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   Devil's Due
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Two, Episode Sixteen..

  Devil's Due  

Debut Launch: 1 November 2004.

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From :  Champagne Scott <chameleonkate@hotmail.com>
Sent :  Wednesday, November 3, 2004 6:35 PM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] The Cooped Up Cage Jitters..


"Man, I am soooo bored.." sighed Johnny Gage as he emptied
the waste paper basket in the wire bin onto the couch for the
fourteenth time, to retrieve the wadded up paper balls that he had
been arching into it from various distances around the rec room.

He chose a place from over by the strategies chalk board
as his next launching point. As usual, Bonnie, the Boston Terrier
watched Gage with intense doggy puzzlement, half torn between
trying to chase the flying overhand tosses, or not to.

"Careful, Johnny." said Roy DeSoto, intently reading the stocks
section of the newspaper. "You just may jinx us." he said rubbing
his nose.  The fair haired paramedic looked up when Marco Lopez
set another full mug of coffee down in front of him. "Thanks, Marco."

"How can I jinx us? The rain's already doing that for us.." Gage
complained, finally missing a basket. He jerked a restless head
out the window where the blinds were retracted to let in some
feeble gray tinged daylight to offset the flourescent bulbs
in the ceiling to show the others, that the steady downpour that
had started when their weekend began, was still with them.

Chet Kelly ambled into the rec room, still yawning from a short nap
that had turned surprisingly into a long one.  He was still disoriented
and rumpled. "Ack,...how many tones calls did I miss? I woke up and
I found you guys were gone and the beds were already made."

Mike Stoker calmly intercepted Chet's trajectory toward the coffee
pot on the stove in the kitchen and redirected him before he cracked
a sleepy shoulder into the wall by the payphones. "A big fat zero, Chet.
Open your eyes before you give Roy and Johnny something to do,
all right? Your higher motor skills are still out to lunch."

Chet got to the stove safely, then he peered at his watch, eyeballing
the time. "Holy cow. Five pm Saturday? I slept for fifteen hours?!"

"Yep. And we enjoyed every minute of the resulting peace and quiet,
too." said Johnny, as he kept up his basket making shots with the
paper wads.

"It wasn't for that full time, Chet. I admit I snuck in there around one
last night to feel for a pulse on ya. You were lying so still that you were
scaring Bonnie.." Roy admitted.

"Arf!"  said the diminuitive Boston. She caterwauled a few happy whines
and then she skidded across the floor on slippery running claws to
go trapse around Kelly's stocking socked feet in an enthusiastic welcome.

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"Geesh, you think Bonnie thought I was away forever, man." said Kelly,
rubbing the sleepers out of his eyes.

"Wish it had been forever, Chet. That'd make my working life just a bit more
tolerable." Johnny grinned, looking at the other guys for brownie points.

No one bothered to participate.

"Oh, ha ha, Gage. Very funny. I won't even go into how I feel about having
you as a working bud." said Kelly, gulping his coffee down despite its
boiling temperature in order to wake up faster.

"Kelly! Where are your shoes?!" admonished Cap, arriving from the
vehicle bay with his journal log book. Coffee was on his mind. For
he stole Roy's outright and started sipping while he glared at Chet's feet.

"Uh,.." he said looking around sleepily, " Ehheh. Right where I left em?"
he replied meekly.

"Go put them on. Then its another session with the manikin for all of
us in ten minutes.." Hank frowned. Then he turned on his heels and
retreated back into his office.

Gage gave up the shooting game and pulled up a chair from the table,
reversed it, and then sat down on its back edge with his feet on the seat
support.  He studied the direction Cap had gone analytically, not smiling.
"Has he always been such a task master during slow shifts?"

"Yes.." replied Marco, Chet, Roy, and Stoker, all at the same time.

Even Bonnie barked.

"Count your blessings, Johnny boy. We could be cleaning every inch of
the station instead." Marco admitted.

"Nah, we did that yesterday. Remember?" Chet said. "Or was
that the day before?" Kelly frowned, remembering his long coma
of a nap.

Johnny didn't hear them.
"We've retrieved that Annie from the roof, under the engine, we worked
her code, splinted every limb, probed every inch of her, and now he wants
us to run another scenario? What have we got left to do now?"

"An OB case.." supplied Roy, not looking up from his newspaper.

