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From:  "Clairissa Fox" <>
Date:   Wed Oct 16, 2002  12:38 pm
Subject: Big Troubles..

"Hey I see a foot!" Marco said, thick with

"Where?" Mike said, shining his torch where
Marco had pointed.

He saw Lopez digging in a pile of cardboard,
and they all converged on the spot, flinging
away water soggy debris when, another moan
filled the air, this time, from another direction.

Cap was sharp. "Hey gang, fan out."  

Meanwhile, Marco had located
his foot, it was an old boot, rank with stale beer.
"Oops not here.." he said.

The fog from the harbor began to spill into the
alleyway, mingling with the smoke from the
extinguished dumpster. Roy began to call
out. "Hey mister! Can you hear me?  L.A.
County Fire Department. Keep talkin! We're
trying to find you...."  

Another cry, this time legible.. "Over here..
Help me.. I--."

Cap gestured to the left this time. "Hang on,
I got my men searching for you right now.
Keep making noise!" then he confided to Roy,
"That's danged odd. How can someone that
injured be in three places at the same time?"

"Don't know, Cap.."

Chet thrashed around with an old board,
moving aside boxes, and bottles and half
spilled steel trash cans, right down
to the pavement when--


Kelly froze. "Guys, over here. He just reacted
to what I was doing! But I can't see anything
in this fog!"

Johnny, Roy, Mike, Marco, Cap, and Chet all ran to
that area of the alley which seemed thick with rot,
and refuge under their gloves. The stench was only made
worse from the water the broken hose had sprayed all
over. The headlights of the squad were uselessly muffled
in the mist and Gage moved instinctively near Roy to
have a reference point.  

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All their flashlights hit the back wall and the damp brick
work there under another fire escape.

Gage erupted. "I can't believe we didn't find him!"
and he whirled around.

Cap said, "All right, everybody. Back the way we

Just then, came the sound of a very familiar starter,
and a motor of a truck roared to life. The ghostly
headlights of the squad wavered. Gage noticed it
right away.

"Hey!  Hey!!" Gage yelled, running and leaping over
crates and boxes. "Cap!! Someone's making off with
the squad!!"

"What?!" came Hank's voice.

"The squad.. It's just been stolen!!"

All heads raised just in time to see the two beams of
lights from the squad flip around in a high tailed spin
as it made its get away.

Cap raised his HT. "L.A. Respond a police
unit to our location. A carjacker has just made off with
our rescue truck.."

##Ten Four, 51. Advising L.A.P.D to your incident.##

"I don't believe this..!"  Johnny exclaimed. "Who would
do something like that? We're on a victim search here..."

Marco suddenly gathered to the others with an old
speaker rigged to a battery operated recorder in his hand.
"How about a bunch of pranksters?" And his glove
hit the play button.  Trailing moans, just like the
ones they had heard following the dumpster's
explosion and the same cry Chet had heard, issued
out of it.

"Oh, man.. we've been set up by drug addicts.
Thought the address seemed familiar.." Gage groaned.
"Isn't this the same neighborhood where the San Pedro
gang hangs out?"

Roy stood leaning against an old hat rack.
"Yep.. They must be after the pharmaceutical box."
he said with a sigh.

"That tears it.." Cap said. "When the police get
here, let THEM search for more of these planted
recorders. I'm not wasting another minute on
this.." he roared.  "Why me? Why US!!" he said,
marching away back towards the engine. His
voice came floating back towards the gang. "John,
next time you have the brilliant idea of using the
headlamps. Close your door next time huh pal?"

Gage's face fell as he wiped off a trail of water
running down his plastered hair left over from
the wild hose. "Right.."

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Chet said, "I wonder if they'll trash the squad.."

"Oh, Chet..." John said sarcastically moving over
to Stoker to help them put the hoses, the good
and the bad one, away.

A minute later, Vince and Martins pulled up, reds
flashing. The burly officers ran out with their guns
drawn into the air until they spied the bedraggled,
soaked firefighters all lined up along the running
board of the pumper.

Once glance of the recorder and wires Cap
tossed him and the way Gage was rubbing
his face in frustration and weariness told him
the immediate urgency was over.

Vince waved his junior man to holster his weapon
and did the same. "Everyone all right?" he asked
setting his hands onto his hips.

"We're fine. Anyone birdeye the squad yet?" Hank

Vince shook his head. "Looks like he or she made
a clean getaway. And it'll take a while to locate it
too. The seafog's rolled in for the night.."

"Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll try to go for
a joyride.." Chet said, wringing out his drenched
overcoat around the rear hand bars of the pumper.

"Not likely.." Gage commented.
"Listen, ah, Vince. Can you give us a ride to
the station house? It's cold out here..


"Go on, fellas. " Hank said. "We'll meet you back
there. No doubt Vince has a stack of paperwork
for us to fill out for the police report.."

Roy and Johnny both grabbed blankets out of
the engine's stokes cab to use as towels
and a way to keep the squadcar's seats dry
for the trip back.

"Looks like a full moon.." Vince said as Roy,
Johnny piled in the back of his car.

They waited for the engine to back away from
the dirty alleyway. It headed off, silent reds turning
off, leaving behind two more police cars which
had arrived to begin setting up the crime scene.

Gage heard over his walkie talkie. "LA. This is engine
51. Mark Squad 51 out of service until further notice."

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##10-4, 51..##

Johnny's head banged into the window frame as
Vince drove them home, and he said closing his eyes.
"Oh, man. If I had known this was going to happen,
I'd have never made that phone call earlier Roy.."

"You had no way of knowing.. Just a bad run.
That's all."

"Chalk up another bad one in about four days of
bad. I'm beat.."

"We all are.." Roy said scratching his nose. "Just
that time of year I guess."

Vince spoke up from where he was driving.
"I know what you mean. The PD's been getting
odd calls and pranks all week. Must be a conspiracy
going on out there or something. But rest assured.
The San Pedro gang's got h#ll to pay for this latest
stunt of theirs. Grand theft auto is ten to twenty.
No bail in this county for any with prior felonies."

"It is? Good.." Gage said closing his eyes again, his
arms crossed together for warmth.

Roy had already taken off his sodden trenchcoat
and had laid it on the floor behind the wire partition
separating him and Vince. Then he too, nestled
back and uncontrollably nodded off.

Vince drove a little more gently the rest of
the way to the firehouse and Martins turned
down their radio's volume a few notches.

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