2007-09-15: Lucky Stars


Bekah_icon.gif George_icon.gif Ian_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif Sharon_icon.gif

Summary: A chance meeting among acquaintances at a newsstand turns out to result in heroism the victims can thank their lucky stars for.

Date It Happened: September 15, 2007

Log Title Lucky Stars

Location Somewhere in the Village.

Under normal circumstances, George would still be at the office at this time of day. Or out in the field, or wading through the crowd to get to the Broadway Line before the dinner rush. But his car broke down over the weekend, and he's gonna /need that/, so he's been waiting to go pick it up from the shop. Which means taking lots of phone calls at the apartment, without the benefit of being able to look up any files and… he's grateful for any excuse to get out in the open air, even if only for a half hour. At the moment, he's leaning against a patch of wall near the newsstand, flipping through the Wall Street Journal as others line up nearby.

Kory is sipping on the largest size Jamba Juice one can get, and in line for the Newsstand. She peers out around the people in front of her just to get a good look at what's available so she can pick and pay quickly. Hustle bustle of New York; there's a rhythm and Kory dances to it. Even now, she's sort of swaying as if to a tune only she can hear. Which works; she has an ipod headphone set dangling from her ears. She sings under her breath, "…fine benny lava…"

Sharon wanted to grab a paper before practice today. So, the woman is walking towards the newsstand to pick up a copy of the Wall Street Journal herself. She walks or bikes most places, because frankly she hates driving in New York and the cabbies are just pains in the rear. She's got her black and purple gym bag slung over her shoulder as she approaches. Kory is noticed dancing to some sort of music that Sharon can't hear, so she waves to the woman, not even sure if Korey remembers her.

Bekah makes her way towards that newsstand with a cup of coffee in it's paper cup already in her hand. She's dressed in a plain black t-shirt and scrub pants with a backpack on her back. Hardly fancy gear. She moves forward toward the front to grab a copy of the Times.

Behind his own personal sheaf of newsprint, George blinks. "Al—?" he starts to say, folding up the paper and tucking it under one arm. No, that's not who he thought it might be. He watches Kory long enough to confirm that no, in fact he has never seen her before, and then to see if he can figure out what the heck she's bopping along to. This works as well as anyone might expect, namely not in the slightest.

It takes a second. New York is a Big Damn City, and Kory, for a moment, isn't certain Sharon is waving at her. At least, not until she gets a better look. She realizes it is a familiar face, though, and does return the wave with her free hand. She mouths, 'Hi' without shouting. She reaches into a pocket, probably to turn down the iPod in case Sharon feels like saying hi at a more local range. George, behind his newspaper, is unnoticed just yet.

"Hey there," Sharon says to Kory, shifting the weight of the bag, ignoring the paper for the moment. "Small city," she jokes. Because it is, really, a big damn city, so what are the chances? George is noticed, so the woman doesn't go for a Wall Street Journal right away. She doesn't want to get in his way. Bekah hasn't been seen yet, though.

Bekah looks over to Sharon and raises her eyebrows. "Small city? In comparison to what? Mumbai?" Bekah comments quite dryly as she passes over money for newspaper and a pack of gum that is tucked into the side of her backpack.

George is safely out of the way of the line, but it's not easy to see that until you get up close. "It's bigger on the outside," he explains helpfully, nodding to Sharon. Whoever she is. "Not like Los Angeles, I hear they're spread over— I dunno, hundreds of square miles? Like they built out instead of up."

"Los Angeles?" Kory responds, as someone responds to Sharon. "Way too spread out. I mean, from what I hear, you can't walk anyplace like you can here. You have to drive everyplace. That can't be good for the environment." She pauses. "I mean, at least here, we have public transportation or stuff close enough together that you can walk." But she turns her attention to Sharon again. "Hey, howya been? Enjoy the movies?" Anime, yes, but Kory doesn't automatically drop into geek mode in public without a high sign or something.

"All cities are small if you get high enough up. I remember looking down at cities from up on the mountains in Colorado. Everything is a tiny dot then," Sharon replies. "Though the comment was just meant in jest," she adds with a laugh. "They were pretty good, thanks. Watched a couple last night, still have another one to get through tonight though". She got distracted by something shiny at three in the morning, no doubt. New York doesn't sleep, you know. "Never been to LA though, so I can't say much for it".

"Sorry. I haven't had enough coffee yet to get humor." Bekah states in a dry, sarcastic tone. "Not having to have a car is a great part about NYC. Got to love the wonderful subway."

