Log:20081108 - Multicar Pileup

Setting

Interstate System ( I-94 I-90 I-88 I-85 )
This is the Interstate Highway System that functions around the area of Chicago. It links the north to the south, the east to the west, and everything to downtown Chicago. One can travel by automobile through these multi-lane highways to reach certain 'sections' of the whole metropolitan area… and with relative speed and ease compared to using the gridded network of roads and streets below. One can also travel to areas outside of the city with relative speed and ease.
Half-frozen rain sleets from a grey-black sky without moon or stars. It's chilly and there's a fresh wind from the north.

Cast

Scene

Oh-nineteen-hundred hours. The sun set a while back; it's not officially winter, but it might as well be, and the sun goes down earlier and earlier, and rises later and later. It's one of the first real snows of the season, other than a few stray flakes that didn't stick. Midwesterners should be used to poor weather, but most people need at least a few good snows to remember that they're not immortal, that driving seventy miles per hour on bad roads is a lame idea, and that they can't stop on a dime when there's a sheet of black ice in front of them.
It's a Saturday night and there's a lot of traffic as people head to and from the burbs, from their suppers, to their movies, out to visit the bars and clubs that the outer fringe of residential areas lack. There's also a pop music festival tonight at one of the downtown arenas, so there's a decidedly large number of stupid teenagers out there, too. Among the vehicles headed into Chicago on the Highway I-90/I-80 spur is a commuter bus on its route between La Porte, Portage and other parts east of Chicago proper.
It's a crowded bus; lots of chatter, a few people trying to nap on the ride, and lots of impatient travelers in the dim compartment, because the bus is only going 45 miles per hour. It trundles along with a crunch of its tires on the sleet that's gathering on the roadway, the bus driver wholly focused on the road ahead as he mans the wheel.
There are other cars on all sides at the moment; some moron trying to pass the bus in an SUV, someone in the rightmost lane preparing to make the exit to Elkhart, and others who're just keeping to the slow and steady pace of traffic.

ON the bus, sits on disgruntled looking Naeva, his hair with a pink streak in it for once but other than that just pulled back in a ponytail and his laptop bag beside him on his seat. He himself is wearing a pair of black jeans, a grey t-shirt with pink writing on it 'it's in to be out' and a thick coat, purple scarf wrapped around his neck, on his feet a pair of black docs and he's idly sucking on a lollypop and scowling out the window.

"Madison, you drive like a little old lady!" Catherine gives the woman in the passenger seat a look, while two other women, all in their mid twenties, giggle. They're all dressed for clubbing, and for three out of the four, it looks like the party probably started before the sun went down. Which is probably why Catherine, er, 'Madison', is driving. She's a few cars behind the bus, matching with the traffic. "C'mon, Maddie! The band's gonna start before we get there."
"No, it won't," Catherine says with a sigh, and tries to tune her companions out. "We'll get there, just chill out." She reaches out and turns up the radio, and the women are distracted by shouting (it can't be called singing) the lyrics to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

With his car in the shop, taking the bus was going to be inevitable at some point. For a few days he did alright, walking to the University was no hardship, living as close as Rowan does. But a conference meeting at one of the neighboring universities made taking public transportation the choice for today. Seated peaceably in a spot across the aisle from Naeva, Rowan seems preoccupied with a notebook in his left hand and a pencil in his right. He seems to be either writing musical notation or perhaps correcting it? His brow is creased in concentration, his right hand dropping to his thigh to work out a pattern on an invisible keyboard. A jostle from the bus breaks his concentration and causes the blonde to lift his head and look about, his ocean blue eyes resting for a moment on Naeva, taking in the pink streak with a quirk of his lips. Perhaps a student? He has the look, alright.

Rob does own a car, but he doesn't always drive it if he can avoid it. Usually he uses public transit, either via train or bus. Which is why he happens to be onboard the bus tonight. Right now he's simply leaning back into his seat, mostly asleep, but part of him remains awake. Almost like he's trying to be ready in case something should happen.

There's a pale blonde down in one of the back seats, hood of her hoodie up over her hair, a quart-sized ziploc bag of jelly beans in her lap. She's got some earbuds in, the volume too low to be audible to those around her, in the midst of the din in the passenger cabin of the bus.
"Geeze, watch it you idiot," those near the front will hear the bus driver mutter. The SUV has abruptly merged over in front of him, fishtailing a little on the icy road. The driver lets up on the accelerator to drop back his own speed, still focused on the road. As far as he's concerned, he's the only one on the bus at the moment, since it takes a lot of concentration to handle a fifty-foot long vehicle. A sense of tension rises from the driver, still boxed in on all sides as a few more cars merge over to the right lane, for the upcoming exit to Highway 94. Those headed to Elkhart peel off, and the bus continues on, coming toward a slight decline downhill and around a bit of a corner.
Up ahead, someone has pulled off the road, so the cars on the rightmost lane are edging over close to the inside line, avoiding the breakdown lane out of habit. That pesky SUV swerves back over to the leftside passing lane; the driver is obviously either stupid, inexperienced, or thinks he or she is a better driver than he or she is.

Naeva's tongue swirls around his blow-pop before he raises his free hand to fidget with the tiny piece of electronic aid that's in his left ear, only pausing to glance towards Rowan with a quirk of an eyebrow before he blows a kiss and slumps down in his seat, going back to glancing out the window and humming softly. Yes, he's humming 'the wheels on the bus go round and round' while still scowling.

