Production No. CVT506
edited by: Josette, Deborah
MEET THE CAST
They were going to get it. With any luck, they would completely cripple the city. Teach them who was in control. Not the cops, that was for sure. Run him out of town and hunt him, would they? Not if he had anything to say about it. He checked out his remote control devices, comparing them to the drawings in the Anarchist's Handbook... perfect. He looked up as the door opened, to see the commander standing there.
"Is everything ready, Short?"
"Yes, ma'am," the man replied. "I've got everything set and ready to go. Fifteen hundred pounds of C4 on the stairwell by the elevator and another eighteen hundred on the central stairwell... when that baby blows, it's gonna leave a crater that will make Oklahoma City look like a firecracker," Short replied, proud of his accomplishment.
"What about the first one?"
"Two hundred pounds, set up to collapse the upper level of the parking structure, sealing the building. With the booby traps on the elevator and stairwells, we'll have them helpless. We've already tapped into the comm system, so we can warn them after we blow the first one." Pride obvious in the man's voice.
"Good. Whether we get Perkins and the others out is immaterial. The message is what's important, and if we can manage to off the little hippie freak...so much the better." Smiling vindictively, Commander Schofield patted the younger man on his shoulder, then turned and left the small room.
"Jim? Simon?" The voice was whisper-soft, strained. It was pitch black, wherever he was... Oh, yeah. The parking garage at the courthouse. He took a deep breath and winced at the discomfort it caused. OK, bruised ribs. Not too bad. Nothing broken. So, what about the rest of him? Fingers and toes... OK. Wrists and ankles... oops. Right wrist hurts some, but again, not too bad. A slight sprain, probably. OK, neck, arms, elbows, knees, shoulders... hips. All in working order. Bruised feeling, but nothing serious. What a relief. Now, as for what happened... Oh. Yeah. "Jim?" Voice a little louder. He felt around him through the rubble, searching for... THERE! Something warm, and alive. He shifted to his hands and knees, brushing the smaller pieces of concrete from the form beside him. Gentle, searching for some further reassurance that the figure was only unconscious. When his fingers brushed across the face, he felt the stickiness of coagulating blood. Lightening his touch, he found the source, -- a piece of concrete shrapnel had smacked into his companion's head just above the right temple. He could feel the swelling lump and the inch-long gash that had just about stopped oozing gore. Feeling the soft, short hair, he recognized the unconscious man as his roommate and partner, James Ellison. He sat back on his feet, sighing in relief. His fingers had strayed to the carotid artery at the side of the unconscious man's neck and his relief manifested with the sigh. The pulse was strong and steady. He patted his friend's cheek and continued his search for their captain and friend, Simon Banks.
It took him a while. Once again, just for a moment, he wished for his Sentinel's abilities. To be able to see in near lightless conditions, to be able to track and find someone by listening for their heartbeat and breathing. With a little chuckle of non-amusement and shaking his head, he continued his search.
They had been walking back to Simon's car after testifying, planning on going for lunch, when Jim had suddenly stopped, his head tilting at the angle that said his senses had kicked into overdrive and that something was out of kilter. His companions had stopped with him and waited. By the time he figured out what he had sensed, it was too late to do much about it. He'd had time to yell "BOMB!" and push his companions toward a support column, but the blast had struck immediately on the heels of his terror-stricken announcement.
So, Blair thought to himself, Jim was on my right and behind me, so Simon should be... his questing fingers found a shoe... and there was still a foot in it. A nice, warm, foot. Heaving another relieved sigh, he traced up the leg, discovering a dismaying lump in the middle of the femur, along with an odd angle. Wincing, he carefully traced up the leg, only to be interrupted by a gasp from the victim.
"Shit!" The injured man exclaimed as he abruptly tried to suck in air against spasming muscles reacting to the increased pain at even the gentle touch of the smaller man.
"Oh, man, Simon. I'm sorry," he exclaimed. "Are you OK?"
"Of course I'm not OK, Sandburg! What, you think a busted leg is OK?" Simon snarled.
Blair couldn't blame him. He had felt the swelling and the obvious dislocation of the broken ends of the bones, even with his lightest touch. "I'm sorry, Simon. I thought you were still out." He carefully made his way further up the larger man's body until he got to his shoulders. "Um, are you hurt anywhere else?" he tentatively asked.
