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  Dusk had fallen, and all scene responding
helicopters had been called off until first light.
There was only one still scheduled to come in,
to risk a night landing in a few minutes and
that was the chopper bearing the Atlanta
disease control experts.  

Dr. Brackett, and those unwounded,
chose to sit on the floor, lined up against a
wall all on a side, as they found themselves
blinking, and still unresting, while they waited
for a tell tale "thwop" of helicopter blades to
come out of the starry skies.

Their eyes similarly studied the tracing blip
of activity on Lopez's monitor, hopelessly
caught in its desperate amber dance, and
the tiny light from it set their faces apart
from the surrounding darkness.

The only sound in the sleeping room of
Station 51 was the wavering rhythm of Marco's
irregular EKG as PVC's started marching more
and more frequently across the screen.

The EOA, still lay packaged and unused, on his

Dimly, in the background, they heard the
shouts of firecrews and rescue workers
outside, still sorting through the earthquake
neighborhood for casualties.

Bonnie, at last, had fallen into a fitful sleep.
And the seismology reports finally coming in
from Geological Survey, were showing that
the ground was doing the same as well.  

The tiny aftershocks that came, barely
jarred them from their frightening private

Then there was a rustle as Roy excused
himself verbally. He got up, stepping
over pairs of legs and moved to the desk
on the far side of the room.

There he sat down in the squeaky desk
chair turned on a battery lamp, and reached
for the phone.

The others slipped back into their irresistible
snoozing as he began to dial out.

Roy's face was now dust free, and the cut
on his forehead had been tended to and
bandaged, but the care he had received did
nothing to ease the pain he was feeling
inside from being away from his family. When
the last number tumbled into the dialer, he
did his d*mndest to keep all trace of it from
his voice.

"Hi hon. It's me again. No, the last tremor
didn't shake us too badly. Well, only Johnny
complained about that one because his Bier
block was starting to wear off. No. no. He's
fine. Dr. Brackett did some terrific vascular
work on his hand and that metal rod came
out without problems. Miss Thorne's coming
along. She even had some soup earlier. Cap's
better too. Doc finally authorized some MS
for him after he was convinced that crack on
his head was all superficial swelling with no
underlying problems. Heh. He's even started
captaining again.  Well, unofficially of course.
He's driving the other engine companies nuts
asking for reports every half hour from his
stokes. Yes, I heard. Only fifteen have died.
We were very very lucky.."  

Roy's eyes filled at his next question.
"H-How are the kids taking this whole
"daddy's stuck away"thing? You didn't
tell them everything did you? Good. No
point to doing it, really, until you and I both
have our answers. No, they're not here yet.
And LAX is not taking any calls about any
rescue operation's ETA. They're saving
themselves for emergency inflight and
relief traffic correspondence, only for
situations priority marked in the
disaster zone.  Yeah. I know. Yeah,
I-I'm agreeing with you, Joanne. The
station's definitely in that area, but this
virus thing is only secondary in their

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He held the phone away from his ear
and actually almost grinned when his
last statement brought a tirade of reaction
from Joanne about exactly what she thought
of the Los Angeles County Fire Department
/FEMA protocols..

When she was through, Roy spoke again,
answering her next question. "No, he's
about the same. We're keeping him
comfortable and we've managed to drain
some of that fluid in his lungs. I'll be frank
because we've agreed to be thoroughly honest
with each other..There's been some problems.
Blood's beginning to show in his sputum and
his temp's going up despite the ice baths.
No, he's still breathing on his own on one
hundred percent O2. "

He broke off actually grinning..
"You're beginning to sound like a paramedic
here, with all these questions, you know
that... And what did Chris just say, I didn't
quite hear him.. Oh. LOL! 'That's because
mommy's married to the best one in
the whole world huh?....'  Thanks for
repeating that hon. That was cute."

Roy closed his eyes trying to picture his
wife and son in his mind sitting at the
dining room table, on the phone with him,
but the picture wouldn't come. "T-That was
very cute.." and his voice cracked.

"You don't have to call Rose Marie Lopez
on his update Joanne . Vince is already there with
Marco's mom. Yeah. He went there himself
before the news broadcast the station
as being downed in the quake on the TV.
Listen hon, I'll call you the moment we
know anything more, all right. I've got to go.
Time for vital sets all around. And I see a
few saggy IV bags above a few stokes, too,
that need changing over.

"Yeah. You WILL most likely know sooner
than I when the CDC arrives. D*mned
press. They almost got in here once. If
it weren't for Bonnie, we would have
been neck deep in plague panicky reporters
once they learned the quarantine orders
weren't viscious  rumors.

"On channel five? All right, I'll try to
peek out a head at ten and wave when the
live broadcast outside starts up. No we've
no power. But I've got a watch.
I can do this. Might cheer up the kids..

"Those reporters need a scare or two
to get off the driveway anyway.
Cap's already crawling out of his skin
over the damage done to the station
vehicles. It'll do him some good if
I can get them all to just to clear off. "

He grabbed a water bottle and opened
it but he didn't drink, at her next words.
"I - I love you too, Joanne. H- Hug the
kids for me, will ya? Talk to you
in the morning...Yeah, I'll let Marco know
you're praying for him. Bye."  

And he set the phone down with a soft
snick into the receiver.

Roy got back over to the populated end
of the bunk room and returned to the
others, reluctantly.

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He had just sat back down to take
a sleeping Miss Thorne's BP, when
Marco on the bed, suddenly seized
into a convulsion.

Chet was there instantly, "Dr. Brackett!!"

Brice, Gil and Roy jumped to their feet
in moments, right behind Kel.

They scrambled, reaching for......

From:  Sam Iam <>
Date:  Tue Oct 29, 2002  6:14 pm
Subject:  Setback

Special Website Acknowledgement
for Episode Images being provided from...

Guest....KMG365 at Tigger's E Stuff Website

Also special thanks to site EMS Medical Consult :
P. Keiper NREMT Minnesota
>They scrambled, reaching for......

Marco's longboard and the O2 mask on
his face.

Johnny, jarred awake by the shouting,
knew immediately what was happening
at a glance. "Tip him over, guys, tip
him over!" he said from his stokes.

Brice and Gil each grabbed an edge
of the long board and then turned Lopez
onto his side, gracelessly.

Roy slid Marco's non rebreather mask
out of the way and angled Lopez's head
back, lying his cheek on an arm.

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  Click Rescue Squad to
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