2007-02-09: Next Time Take The Train


Cass_icon.gif Drake_icon.gif Elena_icon.gif Desiree_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif

Summary: A normal Saturday commute turns disastrous.

Date It Happened: February 9th, 2007

Next Time, Take the Train

Downtown, NYC - Lower Manhattan

It's a normal Saturday afternoon in New York City. Congested traffic, mass transit rolling through the packed streets, vehicles dodging pedestrians (or was it the other way around!?). A south bound bus rolls up to the stop to pick up and let off passengers. Benjamin sits a few rows behind the driver, by himself with his briefcase sitting next to him. In his hands he has a sealed envelope, one he is looking down and intently at, as if he could see through it to the contents. To anyone looking in his direction, he's a man who obviously has a lot on his mind. A finger runs along the edge, but he's unwilling to open it. To rid himself of the current temptation, he opens his briefcase, dropping it inside. Right next to the book that caused him some frustration last night, yet he can't stop looking through it.

Sprawled out along the back of the bus, having just got off work is Drake, guitar in his lap as his fingers strum along the strings in a playful manner. His eyes are tiredly staring out the window, waiting for the world to begin it's slow, and easy creep through the city streets that will lead him towards his stop to home. His voice is softly humming under his breath as he sways a bit from side to side, before finally beginning to murmur, allowing his voice to come out a bit stronger as he goes. "Run baby run, don't ever look back. They'll tear us apart if you give them the chance. Don't sell your heart, don't say we're not meant to be. Run baby run, forever will be, just you and me." His head flops back a few times against the bus seat, letting out a softer breath. Come on already. Let's get a move on, he smells like coffee and he needs to wash the Starbucks off.

And who should step into the bus next but Desiree? The non-New Yorker has her face half-buried in a soft white scarf, obviously a little chilly. She too has a lot on her mind; even though she gives the bus driver a friendly smile before she drops her change in, she completely misses seeing Benjamin. She dips her head down, re-immersing herself in her thoughts, her dark, curly hair sliding in front of her face until she grabs it and tugs it over one shoulder on her way down the aisle, looking absently for a seat.

It took a little bit for Elena to head out, considering she lagged behind to answer the phone. But out of work herself, Elena steps out of the Starbucks branch located in the corner, shaking out her hair from the ponytail she had kept her hair in for most of the day. Tousling her hair a little bit, she glances at her watch as she quickly makes way to the bus stop. Seems the young woman turns multitasking into an art form because she's still on her cellphone, trying to tame her hair, and managing, somehow, to make the wind-tousled tresses presentable while digging around for her bus pass. "…hell…hello? Oh hi, I'm looking for this book that I need for class but I can't SEEM to find it anywhere I was wondering if you had it in stock? ….yes, it's by a Doctor Chandra Sure— No, no. -Chandra-, not Sandra. That's C…H….A…"

Not one for buses when walking will do just as well, Cass is out and about on the street. Seeing a break in traffic right as the southbound bus pulls up, she goes dashing across the street. Crossing in front of the bus, she jumps up onto the sidewalk and makes a quick turn. Dodging across a busy street makes her anxious to be up on the sidewalk. However, something catches her ear, a name she's been hearing consistently for days now and startles her. She's just in front of Elena when she hears her asking about Dr. Suresh and immediately spins around, managing to run right into the woman she was looking for.

Benjamin's head turns to stare out the window at the people walking past, clogging the sidewalk. Those going about their daily lives and the obvious tourists. There's a creaking of gears and the door to the bus shuts, the vehicle immediately lurching forward. As the bus rumbles forward, Ben turns to face the front.. and notices Desiree. He smiles and raises a hand in a slight wave. About to say hello, he gets /quite/ distracted by Elena's one-sided conversation. It's just not possible MORE people read that nonsense!

Just as the bus seems to be gaining a decent speed, the driver's eyes roll back up into his head and he slumps over the wheel, unconscious. No longer under any sort of control, the bus continues forward, lilting to the left and oncoming traffic. Even if someone were to grab the wheel, it's too late to correct the bus's path and the inevitable ploughing into traffic.

Ah, finally, they are taking off. Drake tilts his head slightly, then opens up into a bright smile as he spots Elena out on the sidewalk. Reaching out to knock loudly on the window, he looks to gain her attention, but his own is caught as the bus starts to sneak off to one side. With a tilt of his head, that smile drops away from his face, before he raises up some in his seat, shouting over. "Hey! Driver!" His fingers grip the seat tightly as he glances to the window, then back through the aisles again. "Someone get the wheel!"

