Consider The Possibilities

by: Heidi

Disclaimer:  Not for profit work of fiction with no copyright infringement intended to those who own the rights.

Warnings:  Violence, A few bad words.

Rating:  Anyone above the age of high school.

Category:  Hurt/Comfort

AU's:  Multiple.  This is what happens when someone has the bright idea to try and write in multiple AU's at one time.  If you are not a fan of Little Britches, do not read the fic, because that is one of the AU's used in this one.  Many thanks to the multiple authors who have allowed me to play in their respective sandboxes.

Writer's Note:  Thanks to the many readers who have kept me going on this fic, and to Cin for her beta work on this monstrosity to help me make sense of it all.




Part One

"We are the bomb," JD announced. 

"I know," Buck said confidently.  "You had doubts?"  He glanced around at the others in the roomy passenger van.  "I mean, we are the Magnificent Seven."

"I will hit your magnificent self if you don't move over."  Chris glared at Buck.  "Who had the bright idea of me, Buck, and JD sharing a bench seat?"

"You did," Josiah and Nathan replied immediately from the front two seats.

"You wanted to keep them apart," Nathan reminded him.

"Turning me into a flattened sandwich was not part of the plan," the blond leader grumbled.

"Are you comfortable, Mr. Tanner?"  Ezra asked Vin.

"Quite so, Mr. Standish," Vin replied. 

"Rear bench seating affords us a plethora of room," the Southerner continued.

"Entertainment fer free," the Texan finished.

"Shut up or you'll be the entertainment," Chris grumbled.

"Must you complain so much?"  Ezra asked the blond.  "Your expulsion of hot air has created a fog on the windows."  He snatched Vin's bandana to wipe off the back window of the large van.

"Hey!"  Vin reclaimed his bandana.

"Ezra, there might be one less person fogging windows if you keep it up.  That back door does open from the inside," Larabee threatened.  "JD, will you stop wiggling around like a five-year-old?"

"I'm not wiggling around.  Just because you're mad you got soaked by the soda the suspect threw at you doesn't mean you get a free pass to take it out on me," the youngest retorted. 

"Consideration for your companions, Mr. Larabee.  I suggest you practice it," Ezra needled. 

"I'm considerate enough not to throw you out," Chris replied, looking over his shoulder at Ezra wearing a smirk.  "Yet." 

Josiah and Nathan exchanged knowing glances in the front seat.  History proved, the 'after the rush' antics of their team were just beginning, and things were likely to get worse before they got better.  Nathan rolled his eyes and shook his head as he turned to look out the side window, hearing Josiah's rumbling chuckle beside him.

"The sounds of fellowship warm my heart," Josiah commented.

"Just drive," Larabee muttered.  "It's been a long day."

"You think?"  Nathan cracked.  "We spent seven hours on surveillance, two hours applying for and getting warrants; another five went for the setup.  Then Minchpin sends his underlings to check us out and make us wait an hour for him."

"Y'all weren't the ones sittin' outside in the snow and ice," Vin told them.  "Quit yer bitchin'.  My toes are still cold."

"I'll be looking at them," Nathan warned.

"I ain't in the mood, Nate, I'm fine.  They're just cold because my socks got wet.  Yer not lookin'."

"Uh-huh," the team medic muttered noncommittally.

"Another half-hour to make the deal," JD continued from where Nathan left off.  "Now we've got at least an hour or more to do paperwork," JD added.  "Well, an hour for the rest of you.  I can get mine done in thirty minutes."

"That's because you wrote a program to cheat, kid," Buck replied.  He reached around Chris to smack JD in the head. 

JD attempted a swing on Buck from the blond's other side.  "I'm not a kid.  Quit treating me like one."

Chris ducked, deciding his original thought that he could be a physical deterrent between the two overgrown juveniles was a pipe dream, looked for a needed quiet space for his own down time elsewhere.  "I'm out of this.  If you two want to beat on each other, don't come crying to me when someone's hurt."  He crawled into the back seat with Vin and Ezra, forcing them apart with his body. 

"Cowboy, ya ain't invited," Vin complained, his face half-pressed against the far side. 

"Too bad.  Deal."  Larabee crossed his arms in front of him.

"What the " Josiah's exclamation cut off.  "Hang on!"