"Aw, c'mon, people. What's the problem…" Catherine lets up on the accelerator quickly, mirroring the strange dance of the cars up ahead. The bus blocks her ability to see farther up the lane and that pulled off car, but the swerving headlights of the SUV can be glimpsed, and she winces to herself.
"I bet you could pass 'em, Maddie," her front seat passenger proclaims. "My dad's car gets some serious speed if you punch it." Behind her, the two girls chant in unison, "Punch it, punch it!"
"It's sleeting. I have no desire to end this night in the hospital, so knock if off, guys." As her passenger pouts, she adds, "C'mon, Sara. Your dad would skin you alive if we got even a scratch on this baby. I'm just looking out for you." There's a bit of a wheedle to it, and it seems to be enough to stave off another outburst, at least.

Rowan's chuckles softly at the blown kiss and flicks his pencil from his forehead in a playful salute and acknowledgement that he was caught staring. Feeling unusually social, he leans slightly to the left on his armrest and inquires, "Bad day? Or do you really hate riding buses?" Rowan's coat and other winter gear are currently resting on his lap, supporting the notebook conveniently enough, since the bus is reasonably warm with so many people on board tonight.

Folks may later discover that the SUV is being driven by one Glenn Greenwood, a forty-something advertising executive who's on his way to a rendezvous with his 22-year-old secretary and mistress. He's in high spirits — with added 'spiritual guidance' from Jim Beam, consumed alongside a hastily gobbled supper at home with his missus. Bluetooth in his ear on a call, he also has his blackberry in one hand, the steering wheel in the other, with the radio in the background thumping a local classic rock station that's more weather-induced garbles and static than actual music. He's flicking occasional glances at the road, mostly whenever he decides to randomly change lanes. "No, baby, no, I'm just running a little late. Don't start without me, baby. Daddy misses you so bad…"
Another abrupt lane change comes, and his front bumper clips the rear passenger side of the car he's trying to hurriedly pass on the right. It's a little compact Toyota, and the bump causes the driver to freak out and hit the brakes.
As is wont to happen in accidents, all hell breaks loose in a matter of seconds. The bus driver's eyes widen at the sudden flash of red tail lights ahead. The compact spins out, moving steadily to the left in a circular spin, into the grassy area between the two sets of three-lane roads. A chorus of tires squealing on ice comes as vehicles all around try to brake, to avoid hitting one another, or just to veer off to the side.
The driver of the SUV never quite corrected from the bump, and he ends up hitting the ass end of the car in front of him with a loud crunch of metal and breaking glass, the windshield of his vehicle exploding out. Other cars that had been passing either swerve left into the ditch, or mash into one another, including a tractor-trailer that's driver, on a schedule, had been moving up alongside the bus. It wouldn't be so bad for the bus if there wasn't a patch of black ice all across the lanes when the driver tries to brake, to avoid the growing pileup ahead. The driver shouts out, "Oh, God, hold on!" to those he's ferrying toward Chicago.
On the ice, the trailer of the semi in the passing lane goes left, while the trailer swings around right into the rear end of the bus, slamming it abruptly forward as passengers start to panic with a medley of screams, shouts, and other reactions.

"It's cold. There is sleet and well…Iunno. I hate buses I guess, they are so loud." Naeva grumps, opening his mouth to continue bitching before he shuts it quickly and his eyes widen as the bus gets hit. Welp, he falls forward in his seat into the seat in front of him, oofing and then sliding to the floor - well he doesn't weigh that much, really.

"I still think, Maddie, we CAN go fas…OHMYGOD!" Her companions start to scream as Catherine's head snaps around, taking in the sudden chaos with widening eyes. The car in front of her, finding itself about to crash into the back of that unlucky tractor trailer slams on the brake, and now the sleek sportscar is about to get smashed into the car in front of her. She wrenches the wheel, handling the car with a strength and dexterity that is, quite literally, inhuman. The other girls squeal in panic as the car almost seems to jump to the side. Catherine pumps the brakes, trying not to skid on the ice as she brings the car to a stop. The wheel is literally cracking and snapping under the thoughtless strength of her hands, but it looks like she might pull it out and bring the car safely to a halt…except that the other drivers don't share her superhuman reflexes, and there's not anything that she can do about the pick up truck that plows into the rear of the sportscar, spinning it forward into the cars ahead. Steel and plastic squeal, women scream…and when the car comes to a halt, it's stuck sideways, slammed between three other cars.

Rowan's smile to Naeva's reply is short lived as the bus serves again and the sounds of traffic going bad break through the rumble of conversation and diesel engines. At the bus driver's warning, Rowan barely has the chance to brace himself against the seat in front of him before the trailer hits the back of the bus, slamming and the rest of the passengers forward. "Shit!" Glancing down to where Naeva is, Rowan reaches out to curl his fingers into his coat, trying to brace the younger man in turn.

Well, Rob was partially asleep so his senses were awake, and when the car accident occurs, he immediately wakes up and looks around, letting out some four-letter words as the whole thing goes down. He holds on to the nearest seat, although he wonders if it would do any good in a situation like this. Still, maybe he should've driven tonight instead, although that might not have worked well either given waht's going on.

