2007-12-26: Get Off the Damned, Dirty Bus


Brian_icon.gif Church_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif Damascus_icon.gif Celeste_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Chris Hannigan

Summary: As another person with abilities is targeted, a bus full of people scramble to reenact Speed — in a manner of speaking.

Date It Happened: December 26th, 2007

Get Off the Damned, Dirty Bus


New York City

A city bus — one of the older ones, but in good repair — readies to pull away from a popular stop in SoHo, waiting for the last few people to get on for the ride and the last few people to depart. The bus driver, a scar-faced African American man with a cheerful disposition and penchant for talking to himself, salutes every rider as they pay their fare.

It's getting dark out. The sky is clear, for Manhattan, and it's cold — but it could be a lot colder. The lights of Manhattan glint through the bus windows, some holiday decorations among the glimmers.

Celeste sitting towards the back of the bus with her headphones in listening to her music, she looks around at the others on the bus and those getting on before she turns back to the window, watching the passing scenery.

Damascus has already been riding the bus prior this stop. In fact, he's been on it for quite some time. With his office closed he's left with a terrifying dearth of 'useful' things to do … so simply taking in the sights this way seems a valid option to him. Perhaps others like him ride with no real destination in-mind … or perhaps he's alone in that. Either way he sits near the back, leaned against one cold window. His jacket and scarf are still done-up — buses aren't known for being too dreadfully warm versus the crisp outside. The same lights of holiday and city alike flicker and gleam across his sunglasses, both as he idly turns his head to observe, and as the bus moves or doesn't.

One of the last to board, Brian makes his way up the steps a gym bag hanging from his shoulder. He's wearing a black track jacket, a pair of dark jeans and a styilized white hat, tugged low on his forehead. His eyes searching the empty seats as he moves through the aisle way. The desire to find an empty seat driving him further back into the bus. Don't want to sit there.. or there. He continues. And then there's not much bus left. And he has few options left of where to sit. Damascus.. and then Celeste. Placing his gym bag on his lap, Brian obviously goes to sit next to Celeste.


Church has been on the bus now for a few stops, though for no apparent reason other than going somewhere that his car cannot take him. Though with all the weather as it is, he might just be trying to avoid driving, period. He sits near the middle of the bus, the expression on his face somewhere between sleepy and daydreaming; the warmth of the bus and the fact he's dressed for winter finds him cozy enough to look drowsy altogether. His hands are jammed into his front coat pockets, and the bottom edge of his face is hidden behind the brown fuzz of a scarf. Sitting on his shoulder is one end of said scarf, which is shaped like the cartoon-head of a reindeer. There may* or may not be a light inside its nose (*there is, but it is not blinking).

Niki isn't among one of the people already on the bus — meaning, she steps in at the last minute. The blonde is bundled up in a black winter jacket, unzipped just enough for a hint of the soft, grey, white-flecked sweater she's wearing underneath to show, also wearing a pair of trim-fitting black pants tucked into dark brown faux suede slouchy winter boots. She's not paying much attention to the comings and goings of the people around her who she brushes past; she's just looking for a free seat - but finds none, which brings her to clutch one of the metal support poles…

…in front of Church. She pauses to stare. "…Well, this is familiar." Haha funny.

The very last person to get on the bus is a man, somewhere in the realm of late twenties, early thirties, bundled up heavily and carrying a dark green canvas messenger bag with a COMPUSURE - Be Sure, Be Compusure! button on it. Frowning grimly at finding nowhere to sit, he starts to push gruffly to the back of the bus, keeping his head down.

Celeste turns to the man who sits next to her and looks at him and smiles, "Hi." she says back to him and returns to look back out the window. Listening to her music, but turns it down just a little so it doesn't drown out the other sounds around her.

Damascus watches people come, watches people go. Though now more people are on the bus than off it. In fact, it's a bit crowded now. He at least is content with his seat by the window, but a little less than content with the crowding. No one approaches him specifically, but the man pushing towards the back of the bus, he watches simply due to demeanor.

Settling next to Celeste, the man surreptitiously eyes the woman next to him. What a nice smile. His arms splay over his gym bag, leaning over a little bit. "So, whatya listening to?" He asks, smiling a tiny bit. Church goes unnoticed so does the frowny man who comes back into the back of the bus as well.

Some things are just meant to be! Whether or not this includes Niki on poles in front of Lawrence is yet to be determined. He is only half watching anyone coming and going, up until Niki comes into his square view; it is then that he seems to wake up again, sitting straighter in his seat and blinking upwards at the woman's face. Familia- oh. Yes. Well. "How you doin'?" He drawls in response, but his face can't help but smirk. Just kidding.

