A/N: It's been well over... well, it's been too long since I've posted ANYTHING on this one, let alone other ones, to be able to sound sincere as I say: I'm sorry for the delay. Life, liberty and the pursuit of numerous other things have stood in the way of updating, writing, considering and what not in the FanFic department. But let us not indulge into the circumstances and present thee a fresh new chapter! You might want to start from the beginning, and in fact, I did myself, to put things in perspective again. For those who're still paying attention a deep-hearted thank you!
MetroRail Red Line, Farragut North Station,
1001 Connecticut Ave NW, November 7th, 7.51 AM
A steady drizzling rain tickled on the windows of Bus 16Y heading east to Union Station on K Street NW. Drops of water flowed together and formed tiny streams of water down the glass. The streetlights cast a filtered shine through the condensed windows, but vaguely he could make out the brown entrance sign marked with a big white 'M'. The bus halted near the North-eastern corner entrance of Farragut North on K street, where he had to get out. Careful, to avoid stepping into a puddle, he got off the bus.
The warmth and humidity of the bus' interior and its wet passengers was substituted by the chilling wind and the steady stream of water trailing down the sky. He pulled his Redskins cap a little downwards over his face and hurried towards the entrance and down the stairs, amidst the crowd of travellers and commuters. The brightly lit passages and warmth the Station's heating system generated were sharply contrasting with the grey, dark and disconsolate surroundings he had left just seconds ago.
Passing by the guards near the entrance gates unnoticed, he stepped on the escalator that led him down to the platforms, the rumble of a train just departing echoed through the box-roofed white-tiled Metro-station.
He checked his watch: 07.55 AM. He felt in the right pocket of the moist windbreaker he wore to make sure the equipment he needed was still in his possession.
With a soft 'dong', the automated schedule displayed the next departing train. The 8.07 Red Line RD6 from Dupont Circle with destination Glenmont/Silver Springs throughJudiciary Square and Union Station would be the next train to arrive. The rumour of the crowds passing by, getting out of the outbound trains for Shady Grove, the packed platform left him untouched, his mind only focused on one thing. A soft glimmer pierced through the pitch-black tunnel, and a faint rumble vibrated through the air, an oncoming train's squeaking sound as it took the curve underneath G Street and Pennsylvania Ave (below the White House) bouncing off the walls.
At 8.06, RD6 Glenmont rolled into Farragut, and he got in the middle car, squeezing himself past the passengers that got off the train. As the cars accelerated he walked towards the middle dividing doors of the train and leaned against the doorframe of the emergency exit. Eying the passengers in the car he made sure no one took notice of him as he put the small canister under the seat just as the train rolled in at Metro Center Station on G Street and 12th NW. In the midst of people getting up from their seats, bags being picked up, someone reaching below wasn't suspect. As soon as the train started moving out of Metro Center he pulled the pin from the canister. At 8.11 the train rolled into the Gallery PI/Chinatown Station where the Red Line crossed the Yellow and Green Lines.
He got off the train and stepped on the escalator that brought him a platform higher where the 8.15 Green Line 7 to Mount Vernon Square/7th Street Convention Center from L'Enfant Plaza was about to arrive. He turned slightly to watch RD6 Glenmont depart. Through the bluish flashes the third rail made when the train departed, he saw a much brighter one when the canister filled with highly flammable white phosphor ignited, just as he had planned. A satisfied smile crept on his face as he turned round again, and stepped off the escalator, into the other MetroRail train as it halted in front of him.
O/B. RD6 Glenmont, 60 ft. Below G. Street NW,
Near Judiciary Square Station, 8.12.45 AM
The sound of the humming engine and the rumbling wheels on the track was suddenly dampened by a deafening 'whoosh' as the timed ignition detonated the phosphor. A blinding white light seared through the train, blue stars dancing over the ground, setting everything on fire wherever or whatever they touched. The fireball roared through the entire train car, engulfing passengers and interior like a tidal-wave in a fraction of a second, incinerating them as it went by.
All of them never felt what hit them when the life was sucked away from them, burning with the rage of a forest fire. The kinetic energy of the blast was enough to push the middle doors from their hinges, and the raging inferno overtook the compartments with ease, windows shattering. The train kept on moving, sucking in oxygen that fed the fire non stop. As the doomed train rolled into Judiciary Square, already three cars were ablaze. The unsuspecting crowd waiting on the platform of Judiciary Square was suddenly emerged into a scene from Dante's Inferno as the flames that licked the exterior of the train flew over the platform, and bellowing smoke rolled over the ceiling of the station. Papers, dust and litter was swooped up as the raging fire sucked the oxygen out of the hall.
The heat's intensity burning the lungs of bystanders before they even had a chance of running away, or even scream in terror, deafening bangs erupted from the train as the shattering windows of the carriages burst out of their frames and rained down on the crowd. Those lucky enough to be far away enough not to be engulfed by flames, the incinerating heat or deprived of oxygen, started to run. People fell as the mass pushed them forward, running up the escalators, jumping from the platforms, away from the inferno unfolding.