Josiah's split second warning barely helped.  When the van crossed through an intersection, a panel delivery truck entered simultaneously.  Newton's Laws of Motion remain constant: "an object in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force," adding to the second law of when "an object changes when it is subjected to an external force."  In this case, the panel delivery van acted as an external force against the van the Seven rode in.  Since "for every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction," and two objects cannot occupy the same time/space, both vehicles could not be unaffected.  Factor in the snow and ice to a recipe for disaster.

They collided in a loud explosion.

The panel van slammed into the side of the passenger van, bending it in half and pushing it through the intersection.  Impact altered the direction of the passenger van, forcing it into a diagonal course.  The power locked the van into the grill of the delivery vehicle, the forward momentum continuing to push the passenger van off the road.

Sparks lit up the night, shards of glass glittering in their lethal hail.  The passenger van dropped off the shoulder, down into a ditch, gravity rolling it over.  It continued rolling until it came to a stop at the bottom, a trail of wreckage in the light snow and ice from the road to the ditch.

The panel van screeched to a stop at the top of the ditch.  Inside, the driver was unconscious.

Down below, human and vehicle wreckage covered the area.  After the thunderous roar of their meeting, there was now an eerie silence.

"9-1-1, what's the location of your emergency?"

"Oh my God, there's an accident!"

"Where's the accident, ma'am?"

"Highway 57 and 46," the caller replied.  "There's people hurt.  Send help now."

The line disconnected.

Inside the 9-1-1 center, the call taker sighed.  She put the call into the computer as a motor vehicle accident with injuries, and hit Enter to send the call to the dispatcher's screen.  Using the caller ID, she re-contacted the woman who made the report, hoping to get more information for the responders. 

"Ma'am, it's the 9-1-1 center, I need some more information on this accident."

"Oh, I'm trying to help this person.  Just send help!"

"Ma'am, help is on the way, but it would make it easier if they had a little more information.  Please, can you tell me if any chemicals or hazards involved?" 

"Um, no, the delivery van's mashed up, but I think it's just the load of soda that is dumped all over the road."

"Okay, and it is the driver of this vehicle that is injured?" asked the operator.

"He's, um, bleeding from the head.  He's not answering me."

"Is he breathing?" 

"Yeah, he's just, you know, knocked out." 

"Is he pinned in the vehicle?"

"I don't think so, but I'm not moving him; I learned that in my first aid class."

"Okay, is anyone else hurt?"

"Gimme a second, we're looking around.  It's really slippery out here," the caller said.  "OH MY GOD!"

"What's wrong, ma'am?"

"There's a van, it's like, down in a deep ditch, and there's bodies everywhere.  The snow's red!  YOU HAVE TO SEND HELP!"

"Ma'am, the ambulances and police have already been dispatched.  How many people are in the van?"

"Oh God, I don't know."  The caller gasped.  "I see, three, no four bodies, and they're not moving!"

"Can you get down to them to check if they're breathing without putting yourself at risk?"

"I can't!"

"Can you tell from there if anyone is pinned?"

"No I can't!  I don't know, please just send help!"

"Help is on the way, ma'am.  Can you see if anyone was thrown from the vehicle?"

"I told you bodies were EVERYWHERE!  If they are everywhere, of course they were thrown!"

The 9-1-1 operator gritted her teeth, forcing herself not to say the first thing that came to her mind.  Instead, she asked, "How many were thrown?"

"I guess all of them that are lying on the ground.  Um, three, I guess.  One's half in and half out of the van, does that count?"

"Okay.  Can you tell if they are awake or moving?"

"I don't think so, just send help!  They'll see it when they get here, okay?"  

"Help is coming, ma'am, I'm trying to get as much information for the responders as possible.  Is there any serious bleeding?"

"I can't tell.  But like I said there is a lot of red in the snow, so I guess that's blood so, yes, they're bleeding."

"Okay, I'm sending the paramedics.  Stay on the line.  Do not move anyone, and look for the emergency crews and direct them into the accident."

The sound of sirens reached the call taker's ears through the cell phone connection. 

"They're here.  Finally."  The caller disconnected.

Patrol Officer Lewis B. Hoffstetten had seen plenty of accidents in his five years, and this particular intersection was notorious for bad wrecks.  Experience taught him someone usually turned the wrong way down one of the lanes, going eastbound in the westbound lane, or someone decided that the red light was meant to be ignored.  Given the snow and ice, he was not surprised by what he found.

When he pulled up, he saw the delivery van first.  Given the extent of damage, primarily to the front of the truck, he guessed the driver probably had a good-sized headache from impacting with the windshield.  That guess was confirmed by the paramedics transferring the guy onto a stretcher.  He could see the blood all over the driver's face as he was hustled to one of the many ambulances on location.  He saw one of his fellow officers checking out the delivery vehicle, allowing him to walk to where the largest groups of firefighters were gathered.

