He does not want to know. I don't push it. I go back to waiting, and I think he goes to start evacuation proceedings or maybe to get himself away. It doesn't matter to me. It's none of my business what he does. I've done the best I can. My place is here. I don't see him again, in any case. It sounds like a justificcation, but I know my job. My job is to protect the largest amount of human life, but I don't have any authority in this place until the bomb squad gets here.
They arrive and start working. Teams up and down the scaffolding start scanning the entire building for bombs. We want to make sure there's no possibility of a chain reaction. My wife is here. She's pregnant with our baby. This is our second pregnancy. First resulted in a miscariage after she was exposed to a mutanagentic compound at work. Our work is dangerous. We knows the risks, but she insists on working. What am I suppose to do? Tie her up at home? We go in to a lab set up on the third floor. The whole building has been exposed to another nerve gas. My wife was only in there for a few minutes, but chances are, well, Dr. (lost the name), the head of research decides to tell her. I want to volunteer, but I can't. I'm needed here. Down below, two levels down on the ground floor, she's monitoring the fetus. The damage won't have shown up yet. I can hear Dr. x heading down to talk to her. I can hear them talking.
I go to look at the bomb. I'm with one of techs, an attractive black woman. The scopes blink. I feel pale and scared, afraid of the bombs for the first time. I know what it means. I ask anyway, it probably reveals how scared I actually am. For me, for my Terri. "Dirty bombs?" We fall out of the bar. We're on the saffolding discussing the implications. We can't try to remove them now. We need to call in the CDC and damn quickly. We're up on a higher level of the scaffolding, 4 or 5, discussing what to do. The longer we discuss the more dangerous it is. Any second we let pass is a second that brings us closer to whatever baseline time our faceless enemy has picked. I know what we need to do. evaculate, seal, and quarantine. Let the CDC handle it. We have a lab and techs, we're trained for this, but we don't have enough people to secure a building this size. We need their help. And we need to start now. But I have no say here. I'm a soldier. A grunt. My job is locate and contain small areas. Assist in diffusion, work the crowd, keep people safe. Some guy vaguely near me sees a paintlike can nearby. As I shout a warning not to open it outside a secure lab it's already too late, he's opened it. I can see a heavy purple smoke inside before I'm running away from him, screaming for everyone to clear away. Then he's running towards us, fortunately the stuff is so heavy it doesn't move that fast. As he passes Steve on one of the bridges, Steve gets a facefull of purple stuff and immediately goes weak and falls over the scaffolding. Not good. Very not good. I start herding people down the exterior steps and going that way myself. Down and out as quick as possible. Why didn't that asshole wait for the CDC? I wonder. How many people has that one careless gesture killed already? My wife? I don't know where she is. She wasn't anywhere near me when I started down the 5 flights of stairs. She was still on the bottom level presumably. We just need to get out of there. I'm screaming to people as we clear out of the building but I'm not really there anymore. In my mind, this has just become a class A disaster and I'm already visualizing myself in a clean suit sheeting the building for quarantine. I'm outside the building complex now. Streetside at the left side of the building, the entrance I'd already located earlier and had been watching. It's the way we came in. I'm looking at the building. It's on a huge city block. Crowded with buildings. Not much in the way of people, other than our own on the street. I look at the building. It's huge from this vantage point. What a painful job this is going to be. But we have to do it. There's way too much in there now. It's not safe. I wonder where my wife is. I feel like an ass for not knowing. For not going back in to find her, save her. Can't be helped. If she's in there still, she and the baby might both be dead and I'm currently not. But I want to go back. I take a step towards the building, wondering when this became such a balls up operation. The building explodes. Plooms of red and black flames and smoke fill the air and the bright shatter of glass. Damnit. It just got worse. I'd just been thinking about the bombs as an abstract, something to be contained, I'd forgotten for the moment that they were also something that would explode. I need start running again, but then I'm awake. Hopelessly unredeemably awake. It's 6:15 AM. Damnit.