George shrugs. "Nothing's perfect. It does beat waiting an hour to crawl two miles— hell, you can outwalk that, unless you're hauling stuff around in the trunk." While he more or less follows the byplay amongst the others, he's distracted by the scent of smoke coming from a nearby building. "Hey, since when does New York have barbeque?" A wrong guess, but a reasonable one.

Sluuuuuurp. Long sip of Jamba Juice before Kory makes another remark. "Oh, so you don't like the /ambiance/," she asks of Bekah. "The crowds. The lack of personal space. The frottage from random strangers who don't get the difference between 'can' and 'should'?" She smiles wryly. "Local color. White Plains, where I'm from, is a bit more spread out so you don't get so much of that. It's also deadly dull." She mimes yawning with the back of her free hand. "But hey, with the price of parking? You don't have to make a credit check to ride the friggin' subway."

She blinks at George's remark, then shrugs. "This is /New York/," she says gently. "There is every kind of restaurant here." But then she follows his gaze and her mouth drops open. "Anybody got a cellphone?"

Sharon reaches into her pocket. "Not a barbeque there," she says, dialing 911. "Yes, I need to report a fire," the woman says, giving their location and the building location as best she can from where they are. The conversation for now is fogotten as there is a fire to report in. She's not trying to be rude, just…calling in a fire!

"The frottage is of course my favorite." Bekah comments to Kory before she looks over to the building. "Well, shit. Hopefully someone's pulling the fire alarm in there. Get anyone in there out."

George doesn't catch on as quickly as Kory. Blame the sun glare from the Bug parked across the street. "Yeah, definitely not barbeque. Hope you're right, that's right next door to—"

He really shouldn't have said anything. The fire /explodes/ as it hits a gas line, blowing out some windows along the third floor and sending flaming debris crashing into the adjacent high-rise. Which promptly starts spreading like, well, wildfire. So much for waiting for FDNY!

Kory gasps, and winces as the fire blows open the windows. "EVERYBODY MOVE!" she yells, pulling a linebacker move to shove the people in the newsstand in front of her. They're still caught up in their own minds, their own desires, and not noticing that all hell is quite literally starting to break loose. "Fallin' glass! Heads up! Watchyerheads!" She's pale and wide-eyed like a scared colt, but that isn't stopping her from trying to shove people out of the way. Naturally, this is New York; they're shoving back, until people begin to realize what she's doing. She takes a hard shove and nearly falls.

Sharon ducks down when the glass shatters and closes her eyes briefly, focusing her mind inwardly. She goes to start pushing people out of the way, much like Kory, who are still in shock and deer-in-headlights mode. Though she seems to be stable and strong as a rock as she does this, like she could handle this all day. Being a tall, athletic woman, this isn't completely strange looking, but she doesn't want innocent people dying here. "Move it, people!" she bellows once the flying glass is done with.

Ian's just coming out of the market, bag in each hand. Because man, you gotta get the lemon soda -somewhere-, right? He's just staring aghast, ignoring the other pedestrians pushing past him.

Bekah gets pushed by Kory and blinks. "Hey! Coffee burns hurt, too!" She comments holding her cup up. She's does move back to out of flying hot glass range then stops. "I'm sticking around. There are bound to be people in need of a doctor." She states towards Sharon. And hey, she's in scrub pants so she must know what she's talking about.

Let it never be said that the Journal never did George any good! Acting on instinct, he whips the newspaper upward, blocking the few bits of debris that are headed his way. After that, and with Kory and Sharon taking care of the immediate evacuation, he nods to Bekah and starts power-walking toward the taller of the two buildings. (Hey, his own apartment is up there somewhere. Endorphins and selfishness make a strange combo.)

Kory is nimble from years of rollerblading and horsing around with an athletic brother. She's no pro athlete by any means, but she clambers to the top of the newsstand, the better to avoid getting trampled once people start realizing that there's been an explosion, and a building is burning. She pauses to catch her breath, then a light seems to go on over her head. She goes very still, eyes going unfocused.

And there goes George. "Motherfucker, what are you DOING?" demands Ian, putting out a hand way too late. HE's going after the other man. "Head away, not toward."

Once people are out of immediate danger, Sharon takes off after George and the others, heading towards the burning building. "Not going to stop you from staying. Going to be some wounded," the woman says as she heads towards the building as quickly and safely as she can. Which, given she spends longer than most people in a day doing sports training, is hopefully going to be fairly quickly!