Tire tracks led off the road, down into the ditch.  Lewis sighed; he knew that meant rescue, which changed this call to a cluster.  Standing beside a fellow officer, he stared down at the mess.

"Yours?" he asked Officer Thomas Bruno, a two-year member of the force.

"Mine," Bruno answered on a large sigh.

"How many?" 

"First hosebeater down there said there's seven in that car, all unconscious.  But they're breathing and likely to stay that way, I hope."


"You figure out what happened yet?"  Bruno inquired.

 "Best guess delivery truck ran the red light.  Look at the side of the van facing up towards us it's caved in.  T-boned and pushed.  Tracks support it."

"That's what I figured."


The yell reached up to the two officers from the bottom of the ditch, sending their adrenaline rushing as firefighters anxiously waved them down. 


"Dammit!"  Bruno echoed, both men slip sliding their way down the slope to the paramedic beside a backboard. 

"They're all armed," the paramedic reported.  "We've prepped the ones out of the van for transport, but we're not touching the guns or wallets."

"Got it," Lewis acknowledged.  He carefully bent down beside the first form on a stretcher, removing the weapon.  Searching the back pocket, he found an identification wallet.  Opening it, he cursed words not suitable for repeating.  "Bruno," he yelled, "ATF.  They may be transporting."   

"I don't see anyone in cuffs," the other officer called out.  "This one's ATF too," he added as he bent to check another body being prepared for transport by EMS personnel.

"That means it may be a van load of them.  How many are still in the van?"  Lewis asked.

"Well four, technically," one of the squad leaders reported.  "One was partially ejected.  They're working on extricating the others.  We've gotten the one ejected closest to the bottom of the ditch, and there's two more on the slope.  Back doors shot open and dumped the rear passengers.  We're still working on figuring out how to get them up the hill without hurting them further."

"When the rest are out of the van, we'll secure the weapons."

"Aviation's almost here," a firefighter yelled from the top. 

"I hear 'em," Lewis muttered.  It wasn't like he didn't hear the helicopter coming; the rotors made a distinctive sound.  He did not look up; he knew what was coming, and he preferred to have his eyes intact, thank you very much.

True to form, the spotlight from the helicopter pierced the night, shining down on the accident scene and sweeping the area in broad arcs.  It gave him the chance to see how bad off the two on the slope were; there were limbs angled in directions limbs do not bend.  The bright, white light continued to illuminate the area; Lewis kept his eyes down so he didn't stare right into the light, he'd learned the hard way how painful that could be.

He thought about how long of a night it was going to be with this many priority patients.  His thoughts were confirmed when he heard the paramedic near him request another helicopter.



 Part Two

His head hurt, his legs were aching, his mind foggy.  Nathan Jackson felt like crap, his brain was not cooperating, withholding its usual clarity.  He felt pressure around his neck and throat, but it wasn't a strangling pressure.  One hand lifted to check it out, while his eyelids and his brain argued over whether or not to open.  So far, the eyelids were winning, keeping him in a world of darkness.

"Sir?  Sir, if you can hear me, don't move.  We're trying to help," a voice resounded near his ear.  It echoed through his mind, comprehension only in the words "Don't move," and "Help," ones he did understand, knowing he used them often enough. 

He convinced his hand to lower back down, assisted by the gentle touch of his companion.

"That's good.  If you move, you could hurt yourself worse."

Knew that, sure I did, he thought.  That's what you tell people who are injured in an accident.  So I've been in an accident, it was still hard to get the jumble of feelings and thoughts to meld into a single cohesive thought.  If that's the case I know what to do, I'm not a first week provider, he reassured them.  Or did he?  He didn't feel his mouth move, and definitely didn't hear any sound.  Frustration began to fill him.

"Sir, we've just about got you out.  If you can understand me, stay real still.  Like a statue, okay?" 

That voice giving him orders; he didn't recognize it.  A screeching sound filled his senses, his head jerking away from the sound that seemed too close for comfort.  Resistance met him in the form of not being able to move his head. 

"I've got him, go ahead." 

He felt hands pressing with a kind but firm pressure against his shoulders.  The hideous noise continued right beside him.  Every incessant second drove into him, striking raw nerve endings, sending them into overload.  His body tensed; he could not take any more of this sound.


