednesday, December 19, 2001

“Good morning, Mr. Stevens, I’m Sarah Matthews, Senior First Officer. I assume you want to go to the Medical Center straightaway?”

“Please, Ms. Matthews,” Hal replied.

Sarah led the party along the same route Hal, Kate, Linda and Annie had taken only 3 days before. In the Medical Center, Linda looked up as they approached.

Hal took in the scene; the medical equipment attached to Kate, the bruising, the obvious damage to her face, and the constant beep of the heart monitor.

Linda looked like hell, still in her elegant evening gown, her hair disheveled, and her eyes bloodshot from crying. Seeing Hall, she stood and flew into his arms, “Oh God, Hal, I’m so sorry. If I’d stayed with her she wouldn’t have been able to overdose.”

“Shush, it’s not your fault. We all knew Kate was having a hard time. You didn’t rape her. You’re not responsible.” Hal soothed and comforted Linda.

As Dr. Connors and Dr. Richards entered, Hal turned to them, and Annie pulled Linda into a hug, and the two women joined by love for the patient wept.

“How soon can we transfer her to the airport?” Hal asked.

Tom replied, “Hal, she’s stable. There’s still a broken nose to treat, but that can wait until we’re back in Massachusetts. Results from the lab indicate she never really had a dangerous amount of hydrocodone in her system. We could wake her most any time, but I think I’d rather she sleep until we can get her into a stable location.”

“I agree entirely, Mr. Stevens. She’s had a bloody bad time of it, and I suspect the emotional damage is far more extensive then the physical. Blaming one’s self is a common reaction among rape victims. She’s going to need all the support she can get,” Dr. Connors added.

“Hal, in light of the last month, I concur completely,” Dr. Bellows chimed in.

Hal breathed a sigh of relief and said simply, “Thank you gentlemen.”

“Hal?” Annie called. “Her necklace and wedding rings are gone!”

“Tom, did you see them?” Hal asked, “It’s not like Kate to remove them.”

“No, we’ve been pretty busy, but no one took any jewelry from her. In fact, I don’t remember her wearing any when we brought her down here.”

Hal gave a description to Mark Chapman of the FBI, and showed him the matching half heart necklaces he and Annie were wearing.

“I’ve taken the liberty of ordering an ambulance, and we can move her anytime,” Ms. Matthews said. Turning to the Cayman officials, she asked, “Do we need to do anything in the way of paperwork?”

Bruce Tristan interrupted. “Actually, my instructions are to take care of any details. Mark and I will be working with these gentlemen for the next two or three days. Ambassador Cobb made it clear that I was to make any arrangements necessary.”

“Her Majesty’s Government has no problem with you simply transferring Mrs. Stevens from the Golden Princess straight to your aircraft at the airport.” Gerry Braggs informed them.

“Then let’s get her loaded and back home, Tom. Pat, you and Sheila will be working with the FBI. The security team will be working for the FBI in any way possible. I want the sick bastard who did this in jail for a long, long time. Actually, I want him dead, but I'll settle for him in jail. I want you and Sheila to tail the asshole every place he goes off the ship. If he goes to a jewelry store or hock shop, I want one of you stay there, and the other to continue to follow him and notify Mark. He can get the local authorities to question the owner.”

The medical staff arranged for the transfer, and half an hour later Kate was loaded aboard an ambulance for the short ride to the airport, accompanied by Pat and Tom. Jeeves arranged the transfer for two of the security team to the Golden Princess, and by 1030 hours, Kate and Linda were aboard the jet with Annie, Hal, and Jeeves. The plane left the runway on a direct flight home.

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Stevens Hall, Massachusetts, 0915 hours EST, Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Lisa stumbled down to the kitchen and was surprised to find her grandmother and uncle sipping coffee and chatting with Vikki. “Grandma! Uncle TJ! When did you get here?”

“Hi, Honey. We got here this morning. Is Tim up yet?”

“I don’t think so … Is something wrong?” Lisa questioned.

“Yeah, Honey, very wrong. Why don’t you show us the way to Tim’s room?”

Lisa led the way, and they found Tim awake, playing on the computer. “Hey, Grandma, Uncle TJ; what are you guys doing here?”