Bekah starts to work on downing that coffee. Doesn't make sense to waste it, but she may still need her hands free. "Idiot." She comments as she watches George head towards the fire. "Because whatever he picks up in there will obviously be better served by burning up while the firemen try to save him. Idiot."

George is not quite the idiot he seems. He has this thing with good luck, see? (When it works.) But yeah, it's not the smartest move in the world, and in any case he's still going to /look/ like an idiot. Ah well. At least he isn't going straight for his own pad, but instead looks around for the nearest fire extinguisher. He saw where the fire here got started, maybe it can be caught early enough to contain it. Along the way, doors are knocked on, and directions are shouted out: one set for those clearing out, another for anyone able-bodied enough to help mount a line of defense.

From the top of the newsstand, it's only a couple of jumps to the fire escape across the alley from the burning building. Screams choked off by smoky coughs issue from a window that gets kicked out with a booted foot. "C'mon! Across here!" An office table, metal and wood, is shoved out the window for a makeshift bridge to where Kory was standing. But as people begin making their way across, she's already climbed up to the next level, and is again standing with her eyes seemingly unfocused.

"C'mon," she murmurs to herself, unheard in the confusion.

Ian moves to follow Kory, having left his groceries to their fate. No doubt he'll regret this later.

Bekah shakes her head as Kory moves in as well. "Just more people to fix up later. Great." That's still sarcastic. She moves to toss the cup out though before she steps to the front of the crowd starting to give a quick look over those coming out of the building, checking for any major injuries. Surely the hot firemen will be here soon.

Sharon goes to grab one of those fire extinguishers, if she can find one, and yells, "I'll go in deeper! See if I can get them from there!" And the woman is moving up and looking to get people out from floors above them, hoping that her stamina won't fail her this time. She is pushing at her absolute limit, however, and doesn't seem tired yet.

It's okay, Bekah, you really /are/ needed at ground level. While a number of people exiting the building look to be in decent shape, a number of them managed to suffer some nasty smoke inhalation on the way out. As Kory and Sharon work on pulling people out of the worst of it, George and a few of his downstairs neighbors try to keep things contained before it can become the other worst.

There's a struggle on the third floor window, before somebody finally manages to smash the window open. A small form bulky form is held out. Kory reaches across, but she's not tall enough to have the reach needed to meet the other person half way. "Shit. Shit, shit…" she glances around, hopelessly, for a matter of precious seconds before glancing down, and smiling in relief.

"It's okay!" Kory shouts, then directs her voice toward the ground. "Hey! Ian, right?" Voracious reader's memory. "Catch!" With that, the person across from Kory lets go of the small form. The blanket unravels to reveal a kid of about four in pee wee football padding and helmet.

Oh, holy Jesus. Ian's face is a study in raw horror. He's all but jogging in place like he's a Keystone Cop, but he holds his arms up. "Omygodmohmygodohmygod," he recites under his breath, as he lunges for the falling kid.

Bekah moves the smoke inhalation sufferers away from the fire. If their lungs feel a little bit better after she touches them, maybe it's just that they're out of the heavy smoke. She positions them to ease their breathing as much as she can grumbling under her breath. "Why don't I carry oxygen everywhere I go? Knew I'd need it one day."

Looks like the high rise will manage to avoid collapse after all, as the amateur crew keeps the fire contained; they're not going to actually put it out with this equipment, but at least it buys enough time for the pros to make it on site with the big hoses. The shorter building is in considerably worse shape; toward the back, some serious poundage of structural material abruptly collapses in on itself.

Kory is in the process of trying to coax somebody else out the window, when the back of the building collapses. Startled, she loses her footing, and bangs painfully against the fire escape before catching herself on the next level down. "AAAAOOOOW!" That had to be really wrenching on the shoulders. It's a minute or two before she can pull herself up to safety. She kneels there, panting in smoky air, as other people get to safety below her. "…Geez… God…"

Sharon will help clear the way up near the upper floors. She gets up to the fourth floor and aims a kick at one of the doors, instinctively dropping down to dodge the wave of heat that accompanies such things as she snaps the door open. Considering that the back end is falling in, she starts moving more quickly. "Out! Out!" She starts spraying a path for the residents to get them out and trying to evacuate them to what remains of the fire escape. She's probably going to have some burns out of this, but she's doing a pretty decent job of not dying. She starts doing this for all of the rooms she can up on the fourth floor, trying to get them out before the building collapses in on itself.