He felt a hand grip his shoulder.  Turning, Nathan faced his co-worker and friend, Josiah Sanchez.  "Yeah?"

"They're almost done cutting the kids out of the car."  Sanchez indicated the car turned on its side wedged against a tree.  Firefighters currently used the Jaws of Life to free the two occupants pinned inside, the whine of the jaws filling the cold night air around them.

"I hate that sound," Nathan sighed.  He shuddered.  "Hits me like nails, you know?"

"That's the reason you pretended you were me in deep thought moments ago?"  Josiah's eyes twinkled in the streetlights. 

"Very funny.  We have a cause yet?"

"Youth and stupidity, but those check-off boxes haven't been added to the official report yet." 

"Don't remind me," Nathan retorted.  "This is my fourth accident today.  I'll be writing reports until twelve this afternoon, and have to come back at seven p.m."


Both men turned at the summons.  Within inches of the same height, Officers First Class Josiah Sanchez and Nathan Jackson of the Four Corners Police Department, midnight shift Squad One, arranged their bodies subtly so they protected each other's backs.  They kept their weapons away from the approaching man, but not out of quick hand reach. 

The source of the summons was one of the teenagers involved in the accident, the only reason the teenager was allowed on the scene.  "Um, like, okay, you know, I really shouldn't say this, okay, but, man, this is like, so screwed up, you know, and, well "

"What's wrong, son?"  Sanchez softened his voice, attempting to inspire confidence.

"Well, okay, um, Joey, that's, um, the driver, he's uh, messed up, okay?  You know, a little weed.  All of us were, but like, okay, I didn't.  The others did.  And I, um, tried to like, you know take the keys, but he, um, well, he wouldn't give them to me.  I got in the car to talk him out of it, you know.  Are we in trouble?"

Nathan fought the urge to reach over and smack the teenager for being so stupid, but like Josiah said earlier, stupid was not an official cause on a report.  He needed to ask to be sure even though the kid already answered the question.  Injecting a touch of sternness into his voice, he requested confirmation, "Were you smoking, too?"

"Man, no, like I said, I didn't.  I ain't into that crap.  Just Joey, and he's like, Mr. Cool, so I like came along because he's so cool, and I didn't want to be, you know, a dork for not going with them.  Oh yeah, the others did too, but like, okay, I figured I could be the straight one in case we got into any trouble with parents or cops.  Uh, sorry."

"So you risked your own life to be cool with him?"  Jackson pointed at the remains of the car and the driver's form on the stretcher.  "He's going to the hospital to have his face reconstructed.  Your friend Bettie, she might have a closed head injury and brain damage.  Lindsay's got a broken leg and maybe a few fractured ribs.  The only reason you're not in an ambulance is because you were the only one with the sense to wear your seatbelt.  How are you supposed to be the 'straight one' and deal with the cops when you weren't driving, and your friends were out of control?  Stopping them would have been easier, don't you think?"

"Okay, dude, point made."  Looking over at the emergency personnel and the vehicle, his eyes lowered.  "Oh, man, we're like, totally screwed.  Can you like, not tell my parents about the drugs?" 

"Son," Josiah said, stopping Nathan from answering, "We've already called your parents.  They're on their way to pick you up.  Now, we're going to give you the chance to tell them what happened first.  All they've been told is that you've been in an accident, the ambulance crew has checked you out and decided you didn't need transport, so they are coming here to pick you up.  Why don't you wait in my car until they arrive, reflect on the power of confession?  Walk with me, and we'll talk about why marijuana isn't legal."  Sanchez indicated the kid should precede him in the direction of a patrol car, lights rotating blue and red, parked to block traffic from entering the intersection. 

It almost struck him as funny that Josiah was giving the "Just say no" speech to a teenager, given what his friend told him about his less than straight youth.  But then, he thought, who better to preach the down side than someone who had been there, and had to explain his own use of drugs in his wilder days when he applied for this job.

"Hell of a mess," Buck commented as he walked up beside Nathan.  "Any look fatal?"

"Not yet, but Josiah's giving the Don't Smoke Dope speech to that kid over there," Nathan replied.

Corporal Buck Wilmington hid a smile; this was neither the time nor the place for it.  "Ezra's holding my post for me until Nina or Chris get here to do the reconstruction, then I'm gone.  Figure four teenagers, two flyouts, qualify for them using those fancy reconstruction skills.  Darn shame I let mine lapse."

"You hate the math," his friend replied.   

"The only math I ever want to do is to figure out the amount of pressure to apply to the curve of a woman's back," Buck announced.