"Ohh  ho.. lucky us.. Let's hope it's just another obstructed
airway with a broken neck scenario or maybe even a femur
fracture exercise." Gage said unenthusiastically, setting his chin
onto a palm. "I hate getting powder on my hands from pulling
that doll baby free."

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Still ansy, he got up and walked over to the payphone. He picked
up the receiver, listened on the line for a moment. Then he hung up
and walked back to sit back down at the table.

"What'dya do that for?" asked Chet.

"Just...checking for a dial tone. You know how these winter
rains sometimes knock out a repeater or broadcast tower.
If I didn't hear one, we'd have the perfect reason for why we've
been so dead on business for the last past two days."

"A repeater failure wouldn't effect a payphone, Johnny."
said Roy. "They're hard wired underground and wouldn't
be effected by it."

Johnny got defensive because he was embarrassed that his
telecommunications knowledge wasn't as good as Roy's.
"Well then how ELSE do you explain the fact that we haven't
gotten a single run, for anybody, since early Friday morning?"

Roy lowered his paper and grinned. "The law of averages..."
he said, squinting meaningfully. "The means balance out
the extremes eventually."

Johnny's face twisted in incomprehension that made
the other guys chuckle from whereever they were.

Gage scooped up Bonnie and started massaging her
head for some moral support. But the Boston Terrier wormed
her way out of his grip to go follow Chet on his actively searching
mission to relocate his shoes.

"Gage, did you-?" Kelly asked from where he was
checking out the space underneath the leather couch.

"I didn't touch your shoes. How could I? They were
on your feet the whole time you were sleeping."
Gage answered.

"They were? Oh, ok. Then I think I know where they are
now then. Thanks, pal." and he jogged out of the kitchen.

Lopez said, "You actually helped Chet out of a bind? What's
the matter with you, Johnny, you sick or something?"

"Yeah, I'm sick. I'm sick and tired of being cooped up in this joint
for forty eight straight hours with absolutely nothing better to do.
Especially with you guys. It's worse than a high school lock in party."

"Welll.. " commented Roy. "You could always stop drinking coffee.
So far you've inhaled three whole pots just by yourself in a little
under three hours. That might explain the feelings of claustrophobia
and anxiety you're suffering."

"Roy,.." complained Johnny. "You're such a.......a.... paramedic
sometimes, you know that?" Gage said pointed an animated finger
at his quiet partner.

"All true. And you're such an interesting case study in the mis-
management of a potentially healthy lifestyle that I just haveta keep
right on analyzing ya." DeSoto said, leaning back and stretching in
his chair.

"Well, stop it. If and when I do get addicted to caffeine, I'll be the first
person to let ya know about it."

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"You just did, with all that pacing and abundant running commentary.
Why else would you have such a nasty track record when it comes to
your on the job injuries frequency rate?" debated DeSoto easily.

"You know, I think I'm gonna go take the squad into Rampart on
a supply run. By myself.." Gage said, leaving the kitchen area.

"What about that session with Annie the manikin coming up?!"
Stoker needled, thoroughly enjoying the sniping banter.

"She can go stuff herself!" came Gage's voice out of the vehicle
bay.

He almost collided with Chet, coming back towards the
kitchen replete in his newly found squeaky shoes.

Roy got up with a sigh and followed after his partner so that they
wouldn't get separated. "I'd better go with him. He might get strange
ideas and want to drive the squad or something."

"Nothing wrong with that. Go ahead and let him. Then when he
plows you two into a telephone pole, that'd give the rest of us
guys an engine run to go on." Chet said mildly.

"I'd rather let Annie drive.." Roy said plainly, the smile wiping off his
face as he accented the statement with a finger jamming Chet's chest.

"Better hurry up, Roy.. I think I hear the door opening up."
Marco offered helpfully.

Roy got into the squad with Johnny, passing by Cap's closed
office door without incident or interception from him. He decided to
not announce their supply run to L.A. until they were out of sight of
the station. He turned the wheel of the rescue truck into the slightly
lighter rain soaked western sky, towards Torrance and
Rampart, and they drove off together.

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Roy chuckled. "That was brilliant, Johnny.. I knew acting
irritated and wired loudly enough would cause Cap to
let us leave to go on an unnecessary supply run."

"I wasn't acting.." Johnny said through pursed lips.

Roy began to watch Johnny more than he did the road
the whole trip into the ER.

He only hoped that happenings there would keep Johnny
entertained long enough to survive his excessive java intake
symptomology. ::A huge fire will dry him out like a prune if he
doesn't come down from it before we get a call for one.:: he
thought.

