4:53:35. Chad Lowe makes the long, long walk to the Bunker's briefing room, trying not to crumble under the completely unsuspicious glances of the people passing him in the hallway. "No bomb here!" he thinks at them urgently. "Nothing even remotely incendiary on my person!" Finally, he reaches the briefing room. Presumably without soiling himself. A guy is standing at the podium doing whatever -- acting as a stand-in for light-meter readings, apparently. Chad Lowe awkwardly shuffles up, sends the guy away to get some water, and takes his place behind the podium, trying to look like he's just checking everything out. He hears a Secret Service agent saying that Wayne is on his way in, so he surreptitiously but quickly slips the exploding Dictaphone out of his pocket and puts it inside the podium. He leaves the spot all casual-like as Wayne enters, giving him a curious look. Way to not attract attention, Chad Lowe.
Assad is with Wayne as well, and before they start, Assad wants to thank Wayne for the risk he's taking. Wayne says that they're in this together, which in itself is worth something: "I just hope that someone will listen to our appeal." Assad wonders why Wayne seems so skeptical, and so do I, since they've spent the last four hours doing nothing but this. Assad gives Wayne some vague words of encouragement, which Wayne appears to buy. He smiles and calls Chad Lowe over to meet Assad. Chad Lowe shakes Assad's hand and is about to skedaddle, but Wayne smoothly dispatches Assad to the podium so that he can talk to Chad Lowe alone for a minute. Awkward. Acting like everything's cool for Assad's benefit, Wayne quietly asks if there's something he should know. "Of course I'm not about to kill you," Chad Lowe somehow manages to not say. Wayne's just concerned that something's up with Tom, since Wayne hasn't been able to reach him for the past hour. Chad Lowe quietly shits a brick, but Wayne still thinks that Tom's absence is due to Tom's petulance over Wayne's policies, and not due to being duct-taped to the steam pipe trunk distribution venue. Chad Lowe stammeringly assures Wayne that Tom will be there for the actual address.
Tom's still indisposed, of course, but now he's got an idea. He's just noticed that the pipes across from him have a couple of pressure valves and gauges attached to them. Checking to make sure that Carson's back is turned (what Carson is still doing there in the first place is a mystery), Tom reaches out one short little leg as far as it will go and just manages to wingtip a valve a few degrees. A hissing racket commences, and the gauge immediately heads into the red. Really? How unstable is this Bunker, anyway? Hearing the noise, Carson runs over and returns the valve to its original position. The needle starts dropping again, and Tom looks bummed. Carson threatens to kill Tom if he tries it again: "With the president dead, nobody's going to think to hard about why his Chief of Staff hanged himself." Hell, it's practically an occupational hazard. Carson tightens Tom's tape and goes back to whatever it was he was doing.