Nathan shook his head and silently thought, 'only Buck'.

"This your mess?"

"Yeah.  My fourth."   

"Ouch," Buck frowned.  "Make sure you get your reports in tonight or Chris will chase you down."

"I'm not you, Buck, I do my reports on time." 

"Whatever.  Look who's here, his royal sergeantness himself, Chris Larabee."  Buck raised his voice as the man approached, just loud enough to carry to the one person, and not everyone else on the scene.

"You have a purpose here?" Sgt. Chris Larabee asked his corporal.  "Other than standing around and impersonating a cop?"

"Ezra's on my post, I'm gone."

"Catch up with Nina; she's running on a glass break alarm at Quick Food Fast Market without backup, since you weren't paying attention to your radio."

"Damn; that'll be a burglary."  Buck trotted off.

Nathan's radio squawked with Buck's voice coming out of it.  "11-02, FC, show me clear and enroute to Quick Food."

"10-4, 11-02," Casey's voice answered.  "11-08 direct?"

"Direct," Nina Caswell, the squad's other corporal answered.  "I'm about a minute out."

"10-4," Casey replied.

"What a mess," Chris commented, unknowingly echoing the sentiments from earlier.

"Yeah.  They're still working the rescue end of it, so there's not much more I can do until everyone's out."  Nathan shook his head in disgust.  "Gonna have to search the car; one of the vics said everyone had been smoking marijuana. Oh, everyone but him, of course.  He's the 'straight one' to deal with the cops and parents in case they get into trouble."

"Everyone not doing drugs would have helped."  Chris looked at the accident scene, returning his attention to Nathan's earlier statement.  "There's a car left to search?"  Larabee raised a single eyebrow.  "Between the accident and the rescuers, you might have a seat left."

"Yeah.  At least no one's died."

"Yup.  Call if you need me."  Chris walked away, heading for the skid marks prior to where the car ended up. 

Nathan decided to take a minute and walk over to Ezra.  He needed to remind him of something while he was thinking of it, or he'd just forget again, and he didn't want to tell Ezra over the radio. 

"Where's your vest?"  He snapped, drawing up close.

"If they cannot see the lights from the truck, the fire engines, the ambulances, the patrol cars, and the flares, they should not be driving."

"Doesn't mean they won't be looking at the fire engines, the truck, the ambulances, the patrol cars, the flares, and not you."  Nathan crossed his arms.  "I know you hate it; bright yellow's not my color, either, but put it on."

Standish quirked an eyebrow.  "I do believe that almost sounded like an order.  Are you giving me an order, Officer Jackson?"  Sarcasm dripped from every word.  "One I will have to disobey?"

Nathan sighed.  "No, Ezra, I'm not giving you an order, because I know you won't obey it, and I know you'll take the vest off the second I turn my back.  But I don't want to scrape you from the pavement."

"I appreciate the sentiment.  If you wish, you may fetch the garment for me.  It's under Ace's head at the moment, since he finds it very comforting as his down pillow for the shift."

Brown eyes swung over to the truck designed specifically for Ezra's use.  He couldn't help but notice the lettering on the side saying, "Ace of Spades," the name of the black Labrador who partnered with Standish.  Some days, it was hard for him to reconcile the fastidious loner with the canine handler.  When Ezra applied for the canine unit, lobbying hard to have a four-legged partner, no one was more surprised.  He even gave Ezra a hard time because he didn't think the Southerner would be able to care for the dog.  He was wrong; all of them were.  Ezra was a great handler who built an exceptional rapport with Ace, the pair one of the top canine units in the region. 

Privately, Nathan figured that Ezra had someone who would not disagree with him, let him talk all he wanted, and gave him unconditional love.  All three important needs requiring fulfillment on Standish's part, whether the man knew it or not.  He definitely was not going to say anything to Ezra about his observations, but he kept them in mind. 

What he did not want to do now was stick his hand into the truck and get Ezra's safety vest.  The canine team had been required to assist on a stupid chase initiated by the Sheriff's Office, and they spent almost two hours on the track and search.  Nathan knew Ace was tired, and he didn't want to wake the Lab.  Standing a traffic post did not require the canine, giving Ace the chance to rest. 

"Stick close to the lights, okay?"  Nathan suggested.  "That way you have a better chance of not getting hit."

Ezra saluted with his right hand in the general area of his forehead.  "I shall endeavor not to be a speed bump."

