NYPD 214th Precinct Interrogation Room
Sgt. Miles Tanner was a man who many around the 214th considered to be something of a black sheep. He minded his p's and q's when it came to his paperwork, and made sure that there was no question of his competence. Secretly, people questioned it all the time.
It was well know that the man had a hot temper, and wasn't too friednly when it came to suspects. He had been at the 214th since '98, and he just happened to be in the Wall Street District on 9-11 when the first plane cast its deadly shadow over the streets surrounding the Twin Towers. He'd just been a simple patrolman off duty that day. But when the flames engulfed the seat of America's economy, that off duty officer sprang into action without even wearing his badge. He had pulled six terrified people from the bottom floor of the north tower who were all huddled below escalators, too petrified to even move. Amidst the falling bodies from the World Trade Center hitting the pavement, making noises as loud a gunshots as they hit the pavement, Officer Miles Tanner emerged unscathed and made a hero.
Since 9-11 however, he had become a hardened man, as so many of New York's finest had that day. In interrogation, he was like a bulldog with its bone. This past week, five years after 9-11, he had been the only one on duty qualified for interrogation in the wee hours of the morning. He was tired and irritated. About the last thing he wanted to be doing right now was questioning a punk kid who, in Tanner's opinion, had a good chance of being the perp in the murder he "witnessed".
Tanner lit up a cigarette. Against regs, but he didn't really care at this point in the night. He stared across the table at the kid, who stared daggers back at him.
"21 years old, huh?"
James Young rolled his eyes. "That's what it says on my ID."
Tanner blew a smoke ring in the Young's direction and smirked.
"So three years ago, you made yourself game for a needle."
Young couldn't believe the run of luck he'd had tonight.
Tanner took another drag and sais, "Let's hear it from the top."
Tanner slammed his open hand on the table, making Young jump a bit.
"Yeah, goddammit! Again!"
Young counted to ten and started for the sixth time the evnts that his evening had included.
"I got out of class at NYU at 4:00. I spent maybe twenty minutes in the student lounge, then I went to Mid-Manhattan Library til' 7 or so."
"Doing what?" growled Tanner.
"I was looking at old microfilms."
Tanner waved his square at Young to continue.
"I rode my scooter down to the Union Square station, got on til 51st, and then rode over to Elmhurst. I was walking home from there when I heard something down that alley. I saw the two guys scuffling down about halfway. I saw one guy hit the other in the stomach, and when he pulled away, I saw that he'd stabbed him. I hid at the end of the alley. After a few minutes I went down to check the guy. I saw that he was dead, so I went down to the other end of the alley to see if the other guy was still around. He was gone, so I dialed 911."
There were a few seconds silence as Tanner rubbed his eye and stabbed out his smoke. Then finally, "I think I remember this somewhere before."
Young Bent over and banged his forehead on the table. He couldn't believe this guy. He was like the antithesis of everything he'd always thought cops to be. But now, he just couldn't take anymore of this guy and still be civil. He raised his head with fury in his eyes. "Damn right you oughta remember it! That's the sixth time I've told you, you dumbfuck!"
Tanner snapped up and leaned over the table, drilling a finger at Young. "Watch it, Junior! You fuck with me, and you're through!"
Young narrowed his eyes. "Are you threatening me, man?"
Tanner shook his head. "Just consider it a friendly little warning."
The door opened, and in walked a man from Young's distant past. A man who with tears in his eyes stood at guard over Vince Young's coffin at Tattaglia Funeral Parlor. Jack Antonacci's face had a lot more lines and his hair flecked with far more grey. His mustache had become salt and pepper. And his eyes were very heavy. But those eyes seemed to hold a certain compassion as he looked across the room at Young, who simply stared back, without any emotion at all.
Tanner turned to the door. "Cap? What are you doing here? It's 1:30."
Antonacci looked at Tanner. "Miles, you look tired. Why don't you step out and get some coffee, I'll take over here."
Tanner crinkled his brow in slight confusion. "Captain?"
Antonacci nodded. "Go on."
Tanner looked sidelong at Young. "You're gonna miss me real bad in a few minutes."
"Seargent..." Antonacci said with a warning tone in his voice.
Tanner got up and sauntered to the door. After he had left, Antonacci turned to Young as he walked over to the now vacant chair. "Don't mind him. He's a little edgy all the time. But especially late at night, and it doesn't help that there's a cop killer on the loose."
Young nodded. "Oh, yeah, that's right. You would know wouldn't you."
Antonacci sat down and hung his head over between his arms resting on the table. He looked up at Young with a long and puncuating exhalation. "Still feel like kicking my ass?"
Young was stone faced. "The idea had crossed my mind."
Antonacci gave a wan smile. "I thought so." He leaned back in his chair. "You had someone we've been hunting like hell standing fifty feet away from you tonight. Your head must be swimming right about now."
Young tilted his head and lied. "Nope. The killer didn't faze me. But old Smokey there blowing rings in my face didn't help the headache."
Antonacci chuckled wheezedly. "Goddamn, you sounded just like your old man when you said that," he rubbed his temple. "Look James, I know you don't like me. You don't like me because I was at home, safe and sound that night, and your dad got sent to the morgue. You have no idea how much I wish to this day that he and I could have traded places. I hunted for his killer for months after the murder. It was my one driving thought. It almost destroyed me. Now I'm looking at you, and you have the same look in your eye. But I gotta tell you James, I learned that some cases have to be left alone-"
Young shot out of his chair. "What?! You think that my father, the guy who guarded your back for five years, is a case that needs to be left alone?" He leaned over the table into Antonacci's face. "I'll tell you what I think Jack. I don't think you ever gave a damn about my father. And now that another cop killing psycho is out there on the streets and I see him, I'm brought in here and questioned like a common criminal? Fuck you!"
Now Antonacci got up and barked, "Sit down!"
Young was slightly startled. He sat down slowly and looked Antonacci right in his brown eyes.
Antonacci started again, softly. "Now I already apologized for Miles. I would have thought you'd understand why you were questioned. You were the only witness to the attacker, besides Charlie Seaver and now he's dead. We can't be too careful here. Not when we're the ones being hunted." He sat down. "I've put in a call to your mom. She's on her way down. But you'd better send some emails to your professors to tell 'em you're not gonna be in class tomorrow. We're gonna need you back down here."
Young was puzzled. "Why? I couldn't see his face. I could only tell you his height and body type. So unless you're gonna bring in 20% of the male population in New York for a line-up-"
"We don't need you to give any more description."
"Then what the hell do you want me for?"
Antonacci seemed to consider for a moment, then said, "You'll see."
Antonacci got up, strode to the door which he opened, and beckoned James outside. At Young's puzzled look, Antonacci only laughed.