"Would you like my seat? I'm not really using it." If Niki might want to sit on his lap instead- Church won't complain about that. Then again, it's fine if she likes to stand. At least he is asking.

Niki doesn't seem particularly amused by Church; she does lift a pair of dark blonde brows and smirk a little bit. She manages, after a moment, to smile in a way that might be genuinely gracious. "… Thanks, but I'm okay here." On … the pole. Maybe she should have obliged to taking that seat after all. "I don't even usually take the bus," she comments off-handedly — because it's weird, that she'd run into Church here, of all places. The strip club was somehow more likely.

The man with the green bag vibrates as he brushes past people on his way to the back - or rather, a phone on his person does. He pulls it out and answers it silently, stern-faced all the while. The bus jerks into motion, but he doesn't reach out for support, holding onto his bag instead. "Just keep your head down," he says lowly into the phone. "You want to prove your salt, you just figure it out, man. We're trying to make a point here." He keeps his voice low, but in this crowd, someone's bound to overhear. Most people don't care to interpret him, though. "Don't tell me you're getting cold feet."

Celeste smiles, "I'm listening to Apocalyptica." she says "Did you just get done working out?" she asks with a grin, motioning to the bag, as she continues to listen to her music.

The quiet loner in the bus is paying attention. Maybe not to as much at once as he'd prefer, but he is. To what's going by outside, to the unit that is Brian and Celeste, and to the stern-faced man. /Especially/ him. Of his foci, he's closest. Damascus's sunglasses stave off the direct, noticable line of a stare. Though it's a bit of a strain to hear the conversation given the ambient noise, Damascus is listening. But doing, saying nothing. His face doesn't even so much as twitch an expression.

"Apocalypta." Brian repeats, tilting his head. "Never heard of em." He comments lightly, letting his eyes dance around the rest of the bus. A woman standing. He wets his lips for a moment. He would allow her his seat were she not so far away in the bus. Would it be awkward to walk all the way over there to offer his seat. He starts to get up, but then the woman next to him speaks. Causing him to instantly sit back. "Uhh.. Sure, I guess you could say that. Some type of exercise, yeah."

"You know what, I don't either. At least not often. I'm just a bit tired, or I probably would have walked." Hey- As far as Lawrence is concerned, if Niki hasn't walked away yet, then she can stand to be around him. It's as simple as that. "How was your Christmas?" Small talk, at twelve o'clock.

"It was fine," Niki gives the generic answer, but adds just a second later, "It was … nice." She holds tightly onto the pole as the bus makes a turn and comes to a halt at another stop and she's barraged not only by the motion of the bus, but by the horde of people. It's a quick stop; more people get off than on, but they hurry about it. This is, after all, NYC. No one takes their time. When a few seats are freed up, Niki sits down across the aisle from Church and crosses her legs. "How was yours?" Yep, small talk.

Chris Hannigan — that's the man with the green bag — hangs up his phone with a snap. Even though he's made it to his apparent destination at the back, now he eyes the crowd. He's not obvious about it. He pretends to glance out the window, to check his phone. When the bus makes its stop, he shuffles ahead and slides into a seat two old ladies away from Brian and Celeste. He lays his bag on the seat next to him, holding onto it protectively.

And the bus drives on.

The man looks out the window and then at his watch, checking how long it is 'til the next stop.

Celeste nods, "They are a band from Norway, they play Heavy Metal, but they play all of their music on Cellos, they are pretty good." she says with a smile, "That's kool I guess." she turns back to the window and looks at the scenery passing by and listening to her music.

Small talk is definitely better than No talk. Church smiles and gives her the smallest of shrugs. "As good a holiday as a bachelor can have. I think next year could be better." Here's to hoping. After he speaks, Church takes a deeper breath and casts a glance over the rest of the bus as if to re-orient himself. Each person gets at least a moment of inspection for distraction purposes. When Lawrence glances back at the blonde, he smiles less gleefully and more sincerely. "…I'm glad that yours was nice, Niki." Not a pet name, not miss Sanders. Just Niki, for once.

Damascus simply continues to watch. There's no real reason to do much else. He shifts a bit against the window as the bus's stop spawns a new, bitterly cold breath of air through the bus. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, bar the man and his bag. And that's only slightly so; Damascus looks at the bag as it flashes by. He surmises a laptop is inside. Idly deigns to know what kind. Wonders if the man works at the place the bag advertises. He brings more attention to the fore. Deadpan curiosity is strange to look at.

