Chapter 5: Nick Bracco
There were flashing red and white lights in the distance charging toward the bus. In his peripheral vision Nick could detect unmarked sedans maneuvering around slow-moving city traffic .
“What’s going on?” Matt asked, gripping the steering wheel with clenched fists.
Nick was immediately on his phone. “What’s happening, Walt?”
“We received an email bomb threat five minutes ago,” Walt Jackson said. “I can’t allow innocent people to get in the way of our operation. Go get him now.”
Nick put the phone down and watched a cascade of sedans with flashing lights converging on the bus. One sedan pinched the bus toward the curb while five others surrounded the vehicle in a random display of power. Plainclothes FBI agents jumped out of their cars with guns drawn, crouched low and ready for the hostage situation to develop.
Nick and Matt hopped out of the SUV and carefully approached the bus from the door side of the transport vehicle. The bus driver was a round figure behind the wheel sitting still with his head on a swivel searching for the danger he knew was present.
Nick was close enough now to see that the only visible passenger was an African American male who stood with his arms in the air as if he were guilty and didn’t want to be shot. He moved to the doorway of the bus and shouted, “Please don’t shoot!”
Something was wrong.
Nick quickly ran to the kid’s side and put his arms around the frightened teen. “Relax,” Nick said, “no one’s going to harm you. You’re safe.”
“Please, I didn’t do nothing wrong,” the kid stammered.
“We know,” Nick said, escorting the kid away from the bus. “You’re not in trouble.”
“I promise,” Nick said, watching Matt lead the team onto the bus, his gun out and ready. Once the kid was far enough away from the action, Nick asked, “Who else is left on the bus?”
The boy’s eyes were wide with anxiety, as if any wrong answer would cost him his life. “Just me and the driver. That’s all.”
Something was definitely wrong.
Nick saw the bus driver waddle down the ramp while two agents helped him to the curb. There were agents shouting to pedestrians to move away from the scene as Matt made quick-twitch moves inside the tight quarters of the bus, searching for the assassin.
Nick’s temple pounded as he watched Matt duck down, then raise up, checking under each of the seats. Nick handed over the frightened teenager to another agent instructing him to protect the kid until Nick returned.
That’s when Matt scurried backward toward the front of the bus, shoving a team member to move quicker as he kept glancing over his shoulder.
When Matt finally jumped out of the bus, he screamed, “Call the bomb squad!”