There were a few moments of silence while Simon checked himself out. "Nah. Just bruised, I guess. What broke my leg?" he queried.
"I'm not sure. One of those big chunks of falling ceiling probably bounced off your leg when you fell." He paused, then continued, "Uh, Simon? Can you see anything?"
The silence was heavy, fraught with tension. Finally, "Yeah, Blair. I can see a little. It's pretty dark, though." He waited; wondering what new trial was coming.
"Oh. Uh, can you see Jim from here?" His tone rather hesitant.
"Uh, yeah. He's a couple of feet on the other side of you. Are you saying that you can't see?" Simon held his breath as he waited for an answer.
"Um, yeah. I guess I am. I can't see anything but a kind of brown darkness, with some light flashes occasionally. Like when you squeeze your eyes shut really tight?" There was a lost quality to his voice.
Simon recognized the fear and resignation in the younger man. "Hey, it's probably only temporary. Where did you hit your head?" He struggled to sit up as he finally realized that he was lying on a layer of rubble. He gratefully accepted the assistance of the smaller man, who helped him sit up, then brushed away the debris behind him and helped him shift to lean against the damaged pillar. Once he was more comfortable, he looked closely at the injured anthropologist, "Well, hell, Sandburg. Try opening your eyes." He snorted a brief laugh at the shocked look on the younger man's face.
Reaching up with his fingers, he checked. Sure enough, his eyes were closed, probably from the swelling he felt there. With an effort, he forced his swollen lids apart and blinked rather owlishly at the friend sitting beside him. "Oh," was all he managed to say as he blushed furiously, not that it could be seen beneath the dirt and bruises.
"How's Jim?" Simon asked, successfully turning the younger man's attention from his embarrassment to more important issues.
Blair looked over at his friend. "He's still out. I couldn't find anything except a cut just above his right temple." He turned to look at the larger man beside him, "And you have a broken right femur." He looked around the demolished parking structure. "I wonder why no one's come to investigate, yet?" he murmured.
"How long were we out?" Simon asked, reasonably.
"Well, long enough for the dust to settle and Jim's head to stop bleeding on its own." Blair replied distractedly. Standing, he tried to look around the damage and found the ramp from the next floor had collapsed, effectively blocking the way, but the stairwell should still be clear... "Uh, Simon? I'm going to go check out the stairs, OK?" Without waiting for a response, he made his way hesitantly through the debris to the nearest stairwell. When he got there and saw the enormous amount of C4 attached to the door and wrapped around the concrete stairwell like a second layer of cement, he paled and hurriedly made his way back to his friends.
Panting, partly from exertion, partly in fear, Blair returned to his friends. "Oh, man, Simon. There's another bomb set by the door. Oh, man. This is not good. This really sucks, man. You know?" He was taking short steps, pacing back and forth between his two injured friends. "I mean, there's probably enough C4 to blow this place into a crater and fill it with dust, man..."
"What am I supposed to do? I don't know how to defuse a bomb. I'm an anthropologist, not an explosives expert, for God's sake. What am..."
"Blair... Sandburg. Detective!" Simon had to shout to finally get the agitated younger man's attention.
"Huh? Yeah, Simon? You need something? Is your leg bothering you? Shit. Of course your leg's bothering you. What an idiot you can be, Sandburg. Duh. Of course it hurts. What..."
"Sandburg... Blair." Simon was torn between amusement and annoyance at the kid's babbling. When he again momentarily held the younger man's attention, he hurried to make his suggestion. "Why don't you use a cell phone and call Joel and ask him for help, Detective," he asked, reminding the younger man of his still new status. He was met by a blank stare.
"What? OH! Of course. What an idiot I am. Let's see, Cell phone, cell phone. Uh, I don't have my cell phone with me, Simon," he stated forlornly.
Grunting with the effort it took, the big man managed to worm his own cell phone from his pocket and hand it to the smaller man. "Here, use mine. Find out what's going on, tell Joel about the bomb. He may have given up working on the bomb squad, but he still knows more about explosives than anyone outside of the military." He watched closely as the slightly calmer grad- student- turned- detective took the cell phone and made the call.
"Hey, Rafe? It's Blair Sandburg... Yeah... Right... We are... well, we were in the parking garage... WHAT? He listened as the voice on the other end filled him in on what was happening. With a groan, he turned to his conscious companion with an expression of dismay. Cupping one hand over the mouthpiece, he repeated the information to the injured captain.