"Right. Sounds.. neato." Brian murmurs idly, leaning back into his seat. He is most decidedly ignorant of much that goes on in the bus. Especially the man who sits near him. And most especially the man who pays attention to the man who sits near him. He steals a couple glances of Celeste, wondering if it would be appropriate to try to start up a different conversation. But in one of those glances her, looks out the window and the headphones suggest he remain silent, his hands clasped on top of his gym bag.

Niki regards the man who she only knows as school personnel … mostly … for a moment before ducking her head down, a swathe of blonde hair falling ahead, off of her shoulder, as she does so. "I'm … not saying it couldn't've been nicer," she says, but that's all she's willing to grant to an acquaintance.

The bus comes to another stop. Yellow taxis flood the streets in this busy main drag, but the bus manages to pull in to pick up its passengers who like this form of public transportation today over the taxi and train.

Unlucky them. Chris takes his bag and gets to his feet, holding onto a rung above him as if he's making for the door. However, he leaves his precious parcel beside. Strange, since he was so protective of it. The green canvas bag is left on the seat behind him. As he passes Brian, he noticeably glares at the man, his own dark eyes narrowing. He points at the man, pulling an invisible trigger with his finger: the universal symbol for BANG. You're dead.

Celeste continues to look out the window as her iPod changes to the next song, then looks back to Brian, "Yeah they are pretty kool, so How was your holiday?" she says trying to change the subject and then looks around on the bus to see if there is anyone new on, and sees the others making small talk and turns back to face the front of the bus instead of the window, because the fast moving of everything outside of the window is starting to give her a headache. Notices the man getting off and making the rude gesture and wonders why the man was doing that, then turns to Brian "Did you just see that?" she asks confused.

Staring at the man as he passes by, Brian screws his face up. "Excuse me sir, is there a problem?" Brian asks, trying to hide how affronted he is. The young man goes to stand up, flicking a glance to Celeste, waving a dismissive hand. "What's your problem?" He asks at the finger gun man.

Damascus blinks idly, at that. His thoughts neatly trainwreck as his presuppositions are proven incorrect. The bag-man clearly's aware of the location and state of the bag … and very clearly leaves it behind. That's not right. Damascus holds a hand up, gets up slightly, and starts to say something, but the man's in such a hurry to leave and … what's up with that gesture? The young man squints, makes his way forward to where the bag is, and holding onto the bus-rail, looks at it. Squints. Thinks.

Church knows exactly why that is, too- but he says nothing on it, nor gives an illusion of knowing. He can only feign understanding with a slight nod. All he can do to keep from schmoozing with Niki unintentionally is pay attention to everything else- not to mention that something is amiss, and he can practically smell it. There's that old lady picking her nose again- and that dude is getting up and not really leaving- are his panties riding or something? …Why is he making that trigger finger? Where's that bag he was holding? Niki might notice the teacher's face crease up in suspicion if she cares to be looking over. When Brian speaks up, Church seems to have a moment of recognition. I know that guy, don't I?

Lawrence clears his throat and stands up as if to get ready to leave, the hands in his pockets shaking out and his eyebrows knitting together as he steps in the general way of Everyone that might be trying to get off the bus or move around in the aisle- this includes blocking Chris from a speedy or unhindered exit, but not as if Lawrence picked him out of the crowd. Church is a full grown man, and it's a fairly easy task to be in The Way.

Niki doesn't clue in that there's anything unusual going on around her on the bus. She's paying attention to Church, and the traffic outside, neither of which seem to hold her attention to any captivating degree — until the former gets up to leave without saying goodbye. If there's anything she's learned about Church lately, it's that he likes to get in the last word. She just squints slightly, watching him go.

Chris doesn't respond to his apparent target's question. He doesn't respond to anything. His face is a steely mask as he just tries to slip past the old ladies he was sitting by earlier, with their whirlwind of chatter and shopping bags, in order to get to the door of the bus and leave, but just when he seems to overcome that obstacle, there's another one: Church. "'Scuse me," he says gruffly - even more gruffly is the shove he sends the man's way. He may not realize that he was picked out of the crowd, but judging by his grim demeanour… he would have done the same to one of the old ladies.

Celeste sits there not sure of what to think about everything that is going on except her own safety, she stays quiet and tries not to stare at the man, but can't help but wonder what is going to happen next.

Brian goes to sit back down, next to Celeste. Giving a shrug, he tilts his head back. "Weird." He murmurs, laying his hands in his lap.