"…..oh, you don't? Is there….yes, I understand but I -really- need it for Theoretical Geneti-OOF!" The cellphone, a bright red in color with a cartoon ninja on the LCD display flies, clattering over the concrete and skidding away from her. Her backpack drops as well, the frayed zipper giving way and dumping out half her school books as well as a pair of leg warmers on the ground. Elena groans softly, dropping on her knees as she starts grabbing at her calculus homework that tries to get away from her, and reaching out frantically to grab her cellphone. But she doesn't seem angry, in fact she looks over at Cass right away to inquire. "Are you okay?" she asks. Hey, it's New York. But when she looks up…her eyes -widen- when she sees the bus…well…SPEED PAST HER STOP and jump towards traffic. "Holy sh—!" And wait…was the newbie in there?!

Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of New York that pervades even in the confines of a bus, Desiree feels like she's living in slow motion. After she finds a seat and slides into it, smoothing her long jacket underneath her thighs, she's distracted from her thoughts just for a second - long enough to look around with overwhelmed bewilderment, and she finds out, long enough to spot an unexpected, familiar face. "Benjamin?!" Then the bus leans in a way that does not feel right and Dezi stares wide-eyed at the driver. "Sweet Mother of Moses!" She grips the metal pole beside her and clambers to her feet.

Cass bounces back, just by nature of physics. Hands stuck in her pockets, she takes a few steps back in an attempt to regain her equilibrium. Quickly stooping down to help Elena, she starts picking up whatever Elena's missed. "Oh my God, I'm so sorry! Are you alright? I'm fine. I didn't mean to run into you. Okay, I doubt most people mean to run into anyone else, but you know what I mean. You just…you said a name I've been hearing just about nonstop for the past three days." Holding out whatever she's gathered, she doesn't see what it is that makes Elena swear until she tilts her head to the lift and she quickly stands. "Mother of…" That will certainly stop her rambling.

"Hi.. uhm, small worl… peaches and cream!" So much for Benjamin reacquainting with Desiree. Both her shout and Drake's draw his attention to the front of the bus. Needless to say, this is one of those times to panic. He scrambles up from his seat, grabbing onto the back of the one in front of him. The intent is to rush forward to try and help, but he's just a few seats too far from that goal.

A passenger closer to the driver tries to regain control of the vehicle, and calls out in a thick Bronx accent, "Grab onto somethin', this whack-a-do just passed out up here. Bet he's a friggin' crackhead!" The passenger has a good intent, but the bus still rams head on into an approaching cab. A chain reaction of cars slamming into each other is triggered. The resulting crunch of the impact holds enough force to send the bus's passengers forward.

Cass isn't replied to at first, the young woman, having grabbed her cellphone, starts dialing the oh-so-familiar numbers 9-1-1 in her cellphone. "…Doctor Chandra Suresh? He's a geneticist out in India. I'm taking a paper course this semester on Theoretical Genetics and his is the only book I haven't managed to find yet," Elena says, taking the items that Cass has picked up and stuffs them in her bag. "Are you in the same class then? I go to NY—hello? Hello, yes! I would like to report an emergency….Bus 231 just sped past my stop and went pell-mell into traffic! The license plate is…." She rattles off the license plate number, as well as the intersection the bus just plowed into. Her eyes are wide, watching the cars CRUNCH on impact. "Oh my god. Oh my god."

As Elena already has the cellphone out, Cass only kind of stares at the bus crashing into traffic with an open mouthed stare. "I…yeah…" this seems like an odd time to be talking about books when they're watching a major car pile up. "It's…I normally have it in my store." Her hands fly up to her mouth when the cars start slamming into each other. She gasps, but can't take her eyes off of it. It's true what they say about train wrecks. Or car wrecks as this case may be.

Taking in a deep breath, Drake's eyes are wild as he finds himself breathing heavier. The speed of the bus, weaving in, and out, is starting to give him roller coaster sickness. As they jerk off to one side, he grabs his seat hard for a moment, before finding his fingers sliding away from the plastic, fake leather. As he tumbles off to one side, his head smacks hard against the window, causing it to crack. As the pain flares up in the back of his eyes, he feels a warm, tugging pull at his stomach, and soon, the world comes to a crashing halt around him. Things start moving in slow motion past him, voices turn to grinding moans instead of screams of panic. "… oh my god.." He whispers to himself, pushing himself up to his feet, wobbling, staring at this new world around him. Everything else? Perfectly normal. Everyone is going to crash and burn. So will he, eventually.