Ian has caught the kidlet, thankfully. He's cradling him awkwardly, obviously not someone accustomed to dealing with toddlers, as the little one bawls his lungs out. "Where's his dad?" he yells back up at Kory.

Bekah turns to a bystander and commands, "You're on stop, drop, and roll duty. Remember elementary school? Good. Anyone on fire, get them to put it out. Just like the nice teacher taught you." Then she's back to checking severity of burns and smoke inhalation. "They better be bringing ambulances. Where the hell are they?"

Aha, /there/ they are, finally! The emergency vehicles can't be seen yet, but their collective siren calls serve to cut down most of the yelling and screaming, and cut through what little still persists. Firemen begin unloading on one side, EMTs on the other; the latter group quickly spots Bekah and makes a beeline in that direction, because obviously that's where the patients are at.

"On…the…way…down…" Kory manages to shout raggedly, in response to Ian, between gulping breaths of air. True to her word, Dad is on the way across the makeshift table bridge one floor down, right behind a teenage girl in a Hannah Montana T-shirt sobbing with fear. Dad looks down to see his boy is safe, and quickens his pace as soon as the teenage girl is out of the way.There are still victims stumbling out the front door, and the ground floor windows. It's a good thing the bars on these windows weren't put in properly.

Shaky, dirty, and in pain, Kory waits to make sure everyone coming out her way is down before she begins gingerly making her way down herself. "Ow. Ow. Ow…" Her eyes squint shut on tears of pain and reaction.

Ian promptly thrusts the Huttlet, I mean, the kidlet, at his father, grinning like he just pinned a blue ribbon on the boy. "Here!" he says. It's clearly a reaction - the grin is almost a rictus.

Once the fourth floor is evacuated as well as it can be, Sharon decides heading down herself before the building falls in on itself is a very good idea. So, the woman starts heading down behind the rest of them. She spots Kory and heads on down towards her, the woman seeming rather hearty for having been in a burning building. "Take my shoulder and I'll help you down," she says to the woman, offering her a shoulder and arm to help her downwards.

Bekah continues dealing with the flow of people coming out. There's a brief pause there when the paramedics arrive for her to introduce herself to any who don't know her already from making drop offs at her hospital and pointing them towards the most needy of the triaged patients.

A few of the FDNY guys make quick work of the smaller fire, followed shortly by the impromptu volunteers (George included) staggering out and wandering in the general direction of the paramedics before sinking heavily to their hands and knees. They'll be fine, this is just the adrenaline rush wearing off and anxiety rushing back in to fill the void. The larger team goes to work on the four-story, resigning themselves to slowing down its collapse rather than preventing it.
Dad grabs the boy and covers his helmet in kisses before he reaches across with a burly arm and flings a grateful hug around Ian. "You saved my boy. You saved my little boy!" Gratitude. "He's all I got in the world. And you saved him. You're a goddamn hero, man."

Kory blinks, astonished to see Sharon. But she's running out of steam from the adrenaline giving out and the smoke breathed in. She silently nods and accepts Sharon's offer, pausing to make sure she won't hurt the other woman before leaning into Sharon's shoulder. She breathes 'thanks' though there's hardly enough breath in it to make an out-loud word.

"Hero?" Ian squeaks, breathlessly. "Man, a good couch cushion woulda been as useful as I am," But he doesn't fight his way out of the man's embrace.

Sharon is mostly supporting Kory as she helps the woman down, and will help her towards Bekah and the paramedics. Sharon has a few burns on her left arm, but nothing super serious or life threatening that looks like it'll keep her down for too long. She's a lot tougher than she looks, and doesn't flinch when Kory leans into her. "Lets get you some oxygen," she tells Kory. "You look like you could use that, and some work on that ankle of your's".

Bekah steps forward when she sees Sharon helping Kory out. "What hurts? Besides everything." She immediately asks towards Kory as she steers them to an ambulance with intent for Kory to sit on the edge while Bekah starts to check her out.

George rolls over onto his back, rubbing his eyes. "No, no," he says to an EMT who shoots him a concerned look, "I'm not passing out. At least not yet. Just… need a few minutes." His head lolls over to one side so he can see the others. "Everyone make it out okay?"

Kory doesn't argue. The adrenaline rush is over. Her body is telling her 'CUT THAT OUT' and she's listening. People made it out okay, and she'll heal. She lets Bekah tell her where to sit, and obeys without question. She just shoves sooty hair out of her face and gets off the ankle she twisted in the fall. She glances over at George, and rasps, "You're crazy…but glad you made it back out. Insurance'll cover whatever got messed up, right?" This may be a night where she actually sleeps longer than her usual. Maybe.