“It’s kind of complicated. First, let me tell you that your Mom is okay, however, your dad was attacked, and brutally beaten. Annie called last night and asked if I could come back here to stay with you while she and Hal went to pick “Kate” up in the Caribbean. So, here I am, and your uncle was kind enough to come with me. I expect to hear shortly on how your dad is doing.”

Lisa started weeping at the news; Tim just looked shocked and scared. “Hey, you guys want to get some breakfast, and then show us around?” TJ asked the kids — a deliberate ploy to change the subject.

Downstairs, the four ate breakfast, waiting for news. Tension mounted as time slipped past nine o'clock — the time Hal was to call.

-------------------

Cendar Business Jet, in flight 1032 hours EST, Wednesday, December 19, 2001.

‘Amazing,’ thought Dr. Bellows looking in on the sleeping Kate. ‘So much energy, so much to live for, and so terribly broken.’ “Tom, we’re going to have problems when she wakes.”

“I know; that’s why I want her home. I think we can do better in a familiar setting. The thing she is going to need the most of is love and support. God alone knows what went through her mind to cause her to try to kill herself.”

“It’s not uncommon for rape victims, and it’s fairly common for the transgendered to attempt suicide. But, Tom, we are not going to lose this patient. I promise.”

“Saul, it’s been a long night, thanks for the encouragement. She’s very special.”

Dr. Bellows smiled, clapped him on the shoulder and went into the main cabin to talk to Linda, but found her in Annie’s care.

Annie had converted one of the seats into a bed and snuggled against Linda. She wrapped the two with a blanket. Linda was already asleep, and Annie quickly joined her.

Next, he went looking for Hal. “Can I make a suggestion?” Hal nodded, “Give the kids a call. They will be worried sick and waiting for news.”

“Saul, thanks for being here. I know I’ve screwed up with Kate in the past, but I’m determined to do right by her. It means a lot that you dropped everything to take care of Kate.”

“Well, you’re also my patient, and I take the old Hippocratic oath pretty seriously,” he chuckled. “Besides, you and Kate are both special. Now go make those calls while I take a nap.”

------------------------

Hal began making phone calls.

“Stevens Hall, may I help you?” Vikki answered the phone.

“Hi, Vikki, it’s Hal. We’ve got Kate aboard, and we’re on our way home. She’s been badly hurt, but the Doctors say she’s going to make it. Is Lisa or Tim there?”

“Mr. Stevens, I am so relieved. I’ve been worried sick. Let me get Lisa.”

“Hello?”

“Lisa? It’s Uncle Hal. We’ve got Kate and she’s going to be okay. The doctor’s will keep her unconscious till after we’re home. She’s hurt, badly hurt, but the doctors are certain she will be fine. Can you tell Tim? I would have had your Mom call, but she is pretty badly shaken, and she fell asleep as soon as we were airborne.”

“Tim’s showing Grandma and Uncle TJ around. I’ll let them know. Can you have mom call when she wakes?”

“You bet, Honey. We’ll take good care of both of them. We should be home by 5:00 this evening.”

“Thanks, Uncle Hal. I’ll see you then.”

------------------------------------

“Erik, Hal, we’ve got Kate aboard. She’s badly hurt, but not in any danger. Please call Jane and thank her.”

“Hal, that’s great news! What’s happening with the son of a bitch that did it?”

“The FBI is handling it from here on. They were insistent, and made good sense. If we had run with it, there would have been a question of tainting the process. I don’t want there to be any chance this bastard will get away.”

“I think that’s probably best. I was afraid it would work that way, but you were pretty insistent.”

“Okay, I know I can be abrasive when I want to get my way — but I also try to listen. I have to make some more calls; I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.”

“Bye Hal, I’m really glad things are working out.”

---------------------------

Beverly Airport 1630 hours EST, Wednesday, December 19, 2001

An ambulance was waiting on the tarmac as the Boeing Business Jet landed, and Kate was quickly transferred to it. Pat with Tom and Meri rode in the ambulance as it traveled to Stevens Hall; red lights flashing. Annie and Linda followed a bit more sedately in her topaz blue BMW.

Hal and Jeeves thanked the various Cendar personnel for their efforts way above and beyond what was normally expected. Without exception, they all made it clear that they would do it any time for Kate. Jeeves and Hal left the airport together, and Dr. Bellows followed them back to Stevens Hall.