"There was a call in just after the bomb blew. Our buddy, Short, called. The Washington Freedom Fighters are claiming responsibility and said that they had placed other bombs in city buildings throughout the area. They've found three so far. Joel's at City Hall working on one and the bomb squad is scattered all over town searching for the others. Rafe also says that the courthouse is booby-trapped and that the people behind it said that if anyone tried to get in, they'd make Oklahoma City look like a firecracker." He looked over at the bomb on the stairwell door. "I guess so. I wonder how many more of those there are in here?" His desolate eyes met those of his injured friend and took comfort from the relaxed, confident expression he found there. "Um, Rafe?" he spoke again into the cell phone, "I can tell you from experience that the bad guys have booby-trapped this place. We're in the parking garage at the courthouse... Well, I'm a little banged up, Simon's got a broken leg, and Jim's still unconscious, with a huge goose-egg and a gash about an inch or so long just above his right temple. But about their claims? I can tell you from my own observations that there is at least one other bomb here. They've got C4 wrapped around the whole support area at the stairwell, with a control device that looks like it's probably activated by a remote... Right, Simon's got a broken femur and Jim's still out cold... no, no other signs of injury but the lump and cut on his head, but he's showing no sign of waking up yet. I'm OK, just a little bruised and maybe a sprained wrist, but we could really use some help here. I looked but I couldn't find a timer on the explosives. It's just a whole lot of C-4 wrapped around the stairwell, top and bottom, and wired to the doorknob, like if anyone tried to open the door, ka-boom." Now that he was talking to someone on the outside, and actions could be set in motion, he was feeling a lot better - still scared but no longer panicky. "No, unless Jim wakes up, I can't get us moved out of here. The exit is blocked by the collapsed ramps. If Jim was awake, we might be able to clear a path, but it would be hell moving Simon. It's a pretty bad break; not a compound fracture, but you should see the angle it's at... Yeah, it looks bad and it's swelling fast. He needs to get to a hospital."
Just at that moment, there was a soft moan from the unconscious Sentinel. Blair immediately turned to his friend. "Rafe? Jim's starting to come to. I'll call you back, OK? Or you can call us? I'm using Simon's cell phone." Not waiting for a reply, he disconnected and handed the phone back to Simon. He then hurried to his partner's side, kneeling beside him in the rubble. Picking up the unconscious man's hand, he gently smoothed his other hand across his friend's cheek, smiling when Jim leaned into the warmth.
"Jim? Hey, Jim? Wake up, man. I could really use your help. The shit's really hit the fan. Our favorite bunch of terrorists have set bombs all over the city. There's another one here, probably big enough to bring down the whole building. Simon's got a broken leg, and I'd really like your input on what to do. Jim? Come on, Jim. Open those baby blues for me."
With another groan, Jim finally squinted his eyes open. "Oh, man. What...?" He was disoriented, his vision blurred, and his ears were ringing.
"There was a bomb, remember? You smelled it, or heard it, or something. You managed to push us out of the way of the worst of it. You saved our lives, Jim. Problem is, the ramp has collapsed and the stairwell has enough C4 to probably bring down the rest of the building. How are you feeling? You've got a huge goose egg and a gash about an inch long just above your right temple. Looks like you could use a couple of stitches. How are your senses?"
While Blair babbled, filling him in with all the information he had, Jim worked at blinking his eyes and struggling into a sitting position. He groaned and fell back, his spine arching up in pain, leaving him gasping. "Damn," he muttered, panting.
"Jim? What's wrong, man?" Blair's worry suddenly increased.
"I think I threw my back out, Chief." Lying still, he was able to bring his breathing back under control. He looked up into the concerned eyes of his Guide.
"Oh, man. That sucks," Blair succinctly declared. That left everything up to him. His older and more experienced companions could give advice, but he was going to have to actually do anything that needed doing from their end. Patting Jim's shoulder reassuringly, he looked over at Simon, his eyes asking 'Now what?'
Simon hit redial on his cell phone. When it was answered on the other end, he held the phone out to the only mobile member of their little group. He'd never seen the kid under this kind of stress and was a little worried about his ability to handle the situation. Unfortunately, they didn't have any choice. He certainly couldn't get up and move around and from the expression on Ellison's face, the detective wouldn't be moving any more than absolutely necessary either. The kid was right, this sucked, big time.