Desiree, her hazel eyes wide and full of shock and horror, clutches the pole until her knuckles go white, trying to cling on for dear life instead of reeling down the aisle as she keeps envisioning. LURCH, lurch, LURCH goes the bus, but she nevertheless chooses a moment to start rushing with quick, loud steps of her clunky boots toward the driver (and passenger who was yelling). She basically just falls the rest of the way, slamming onto her knees and bracing herself with her hands on the floor of the bus, but it's the thought that counts. "Ow! Jesus! Just wait, I'ma paramedic!" she blurts out while using the bus driver's seat to haul herself up. "Well kind of, my licence is expired— ain't someone gonna stop this bus?!" She then proceeds to smack the dozing bus driver across the cheek.

Having been up from his seat and in no position to try and throw his hands out, Benjamin is thrown forward in the middle of the aisle. A non-curse escapes as he hits the floor of the bus. There's pain, noise, but a lot of pain from the impact. "What the heck… just happened.." he utters. (Other than the obvious!) Wincing, he tries to push himself up and his eyes water when he tries to move his right shoulder.

The bus has more or less been stopped. That cab it hit, and the cars that hit the cab did a good job in stopping it. The driver of the bus shows no sign of waking, and the good samaritan has been knocked to the floor, after bouncing off the windshield. Outside the bus, traffic has come to a standstill. There are the usual gawkers, folks on phones to call the police, or their friends. Some are snapping pictures of the mess with their cells and cameras.. and there are a few drivers leaning out of their windows, cursing and blaring their horns.

How long has it been? An hour? Two hours? Drake continues to stare wide-eyed as he watches everything stutter, and creep around him. Watching his guitar slowly make it's way through the air, he reaches out and pulls it to him, looking practically amazed. With a rub of his hand along his eyes, he reaches over slowly, carefully, and touches one of the passengers on the back of the shoulder who sits in front of him. As his fingers touch him, the world comes rushing back, as if he just stepped out of light speed, and finds himself slamming stomach first into the back of the seat. He can feel a pop in his ribs, his eyes going red, and his stomach heaving as he literally heaves on the guy in front of him in a wet, chunky manner. Maybe he shouldn't have had all that coffee.

"…..do you have a card?" Elena says, still staring at the accident. Multitasking, again. Her eyes are on the bus…..and her expression grows concerned. Because no one was running out of there. Which means, probably, that people inside are injured. Chances are, there were injuries because public buses don't have seatbelts. "God." A string of Spanish curses find their way out of her mouth. "…who's the genius who made seatbelts mandatory on every high-capacity vehicle -but- public buses?!!!" She looks over at Cass. "If you have the book in your store, you think you could hold me a copy? My name is Elena Gomez….I think…I should help before someone bleeds out or -something-….I'm pre-med, I should…"

Now that traffic is more or less stopped on the street, Cass starts running forward to see if anyone needs help. "Not on me! It's called Enlightenment Books, it's in the East Village. 3rd Street. We're easy to find. I'm out of the book, but I'm expecting more on Monday." As for the Spanish cursing and helping people out, well, she's already flying into action, so that will be her response for now. "Cass Aldric. Lovely to meet you. Come on." She reaches the bus in a couple of steps and starts hitting on the door hoping someone will open it so they can get in. "HEY! Is everyone alright in there?!"

Frantically going back and forth between trying to check the driver's vitals (since smacking him did nothing) and staring out the window and the destructive chaos the rampaging bus created before it stopped, Desiree is harried. But she's no deer in the headlights anymore. With a few fingers to a pulse here and there, and a peek in his eyes, she's figures the driver is just mysteriously unresponsive. She hurriedly kneels by the passenger from the Bronx who hit the windshield, fretting over him and biting her lower lip before Drake's catapulting draws her attention with a wince; and she winces at Benjamin too when she spots him again. Upon the banging of the door, she gets to her feet and opens it up for Cass. Then, turning to look down the aisle nervously, she tries to adopts a hard-set, determined expression. It… kind of works. "Okay everyone, listen up. If you're hurt just… stay right where you are, and I'ma come around to you 'til the actual paramedics get their behinds over here!" A quick look to Cass, "Did someone call 911 outside?"