Sharon lowers her head, coming down a bit from her rush, and takes a few deep breaths. "I'm fine. A few burns, but nothing that won't heal on it's own. I managed to avoid the falling bits of burning for the most part," Sharon says to the group, even as Kory is getting dealt with. "Good to see we all made it out in one piece," the woman says, straightening up now and rolling her shoulders to loosen them.

Having freed himself from the happy father, Ian heads over to see how Kory and George are dealing. He glances between them. "That's more crazy bravery than I ever thought to see in this lifetime," he says, bluntly.

Bekah starts to give Kory a better checking over. The moving around to check if the ankle is broken? Not so much fun. But when she takes her hands away, the swelling and pain are a bit less. Hey, Kory is sitting down. Maybe that's it. "I'm going to suggest you go in and get this x-rayed. Some oxygen after that smoke may not hurt either. I don't think the ankle is broken, but you're better off checking to make sure."

George manages to sit up, running his fingers through his hair. Yes, it's all still in place, except for a small patch in the back that won't be missed. "I think it was as much luck as bravery," he offers, which has the advantage of being the truth. "But thanks. What about you, going in after the kids? I saw how bad the other place got caught, figured I wouldn't make it through there."

Kory smiles up weakly at Ian. "Nice catch there. You oughta try out for the Jets. Wide receiver, yeah?" Then Bekah intercedes to do the professional doctor thing, and she winces. "Oh, I hope it's not broken," she murmurs. Her lifestyle is modest; medical bills are not welcome. "Do I have to get it X-rayed?" She sighs. "I guess I do. Yes, ma'am." She glances at Ian hopefully. "Wanna tag along in case I need crutches and can't manage to get home on my own?"

"Guess we all were lucky tonight," Kory shrugs at George. "Including the people we were lucky enough to help find their way out."

"Sure!" says Ian, brightly, grinning at Kory. George gets a blink. "Then you're one lucky bastard," he says, bluntly.

"The last building could have collapsed a lot quicker," Sharon says. "Structure was all starting to fall apart up on the fourth floor when we came down the fire escape. I was just glad the fire escape held up," she tells George. "Otherwise, we'd all be a lot worse off in that building," she explains. "Good bit of luck there though, I'll agree to that".

Bekah nods her head. "There could have been a lot worse injuries." Bekah states before she ponders. "Huh. I wonder if any of these are going to Mount Sinai. I could catch a quick ride to work that way."

Whoa, maybe that smoke inhalation was worse than he thought. George blinks a few times, looking from Ian to Kory, to the kid, and back to Ian. "Wait— caught? Like…" That was a four-story building, after all. "If she means what I think she means, then you guys are some lucky bastards too." Which is also true. The headlines tomorrow morning if Ian /hadn't/ made that catch?

"Thanks, Doctor." Kory flashes a brief smile at George. "He totally caught the kid. Dad had him in his peewee football gear. But Ian's the *man*." Of course Ian gets a brighter smile, for all that Kory's so exhausted she can barely hold it now. "Thanks. You're the best. I mean, I hardly know you and you're being *so* nice." She pats her pockets and then glances skyward. "I forgot my phone. I'm gonna have to call my brother if this ankle is really busted." She lets the paramedics help her into the ambulance. This one's not full of seriously injured, and Kory's entreaties convince the paramedic to let Ian ride along since she has no close family member immediately available to help her up and down on a bad leg.

Ian actually blushes. All but squirming and wagging his tail, really.

Sharon watches the exchange. She's not getting into an ambulance herself. Her injury isn't any real emergency, and she has use of her legs and arms, mostly. Instead, she moves to grab her bag and grab a spot to sit while the paramedics get everything straightened out, and try to calm down after that fire.

Bekah moves out to talk to a few different paramedics before she finds one heading to Mount Sinai. WIth a promise to help treat patients on the way, she manages to catch a ride to work. Score.

A couple cameraphones flash on the crowd as bystanders head for the net with the amazing acts of heroism by ordinary people. The father of the little boy in the football helmet is sobbing for joy, and his kid, now calm, is patting his shoulder trying to comfort him.

The FDNY makes short work of the fire, and within ninety minutes, the rhythm of New York City begins to reassert itself over this disturbance.

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