"Hello?" Blair said into the phone. "Oh, hi, H. Did... He did? Good. So, what should we do?... No, Jim's thrown his back out; he's hurting pretty bad. I'm the only one who's really mobile. So, what should we do? Awww, man, that doesn't sound good, H. How long?" He turned to stare at the explosives surrounding the stairwell. "That's not a real option, H. If they decide to blow that stairwell, we're history. I can't carry one of them, let alone both... No. I will not leave either of them behind. That's not an option at all. Where's Joel?" He listened, his worried eyes dividing their time between his two companions and the explosives at the stairwell. "H? When you hear from Joel, would you have him call us?... Thanks, H. No, I'm gonna look around and see if there's some way out." He rolled his eyes at what H was saying to him, "I promise, I'll be careful, H. The last thing I want is Jim to hurt himself even more by having to come and save me, man. Yeah. I'll be here." He disconnected the phone and handed it back to Simon. Heaving a sigh, he gave his report. "Well, Joel's still working on the bombs at City Hall, part of the bomb squad is at the Sports Arena, and part of them are checking the Hall of Records, so they're spread really thin. Of course, now that they know that the bomb threat here is for real..." He sat down between his friends and wrapped his arms around his knees and buried his face against his scuffed corduroy-covered knees.
"What is it, Chief?" Jim asked softly.
"The bomb Joel's working on. A cell phone could set it off. He's working without any backup, no radio contact, nothing. They won't know anything until either he comes out or the building blows up." He exchanged worried looks with his injured friends. "In the meantime," He stood back up, taking a deep, hopefully calming, breath. "I'm going to see how hard it would be to get some help in here, or us out. I'll be back in a few, guys. If you need me, just yell. I won't go very far..." He glanced at his friends, looking for reassurance. Seeing the confidence in their expressions, he nodded and headed over to the collapsed ramp.
"He's terrified," Jim said softly, once he was sure his partner was out of earshot.
"He's worried about us. He should be just as worried about himself," Simon replied.
Jim shook his head. "Not in him to worry about his own safety when someone else needs help. It's one of his biggest faults. The man just doesn't seem to have any sense of self-preservation," Jim agreed.
"That's not a fault, Jim. That's too big a heart," Simon softly chided. The two men exchanged gentle smiles.
"Yeah. Anything else wouldn't be Blair Sandburg," Jim said, a touch of pride in his voice that such a man was his friend.
Blair carefully climbed through the rubble of the collapsed ramp. He could see no outlet save for the huge hole above him, through which he could see some of the file room above the parking structure. There were a couple of bodies visible up there, obviously dead. He had to swallow back the bile that automatically rose in his throat and quickly looked away. The entire outer wall of the building seemed to have collapsed, as well as the ramps for the two parking levels. There was absolutely no exit up the ramp. No way down to the lower parking level without using the stairs. He scouted out the rest of the perimeter of the parking level, checking the other stairwell in one corner of the building, next to the elevators. It, too, was rigged with explosives, as were the elevator doors. Blanching at the sight, he scurried back to his friends.
"We're worse off than I thought. If the elevator is still working, if it comes down here, the opening doors will set off some more explosives. It looks even worse than the central stairwell." Looking at his friends, he asked, "So, what do we do?"
"We wait until we can talk to Joel or someone else from the bomb squad. Then we have to disarm at least one set of explosives, after which they can come in and help us out of here, Chief," Jim answered.
"Uh, we? You mean me, don't you? I can't see either of you standing up and going over to disarm a bomb."
The two older men exchanged glances. Simon shrugged, indicating his acceptance of the situation. Jim shook his head, wincing with the muscle spasm even that slight movement brought to his back.
"Well, if you help me, I can probably get up and over to work on it," he offered, trying to hide just how much his back was hurting him.
"Jim, you can't even lift your head without cringing in pain, man. I can do this." I have to, there's no one else who can, he added to himself as he took a deep, cleansing breath to control his fear. Just then, Simon's cell phone rang. Simon lifted his phone and pressed the button.