Benjamin tries again, this time pushing himself up from the floor, relying on his left side heavily. He leans against the seat, looking around him at the interior of the bus, then finally out through the front window.. and stares. Failing to shake the dumbstricken look from his face, he slowly starts to move forward. A panicked thought races through his head, and that's, 'Did I cause this?' It's a thought he tries to strike from his brain. He does not cause people to just fall asleep. Can't happen. Doesn't happen. Desiree's instructions to stay put are ignored as he keeps shuffling forward.

In the distance, sirens can be heard in their approach. The bus's passengers stay where they are, afraid to move or just in shock, or unable to move. The driver of the bus still does not respond, it's like he inexplicably fell into a coma. One of the passengers has the temerity to curse at Cass in classic friendly New Yorker fashion, "Up yours bitch! No we ain't okay in here! We just had an effing wreck!" The driver of the cab.. it's obvious he's not walking away from this wreck. Fortunately he doesn't have any passengers. The vehicles behind him? Their occupants shakily begin to emerge.

Having crumpled into the back seat, Drake is clutching his chest, wheezing in, and out of breath as he feels like his guts are on fire. He has quite a nosebleed, his guitar cracked along the beautiful, cherry breast, and he's practically laying in a puddle of his own puke. His eyes, blurry, slowly slide shut as he falls away into darkness, groaning out in a bloody sputter. Ow. Ow. Ow.

"There's no need for that, sir," Elena says, coming up from behind Cass and hearing what the disgruntled person at the back, though she says it calmly. And since she's coming right up the front of the bus, the first person she sees….is the comatose bus driver. "I did," she tells Desiree. "They should be coming up shortly." She reaches out with both hands to cup the poor guy's face and checks his halflid pupils intently while the other paramedic. "Sir…?" she murmurs. "Sir? You've been in a really bad car accident. You have to wake up. Wake up." She doesn't slap him around or anything, instead, she keeps her grip on him, her eyes wandering down to try and find traces of injury.

"Well, you're talking! That's good!" Cass replies in a chipper fashion to the angry New Yorker. Or, forced chipper, really, with all the damage that's around her. In a more serious fashion, she turns her attention back to Desiree, "They should be here any moment." She climbs up and then moves to the side to let anyone who wants to get off.

Desiree nods to Elena and Cass, then carefully picks her way down the aisle. She doesn't get far before she's reached Benjamin, but only lies a comforting a hand on his (left) shoulder in passing. She's looking for more serious injuries. "It'll be just fine," she tells him in a voice that would be calm if it weren't ever-so-slightly manic. She holds one of her wrists as she makes her way through the bus, a vexed expression having settled semi-permanently on her face because of it. The woman approaches the teenager, Drake, and crouches down beside him. "Hey there, honey. Breathe nice and slow and easy, okay?" When she thinks the man who snapped at Cass looks like he's going to open his maw again, she says: "Mm-mm! Mm!" and cuts him off, pointing with a hot pink-painted fingernail. He's really getting told today, huh? She's much more soothing to Drake. "Those sirens mean someone's here to help y'all. …Can you hear me? Aw well, hell."

Benjamin makes it just a couple of seats ahead of where he was before he looks around.. and finds his briefcase has slid forward. Shakily, and more or less in a daze, he bends over to retrieve it. Holding onto the briefcase handle, he slumps down into the seat as the shock starts to abate. He merely gives Desiree a stupid nod as she lays a hand on his shoulder.

The swearing passenger gives Elena a very unfriendly gesture, and "Up yours too, Chica. I ain't time for this kinda… shiiit I think my arm's broken. I'm so freaking suing." Of course his complaints die down into mutters at Desiree's rebuke. The bus driver only shows signs of injury from being jarred in the impact. As Elena cups his face, his eyelids flutter and he starts coming around, "What the fu… shit.. shit! What happened??" Ambulances are first to arrive with firetrucks hot in their tracks. Those with injuries are dealt with in order of severity by the paramedics. The firemen set about to the grim task of cutting those trapped in their vehicles, out.

Drake continues to wheeze in, and out of his chest as he lays in the back, even when Desiree approaches him. If he can hear her, he makes no notice of it for the moment. He's off in dream land for the moment, a very painful dream land.

She throws the man a glare from where she is, Elena about to snap out a retort when the driver starts coming around. She lets go of him. "You got in an accident. The paramedics will be arriving shortly," she tells him simply, taking a step back when she sees that the professionals are here. Desiree's got her coworker, so she doesn't approach Drake. Instead, she starts pulling herself away from the injured crowd so she won't be in the way of the professionals.

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