Damascus presently … lacks the "gut feeling" that something is off, but what he's short on in that department he more than makes up for with cold, hard calculating power. In his mind's what could be visually expressed as an ability to solve rubix cubes really, really fast — something's wrong, he's ticking through a list of possibilities, and it's quickly narrowing into unpalatable ones.
…but he's damnably curious. Looking up again he notes the man trying really hard to get off the bus. Resorting to physical coercion, even. Looking down … he almost idly nudges aside the main flap on the bag, looking into it. For all his curiosity, there's still no expression. If you didn't know better, he just looks sort of bored.

Close quarters is all and good, but Lawrence rather likes far different company. Especially once the shove is aimed his way, the desire to reach out and grab the man by the arm of his coat bubbles over. There is even a small shove right back. Unless Chris suddenly turns intangible or feels the need to pick a fight, there is little else to stop Church from latching onto his arm with a tight grip. "Ho, there, buddy- I think you might've forgotten something." And everyone hears him say it.

The blonde's brow starts to furrow, and she leans to the side to get a better look of what Church is doing — who he's talking to and why. It's not immediately obvious, though, and although Niki tenses up, she doesn't quite comprehend what's happening. But she watches.

"Everybody off who's gettin' off!" the bus driver shouts in cheerful reminder with a wave of his age-spotted hand. The bus can't stall too long, after all, before it has to motor.

Chris eyes Church and doesn't answer — he just tries to step around him. When that, inevitably, doesn't work, he tries to wrench away. Finally… "Get out of my way. I'm gonna miss my stop."

Everyone is going to miss their stop, if Chris Hannigan has his way. The flap of the bag brushes aside just enough to allow Damascus, and anyone who's watching very closely, a peek inside. What did you think was in the bag? Of course, it's exactly what the worst possible scenario could be, the most expected, the most cliche, the most deadly. A ticking time bomb. There's no mistaking it. It's homemade, but pieced together with finely-crafted parts with the purpose to destroy.


Celeste nods, "Yeah." but for the most part still tries to figure out what the guys problem is, and watches as Church is taking control of the man, and stays quiet for the most part so she doesn't draw to much attention to herself. She takes out her headphones and puts away her i-pod so she can try to understand what is currently happening.

Yhea, that's some oh shi- right there. Damascus notes the counter, runs it from there in-mind, and … with a surprising absence of alarm, puts the flap back down over the bomb. And frowns, oh so mildly. He considers, looks pointedly to the driver's aisle-mirror, and raises his voice to project, "Driver. Please contact the authorities. Urgently." He then looks around, considers potential panic vs. necessity and adds louder, still with no emotion, "Everyone needs to get off the bus. Now." He doesn't touch the bag anymore, but doesn't move either. He watches the two men in the beginnings of a brawl near the front of the bus, his grip on the bus railing twitching, white-knuckled. It's an odd contrast to his seeming LACK of panic.

Brian settles down next to Celeste, idly wondering what people's problems are and why people are being so loud. But right now, Brian remains blissfully unaware until—. He watches Damascus oddly with a quirk of his brow. As he commands everyone to get off the bus. He doesn't move yet… why should you listen to someone who provides no reason. He glances over to Celeste. "This is perhaps the most odd bus ride I have ever been on."

Despite what Chris may want, Lawrence isn't letting go of him anytime soon. If he cares to look up at the stranger, then he'll get an eyeful of a strikingly icy glint from those usually warm brown eyes. If she's still watching, so will Niki. "It's my personal policy to be as bothersome as I possibly can." His ears practically perk when there is a stranger's voice in them- Damascus, helpfully being helpful. Unfortunately, it only confirms that fishy feeling.

In the middle of the narrow aisle, Church keeps his grip tight; Chris' continued protestations will only be met with a more bodily pull and shove, the agent latched onto him pushing the would-be-escapee down into the seat he himself no longer occupies.

"Everyone, get off the bus." The echo of Damascus from Lawrence is probably going to be more effective due to volume and urgency, among other, smaller factors. Most of all the fact that the older man sounds like he knows what he is doing, somehow.

Niki slowly, gradually, gets to her feet, grabbing onto the pole with one hand and looking down the aisle. It's not until the announcement of the man with the sunglasses that any sort of real alarm sinks in; it flickers in her eyes, now, as she turns a worried look on Damascus — then Church. She's probably not alone in that look. "What's going on…?"