"Banks." He listened, his concerned frown increasing for a moment, only to be replaced by one of relief. "Joel, good to hear your voice, man. How'd it go?" He listened, his expression showing his concern as he listened to the older man's description of the job he'd just finished. "You're going to have to talk to Sandburg. He's the only one mobile enough to do anything. No. I've got a broken leg and Jim's back is out. He can't even sit up." He listened some more, chuckling humorlessly, "Yeah. Well, let me get Sandburg." He held out the phone. Glancing at his supine friend, he passed on Joel's admonishment, "Joel says to get up off your lazy ass and do something."
"Yeah, sure, Sir. Just as soon as I can." Jim replied wearily. His response told his captain and friend just how bad off he must be. He didn't usually allow a little pain to stop him, which meant that the injury might be more than just 'thrown out his back.' Exchanging concerned looks, Blair took the cell phone from Simon's suddenly lax fingers.
"Hey, Joel. Glad to hear you made it out OK," Blair said into the phone, turning to worriedly watch his partner's obvious pain and discomfort. He could see from the way Jim's body lay that there was some good sized rubble under his friend, probably the cause of and exacerbating the bigger man's pain. Joel's voice brought him back to the present.
"I'm sorry, Joel, what did you say?" He listened intently this time, shaking his head in automatic denial. "Oh, no, man. I don't think..." He paled at the distant voice's tone and words. He sought out his friends' faces, his fear quite evident in his expression. "OK. I guess I don't have much choice, do I?" he said resignedly into the phone. Picking up his backpack, he rummaged through one of the pockets until he found his Swiss Army knife. With a final, terrified look at his injured friends, he headed for the stairwell.
"Just try to relax, Blair. Tell me what you see." Joel's soft voice came over the phone. Blair took a deep breath to try to calm himself; not that it did any good, but still...
"OK, there's C4 wrapped around the entire stairwell, from the top to the bottom. There's also some going up alongside the hinge side of the door. There are three wires going from the C4 into a little metal box, and two wires going to the door. One to the jamb and one to the edge of the door. It looks like one of those window alarm things?" Blair's voice trailed up into a question at the end.
"Good. What color are the wires?" Joel asked.
"Um... they're all black. The little control box? It looks like it's welded to the door and there's no way to tell what goes where." Blair took several deep breaths while he waited for Joel's advice.
"OK. Tell me about the wires into the C4."
"Uh, well, they all go in right next to each other... let me get a closer look," He put his glasses on and peered closely at the nexus of C4 and wires. There was something about the way the C4 looked...
"Oh, shit. Joel? There's another control box buried in the C4. The wires go to that. There may be another wire going deeper into the C4 from there. What should I do?" There had to be close to a thousand pounds or more of the nasty stuff and he was terrified that it would explode just from his being so close to it.
"OK, Blair, just take it easy. What I want you do is, about a foot away from the wires? Very carefully, I want you to remove a bit of the C4. It's kind of like clay, so you should be able to dig through it. Do it real slow, you don't want to accidentally jar a wire. With any luck, you'll be able to dig all the way to the concrete. Dig a trench around the buried control box. Let me know when you've done that, OK? I'll stay right here with you the whole time," he promised.
"OK." Blair tucked the still open phone in his pocket and began to carefully do as he had been instructed. His relief was enormous when he found nothing but the putty-like substance all the way to the concrete. Pulling his shirt loose from his pants, he wiped the dripping sweat from his face before retrieving the cell phone. "OK, Joel. I got all the way through to the wall. Now what?"
"Now, I want you to do the same thing over by the door on the other side of the wires there. Can you do that?"
"Sure, man. Not a problem." Carefully placing the phone back in his pocket, he repeated his earlier actions on the other side of the door. Looking at the way the C4 was placed, he figured out what Joel was aiming for and repeated his actions on the strip of C4 between the two sets of wires. Then, without consulting the bomb expert on the phone, he carefully peeled the loose C4 from around the stairwell, finally leaving only a pound or two surrounding the controls and the wires. The rest he carefully piled behind another pillar a good twenty feet away.
Joel was sweating, wondering what was taking Blair so long. He could hear the rustle of clothing and soft sub-vocalizations as Blair talked to himself as he worked, but he was unable to comprehend any actual words. After nearly fifteen minutes, he began calling into the phone, trying to get the younger man's attention.
"Blair? Blair! Come on, man. Pick up the phone. Talk to me, kid. What's going on?"