---------------------------

Stevens Hall, Massachusetts, 1715 hours EST, Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Kate was transferred to the medical suite. The EKG, oxygen, and monitors were attached, and connected to the computer. A normal saline IV dripped into her arm. Kate slept peacefully.

Linda and Annie arrived a few minutes later; Linda went to check on Kate, while Annie went to find the kids, Grandma, and TJ. Annie found them in the second floor game room, and escorted them to the medical suite, and then left them alone for a few minutes.

Linda looked up, saw her mother-in-law approach and walked over to embrace her. “I’m so glad you’re here. She’s so badly hurt.” Linda began to cry again.

Lisa and Tim took one look at Kate, lying unconscious. Lisa gasped and rushed from the room. Tim looked a little green, and quickly followed his sister into the hallway.

Dorothy walked over and looked closely. “I can see why you keep referring to ‘her,’” she said. “When you told me about this escapade, I thought it would be a lark, people would laugh, and the two of you would be home at the end of six months. But that’s not going to happen, is it?”

“Mom, I really don’t know. Things have really gone sideways. I’ve made some big mistakes, the Doctor’s screwed up, and she’s the one paying the price. It’s just not fair.”

“Baby, you know, life is not fair. So, what can I do?”

“Can you watch her for a while? I really need to shower and change. Then maybe we can visit, and try to sort things out.”

“I’ll keep an eye on her, Mom, why don’t you go with Linda and help her get cleaned up? She looks like she’s asleep on her feet,” TJ said.

Linda and Dorothy left the suite. Lisa was crying on Annie’s shoulder, and Tim had gone back upstairs.

Tom and Meri continued to monitor her condition until an ICU rated RN arrived. Tom and Meri settled into one of the guest rooms, and after a quick dinner headed to bed.

---------------

“Mom, this is Annie,” Linda introduced Annie to her mother-in-law. “I know you’ve sort of met her, but she’s been a wonderful help after I screwed up. And, she’s kind of your adopted granddaughter since Kate sort of adopted her.”

“How do you ‘sort of’ adopt someone?”

“It’s a long story, and I’m sure you will get it all.”

The four women went up to the master bedroom, and the other three chatted while Linda showered.

Linda had just finished dressing when there was a knock at the door. Vikki brought in dinner, beans and wieners, and a garden salad. “I know Mrs. Stevens loved this as ‘comfort food,’ and I thought maybe you’d like it,” she explained.

Linda gave her a hug, “Thanks, Vikki, I’m sure it’s wonderful.”

TJ was watching over his brother/sister, idly watching TV when Hal, with Dr. Bellows walked into the suite.

Dr. Bellows asked the nurse for her condition, and listened as she explained things were stable, virtually unchanged in the previous hour.

Hal walked over to TJ. “Hi, I’m Hal Stevens, and you are?” Hal asked, extending his hand.

“TJ Williams, John’s brother. I came out with our mom at Annie’s request,” TJ shook his hand. “I don’t know how I should react to you. On the one hand, I feel like kicking your ass for what you’ve done to John; on the other hand, I know you never could have forced him.”

“TJ, if you need to kick my ass, and if that would do Kate, or John any good, then please feel free. You have no idea how much I love her, and how much I loathe what’s happened to her. I would do literally anything for her, and if I could trade places with her right now, I’d willingly do it. I know things are strange. Kate, Linda, and I were just beginning to sort things out when this happened.”

There was a naked honesty about Hal’s words. TJ could see Hal, worn-looking after a night of no sleep, standing there ready to accept TJ’s judgment. “You’re either telling me the truth, or one hell of a poker player. I guess I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for the time being.” TJ reached out to shake hands again. “I will say though, if you ever hurt ‘her’ I will personally blow you to dust bunnies.” TJ was half serious, half joking.

“If I do, I’ll give you the ammo,” Hal bluntly replied. HE wasn’t joking. Abruptly, his reserve, cracked, and he began to sob. “God, I thought I’d lost her, again.”

TJ reached out to the man who loved his brother/sister and Hal held on tight, his large frame wracked with sobbing.

Dr. Bellows, who had observed this scene, allowed Hal’s expression of grief to continue for several minutes, then he discreetly coughed, attracting their attention. “Would you two like an update?” They both nodded. “Well, according to the latest, we’ll allow Kate to wake up in the morning, probably around 10:00, so that I can get some rest first. By the way, Hal, I’m too old for this running around nonsense.