A flash of determined emotion sparks in Chris's eyes. The flash of crazed belief. "Let go of me, buddy." He's urged down into the seat, falling hard, begrudging. But he doesn't sit pretty; he reaches into his coat and pulls out a gun.

That, combined with the voices of Damascus and Church, have people rushing out of their seats and running for the doors. The bus driver, who was about to kick the bus into gear again, looks back, eyes wide. The doors of the bus lock in the OPEN position.

5:01:57, the counter declares to nothing but the inner flap of the bag it's concealed in.

Celeste nods, "Yeah, but could you please let me out, I think I want to get off of this bus and listen to what the man is saying, because I'm pretty sure he isn't lying at this moment." she says a little worriedly. She stays still for the most part so Chris doesn't freak out on her also because that would be pretty bad, she turns back to Brian, "Please let me out, I want to get off of this bus." she says a little more urgently, now that she can see the alarm on some of the others faces. Now the gun, she freaks out and says, "Let me out NOW! Please let me out, I need to get off of this bus." she says more firmly this time.

Brian isn't the most perceptive guy. But very strange things are happening. Coupled with the fact that Celeste is nigh freaking out, the young man raises from his seat, and peers at the seat behind him. The one with the bag. He goes to check it for himself.

"What's going on?" He asks Damascus as he approaches. Going to reach over the man for the bag. Damascus is acting particularly odd about a discarded bag. Might as well investigate.

Damascus fails to take into account that people resist commands that don't come from authority figures. In the loosest sense of the word, he's relieved that someone else reinforces his command. But the whole gun thing starts the rushing and probably panic. Sigh.

Nonetheless, the mental stumble throws off a tangle of calculations, leaving the young man reeling for a few moments while his mind tries to keep up. He can't pay nearly enough attention to the people rushing around him now, most of his mentality now focused on managing the situation, himself, and running a counter. (Emotions aside, there's something a little distracting about a rapidly-decreasing number which invariably spells one's demise.)

Damascus starts indicating the emergency-exit windows to the people who're panicking in the back of the bus, trying to keep them from running over him and each other. Bus aisles leave a lot to be desired as far as maneuverability goes. His head snaps to Brian as he nears, and he reaches prohibitively for the bag, holding its strap. "There is a bomb in this bag. Its counter is at 5:00:29! Please exit the bus. It's not safe."

"Niki, get off the bus-" Lawrence has to turn his head just slightly in order to growl loudly at her and the rest of them; he goes rigid when the gun rears its ugly head, however. He is standing stock still in front of the seat, remaining very much in the way of at least Chris. It's not fright that Church freezes by. Maybe anger. Possibly his own kind of flashy determination. He only has a few choice words for the bomber.

"You do not want to shoot that in here." Or Lawrence, especially.

Niki doesn't waste time in springing into action. Everyone says "get off the bus," she's going to get off the bus — especially when there's a gun in the equation. Then again, she's not so swift as the panicked bus riders who rush past her, in part because they block an easy path, and in part because she cautiously eyes Church and the man with the gun. She freezes, spinning around halfway to the nearest exit. If she could just…

The would-be — might still be — bomber doesn't screw around. The shot is fired.

But it's not Church who gets the bullet, it's the ceiling of the bus. So far. He pushes up, raging, chest to chest with the other man, gun coming to shove at his chest. "We're all gonna blow sky high." Wild eyes rage their way over to Brian. "All because of my boy here. Mister million bodies." What does it say about Mr. Chris Hannigan, that he'd rather blow up a whole bus than shoot Brian in the head?


Celeste turns to the window she was just by and checks to see if it is an emergency exit, and it's her lucky day, it is. She goes to the window lifts up on the emergency handle and pushes the window out. She throws her coat out first so it's easier to get out of the window hole and tries to get out of the window slowly so it doesn't cause the gunman to try and shoot her.

Brian blanches now. At Damascus cool and calm narration of what is in the seat. The young man stares for a moment, his head whipping over his shoulder at Church and the other man too… Then he looks back at Damascus. His face goes from disbelief to determination.

"Then why aren't you doing something?!" Brian asks angrily. One hand goes to seize the man by the shoulder, going to shove him back just a step. His other hand darting at the bag. He tries to get mostly out of the way of fleeing traffic, though it's possible some run into him. Then the shot goes off. Brian whips his head back, his eyes going wide.

Million bodies…

"He's after me.." He says breathlessly. He tries to secure the bag against his chest.