He decided to temper Johnny's jitters against the only person
who could tame them. On Dixie.
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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 21:08:01 +0000 (GMT)
From: "Katherine Bird" <kathbird01@yahoo.co.uk>  
Subject:  The Other Department...


Dixie McCall sized up Johnny Gage in about two
seconds when they were still over thirty feet away from
the Emergency Room front desk. She leaned over to
the two guests visiting with her and mumbled. "Ok,
you two officers are looking for something to do, right? How
about keeping a couple of bored firemen out of my hair
while I get some charting done? That way, I won't have both
public service departments breathing down my neck at the
same time." she said to her charming companions. "The worst
of this pair is gonna be from the dark haired one. I don't have
to be a doctor to know that he's been sucking down the
Sumatran Dark a little too much lately."

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Reed chuckled, glancing back at his partner Malloy.
"He sounds like the Sarge on slow days, Dixie. What's
his name?"

"Johnny Gage, Jim. Just get ready. He'll be an earful.
Excuse me..." the demure nurse said, turning her back
and pretending to organize the rescue reel to reel recordings
next to the pharmaceutical cupboard.

"Howdy, fellas." said Pete Malloy to the two approaching paramedic
firemen. He waved a greeting with the antennae of his HT
which looked very much like the ones Roy and Johnny carried with
them, dangled around their jacketted wrists.

Gage actually turned a circle in his tracks, thinking the dark uniformed
police officer was speaking to someone else. "Oh, you mean us, hi
officer. Uh, officers.." he amended, dipping his head. "How are the
streets faring today?"

Roy deviated his arrival time and went over to the chrome drinking
fountain alcove for a sip of cold water.

"We've been absolutely hopping, hose jockey." Reed lied.
"Please, call me Jim. This is my partner Pete. How are the
firecalls going today?"

Johnny sighed, trying to look over the two officer shoulders to
get Dixie's attention. "They aren't. We haven't heard a peep over
the intercom except for a wakeup call test, since Friday night.
I'm Johnny Gage and that camel sucking down the water over
there is Roy DeSoto. We're both paramedics with th--"

"We know. We get to clean up after you folks all the time."
Pete beamed.

Johnny didn't quite know how to take that comment so he
changed the subject. "Hi Dix.." he said, arcing up onto his toes
to see her better.

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Malloy and Reed tightened the gap between their shoulders
so Johnny wouldn't be able to nudge through.

Gage frowned and couldn't figure out why he was doing so.

Roy immediately caught on and he started to laugh. "Johnny.
Don't you recognize a couple of body guards when you see
them? Jim and Pete are running interference.."

"Oh, really.." Johnny said, his voice getting a little less cordial.

"Yes, really." said Dixie, turning around with an empty I.V. box
full of sound recorded clear plastic tape reels. "Thanks Pete.
Thanks Jim, for trying. But I'll handle him from here."

"No problem. Thanks for the coffee, ma'am. It went down swell."
said Jim. "We gotta go. We're on a break from a stake out
assignment. A pair of detectives are covering for us while we're
on lunch."

"No kidding." Roy said. "Are you gonna get the bad guy?"

"Yeah, mostly likely before sundown. Snipers usually give up
by then because of poor target visibility." replied Pete.

"Snipers?!" jolted Johnny. "We didn't hear anything about
a shooting spree going on..."

"That's because we've been very good at not alarming
the general public about this character. So far, he's
only taken a couple of pot shots at our squad car lights
and a few park squirrels. No one's been hurt yet." Jim Reed
answered Gage.

"Ooo, stay safe out there guys." said McCall. "And give these
donuts to those two covering for you. I can't stand police types
who decide their work's more important than their stomachs."
she said, shoving over a box of them across the desk counter.
Johnny made a grab for the lid but Dixie slapped his hand away.
"Ah, ah ah. You two already had your lunch."

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"How can you tell?" asked Roy mildly.

"Johnny's got mustard on his chin and you still have potato
chip salt on your shirt." she grinned, handing over the pastries
to the Adam-12 pair. "See ya fellas.."

"Later, Dix.." they replied, walking out the ER door entrance
to return to their beat.


Roy and Gage got the chills. "Now I know why I became a fireman."
DeSoto said, refusing Dixie's silent offer of coffee.

"Oh? Why's that?" asked the frosted bunned nurse.