On the passenger side in the rear, Chloe's is abruptly thrown forward, jarring into the passenger who'd been on her left; an older fellow who looks like he spends of his time on buses, in bus stations, on park benches, in his old sweater and worn fedora.
Amid the squeals of metal and crunch of chassis, there's a hiss as the bus's hydraulic brakes lose their air. Ice robs the vehicle of any chance at losing momentum as it slides forward. The driver is flung left, his head hitting the side window, starring the glass from the strength of the impact, meaning there's no one up there to even attempt to tame the out-of-control bus until he rouses. Purses and other personal belongings, still moving at the same pace as the bus as it had when the crash began, suddenly become projectiles that flow forward and strike whatever was in their path, someone's briefcase skittering end-over-end down the aisle.
Another tractor trailer on the right manages to pull off and crash into the 'EXIT 1/2 MILE' sign declaring the next union of roads. This opens the lane up for more people to blunder on ahead, and the bus is soon jarred again by a crash to its right front portion. It starts to spin, and the passengers who are still able to scream begin the second verse of their terrified song. The bus remains upright as its skid begins to slow, until it finally mashes to rest with its left side flush against the first semi's big rig — which is itself on a precarious angle due to the slope of the embankment that makes up the ditch between the west and east bound lanes.

Catherine shakes her head weakly and groans as she feels bruises and cuts begin to heal. The Beast inside only notices that they are now officially trapped like rats in a tiny tin can of an automobile, and it wants OUT. She hisses, then shoves it back under the thinking parts of of her psyche. "Everyone alive?" There's the sweet copper scent of blood, and the scorched metal taste of gas and crunched steel, but the other girls cry out in pain, which at least means they're alive. Right? A quick sniff confirms this. Sara turns her head to look at Catherine and whimper, "Maddie? Whasgoinon?" Someone throws up messily in the back seat, and Catherine's nose wrinkles.
"Stay here," she says, curtly, and begins to slither out of the car, punching the already cracked driver's window open, and pulling herself out of the car with a quiet snarl.

Rowan's too far back in the bus to see the bus driver go flying, let alone be able to try to take the wheel. At the moment he's much too preoccupied with just holding himself and Naeva in place. He doesn't add to the screaming chaos, just grits his teeth and watches the show as his life passes across his closed eyelids. So when the bus finally comes to a stop, he continues to hold still before finally exhaling out a shaky breath, his whole body trembling from the adrenaline rushing through his system. He doesn't feel the bumps or bruises yet, though something from the racks above fell and gave him a good clonk on the back of his head, his collar now somewhat bloodied. His death grip on Naeva's coat loosens as he leans over and asks, "Hey are you alright?" But when Naeva doesn't answer, Rowan shifts, rolling the lad over and placing his fingers against his throat. Okay, good …. there's a pulse. But he can already see the large swelling on Naeva's temple where he must have hit the floor or the leg of one of the seats. "Shit … okay, hold on buddy," he murmurs, making his first priority to get Naeva into the seat next to him before he gets trampled in the panic to get off the bus.

The wreck starts to wind down. A few more cars crash, but most of the traffic behind manages to slow up, veer off, or stop without hitting anyone else. Up ahead, there's half a dozen involved vehicles, and then the road clears where other vehicles ahead continued to drive on, with the exception of a couple who noticed the accident in their rear view mirrors. Cell phones start to come out in three or four locations, 911 starting to get an earful.
On the bus, the driver remains slumped leftways over the big steering wheel. The bus isn't moving anymore, the diesel engine choking before it dies, leaving it way too quiet inside the compartment, allowing people to hear others around them moaning, crying, and one or two praying quietly.
"Are you ok?" Chloe asks the gentleman beside her, who managed to avoid falling out of the seat once the two were bumped together — mostly because there's someone else already unconscious in the air, bleeding and unmoving after the semi's trailer sent the back of the bus colliding into his skull.
"Mommy!" screams a small boy up ahead, the woman slowly rousing and mumbling reassurances to the boy.

"Maddie!" Catherine peeks back into the car.
"Look, guys, just stay there. The police'll be here shortly." Sara immediately begins to protest, but it doesn't stop Catherine from moving away, picking her way over the crumpled hoods to reach the asphalt. It looks like the bus and tractor trailer are the nastiest bit of mess on the road, so that's the way she heads, her nose flaring as the jumble of scents, fear and pain chiefly among them, hits her. The cold rain only helps a little. She makes her way as close to the bus as possible, and calls out, "You guys alive up there?" as she eyes the precarious position of the vehicle.

As Rob gets to his feet, a bit shaky and bruised, but nonetheless all right, he looks around and tries to survey the general damage. "Oh shit, whoever is responsible for this is gonna pay," Rob mutters under his breath as he draws his cell phone and begins to call 911.

Once Naeva is settled safely in a seat, and it looks like other than a knock on the noggin, he is okay, Rowan stands up and looks around at all the people the chaos, blinking before calling out loudly, "Is there anyone seriously injured?" He can feel power, like the adrenaline in his system, tingling in reaction to all the bumps, bruises, and contusions around him. But if he's going to help anyone, best it be someone who is in real need. This sort of … situation has never come up before. He hears the call from outside and leans toward the window, calling in return, "I think so? Still assessing damages!"

Naeva is 'comfortable' in a seat, bleeding 'attractively' and groaning as his lashes flutter, hand shakily coming up to gently touch the bump on his head and he gives a tiny 'eek' before sitting up dizzily and pressing a finger to his lips. "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the baby is sleeping in the orange peels!" He insists in that soft and lilting voice. Ow.

Toward the middle of the bus, there comes a sudden snarl of sound, and then a shrill shriek. "Oh my God!" "Honey!" someone else yells. The source of the commotion appears to be a pale, 20-something young lady whose pregnant belly protrudes a little too far from her body for her not to be at least eight months pregnant. Isn't there always a pregnant lady involved in every major catastrophe? Well, there is in this one, and apparently she's been thrown into labor by the wreck. There's no rush of people to the front, but one big fellow who hit his head does lurch to his feet, swaying, stumbling, and demanding, "Let me out of here! I'll kill you son of a bitch!" he yells at no one in particular.
"What the — ?" Chloe's neck cranes up, and she winces at the sudden lurch of pain in her neck from the whiplash of the impact, a hand grabbing for her nape as she leans back into the seat once more, stomach turning over in a wave of nausea.

