action_antihero: (Aaaaaangst!)
[personal profile] action_antihero
July 16, 2012

Jack's waiting for the results of data-mining on a few people in the L.A. area that had contacts with the would-be bombers in D.C.  Two bomb found or detonated, and the intel points to one more remaining.  One more bomb, and they still don't know where it is.

Turning back to the computer station he's taken over, he clicks on a couple links, determined not to just sit there.  The pathway to FEMA's Victim Identification Database is familiar, the search parameters already set.

Sex: Female
Age: 18-27
Hair: brown
Eyes: blue OR green
Sort by: Most Recent

Hundreds of matches come up, and one by one, he scrolls through the list, all victims of the bomb.  He's learned not to look too closely at faces, to just look at one or two specific parts, judge them for their familiarity and move on if they don't fit.  To mentally filter out the glassy eyes, the severe burns, the blistering skin,  to try not to think about how young some of them look, to try not to see the devastation.  To look for one face in particular.

It's easier to do now.  When the database had first gone up, it had just been grouped by sex as one group of workers worked on getting photos into the database and another started slowly adding in other details.  The first time he'd seen a child's photo, he'd had to run to the bathroom before he was sick.  Now, at least, he can avoid the youngest victims, though the group he's looking through is still far, far too young.

Even now, it's not an easy task, not one he's been able to dissociate himself from.  But better him than Chris.

He clicks through the records, flicking from one to the next, not taking much longer than a second or two at each though he knows that with the effects of the burns and radiation sickness on the human face he could be clicking right past Caiti without recognising her.  But if he doesn't recognise a face in a second or two, he's pretty sure he won't recognise it on a longer look.  Besides, these victims aren't from their condo.  It's too close to ground zero; teams haven't gotten there yet.  He can't even be sure that there'll be anything to find, that close to the blast.

Finally he's gone through all the records updated in the last hour, the process only having taken a few minutes. Still, no phone call with new information, nothing to distract him, help him focus his thoughts away from the one thing that keeps coming up in his train of thought.

I'm not sure I can do this anymore.

But he doesn't have a choice.  He can't quit now, can't walk away.  He has to see it through to the end.

Standing from his chair, he walks toward the bathroom.  He'll splash some water on his face, try and push the images of the dead out of his head, and if he hasn't had a phone call by the time he's done that, he'll see what else needs to be done.  He just needs a minute to breathe.
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