Thomas spent his first night as a security guard finding out that it was a job of mostly sitting around and letting the dogs chase thing around. In the morning he let two tow trucks in with wrecks to be crushed. The second driver warned him of eating at the Mexican restaurant and pointed him to a “club” where the food was good and they didn’t ask questions. When lunchtime came Thomas headed to Detira a little dive that did not have many cars in the parking lot. Inside he quickly learned the the place was more than it appeared. There was a stage and a pit for a band. Poles went from the floor to the ceiling, dark booths and a bar. There was not much going on the bartender did not look up as he was stocking the bar and spoke Spanish at Thomas in a tone that was fairly universal.
“Hi, I was told the food was good here,” he said making it clear that he did not speak Spanish.
Two women dressed in jeans and tee shirts walked in one with a child in her arms. They were taking Spanglish, mixing both English and Spanish. The smaller woman recognized Thomas and gave him a weird look.
“Father?” She asked setting it clear they Thomas wasn’t just some John hoping to start his day early.
He smiled at her and picked up the pacifier and diaper bag that fell to the floor.
“You said you were a dancer...” Thomas said, leaving the elephant in the room hanging.
He picked up the stuff that fell and smiled at the child.
It didn’t take long till they had Thomas in a corner booth with two plates of food. The food was better than he expected and the company was nice. He ended up holding the child as he ate and the woman talked. Six of them ended up in the booth “confessing” and talking with Thomas. He was amazed to find out that these ladies talked mostly about normal things. The boss is a jerk, trying to pay bills, who had sick children. They also talked about the John's that came here and who had done what with whom. In this line of work he found that not many people are there to have your back. They were commodities to be bought, sold, and traded. The women also seemed to enjoy talking to someone who did not want to get into their pants or see them naked. Not that most minded the second part much having done this for a while.
Adrian was running for his dear life, the gravity of the situation he was in was starting to overwhelm him. I don't care this isn't right, not in any way...McAlister must be exposed he must be stopped. This isn't about me anymore, this is about everyone the whole world....I have to call him...before I'm out of time. Gasping for breath but relieved that he'd found some place to stop running he exhaled siting down on a bench in the subway. Taking a quick but careful glance around the subway to make sure nobody he was trying to evade was after him he then produced his cell phone. Scrolling through his contacts until he found who he was looking for he then pressed the green button to call the priest. "Come on Thomas please pick up."
Thomas picked answered his phone grateful that it deflected the girl trying to seduce him.
“Father,” he said in a tone that was well practiced to let the other side know that he was a priest.
"Hello Father Thomas, it's Adrian we need to speak it's a matter of upmost urgency. Forgive me for i have sinned, a grave sin" Adrian spoke with fear in his voice
Thomas waved the girls away with the help of the bartender telling them they needed to get ready that the early shift was about to get their lunch break. This sent the women scrambling to prepare to entertain.
“My son, I can hear your confession over the phone, but I can only absolve you in person,” the young priest said. The Sacraments needed to be give in person. He tried to put a $20 down on the table but the bar tended waved him off as one of the woman started giving the bar tender some heavy attitude in Spanish.
Adrian gulped hearing the reality of what Thomas was explaining to him, but with the reality of what was going on he felt he had little to no time to waste. "Then we can arrange a meeting Father, I pray to our heavenly father I make it but there is a high chance I will not. I have participated and played an integral role in the tragedy that befall the world five months ago, The Incident if you will....and..I am trying to tell the world the truth at..all costs." He spoke with a grave tone in his voice the latter words that emanated from his voice would allow Thomas to hear the depths of the grave danger he was in by continuing this conversation any further.
"Wait to make confession till I am there. I will meet you at the Marta Five Points station, in about 45 minutes,” the priest said with concerned tone in his voice. What Adrian was serious stuff. If he was actively involved in this he would have to go to the authorities.
Adrian said, "Alright we can make that happen, but listen I'm trying to deliver something and I'm very low on time." He said making sure to take note of where Thomas wanted to meet, he was familar with 5 points. It was in a more seedier part of the town but at least the Marta station would be crowded. Getting off the phone he made sure to move quickly, prefering to take the streets on foot not wanting to risk getting stuck in a vehicle trying to avoid McAlister's goons at all cost.