"Sounds good!" Catherine shouts up to the voice through the window. "I think," she adds, in quieter tones. She starts picking her way over to the slope, to see if she can get the door open. The sudden renewed screams have her head snapping back up, and she shouts, "Hey! What's going on?" as she reaches the door, and starts yanking on it, forcing the door open. There's a small part of her brain insisting that the intelligent thing to do is just start walking for the city, but her hands aren't quite listening, yet.

At Naeva's comment, Rowan glances over at him and frowns. That … that didn't sound good. "Just hold still," he recommends quietly to the younger man. "I think you might have a concussion." The yells from a few seats ahead, however, have Rowan's head jerking up and his teeth gritting. "Wonderful. Just bloody /wonderful/. Give me a gash, a broken bone, some internal bleeding and I can do something … but I don't know nuthin about birthin no babies." He's seen who they do it on TV, knows there's breathing involved and pushing and a whole let of a lot of cursing and screaming from the mother to be, but other than that? Ummm, clean clothes? Hot, or at least clean, water? A pair of scissors. Sitting down next to Naeva, Rowan concentrates on the one thing he can fix. "Hang on, I'm going to fix your head," he mutters, reaching out with one hand to rest it lightly against Naeva's forehead.

You want to know the worse thing about being an EMPATH and a TELEPATH? You feel /and/ hear stuff. There is a long pause as Naeva sits up straight, knees bending as he screams, like this, 'ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh' it's just high pitched, right in Rowan's face and his hands fly to his stomach. "WHAT the FUCK? It's called a CONDOM, you put it on your PENIS! IT KEEPS THE BABY BATTER FROM CAUSING THIS SHIT!" - All in caps because he's half-deaf but he can get /very/ loud. He reaches out to grab the front of Rowan's shirt. "Did YOU do this? Answer carefully. Yes, and I'll rip your testicles out and sell them as earrings on the black market. No, and I'll cry on you like a little bitch." - He goes from shrill to calm, almost too calm like a flipped switch.

Catherine finally succeeds in pulling open the door, the metal squealing… although not nearly as loud as Naeva's tirade. She actually hesitates before daring to come onboard, just on the basis of that outcry. As she finally gets a good look at the interior of the bus, her expression is drawn and worried. "Oh, shit…is that woman having a kid?" she asks, even as her fingers go out to feel for a pulse at the bus driver's neck. "Um. Crap. I was gonna say that you guys might want to get out of this thing, because it's all tilted…but can she even be moved?" Despite being female, Catherine is no expert on maternity.

Rob is in the middle of calling 911, reporting the location as well as what happened and if there's anyone in distress, when he hears the strange sound nearby. He looks and notices the pregnant woman, and then gets back onto his phone and says, "There's a woman in labor, we need help ASAP!" A pause as he listens to the dispatcher for directions, and then hands the phone to another passenger who's all right and can relay directions, while Rob kneels down beside the pregnant woman, taking off his jacket to use as a blanket or towel if necessary. "It's OK, ma'am, help is on the way," Rob says in a calm voice, trying to keep the woman as calm as possible. Silently, he's hoping that the EMTs aren't too far away, since he's not exactly up for delivering a baby on a bus. Especially since it's not as easy as it is on TV or in the movies.

The driver has a pulse, but Catherine is jostled by a few people who are ambulatory and selfish enough to want off the bus NOW NOW NOW. They trundle down the stairs, leaving behind the injured, and the insane — including the guy lumbering forward yelling about killing sons of bitches, and the one screaming about baby batter. The young man with the pregnant lady has his hand on her belly, and he says, "She isn't due for another three weeks. Is she gonna be okay?" he asks Rob. His eyes are wide and scared; first time mom and dad, from the looks of their ages and matching wedding rings.
"You better run!" the huge oaf with the head wound screams at the air in front of him, staggering, then pausing to lean over and vomit copiously on the floor of the aisle.
In the back, Chloe starts to get over her neck spasm, still holding on to her neck as she turns her body to examine the back fire exit of the bus. It doesn't look like anyone's going to be opening it anytime soon, and she can't get out while there's a man on her left, and a tangle of body in the aisle, so she sits there patiently, pale and worried.

Jesus Christ! Rowan actually jumps back as if he had been burned by Naeva, staring at him with wide eyes, blinking. Okay, it was better when he was lying on the floor unconcious. Unconcious, head-bonked pretty boy Rowan can deal with. Conscious, screaming like a lunatic pretty boy? Not so much. "Calm down!" Rowan barks sharply, taking a breath before leaning in to grab Naeva's arms and shake him a little. "Just /calm/ down. Breathe, try to relax, focus on breathing and my voice." Hey, this would probably be good advice for the pregnant chick as well. "Are you on something? Do you need to take something?" Concussions don't usually make one yell out delusional things, and with the pink hair and Naeva's general appearance, well, something drug related isn't a bad bet really. Just holding Naeva's shoulders is enough though for his magic to move through him. The sensation is a rushing one, through Rowan and out into Naeva, the wound on his forehead closing up, the swelling reducing to nothing in mere moments. In reaction, Rowan slumps forward a little, taking a deep breath.