It starts first as a tic in his brow, but tears across his face like cold, shattering glass. It's a /snarl/, and a horrific one at that. "I am doing something. I'm removing everyone from harm's way. GET OFF OF THE BUS." Having been watching Brian he's half-expecting the jolt of attempted bag-steal. He shoves back at Brian and tries his damnedest to keep hold of the bag.

Brian ducks, whipping his gaze behind him. "You're being an idiot! You are on a bus in New York City. We have to get this thing out of here! He's after me. Now either come with me or give me the FUCKING BAG!" He yells angrily, throwing one hand at his shoulder, the other pulling hard at the bag to wrench it into his own grasp.

Chest to chest, gun to chest, eye to eye. Bullet in the ceiling? There are worse noises than a gun, and Lawrence fails to be flinching. Sure, Church does not want to die- but neither does anyone else here. "Been there, done that." Sky high for the Rocket Man is old news. He feigns cluelessness when it comes to Brian. "I don't know what in the Hell you're on about- but nobody here is going home in a body bag." Though the Bomb Bag is another deal completely. Is that seriously the sound of people fighting over it? He can't look over- he has to watch this guy.

If Niki knew Church to be anything other than a high school guidance counsellor and teacher, she might be more trusting in his confidence. But she doesn't. She doesn't know his secret life as much as he knows hers. Soon, she's right behind him. Bomb? What bomb? No one really knows what's going on.

Chris shoves the barrel of the gun harder into Church's chest. There's really no missing, at this range, is there? As panic ensues around him, the man stays steely; not calm, but collected. He takes everything in, and he chooses his best option. Instead of shooting Church and causing more panic with the loud, explosive noise and impeding his escape in this crucial minutes, he tries a simpler tactic. He tries to punch — that is, pistol-whip — Church in the face and get the hell out of dodge.


Celeste scrapes both knees climbing out of the window and falling to the ground, but grabs her jacket and runs as far away from the bus as she can. When she gets far enough away, she takes out her cell phone and dials 911 to get the proper authorities there hopefully on time.

Damascus is shoved and loses his grasp on the bag. He staggers and is stopped from falling by the back of a seat. The snarl ebbs sharply, and his eyes are darting with a ridiculous cascade of thought — not that such can be seen. He doesn't have time for getting flustered. Now that almost everyone's off the bus …. well. Hm. Shit. In the real world, things didn't take the pre-measured, logical amount of time they took in math problems. There were just too many other variables to contend with, variables he couldn't yet process to their entirety.

The young man's voice is level again, though his lip's still curled. He's actively moving to physically block Brian from getting anywhere. "There's no time to go anywhere with that. The counter's at— " And Damascus spits the woefully shortening number on the unseen counter, down to the millisecond. He's speaking … quite fast. "What distance will you achieve in that span of time? How fast can you run? What do you think you can do? Why take an explosive into an /unevacuated/ area? Why—-are we wasting time with this discussion? I have some knowledge of such devices, /please let me see it!/"

Brian glances out the windows. What's the chances of getting to a roof that fast. Not very high… He opens his mouth. Ideas aren't coming quickly. Some knowledge of such devices. That isn't very reassuring. He wets his lips, what the hell does he do. /Help me, Father./ Then he drops to his knees, fishing the device out the bag. "Get to it!" He shouts up at Damascus. "What were you waiting for, just standing there?!" His hand rips the gym bag off the seat. Zipping it open a bunch of clothes are pulled out quickly. He glances over his shoulder at the happenings in the front of the bus. Not much he can do there..

Call it luck, call it 'I've been whipped before'- whatever ability to reel back that Church has, it's all put into that split second. While it misses him by a hair, in doing so it has pushed him a little bit further back than what is natural, and the man stumbles back into Niki; not so much falling on her, really, but just teetering at her.

In the end, Chris gets what he wants, and slips out of reach. There's nothing that Lawrence can do about him, now. Only when Church regains his footing does he open his mouth again at the two fidgeting over the bomb. He even pushes himself forward and after them. "GET OFF THE DAMNED, DIRTY BUS." This isn't Planet of the Apes, but it is a similar sensation of irritation. "Give me that, and get out. It could have a damned trip on it-" AKA: Don't play with shit you don't know about.

Niki, bracing herself with a wide stance in her heeled boots, grabs Church when he teeters. He may not fall entirely, but she's there to make sure he won't — she stabilizes him from behind with two hands on his shoulders. The tension over the contents of the bag? She hears it, sees it, understands it to some degree, but one thing at a time. Right now, the guy with the gun seems to be a priority. She can't just stand idly by, not when someone could get hurt; maybe if she understood exactly what was in that bag she'd run away faster, but as it is? She steps up beside Church and grabs for Chris's gun-hand — with the intent to twist it into uselessness.