"Police work's just far too dangerous to monkey with. Joanne
made me promise years ago that I'd never consider becoming
one."

"Now firefighting's just as dangerous as police work, Roy." said
Gage.

"Not really. At least with firefighting. You can see the danger coming
and can avoid it." said Roy.

"Usually." Johnny agreed finally.

"Not in your case, Johnny Gage." replied Dixie, wide eyed."You've
been banged up what? Six times already this past year. And I'm not
counting the monkey virus nor that snake bite. Those were
unavoidable consequences."

"In who's book, Dix?" Roy teased. "Not misplacing an HT could've
prevented that bite and wearing a pair of rubber gloves could have
made all the difference in the world whether or not that contagion took
a hold."

"Now, Roy. Don't start in with that scene safety first and that body
substance isolation lecture again with all that unnecessary glove
wearing and stuff. I tell ya, adding those as permanent changes to
our paramedic protocols is never gonna wash. I mean, that's like
saying the art of mouth to mouth resuscitation's gonna become
passe.  Not in a million--"

"Don't you get sick of getting all sticky and soiled head to toe
on runs all the time?" Roy said, folding his arms over his elbows mildly
in conversation.

"Well, yeah, sometimes it gets a little annoying changing out uniforms
so often. I only got four sets.." he grunted in consternation.

"This topic of conversation's absolutely rivetting gentlemen, but I've got
charts stacking up higher than my-"

"Sure, Dix. We were just leaving.." Roy said, grabbing Johnny's arm.
"We only wanted an excuse to get out of the station for a while. Cabin
fever don't you know." he grinned toothily.

Gage protested the whole way back to the squad. "Now, Roy. We could've
at least grabbed a cup of coffee.." he growled. "That wasn't polite leaving
her in the lurch like that."

"She wanted us to, Johnny. Didn't you get any of the hints thrown our
way?"

"Uh, what hints? I'm so wired I'm surprised I'm even seeing straight."
Johnny coughed.

"Then aren't you glad I got us out here again." Roy said, opening the
door for his partner and guiding his back inside the squad. "Coffee's
the last thing you need."

"Well, how about a chili dog at Max's? I'm starving.." Johnny said, putting
on his helmet.

"Max's it is.." Roy conceded, getting behind the wheel. "You're paying."

"Why am I paying? I thought I bought lunch for us both last time!"

"No you didn't. Your forgot your wallet at home. I-It ..it was the same morning
you broke both your shoelaces.." DeSoto said, thrusting a finger out in
a telling gesture.

"Oh, yeah. Last Thursday. I always remember when I break my shoelaces."

"So do I. Because I'm the one who always has to hand ya some replacements."
Roy complained. "Geesh, I'm getting jittery and I haven't even had more than
ONE cup of coffee.."

"Want me to drive then?" Johnny said obliviously.

"No."

"Then buy us lunch and I'll shut up. Both actions'll be good for your nerves."
he told Roy, closing the maneuvering trap, that he'd been calculating and laying
down to spring upon DeSoto, all the way to Rampart.

Roy sighed a sigh of long suffering, feeling black. "All right. But I get a little
peace and quiet starting right--"

Beep! Beep! Beep!
##Squad 51. Stand by for a response. L.A. P.D. requests paramedic backup
at the corner of LaMont and Shelby. Details to follow en route.##


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"Here we go!" hooted Johnny. "And we got one before the engine! I win
that bet, too. The guys haveta fix the dinner chow for us now and not the
other way around. Wa...Hoo."

"Wait a minute! Johnny, you got me involved in a chore bet that I didn't
even know about?"

Johnny nodded animatedly, eyes twinkled and bright.
"And we won. Doesn't it feel great?"

DeSoto glared at him for long seconds and then he let
out a long resigned sigh. "Silence is golden, huh.." Roy mumbled to
himself as he turned the squad around from the hospital pull up and
flicked on the red lights over their heads. "Why am I the only one who
treasures that?"

"What?"

"Nothing. Put your helmet on."

"Oh. ok." said Johnny a little too fast and it took a few
tries for him to fasten on the chin strap properly.

"You sure you don't need some Narcan or something?" Roy
asked aloud.

Johnny gave him a dirty look. "I'm fine. This adrenaline rush
I got from finally getting a call'll burn off all the coffee. Thanks
for caring about me, pally. " he said sarcastically. "But no
thanks."

"Suit yourself. And I'm going to be starting any I.V.s that might
come up so ya won't be in danger of poking yourself."