Calm down…breathe? Naeva goes cross-eyed as he stares at Rowan and then he licks his lips when he's shaken, eyebrows shooting up. He clears his throat a couple of time, focusing on that voice and then he opens his mouth and shuts it before opens it again. "Um. I-I'm sorry, I'm usually well, I'll give you a discount f-for the trouble, I think I'm bleeding." He holds up a hand and then blinks. "…why, do you have something?" Then his eyes widen and his jaw drops. "I…well helloooooo doctor…" BlinkBLINK. Forgive him, he'll be distracted now.

Catherine hisses under her breath as the passengers get all up in her personal space in the urge to get off the bus, and her teeth clack rapidly together for a moment before she pushes it back down. Deep breath, deep breath…eeew, vomit. The rank smell of it makes her nose wrinkle again. "Stupid, stupid, people," she mutters, even as she pats — almost pets — the head of the unconscious bus driver. She moves forward to confront the large, shouty man, reaching out to grab him by the arm. "Hey, buddy, let's get some fresh air, huh? Oooh, I think I saw that guy you wanted to kill going outside." She starts trying to maneuver him out of the bus, with more efficiency than gentleness.

Other people mill outside in the midst of the wrecked vehicles, shadowy shapes moving in the dark, in the midst of flashing lights and the harsh yellow beams of headlights. The sleet hasn't stopped, pelting the roof and windows with the neverending patter of tiny chunks of ice. Cold starts to pervade the vehicle now that the engine is off, and the heaters no the bus are no longer putting out any warmth; those in shock are going to be suffering worse for it.

The passenger on the phone hands the phone back to Rob, offering to take over while Rob give directions, since the passenger in question doesn't exactly know where they are that well. Rob shrugs and steps back a little to get more reception while talking to the 911 operator.

Laughing softly, his hair falling over his eyes, Rowan shakes his head and returns, "Not a doctor, I'm afraid, just an ordinary guy with a weird kind of ability …" His head tilts to one side as Naeva sounds much more together now … maybe it was the concussion? "You think you're going to be alright? I should probably see if there is anyone that might benefit from my, um, weird little ability." At least the bus is a lot more open now. That helps. Those left behind are likely the ones too injured to leave that had no one to help them. So far the only obvious people in distress are the pregnant woman and the bus driver to the front. Rowan hasn't looked back yet to see if there is anyone needing help there.

"Don't push, don't push, Alison," the man beside the grossly gravid and laboring lady reassures his wife. She looks at him wide-eyed and pale, and complains, "I'm cold, Ronald, it hurts!"
The oaf up front has blood cascading down his face and puke on his shoes, but he lets Catherine usher him toward the front of the bus, simply staring at her with big, wide eyes with the pupils blown to their largest size. Someone else looms in the entrance of the vehicle; an uninjured bystander who offers, "Is everyone all right up here? I have blankets in my trunk," she offers, holding closed her coat with one white-knuckled hand. She steps back, unnerved by the oaf as he's escorted into view.

Naeva blinks some more before scratching his cheek and shakily getting to his feet, closing his eyes. "I…am never sleeping with a woman - GOD FUCK ME." He grimaces and then blinks before doing a double take at Rowan. "…oh yeah, um…come on, I think the gerbils will be having dinner soon." Then he starts stumbling and falling in the direction of where the pregnant lady is. "I think it's getting colder…" There is a pause. "Okay, Alison, I saw this on star trek! Don't push Keiko!" He just heard a name!

Catherine pushes the crazy guy out of the bus, not really seeming to care that he stumbles and squawks, as long as he doesn't seem to be falling /all/ the way down the slope. "We've got injured…/they've/ got injured, I mean," she tells the helpful bystander. "Blankets would be appreciated, yeah. And a lady giving birth, so as soon as there's a paramedic who can be spared, send them our way! Their way. To the damned bus." Then she turns her attention back to the bus driver. Crouching down, her nostrils flaring, she looks the man over, then shrugs off her coat and tries to tuck it around him. "Anybody know when it's safe to move someone? Or should I just leave him here?" She chews on her lower lip, glancing back at the other passengers with a helpless sort of look.

Drawing closer to the pregnant woman, Rowan kneels down next to her and murmurs, "Here, sit up for a moment, let me get my coat underneath you." Okay, maybe he does remember more from first aid class in middle school than he thought. "Did you water break already?" he asks, taking her hand if she'll let him, "or are you just having contractions? Alison, I want you to /try/ to relax and no matter what /don't/ push, okay? Just try to relax, concentrate on taking nice even breaths, and think about some place nice and warm and sunny, okay? If a contraction hits, I want you to pant through them but remember to not push, okay? I'm going to time your contractions." Even if she is in labor, the chances that she's dilated enough to have a baby seems unlikely to Rowan, and he can't imagine what will happen if she tries. Glancing over his shoulder at the driver, Rowan bites his lip and murmurs, "Hold on, I might be able to help with that … let me just make sure she's alright first." Ripping off his watch, Rowan hands it over to Naeva and notes firmly, "If she starts having contractions, and boy will you know it if she does, I need you to time them. HOw long they last and how long between them. Got it?"

The oaf is ushered off, and he wanders off until he sits down in the snow and someone finds him to offer help and some first aid to his head, in the form of a wad of old McDonald's napkins from their center console, pressed to his forehead as a compress. The bystander returns with a meager two blankets. For now, the semi holds in its precarious position on the incline, but if the bus is jostled too much, it could push the other vehicle over the brink.
"There's… a deceased back here," the old man beside Chloe points out. He had to take a minute to get out one of his nitroglycerine pills and put it under his tongue to stave off chest pains, but once finished, he reaches out and felt for a pulse of the man in the floor.