Like the ladies, Thomas changed into his work clothes. His black cassock and polished black shoes with extra cushioning. He pulled his gold cross that had been blessed by the Pope. The young priest was read and headed out the door. He grabbing a small hand full of washers in case of emergency. He had learned that he could "shoot" them and make them do different things when he had used his powers. Mainly he had managed to repair broken items at the church and in the thrift shop when no one was around.
Half a block walk brought him to the bus stop. A five minute ride brought him to the train. His pass still worked which made him happy. He rode in relative peace, he was the minority here but he was also dressed as a priest. Most people at this time of day left priests alone. As he arrived at the train station and he made a point of blending in. A priest was not out of his element here, some did not drive having mass transit to ride. Thomas did have a license but did not not drive often. Traffic in Atlanta could rival Chicago and New York at times. He made his way through the crowd waiting to be approached by Adrian.
By the grace of God almighty Adrian managed to evade death moving through the crowd until he saw the Father. Rushing over to him he embraced the father in a hug and placed a flashdrive in his hand. "Listen we must talk, I didn't know who else I could trust, but the fate of the world rests on this conversation"
Thomas hugged the man back, it made it look like a family meeting. He let the Adrian lead him through the station to one of those tattooed coffee shops where most of the staff had nose rings and other piercings, most Thomas did not want to see or know about. A few Graduate students made the clientele a mix. It let everyone but him blend in. He ordered two large black coffees with none of the extras to pollute the Sacrament of caffeine. Then followed to table in a back corner. It did not take much for the priest to get the two that were overly enjoying each others anatomy to feel discomforted enough to let them have the booth. To put it nicely, he did not want to touch the table for fear of what he could catch. When the coffee arrived he had the waitress, a redhead with a nose ring, tongue stud, and seven ear rings in each ear. He thought her the black lipstick was a bit much but the tight white top was nice. Thomas had her bleach the table top as they held their coffee. Thomas sat with his back to the door as the other man acted like someone was after him. He pulled out his traveling stole, said a prayer kissed his Crucifix, and the stole and put it on “I am ready,” he said.
It was here Adrian could begin to divulge the information regarding the grave sin he'd participated in. He started, "To be blunt I have blood on my hands, possibly upwards of 400,000 people died as a result." Adrian's voice grew weak almost hoarse at what he was saying. "There is a man you must look into, Nathan McAlsiter the CEO of Nova Consolidated, the pharmaceutical company. His real name as in the on on his birth certificate is Nathan Cassanova, you probably recognize the Cassanova Family they were on the news for multiple law suits regarding their reckless behavior and disregard for human lives for their unethical approach and involvement in the opioid crisis two years ago.
Adrian stopped speaking briefly feeling as though there was an invisible lump in his throat. "Anyway back to where I work or well use to now..we have been contracted by the United States Military & by extension the United States Government to uncover a way to both suppress the abilities for lack of a better word for individuals with these newfound powers & the opposite Father Thomas. way...to give them..to anyone." He slowed his roll to allow what he was saying to sink in wondering if the father would react with horror & perhaps turn him in to the authorities on the spot maybe even saying he was far beyond saving.
Thomas listed and rolled the thumb drive in his fingers.
“Go on,” he said calmly taking the information in. He did not react. The training him had allowed him to suppress the "Oh shit" he was thinking. Adrian did not know that Thomas was one of those that disappeared and the Bishop must have covered that information up from the public. The deaths were now in the past and seemed accidental, well Thomas did no get the feeling that Adrian intended to kill the people. His time indicated that he was most likely contrite.
"I..I just can't participate any longer, enough is enough it comes a time that you have to stand up for what's right. That information on that drive it's..enough to open up the rabbit hole to start explaining what's going." Adrian paused and stood up shaking his head as he took a sip of his black coffee, just like the father he preferred his caffeine with little to not additives. "But all-" Before he could speak any further of all things a quarter and then penny burst through the window and lodged into Adrian's chest sending him flying across the room and into a table of the booth where the two girls were sitting. "No.."He spoke weakly before the penny and the man exploded taking his life, the two girls at the booth, anyone else nearby and half of the coffee restaurant.