"Fine." and Johnny clammed up, reaching for the notepad
to scribble down the tentative neighborhood address they
needed to reach. "I'll do the easy stuff just to please ya
and to keep Cap on an even keel about me sneaking us
off like this. He can't yell if I don't do anything wrong."

"And they say never to say MacBeth right before a performance."
whispered Roy.

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Dave was running full tilt, as fast as his blue and white Adidas could
carry him after the man running away from him.  His blued Smith & Wesson  
was out and pointed up to the sky in his right hand
as he pounded the alley he was chasing through.

Ken had the red unmarked car with the red flashing dome light on top
speeding right on his heels.

"Metford! Give it up! We got ya surrounded!" Dave bellowed around
painful sucking gasps of air that he pumped in and out of his chest as he
leaped over the trash in his way and around obstacles.

"Never copper!" said the man, turning and firing back from behind a telephone
pole.


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Ken angled the car sideways and flung open a car door for his partner to
hide behind as the bullets riccocheted off the tin garbage cans around them.

Three shots from the sniper ex con spidered the windshield, making Ken
duck and swear. "Oh, man..! Not another window bill!"

"It could've been the paint job, buddy boy. Quit complaining."
said Dave to Ken as he curled up behind the cardoor. "Thanks for
getting me some cover."

"I wouldn't've had to if you hadn't gone off after the guy when
you knew he was armed to the hilt." spat Ken.

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"Yeah, but that was only because I know Metford likes taking hostages.
We're already too near the college campus to make me comfortable."

"If Metford was gonna take pot shots at the students, he would've
done so already, partner. Not just singed the hair off a few squirrels."

"Yeah well I don't like anything parallelling up to the Watch Tower
Massacre of 1970. That day still leaves a real bad taste in my mouth."
Dave shored up a line of sight across the open window rim of
the door with a primal scream of frustration and he let loose a volley
of shots that soon ended those winging back at them. He thought he
heard the sound of a body hitting concrete. "Got him!"

"Get in and I'll get us there." shouted Ken, peeling the rubber of
the red car in a squeal.

Dave dove into the back seat and slammed the door shut as
Ken smashed over a rack of garbage cans to get them there
faster.

Ken and Dave both threw the dome flashing car into park and dashed
out of the car after divesting it of her keys in the direction they thought
their shooter had gone in.

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Dave puffed to a halt and went instantly pale as he neared the
spot that had echoed the sound of collapse they had both heard.
"Oh, g*d, no." he groaned, rushing forward to crouch over someone
lying in the scraps of paper and newsprint littering the alleyway.

It was a woman, with a fresh gush of blood coursing down her
left temple.

He dropped his gun in disgust after engaging its safety to reach
gingerly for the young woman's carotid while Ken jogged
a careful check around them looking for Metford.

"He got away. D*mm*t!" Ken swore. Then he turned to crouch near his shaking
partner.

"I shot her, Hutch. Ohmygod." said the curly haired detective.

"Who's to say that's a gunshot wound, Starsky? Quit snowballing
things. This girl was around the corner so how could your
shots've been anywhere near enough to score on her? Metford
could have done it just to get us to stop chasing him."

"There's enough metal around here t--"

"Shh.. Is she breathing?" Hutch asked, reaching for the still
woman's wrist.

"Uh,.."

"Tip her head back, without jarring her neck and have a listen. I'll
go call for an ambulance. She's still alive. Do you hear me Starsky?
She's alive. Do what you can to help her." Ken Hutchinson shouted.

Kenneth leaped toward the white striped tomato Gran Torino and snatched
up the radio mic. "Zebra 3. Zebra 3 to Headquarters. We've a woman
down in the alley at...." he looked around for roadsigns."...6th and
Parsons. Over. We've lost Metford! Roll all units in a point by
point to grid search for him immediately!"

Nearly under the sheltering bumper of the white striped red orange car,
the other plain clothes detective was almost crying.
"Sweety? Can you hear me? Hang in there. We've got help
on the way. Just hold on. I've got you." begged a very frightened
David Starsky.

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Starsky felt a very poor answering gasp brush his cheek out of the
girl's lips and he gripped her head even tighter when an unnatural
blue shade began covering her face.

"No..don't die on me, miss. Come on.." and he began to give her
fast breaths mouth to mouth to turn back some of the lifeless coloring
he saw in her skin and eyes. "Hutch! Get down here and help me stop
all this scalp bleeding. She's not trying to breathe for me anymore."