Naeva reaches out shakily to take the watch, staring it and hmming softly to himself. "I will feel it if she does." He nods firmly and blinks owlishly for a few moments. "Wait, is the baby coming now?"

Catherine gives a quick nod to the fellow by the pregnant woman. "Hey, take your time. Uh, I mean, just if you can help her…" and make it so that no one else has to, "then you keep that up." She turns away hastily, as memory tugs at her. "Buses always have…yeah!" She grabs the first aid kit up at the front of the bus. As she's turning back, she catches sight of the woman with the blankets. There's a quick smile, an even quicker, "Thanks, lady," and then she starts making her way down the aisle, tucking the blankets around two of the wounded. She steps over the vomit and offers the first aid kit to Rowan and Naeva. "Uh. Maybe something in here can help? I'm gonna see if I can put some of these wounded together under the blankets. More warmth." Her eyes flicker, evaluating the passengers, then pausing on Chloe. "Huh. Hey."

Feel it? "Ummmm, I was thinking more that she's probably going to yell or something and be in obvious pain …" Rising up to his feet, Rowan studies the pregnant woman for a moment longer reminding, "Remember, don't push. And if your water hasn't broken yet, you should be okay. Just do your best to relax." Turning to her husband, Rowan notes, "Try to keep her breathing slow and steady, quick and panting through the contractions." He eyes Naeva uncertainly for a moment, wondering if he'll be the best time keeper under the conditions. "I don't think the baby is coming /right/ now, no," Rowan counters. "But if that changes, yell for me. The name's Rowan." Turning abck to Catherine, Rowan gives her a crooked smile and murmurs, "Ummm, whoever is hurt the most, take me to them?" His head turns at the announcement from the back, his brow creasing as he calls in return, "You're sure?" If the man is dead, there's nothing Rowan can do about that. Nothing anyone can do about that.

"I'll try," the pregnant lady reassures, and concentrates on relaxing, and shivering in the process. Her husband has donated his coat to her. In the distance, the first peal of a police siren can be heard; the sheriff's department is never too far out of reach of the highways on nights like this, and one of them was near enough that it'll be approaching the wreck in about thirty seconds more.
There're no fires, no devastating explosions like one might expect after watching a few action movies. The smell of gas is strong around some of the cars. Cars have started to pile up behind the wreck, impatient and anxious other drivers craning their necks from behind their wheels, others getting out of their vehicles to move up and offer help — or just stand on the side of the road and gawk.
"I'm sure," the old man says, once asked about the dead body beside him. Chloe looks up from her place in the back corner, blinking as she meets Catherine's eyes. She sits there a moment, confused, before she asks, "What — ?" The old man interrupts, saying, "We should get people off the bus who are able to walk. It will be easier to tend to the injured with less of a crowd."

"Nobody move!" Naeva finally calls outs as he stares at the watch an the woman and then shakes his head. "Scientifically…speaking. Moving is just, ya know, a BAD idea unless people move slowly and are guided." It's hard to tell what he actually hears and doesn't hear seeing as his hearing aid /has/ been damaged but he does watch after Rowan for a moment and then communicates to the pregnant woman and her husband. "My nuts are freezing right now." He nods sagely. "Yep. Which isn't good cuz I was so going to give that dude a discount or even…ya know…do it - OH MY GOD!" He just remembers. "My laptop! My baby!" He just remembered his computer.

Catherine winks briefly at Chloe before the healer turns and speaks. She blinks at Rowan and says, "How am /I/ supposed to know…" she trails off, sighs, and gives a crooked smile of her mind. "Never mind. I'll do my best, doc." With a shrug, she drops the first aid kit on an empty seat, and starts moving back towards the wounded, snuffling deeply at each person, trying to sort out the one who smells most thickly of blood and pain. That's who she points Rowan at, but steps back quickly, herself. At the old man's words, a more genuine smile flickers on her face, and she edges back towards him. "I guess that means we start with you, hmm?" She offers the old man a steady arm to help him out of the seat, only pausing to stare at Naeva. "Uh. You on drugs, kid?" Maybe she didn't hear the question the first time around, or maybe she just thinks it bears asking twice.

Raising his hands in an apologetic gesture, Rowan notes, "I've been a bit distracted, but it seems like you've been helping out a bunch of people, so I thought you might have noticed the worst of the bunch …" His smile is crooked, almost apologetic as he bends down to check out the bus driver first. He definitely flew the farthest and his breathing sounds worrisome, like maybe he has a broken rib or something pressing against his lungs maybe. "Not a doc, but I'll do what I can." Maybe he should go back to school? Get a medical degree? Rowan just shakes his head at Naeva's excalmation and calls back, "Focus on the human being first, then the piece of replaceable technology …"

The old man smiles placidly at Catherine. "Thank you, my dear," he offers. Eccentric, but he's also been the least of everyone's worries so far, despite his being homeless and wearing layers of clothing. He smells musty, but not overly putrid, as he's helped up and over the dead body on the floor, and toward the front of the bus. No one else on board is rude enough to crowd toward the exit, though some of the other passengers are starting to come around and test their own legs.
Another moment later and there's a screeching sound outside, a grating noise of earth and rocks, and the semi suddenly starts to slide sideways down into the ditch. It's not deep, but neither is it really a good idea for an enormous vehicle to tumble down like that.
Being that she's on the same side as the semi, the pregnant lady gets wide eyed, and a contraction hits her. "ANNNGH!" she yells, tensing, but not pushing. Her husband hovers there making silly breathing noises, trying to coax her to mimic him. "Honey! Honey! Hee hee! Hoo hoo! Hee hee! Hoo hoo!"