“Anyway, the meds will be eased off, and she should be awake mid to late morning. I intend to be here when that happens, as will Dr. Richards and Dr. Ledbetter. I want the two of you, Annie, Linda, and the kids to be ready and available. As I see it; the biggest task will be rebuilding her will to live. That means she is going to need all the help and love she can get. I don’t doubt she will be extremely depressed, and maybe uncommunicative.”

“TJ, you don’t know me. I’m Dr. Saul Bellows, Saul to my patients and friends. I hope you will count me as one of those. I’m a psychiatrist, and I specialize in gender issues. I know it’s a lot to take in. But in nearly 30 years of practice, your sister is certainly one of the more clearly transgendered individuals I’ve ever treated. She may have been born with a male body, but she certainly is a woman. Perhaps it would be easier for you to imagine Kate as having been born with a birth defect, one she’s trying to correct.”

“Okay Dr. Bellows, I’ve known John had gender issues, but I never expected this. I’ll do my best to be supportive of her. And I’ll be certain everyone else is, too.”

“Good, and now if the two of you will excuse me, I have an appointment with my wife and a bed.” Dr. Bellows left the suite, leaving Hal and TJ alone with Kate, and the nurse.

“Would you like something to eat, and a drink or two?” Hal asked TJ.

“Yeah, I think I’d like that, it’s been a long day for me, too.”

The two went upstairs to the kitchen, asked Vikki for a sandwich, and then went upstairs to the game room to watch TV. Vikki served them pastrami grinders, onion rings and Sam Adams Pale Ale a few minutes later. Neither said much, each lost in their own thoughts. After dinner, the two men joined Linda, Dorothy, and Annie in the lounge. Hal related the plans for the morning; and TJ explained what Dr. Bellows had said.

It was almost comical. The adults checked in on the kids. Lisa complained it was like having 5 parents, and how that was 3 over the legal limit. After that, the adults went to bed. Annie asked to join Linda in bed, and Linda, needing comfort herself willingly accepted.

-----------------------

Stevens Hall, Massachusetts, 0315 hours EST, Thursday, December 20, 2001

In the medical suite, the nurse kept a close watch on her patient. Occasionally, Kate would whimper in her sleep. The nurse would check the vital signs, log the results and pray for the peace the patient so desperately needed.

-----------------------
Stevens Hall, Massachusetts, 0800 hours EST, Thursday, December 20, 2001

Everyone was up, dressed and at breakfast. There was a palpable tension and fear in the air. How would Kate/John, their husband/wife/brother/sister/son/daughter/mother react when she/he awoke?

Lisa was appalled when she finally realized that Kate had been more than beaten, she had been raped. There was a visceral acceptance, from that ultimate degradation, that her dad was indeed a woman.

Hal spent the morning in his office. Part of the time he spent reading in the Bible; part of the time praying to a God he really didn’t know, begging for Kate’s recovery.

Linda was lost in her own torment and guilt. All she could think of was ‘How do I save him, how do I save her?’ She would do anything.

TJ and Tim spent the morning walking through the snow covered estate. TJ trying to focus Tim on anything other than the fear he himself was fighting. ‘What if she has already given up? How can I help her if she refuses help?’ Like Linda, he was fiercely protective, and determined to see her well.

Dorothy spent the morning in the kitchen, more comfortable chatting with Vikki than in sitting around. The two women shared a love of cooking, and Vikki was honestly interested in what she called ‘comfort food’ — those dishes that Kate found comfort in.

-----------------------

Stevens Hall, Massachusetts, 1000 hours EST, Thursday, December 20, 2001

Dr's. Saul Bellows, Norma Ledbetter, and Tom Richards hovered around Kate’s bed. Linda and Dorothy stood easily in sight of the slumbering patient. For the past half hour, Kate had begun to wake, eyes unfocused through her swollen eyes. Shortly after the 10:00 hour something clicked within her consciousness, and her eyes snapped open as wide as the swelling would allow.

Her mouth opened, her face became a mask of desperation and fear as she looked at the faces around her. “Oh God, NO!!! I’m alive, No!!! I can’t be alive!

Then she just screamed incoherently. The hysterical sound could be heard throughout the house. Sobbing, she tried to turn away from the ones who loved her so.

To be continued



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