It wasn't long before Squad 51 heard from L.A. about the woman
down from a possible shooting.

Image of squadrushthroughparkinglot.jpg Image of swalkie12.jpg Image of womanout.jpg Image of hutchclose.jpg

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From :  Roxy Dee <laterrapincabesa@hotmail.com>
Sent :  Friday, November 12, 2004 3:03 AM
Subject :  Starsky Stresses


Hutch reached into the back seat of the Torino
and grabbed up his black street clothes duffle bag and
tossed it onto the roof of the car. He snatched out a folded
T shirt that lay within and ran with it back over to his partner
working on the girl. "Ok, I got this.." he said, pressing the
shirt gently against the gushing wound on her temple.

Starsky gave the woman another breath and the last
of the dusky cyanosis on her face disappeared a few
seconds later. "Her heartbeat's real slow, Hutch."

"I noticed that. Just keep going." Ken said. "Metford
was here. She's been roughed up. There's bruising
on her throat."

"A hostage who fought back?" Dave said after his
next breath.

"Probably. This doesn't look like a penetrating bullet
wound or even a graze. There's no friction burns."

"Let's hope so or .............Captain Dobey's gonna kill
me..............Temporarily blinding one girl once with a bullet
was ........................definitely enough for me partner."

Quite suddenly, the girl gasped through her unconsciousness,
as if breaking through a resistance.

Startled, Dave let go of her face. Then he caught hold of
himself emotionally and started carefully relifting her jawbone so
that the girl could breathe freely. "Hello. She's back.." he blurted
out in his nervousness.

Image of hutchpressure.jpg Image of starskybreatheforwoman.jpg

"Good job." Hutch reached a hand around Starsky's to a neck
pulse that wasn't under a bruise. "Pulse's still very slow."

"How's that bleeding?"

"I've got it controlled. She isn't losing any more."

"From there..." Starsky snorted.

"Yeah, well, the paramedics can figure out her other problems
once they get here. Just keep up that airway hold."

"You don't have to tell me twice.." Dave said empathetically.
"Hey, miss.. Can you hear me?"

The woman twitched and started to moan, breathing shallowly
but well.

"Easy, hon. Don't try to move." said Hutchinson.

Welcoming sirens grew in the distance and the two plain clothes
detectives could make out the familiar red outline of a Los
Angeles County Fire Department rescue squad heading into
their direction from the side street. They saw its front tires
thunk over the slight curve leading into the alleyway once they
spotted the Torino and its red flashing light. They were aided
on where to go by one or two officers in front of L.A. City black
and whites starting to cordon off the area with crime tape.

"G*d I hope they remember their crime scene approach
protocols.." mumbled Starsky.

The driver of the rescue vehicle followed the Torino's
direction of travel and skid marks perfectly.

"He has.." smiled Hutch. "At least this pair's smart enough
not to disturb anything." he raised his voice. "She's breathing
now! Semi conscious.." he yelled out to them. "So far, possible
head and neck injury! We think she was in a struggle."

The two detectives watched as the paramedics gathered
medical equipment that matched the situation, the 02
apparatus, defib and EKG, a wooden long board and C collar,
along with their usual biophone, drug and I.V. boxes.

The two paramedics hugged the chain link fence tightly,
off the beaten track, until they were even with the Torino,
then they cut over to the woman's side.

Image of grandtorino.jpg Image of squadincivgarage.jpg Image of jrfullgearparkinglot.jpg

Johnny Gage immediately knelt down with a pen light
after setting a high flow oxygen mask over her nose and
mouth which Starsky held on manually. "Hi. I'm Johnny
Gage and this is my partner Roy DeSoto." he said to
the two police officers.

"Detective Ken Hutchinson.. Homicide. And my fretting, pale friend
over there is Detective David Starsky. Also with Homicide." he
teased, trying to make his partner more at ease with it all. "And
we're trying to prevent another one here in the girl."

Gage nodded. "I assume we're all safe now..and that we're
not about to get our heads shot off by some crazed thug type?"
Johnny asked quickly.

At that comment Dave cringed slightly, a subconscious
gesture that only Hutch saw. "We're safe.." Starsky said quietly.
"There's enough cops around here now to fill a barn."

"Ok. Just checking. Gimme some history on her, Detective.
But keep her head still just like you're doing." he ordered
Starsky.