Jackson grinned.  "If anyone's gonna turn you into a speed bump, it'll be me.  I still owe you for the Wall of Shame picture you took."

"Perhaps you should have been more careful than to park so close to an accident scene involving an oil spill.  Even the intellectually challenged know liquid runs downhill."

"I don't want to talk about it."  Nathan did not like to remember the fact the oil got under his car without the clean-up crew noticing, causing him a rather spectacular fall when he tried to get into his vehicle.  The Wall of Shame, their attempt to poke fun at themselves, boost morale, and point out how safety matters, held pictures of different accidents from officers within the department, and embarrassing moments of them in uniform. 

"You wish not to discuss you slid under your car and got your foot stuck in the undercarriage?"  Standish started laughing.  "My friend, that was a classic moment."

"What about the time you hid a bone from Ace and he took you down for it?"

"Lesson learned," Ezra replied. 

"11-08, FC, on location, it's a B&E," Nina Caswell's voice came through the radio. "No cars in the lot, standing by for 11-02 for a building search.  K9-16, you available?"

"K9-16, I can clear," Ezra answered into his radio. 

"11-02, K9-16, stand by.  We'll search and let you know if we have something," Buck interrupted.  "11-02's almost on location, haven't passed any vehicles." 

"K9-16, direct," Standish replied.  "I will be quite comfortable here until they are ready for me to come."

"I think Nina wanted you to come, and Buck overrode her."

"Nina is more cautious."

"I'd like to see Buck's caution when they're done searching," Nathan replied.  "She'll be fired up at him."

"There would be something new in that?  Those two enjoy arguing with each other."  Standish cleared his throat.  "Wouldn't Mr. Sanchez have a wise phrase or homily about the perils of former lovers working together?"

"That's their problem, not ours.  Besides, it got you out of waking Ace."

"For which I am grateful to Buck.  Before we become maudlin, did you walk over here for your favorite pastime of Pick on Ezra, or did you have a purpose?"

Nathan gave him a fulminating look.  "I wanted to ask you if you got everything for Chris's surprise party next week." 

"The presentation piece will be ready day after tomorrow, and I must say it looks most excellent."

"Good.  I think he'll be surprised."

"Having a party to celebrate him completing his credits for his master's degree was an excellent idea.  Although his formal ceremony will not be for a few weeks, we can humiliate him with aplomb."

"Buck's already got the blowup doll dressed a in cap and gown."

"Notice the lack of surprise on my face.  Speaking of surprises and soon-to-be surprised ones, I believe Sgt. Larabee requires your attention."

"Be careful, Ezra."

"Of course."  Standish paused.  "Thank you, for both your concern and not waking Ace."

"Gotta take care of the squad, even the most intelligent member of your partnership."  With the parting shot, Nathan walked back to his sergeant.  "Yeah, Chris?"

"Speed was sixty when the brakes first went on."

"It's a twenty-five zone."  Nathan shook his head.

"Figure on a blood kit, too.  Stop by the station and get one once the patient's loaded.  I'll have Josiah handle waiting for the tow so you can go to the hospital."


"You've got overtime authorized.  This is your third, fourth report?"


"I'll get you something from Nettie's this morning.  Hopefully the public," Chris put heavy sarcasm on the word public, "will get the hint staying home is a really good idea.  If they can manage that, you can go into the station around three or four and start reports.  I'll cover your area."

"Thanks.  I really didn't want to stay until noon doing reports." 

"Looks like they're about done.  Beat it." 

"I'm on it," Nathan acknowledged.  He headed for his car, off to the side of the intersection. 

"Hey!  Stop!"  The air carried the yell, accompanied by the crunching of glass.

Nathan had one second to look up and see a firefighter dive out of the way of a car barreling right past him.  There was nowhere to go; the vehicle was moving too fast.  He tried to dive to one side, maybe that would help, but he heard the crash when he shifted.  Sounds of crumpling metal combined with breaking glass created a horrific resonance when the car slammed into the patrol car. 

It hit so hard the patrol car was knocked sideways, right into Nathan.  He felt himself flying through the air, but did not feel himself land. 

"Officer down!"  Chris yelled into the radio. 

Josiah, Chris, and Ezra sprinted to the new wreck.

The driver of the car at fault put his vehicle in reverse, squealing wheels while he tried to rip his car from the side of the patrol car.  Smoke clouded the scene from the burning rubber, until the driver gave up, seeing his bumper completely entangled in the side of the patrol car.  He climbed out of the destroyed vehicle and took off running away from the scene.


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