When Blair had finished his self-appointed task, he stood back and looked at his handiwork. He smiled, pleased with himself. He pulled the phone from his pocket, finally acknowledging the voice pleading at the other end.
"OK, Joel. I got through the C4 by the wires. Then I did the same thing between the box and where the wires ended in a chunk of C4. The rest of the stuff, I peeled off the walls and carted over behind another pillar, about twenty feet away. So, now what?"
There were several seconds of silence.
"Joel? You're scaring me, man. Talk to me. Did I screw up?" His heart started pounding like a trip-hammer, as he worried that he had made things worse.
"Sandburg?" There was something odd in Joel's voice, something that made Blair swallow hard before he was able to answer.
"Y-yeah, Joel?" his voice barely audible.
"If you ever decide to change careers to the bomb squad, I'll be more than happy to give you a recommendation, man."
Blair released the breath he was holding, "Oh. Then I did OK?" still unsure.
Joel chuckled. "You did better than OK, Blair. How much C4 is left around the door?"
"Uh, maybe a couple of pounds. The lump around the hidden box is about eight inches square and about two inches thick, but I think that most of that is the other control box. And there's only about four inches square, and maybe an inch thick at the other side. I know that if I try to open the door, it will go off, but it won't bring down the building, now."
"Good job, Blair. You said that they did the same thing at the other end? By the elevator?"
"Yeah. You want me to go over there and do the same thing?"
"See, I knew you were smart. I want you to do exactly the same thing, only if there's any C4 touching metal, I want you to leave it alone. It might be being used as a conductor. OK? You understand?"
"Yeah, Joel. I understand. You'll stay on the line with me?" There was a hopeful plea in the voice. He was making his way to the other bomb, making a slight detour to make sure that his friends were holding on all right. Simon was leaning against the wall, his eyes closed, his breathing even. Jim was still in the same position he had been in; his face screwed up in pain. "Hold on, Joel. I gotta check on Jim and Simon." He crouched beside his partner, gently touching his friend's cheek with the backs of the fingers of one hand.
"Jim? Dial it down, man. Take it easy. We'll get you out real soon, now. I need to go over to the other bomb and see about getting it defused, OK?" He caught Simon's incredulous expression. "Well, there isn't anyone else who can do it." His tone was just a bit defensive.
"You're doing fine, Sandburg. I think that Jim and I just need you to get on it. I think we're both going into shock." The big man shivered slightly, emphasizing his statement.
"Oh. Sorry. I'll try to hurry." He stood to go, but Jim's hand reached out to snag him back.
"Be careful, Chief. I don't want you to blow yourself up, either. We can hang on until help can get to us. You just keep yourself safe, you hear me?" Jim's voice was whispery and showed his pain.
"I promise to be careful, Jim. But right now, Joel's waiting for me to get on with this. I think he's going to have me set it off somehow, once I get most of the C4 away from where it is now. I need to hurry, I think, and I don't know how much longer the battery's going to last in this phone." He patted his friend's hand, worried that Jim had never opened his eyes to look at him. Exchanging another worried look with the captain, he hurried on his way.
"OK, Joel. Jim and Simon are in shock. Jim's in a lot of pain, and he wouldn't even open his eyes to look at me. Simon's holding on pretty well, though."
"We'll get to you just as soon as we can, Blair. But we need you to peel off as much of that C4 from the other bomb site as you can. The less C4, the smaller the boom when we set it off to gain access." Joel explained.
"Yeah. That's what I figured. Well, it looks a lot like the other one, only the wires go to the middle of the doors, with the same set-up as the other door. In fact, it looks almost identical in design. Stick around and I'll let you know when I've got it done." Without waiting for acknowledgment, he put the phone in his pocket and began to cautiously probe the explosive putty, repeating his actions from the other stairwell.
It took him nearly forty minutes to remove as much of the explosives as he dared. He was left with two to three pounds of the stuff. He picked up the cell phone to announce the completion of his task.
"OK, Joel. I got most of the C4 away from here. I piled it behind another pillar about twenty feet from here. There's still two or three pounds of the stuff, though. Now what should I do?" He was met with silence. Pulling the phone away from his ear, he stared... The battery had died while he'd been busy removing the C4 from around the stairwell and elevator. With a catch in his throat, he folded the phone and put it back in his pocket, wondering what to do now.