Naeva just gives Catherine a 'look', arching an eyebrow and continuing to watch his watch and looks worried at the pregnant woman. "Oh god, I wish! I could really do with a cigarette, a bottle of jack, and a can of paint thinner." Then he is /about/ to reply to Rowan about his 'baby' when there is a contraction. "Oh /shit/ biscuits." His knees buckle. "ROWAN! You LIED to me! The baby is coming right now you fucking attractive lying magic man!" He drops to his knees beside the woman, swallowing hard and just staring at her for a few moments. "Okay, this is your first chance to practice good parenting. Just say no!" He looks to Ronald? The father? "You should be castrated." Then back to the woman. "You also need to spread your legs and try not to move, concentrate on one thing…like…castrating your baby daddy, if your mind is occupied, it is less likely to to to well, pay attention to the shit like your vagina is about do unnatural things."

Catherine gives a little bow to the old gentleman, charmed despite herself and the circumstances. She rolls her eyes at Naeva's look, then starts escorting the old guy. "My pleasure, sir. If you'll just come with me…" she says as she helps him around and down. She goes before him down the stairs, so she can can offer him something to brace against on the way down. When the semi starts to slip, she goes rigid, whispering under her breath, "Madre de Dios! Fuck." A glance at the older gentleman. "Sorry. Here. Take a seat…away from the bus. Just in case it's next."

Resting his hands lightly on the driver, Rowan feels the power rise up, almost unbidden but slower this time, weaker. Still, it does what it needs to do, knitting broken ribs, easing the contusions on his head, the concussion, but the driver remains unconcious and Rowan slumps backward against the driver's seat, his head spinning a bit as a wave of dizziness comes over him. Glancing to the side, he scowls and snaps, "Oh for Christ sake, get a /grip/! You're just going to make things worse. Fuck it," he grumbles, rising up to his feet unsteadily, using the seat backs to support himself as he makes his way back. Snatching the watch from Naeva's hand, he glares at the younger man and rasps, "Why don't you get your computer and get off the bus. Find an EMT or something and point them our way." Carefully crouching down next to Allison, Rowan murmurs, "You're doing good, you're doing great. Pay no attention to the freak screaming in your ear. And keep your legs together, not open." Glancing around, as the bus now seems a lot less stable, Rowan mumurs, "I think we all need to get off this boat now. Allison, your husband is going to get under one of your arms and I'm going to take the other. We're going to walk you off the bus just as soon as your contraction stops, find a nice warm car to get you comfy in, okay? Keep your legs together, don't push, and walk as little as possible, let us do the work, alright?"

Chloe finally pushes herself upright as the old man is escorted off. She's not scared so much as just in a little bit of shock; she hit her head, and for an airhead, that's just not conducive to clear thought. She doesn't freak out as the semi lurches downward; the bus doesn't move. It's perched on the edge of the incline, but all four tires are on solid ground. Still, others panic, and those able to walk crowd more quickly into the aisle and forward, behind Catherine. It makes it difficult for Rowan to make it back to Allison until the crowd clears, but he's able to arrive there.
She's breathing heavily, pale in the face, but she says, "The pain stopped. I think it's going away," she hopefully says. Could have been false labor brought on by the shock of the accident, but no reason to skip a visit with the EMTs and a hospital.
More sirens in the background. All the 911 calls have brought out the cavalry. It sounds like a fire truck, from the growling blare of its horn, and an ambulance from the opposite direction. Another sheriff drives the wrong direction down a nearby off-ramp, lights flashing, headlights cutting across the area.
The semi continues it's downward descent; outside, bystanders and other victims are screaming. Someone had tried to get to the driver of the rig and caused it to fall when they opened the door and jarred the cab.

Naeva does a double take at Rowan a feral, yeah human, but feral glint in those hazel eyes as he takes a deep breath, biting his bottom lip. "Um." Then he fidgets with his bad ear and squints as he stares off into the distance at nothing in particular. "Oh no…" He murmurs softly and shudders. He'll be…distracted for quite some time as well as he has a seat and folds his hands in his lap. Yep. He sits /back/ down in a bus seat.

Catherine watches the old man move off, then turns to see the semi sliding its way down the hill, tuning into the conversation in the shouts and cries. It's not her problem. It's really not. If she had any sense…with a sigh, she looks around to see if anyone else is heading down after the cab. If not, then she mutters, "You're a fucking idiot, you know that? You really are." And then she sets off down the hill, kicking off the heels as she heads after the cab with a deceptively quick stride.

Maybe if he wasn't feeling so drained from the two healing, Rowan would have noticed or at least reacted to the sharp look that Naeva gives him. As it is, he just blinks and looks around. Since the bus seems to be steady enough, Rowan lets out a soft breath and sits back down, his head still spinning. Okay, right. Well, this probably isn't necessary, but just in case. Reaching down he lays a hand upon Allison's belly and notes, "Well, keep timing the contractions if they come again. And as soon as there is one available, definitely check in with an EMT, okay?" There is no rush of power, but he can feel that there still is some left in him … which means that everything is okay. He smiles at her and notes with quiet confidence, "You and your baby are going to be just fine." Rising up, he moves a few seats over and again lays his hands upon one of the injured passengers, a girl holding her arm and crying softly. The bones have already set back into place, Rowan's power just makes them whole again. He rises up one more time, takes two steps, and falls flat on his face.