"We think she was roughed up by a real low life with a history
of violence who was trying to get away from us. She may have
been in the middle of our exchanging gunfire."

"Male or female assailant?" Gage asked reasonably.

"Does it matter?! Just help her fellas. Fast." Dave flared sarcastically,
his adrenaline rush still making him jittery.

"It could. And we are." said Roy calmly. "Just take it easy. What you're
doing is making a huge difference on how she's managing now.
But a few questions answered will let us provide care that targets her
medical problems quicker. So humor us a bit ok. She's stable now
from what I can tell so far." he said, taking a quick respiration count
with a hand on her stomach.

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Johnny waggled his head in agreement as he slipped a cervical collar
around the girl's neck after a brief examination of the bruising Hutch
pointed out to him that was now taking the shape of a large man's
finger grips. "It was a man. She's been strangled. And this head wound's
probably the result of her being pistol whipped." he said, briefly lifting
up the shirt Hutch was holding over her left temple.

Starsky sighed in relief. "You sure about that?"

"Pretty sure.." Johnny said, smiling. "An x-ray will tell that for certain.
There's no bullet path cratering. I can see the edge of a gun grip's
impression on her skull where the skin's torn... Roy, negative on
Coon's eyes or cerebral fluid out the nose or ears. Hmm, her pupils
are equal, but sluggish."

"Late hypoxia? I'll ask Rampart if we can hyperventilate her with
that possible meningeal artery involvement.." he said pointing to the wound
on the girl's head. "Dave, you can let go now. She's maintaining ok on her
own and the collar'll keep her head and neck still. Dave? Did you
hear me?" Roy said a little louder.

"He answers better to Starsky.." Hutch said, slapping a free
hand against the dazed detective's arm. "Starsk.."

"Huh? Oh, ok." said Starsky, finally catching up on the
conversation. He reluctantly let the girl go, and used part of Hutch's
T shirt compress to wipe the girl's drying blood off of his hands.
"Sorry. I was...just thinking.."

"Yeah, about the ways we're gonna nail the b*st*rd who hurt
her." said Hutch.

"So right.." admitted the curly haired detective. "Uh,, she wasn't
breathing so hot when we got to her. Her face turned kinda blue."

"For how long?" Johnny asked, rechecking the flow of oxygen
to her mask for a good seal.

"Half a minute or so. I had to help her out for a few minutes. Then
all of the sudden, she sorta gasped ...like she only just then, caught
her breath back." Dave said, trying to explain it well.

Roy grinned. "She probably got the wind knocked out of her.
Happens sometimes when victims are shoved to the ground
hard enough by an attacker. "

"What about the strangling?" Hutch wondered. "Could that
have caused her to quit trying?"

"Most likely not. You said this man was running to get away
from you. He wouldn't have had time enough to suffocate her."

"And that is why her pulse's so slow." Gage added, taking a blood
pressure."Roy, 64/40. Pulse's 42. Respirations still 18. Her carotid
sinus must've been contused."

"Say what?" asked Starsky.

Johnny began to explain while Roy started cutting off the woman's sweater
and pants. Both detectives averted their eyes and looked around anywhere
but down in typical bystander self consciousness.

DeSoto noticed. "Here, cover her with this shock sheet once
I'm through. I'm just gonna look her over in a fast check for other
injuries she might have."

He saw the detectives relax once he was through and had her
bundled up again, neck to toes, in the plastic blanket.

Gage went on.." .....the whole area inside the carotid artery
along the side of the neck's richly innervated with the sensory
bundles that regulate the body's blood pressure so that
it doesn't have wild swings one way or the other. Now hers
has been injured on one or both sides and that has brought on
vasovagal responses, that slow heart rate you felt and the low B/P
we're getting on her now."

"I see.." said Starsky, clearly not understanding the jargon.
"But she will get over it?" he pressed.

"Eventually." Roy said of the carotid sinus syncope syndrome.

Starsky smiled in relief.

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Gage rubbed his chin. "...It also depends on what her
head injury involves, too. That laceration of hers is very
large."

Starsky's grin turned into a frown as he sagged in relief
into Hutch's arms. "At least she wasn't shot. Namely by
me. Oh, Hutch. I don't think I could've lived through that
again. Thank heavens for small mercies."

Both paramedics exchanged puzzled looks but then
they politely ignored the detectives' private conversation
while they got busy with the rest of the woman's patient care.

All four of them heard a light cough and right then,
the woman's eyes fluttered open.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

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