Suitcases, bags, everything scattered as the crowds frantically tried to disperse, women crying, men screaming, children crying and run over. Those who fell never got up again, as toxic fumes overtook them where they had fallen. The wide entrances that led to the streets and upper levels turned into funnels, and not before long they spewed smoke out on the streets. The multiplicity of the smoke indicating its toxicity, and sharply contrasting with the surrounding area.
The few blurred figures that stumbled out of the smoke collapsed on the pavement, choking, gasping for fresh air. Their clothes burned, blackened. A woman ran out of the entrance, the back of her clothes on fire as the heat of the inferno below caught up with fleeing people, she was tackled by bystanders who desperately tried to smother the flames by rolled her over the ground. The stinging odour of burned hair and skin hung heavily in the air, impregnating the fresh morning air with the smell of death and degradation.
As the usual city sounds died away, the cries of the wounded and dying filled the air, in the distance the first sirens' sombre tunes echoed over the majestically lanes and streets of the Nation's Capital as emergency services responded to the call of a tragedy unfolding on an unsuspecting city that was rudely awakened.
FBI DC Field Office, J. Edgar Hoover Federal Building, Room 3311-3315,
935 Pennsylvania Ave NW, November 7th 08.45 AM
"If winter's going to be anything like this, I might as well migrate to another country," Myles said as he took off his coat. "There's nothing more sombre than rain on a dark morning."
"The downside of living here," Bobby said as he spun his chair round to face his colleague. "I never minded winters back home." The tall New Englander raised one brow. "Maybe because the seasons there are upside down too."
"Aw, you can't beat spending Christmas Eve in the pool with a suntan, plus turkey from the barby has a more subtle crispness any oven can't beat."
"I find the idea revolting," Myles commented as he sat down. "There's nothing more pitiful than a Christmas tree that is bleached and succumbed by the heat. Besides, it doesn't belong to the native fauna."
"That is true, it doesn't. However, last time I decorated an Eucalyptus tree, the koala bugger that inhabited said tree was grilled when it mistook the electrical cord for a juicy bite of leaves."
"Aw, poor animal," Tara said sympathetically.
"Bollocks, the bugger cost me quite a few smackers when I got fined for it." Bobby rubbed his chin, pondering. "Come to think of it, I should've roasted it instead of turkey. After all, it was already medium well after I cut the juice."
Myles rolled his eyes, shaking his head, while Tara's expressed horror. "You're not serious."
"Is he ever?" Myles commented.
Just then, the worried and solemn expression on Dimitrius Gans' face had them on alert when the Team's elder Agent and interim-supervisor walked into the Bullpen. "Turn the TV on, Tara," he summoned. "We just got report of a huge calamity on the Metro-system."
The screen flickered on and within seconds all present in the office seemed glued to the screen displaying images most of them could not fathom. Silence fell onto them, only disturbed by the reporter's voices voicing the unspeakable, the lines of the closed captioning burning on their conscience, every letter a white-hot imprint iron.
"…a raging fire in a packed train wreaking havoc in the Metro, leaving many dead and wounded. Authorities on scene fear the casualties will keep on rising as EMS teams are trying to work their way down. At this stage, the fire raging below is still so hot, any entrance to the point of origin is rendered suicidal by DCFD officials. Amidst morning rush hour, scenes are unfolding the city up until now only knew from TV, the resemblance to the London, England King's Cross Subway fire of 1987 strikingly poignant…."
"My god," Sue said, her hand before her mouth, her throat constricted.
"We don't know how many people are trapped below, we don't know if there are any survivors. All we can do now is wait for the fire to die down in intensity before we can even consider fighting it in the station and on the platforms itself," a DCFD Fire Chief said, the severity of the situation palpable in his solemn voice, visible in his posture.
"All right people," Dimitrius said as he turned to face his team. "Prepare yourself for a long day, we'll undoubtedly be involved in the investigation to determine whether this was an accident, tragically as it may be, arson or a possible terrorist attack. Our forensic unit is already on scene, I need you to be ready to go in too whenever needed."
He let his eyes travel over the group of people gathered, shocked but determined. "This will be a nasty and gruesome task, people. Be careful, and watch out for the others' well being, scenes like this can be tormenting."
Dimitrius nodded his acknowledgement to others in the hallway, senior officials preparing for an emergency meeting. He walked out of the office, leaving the team behind catching the latest developments from the ongoing news reports. Worry and concern etched on their faces, they knew that what could easily look like an accident in fact wasn't an accident at all.
"Is it just me, or do you have this sickening feeling it's not an accident," Lucy said after a while.
"It's not just you," Myles said. "It's the line of work we're in that we expect something to be preposterous. Premature as it may be, I think this is an omen for an ugly case unfolding."
"What can we do?" Sue asked.
"Nothing at the moment," Jack said. "We don't have anything to go with yet. All we can do is wait for the fires to be extinguished and then we might be able to begin what we do best."
"So we wait?"
"I hate to admit it: but yes, we wait."
"And hope and pray for the best," Sue added. He smiled to her, but his eyes gave away the agony the simple words created. "Along with the rest of the District."
In the silence that fell, the tickling of the rain on the windows seemed to echo a thousand times stronger, the grey and disconsolate light that streamed into the office resembling a shroud of mourning that had been draped over the city.