Naeva's eyes widen as he watches an invisible watch and looks up from time to time to glance at Rowan and then back at his invisible watch and he even gets up to find and drag his mostly smooshed laptop bag out from under a seat in time to see Rowan /fall/ and then he nods firmly. "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or…something like um, that." He -sighs- and moves to yeah…he's going to sit on Rowan's back now and gently pat his head. "It's okay Doctor Love, Navi's gotcha." Which is a scary thought if you think about it and he's already tugging his cellphone out as he waits for EMTs and the like to call Monty, that convo starts like this: "Hello, Monty? This is Naeva, turn on the news. Do you see the bigass bus? Okay, I'm on the bus sitting on some hot guy, can I keep him? - No, no I'm not on anything why do people keep /asking that/!?"

Chloe finds herself at the front of the bus, soon enough, and off. Around the time Catherine has started to rush down into the ditch after the semi. Now out of the chaos of the interior of the bus, she draws her lungs full of the cold air, breathing out a cloud of steam as she lets it out. It clears her head, and she moves a little off to the side, leaning a hand against the bus, before she realizes it might be a bad idea to jostle it. Her hand is snatched free, and she starts to follow after Catherine, calling ahead, "Where are you going? Be careful!"
The fire engine pulls into view first. There are fire fighters aboard with some life-saving training, but they're going to be mobbed by all the people involved in the wreck soon enough. There are too many bystanders, too many people with minor injuries that think they're dying. Each of the sheriff's vehicles holds a single deputy, so the two on the scene are relaying information and trying to rein in control of the area.

"A little too late," Catherine calls back, and laughs, the sound heavy with both self-mockery and a touch of excitement. She puts on another burst of speed and leaps for the cab, her hands and feet scrabbling for holds. She shakes her head, giggling at herself as she climbs upwards and over, heading for the door of the cab. She's all too graceful as she moves, a fluidity to her motion that isn't entirely human. She peers down into the cab, and starts breaking in, smashing the window to pieces and hanging down to find the driver. "Hey, you. You alive? You'd better be, man." She starts trying to undo him and pull him out of the cab.

Did he trip? Pass out? Faint? Faint seems like the answer, for when Naeva sits on his back and starts petting his hair, the mild mannered professor does nothing to protest the matter. At least Naeva is light, so he's not crushing the poor man. After a few moments, however, there's a soft unhappy groan and some wiggling, Rowan's eyes fluttering open, dazed and confused as he tries to remember where he is. At least he didn't fall onto the vomit. Thank God for small miracles. "Uhhhhh, what?" He gets up, or he tries to get up, his hands shifting beneath him but the upward push doesn't do anything. One, he's too weak and two? There's someone sitting on his back! Slumping back down, Rowan closes his eyes and asks, "What are you doing?"

"Noooooo don't move!" Naeva is quick to lower his phone and glare at the back of Rowan's head. "I'm helping to provide body heat so that your body doesn't go into shock." There is a pause. "You've expended alot of energy, you could have an aneurysm and your head explode." He worries his bottom lip and peers at the bloody hand with a sigh. "H-hold on…" Then he starts yelling for help. And if the EMT's come, he'll move off of Rowan and then? Slink off if possible, as quickly and not being noticed as possible, IF possible.

The semi still hasn't settled when Catherine springs up onto it, but it's not moving very fast, either. The rig tipped over — thankfully after the bystander trying to help managed to scramble free — and started to slide driver's side down over the wet collection of snow, rocks and chunks of half-frozen earth. Catherine will arrive at the passenger side — which is now more of a top. The driver is still belted in.
Chloe skids a little on the incline, too, sliding in the slush, and finally arriving down at the bottom well after Catherine has started to bash her way into the vehicle.
On the bus, Allison's labor pains have stopped — or at least she doesn't complain of them further. Ronald escorts her off, if only just to get away from the insane man now perched like a happy gargoyle on Rowan's back. More sirens in the distance. Help is coming, people, honest it is. It's just real slow in the snow.

"Protecting me? Squashing me is more like it," Rowan grouses, albiet weakly. God /damn/ his muscles feel like they're made of jello and his head is spinning so hard he feels like he just stepped off one of those centrifugal force rides at a carnival. "Get /off/," he rumbles, to weak to buck Naeva off, though he truly hopes that man moves. A shiver runs through his body. His coat is underneath the pregnant lady and with all the energy he's used up, and all his adrenaline gone, his body feels cold and heavy, his head is throbbing, and every ache and pain that he didn't notice before is back with a vengeance. He reaches up slowly, touching the back of his head where it hurts gingerly before pulling his hand back to look at the blood smeared there. "Ow, fucking, ow," he grumbles.

The driver of the semi is unconscious, bleeding from a nasty looking gash on his head. So, Catherine curses, and just hauls him out and upwards, grabbing him as gently as possible, and then awkwardly making her way back down the cab. She jumps the last little bit, twisting so that she lands on her feet, the man cradled in her arms. She looks down at him. "I hope you appreciate this. But you won't, will you. Because you're unconscious." She shakes her head and makes her way back up the slope, there to deliver the man into the arms of bystanders with blankets. Then, deciding she's had quite enough of heroics for the evening, the woman does her best to fade back into the crowds.

"If you were lying on top of me, then you'd be keeping me warm. You butt, however, isn't doing a damn thing to keep me warm …." But Rowan's voice trails off and his body goes slack again as he just drifts off into unconciousness, his eyes rolling up before his eyelids flutter shut.


FADE TO BLACK AS PEOPLE PASSED OUT ONE BY ONE

pre
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License