Chris all but snarls at Church. He's not about to waste another second-until he's forced to by some blonde chick. When Niki grabs for him, he manages to evade her strength, just barely, by being a slippery weasel. Fully intending to leave the masses to their doom, he makes a run for the nearby door onto the street. Sirens sound, somewhere; but who's to say they're related? Sirens are always going off somewhere.


Celeste dials 911 and lets it ring, once they answer she gives the operator as much information as possible after getting away from the bus so she isn't in the danger zone anymore.

Only a handful of people remain on the bus: Church, Brian, Damascus, Niki, and several others who are either frozen in place in the confusion or want to help but don't know how, plus the bus driver, who speaks urgently to dispatch.

"I was waiting for the majority to get off of the bus." Damascus says firmly to Brian and seizes the device, setting it in the aisle and running his hands across it. He quickly evaluates the whole thing. "Because as I stated … I only have -some- knowledge." Deadpan, deadpan. His sizing up of the device completed, he apparently spots what he was looking for: a panel. He pries it open with a swiss army knife he carefully fetches from a pocket, and is greeted with … wires clearly spraypainted black. He stops dead for several precious seconds, and it's in these seconds that Church is whargarbl'ing at him not to touch. Well, too late. Damascus gives the man sidelong regard but doesn't pause, taking his sunglasses off to squint at the wires, rubbing at them tentatively. Paint. Off. Need.

He doesn't know anything about bombs. He knows they blow up. Damascus knows -some- and there's a big guy who yells at people. What to do. Looking to Church then back to Damascus, Brian backs up, abandoning his gym bag and clothes. That idea has been abandoned rather quickly. Maybe if he replicated enough bodies he could cover up the blast… He bites his lip and backs up so that Church and Damascus can work. Then he looks at the rest. That's one thing he can do. Sliding past Church, the young man starts escorting people off the bus. Niki and another individual are grabbed by the wrist as he urges them to come along with him.

Church is pretty much right there with Damascus at this point, hands palm up to Damascus. "I was in the military, boy, give me the goddamn bomb." Which is only a partial lie, so it sounds true. "There are other ways. Get off the bus. Please." Read: Bitch, move, before I make you get off.

In light of the gunman running off the bus, Niki gapes. And then stares even more when she sees the panel of wires in the thing Damascus has. A bomb. As she's grabbed by the wrist, she goes along on automatic, looking over her shoulder wide-eyed all the while.


Damascus is a creature of logic. His logic, as explained to Brian, still stands. So does his lip curl. He doesn't move, but he looks up sidelong at Church, eyes fierce blue. There is no response — he's A LITTLE ABSORBED with what he's doing. He's managed to reveal the color of the wires — with careful, nimble hands he touches them, eyes still racing. Then, yhea.

Brian has got a few off the bus. Though he quickly races back on to physically pull the bus driver at the door. Once he is just outside, throwing his hands up. "Everyone back away from the bus!" He shouts out, going to guide people himself away from the bus. It just so happens, his hands fall on Niki's shoulders, guiding her and others away.

0:54:35 … 0:54 … 0:52…

"I swear to God if you pluck the wrong ones I'll take off your head in Hell." It's never the red wire. That is a trope. As the colors peek through, Lawrence comments with a growl and squints in mild twitchiness at them. Or is it really twitching? Is it getting warm in here…?

Only now is hesitation borne from the part of Damascus that separates him from the ranks of computers. His stomach lurches, his sympathetic nervous system going insane in ways he's all too aware of. But that's just damned inconvenient. A decision's made. A precise move of Damascus's hand has already flicked the swiss army knife to those little scissors. He's selected the blue wire, based on what -some- he knows. Cuts.

Niki finds herself on the sidewalk, staring up at the bus with Brian's presence behind her.

Police have arrived, and she, along with Celeste, Brian and onlookers curious about why everyone is fleeing a city bus, are herded hurriedly away. The bomb squad hasn't arrived just yet, so the question is: do the outsiders get away fast enough?

0:50… 0:49…

In a darkened alley, panting for breath, Chris Hannigan flattens against the wall and reaches into his coat. He pulls out his cell phone, entering a series of codes. He glances back in the direction he came from, and then he presses SEND.