The sound of the projectile, the glass breaking, the impact with the body, and the explosion was not like the movies. It was much more violent. Shrapnel flew through the air after the explosion. metal shards bits of objects bounced and rebounded off things. The compression wave was enough to deadened the ability to hear leaving Thomas and any survivors unable to hear. The blasts blew Thomas backwards under the next table as bodies fell on him. He had a cut across his forehead and his left arm and both his legs. He had multiple cuts and scratches but they were minor. Thomas dragged himself out from under the bodies to the screaming and chaos. He found two girls bleeding, he tore his sash and wrapped the wound the picked the one up and the other grabbed his arm as he lead them out with the survivors. When they got to the shelter of a us stop, he laid the girl down and blessed her. With the sounds sirens, police cars fire trucks, and ambulances drawing closer. He headed down the street. He grabbed a taxi to take him to the campus a few blocks away. There was a former parishioner that was a nurse in a walk in clinic that would make sure he did not need serious medical attention. The broken glass and fragments of hot metal hurt when he walked. But he pushed on.
Nathan McAlister looked onward with a devious grin on his face rubbing his two fingers together without a care in the world. "Adrian what a pity...when will they learn that I just will not be stopped. A Man with drive like my own will not be exposed by the likes of simpletons..hmm I wonder in the end if he appreciated my penny for a thought" The dark and cruel businessman let out a boisterous laugh at his evil act of murder not caring that not only Adrian but other innocent lives were taken in the crossfire. In his eyes there were too many people on the planet anyway, and he was just speeding up the process for the Grand Finale of his plans. "You know what the say, if you need a job done right do it yourself." With those final words confirming his dark thoughts he made his way from the edge of the rooftop. Retreating into the elevator full of satisfaction that he'd taken care of the final loose end trying to expose the truth about Nova Consolidated, unaware of the fact that in his final moments Adrian had delivered the truth to one last man, Father Thomas
Thomas said a prayer as he had received Adrian’s confession. It was his calling to pronounce absolution for the dead man. Thomas then did what came naturally, he started to help the injured getting them outside. He himself was also injured in the blast and explosion. His face was cut and his arms and body had small cuts where bits of hot metal, glass, coffee, and people went flying. In the corner, untouched a television droned the news. A lot of hatred. People wanting to hunt down the enhanced, conspiracy theories that Trump had created these monsters, people doing violence and blaming the enhanced for the destruction of property and loss of life. The video feed showed a group of men beating in the skull of someone thought to be an enhanced. A skinhead espousing his cause and letting lose a fire ball into a crowd of African Americans who were opposing his group.
A little girl came over to Thomas and raised her hands wanting to be picked up. He looked to the mother who was seriously injured, she nodded. So the priest did the humane thing he could do and picked up the child and hugged her as tears ran down his cheeks. As the fire and police department arrived and started their bloody work.
In the end Thomas blessed fourteen people that had been killed and prayed for eight more going to the hospital. He tried to say out of the camera and out of people's way as best he could. Most of what any news crew got would have been his back and his butt with him bending over to pray for people. When the paramedics finally got him to a rig an started tending to his wounds, an officer started asking him questions. His statement was less than helpful. He did talk about the couple being personal, the redhead with the jewelry who had died as well, and being invited to hear confession. He stuck to the details of what happened and not the conversation he was involved in. His ringing ears did not help him understand the officers. If they wanted him to break the seal of the confessional, they would need to go to the Bishop, and deal with the powers all the way to Rome to compel him to disclose the confession. He knew that he had information that might lead them to the killer, but would most likely lead the killer to kill more people including himself, to cover this up. Without thinking he gave his address as the Cathedral.
One detectives was on the phone talking with someone about tracking down all of the cell phones that were active with the towers. Thomas realized two things. The first was that the phone needed to go away and the second was that he needed to find out what was on the flashdrive. He understood at this moment that most of the Government would be after him, Nova and their resources would be after him, the anti-enhancers would be after him, and the brown eyed black haired woman from the club with a body that you couldn't miss was after him. As he started to walk back to the train station figuring out what to do. As the train approached, he accidentally dropped his phone and with a little will it landed on the track as the train wheels crushed it.
Thomas felt that in the next couple of days he would have his picture up in every post office in America. He needed to go underground, work on his powers and find people that he could trust.