0:47 … 0:00:00

As the swiss army knife slices through the coating of the blue wire, a spark travels. Just as the bomb is about to be deactivated — just as the spirals of electrical wire begin to be devasted inside the blue casing — it goes off. Was it the wrong wire? Was it a tripwire? A trap? Was it activated from afar? The reality is that it was the latter, but nothing is obvious except for what happens next. The zeroes flash for a few more seconds before freezing in place. And then… there's the blast.

Even as Damascus finishes cutting that wire, Lawrence's confidence and recklessness both lead him to snatch away the bomb as that eerie calm before the storm falls over the air. Did this kid really…? It's not stopping. Lawrence's jaw tightens, and he literally wraps himself around the contraption, the lights of the numbers glinting off of his brown eyes. It is warm in here. Too warm. The moment before the bomb, even the bus itself seems to exude an aura of unnatural heat.

Inside of the bus, the air around Church seems to spark alive- not with an electric force- with an increasing heat and the shimmer of white-hot fire. There is a thrumming of noise that rumbles through the metal bus just before the five zeroes on that panel finish flashing. Blink. Blink. Blink. End.

Or not.

Where there should be a massive explosion and fiery, metallic death- there isn't. Not quite, anyway- not quite the effect that the bomber may have been searching for. Huddled against a separate, more powerful field in Lawrence, the effect of the bomb is muffled; the innards of the bus flashes with orange, red, white, and the sound of the explosion sways the bus on the concrete below with a heavy boom, boom, BOOM. The street around the bus lights up as if there were fireworks. In his expertise, Church has aimed what he cannot absorb out the end of the bus empty of civilians. Damascus will seemingly get a front row seat to what appears to be Lawrence using himself to stop the flashing, fiery blast, whether he may live through it or not. The agent will, make no mistake. It simply looks otherwise.

There is silence next, the ceiling of the bus in flame, the seats smoldering, and clouds of choking, dark gray smoke billowing from the windows which have shattered and splintered all over the street below.

Was it partially a dud as well? Perhaps, to anyone but Lawrence Church. It was not a dud.

Celeste hangs up the phone, and runs to the burning bus to check on all the people who were around it to make sure everyone around it isn't hurt too incredibly bad.

Damascus isn't really sure what happens. Isn't sure what he sees. Because all of it, every single last /bit/, defies the pretty little castles of logic he's spent the last few years building. Plus, because he took his sunglassess off to get a good look at the wiring, he's … not wearing them. That light? Yhea? It's painful. Seriously. In the aisle of the bus he's lying on his side, curled slightly, hands over his head. Shaking.

Yhea. He's not going to be good for much for a little while.

Brian gapes at the bus as he slowly slinks back through the crowd. Someone is out to kill him. Him. All those people could have been hurt because of him. And that guy.. He was with those other people. The people who talked about 'abilities'. All this is a little too much to take in at one moment. Though he doesn't move yet, glued to the sidewalk as he watches the bus, a little dumbfounded. Why would someone want to kill him?

The street is blocked off by now, except to emergency personnel. A blaring firetruck, police cars and ambulances are everywhere. Police urge everyone away from the bus — who knows if there could be a second blast, or how stable the whole structure is. A fireman with a fire extinguisher is among the first on the scene.

Niki whirls around, caught up momentarily looking over her shoulder at what becomes of the bus. The flashes that erupt light up her face, as well as those around her, darkening swiftly only to be replaced by the erratic, yet constant flicker of the flames the follow, Still near Brian, unaware of his part in tonight's events, she too is among the crowd being forced to run away.

Celeste stops in her tracks and walks in the other direction towards her apartment, to try to figure out everything that has happened, and just relax after an insanely hectic day.

There is pretty much only one way off of the bus from where Church is. And that is out of the front doors. Through the smoke and hot air, there is a somewhat fiery figure stumbling out of the buckled door of the bus. Is he on fire? A little bit, yes. Lawrence hobbles rather quickly out onto the concrete and into the cooler air, despite the fact he is now bleeding and aching from superficial burns and bruises.

His coat is on fire, too. Oops. As he winces and whips it off- it's clear that most of his clothing is smouldering or actually turning ablaze. So, Lawrence can only start tearing everything off as fast as he possibly can. Luckily there also seems to be that fire extinguishing man on hand; so the whole manic striptease is covered with a spitting, watery foam.

Not even his boxers are safe, so God has not spared him standing outside a burning bus in his birthday suit, covered in foamy water. Not that it is a bad birthday suit. Church does not have the build of a teacher that sits behind a desk all day; get a good look at what you can, ladieees~, before the EMTs standing by pretty much swamp over him and the firemen over the bus. Down in a sea of blue and white uniforms he goes.

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