Mike Stoker gripped Kelly's shoulder tightly while his other glove|
handed Chet the trickling hose.
"Here. Just hold this and don't watch,
Chet. " Kelly closed his eyes in spinning horror as he fought
inner fear and just willed himself to breathe to prevent himself
from passing out.
Mike's voice was almost soothing and cut through the
roaring in Chet's head like a balm. Kelly
anchored onto it like
a lifeline. "I'm pulling a tarp over this and someone else now. I got the
fully drawn up to us. Just go. The fire's out." Mike said
"Appreciate it, man.." Chet
said making tracks for the
rising daylight they could see flickering above the clouds of ash
soot coming from the devastated neighborhood and hospital
parking lot. He could barely contain his
nausea. "Why is it always the
photos which get me?" he asked himself. "I'm a rock with anything
::Because you have photos of friends and family just like they do
in your wallet..::
came his own ruthless conscience silently.
::Sorry I asked..:: his mind whispered to itself as
found balance in an unscathed flower pot still sitting where
it rested next to a
dewy copper metal watering can on
House D's white porch railing. Water drops from his hose
the shasta daisies inner eyes glow in the dawn sunlight.
"Who's the second one, Stoker?"
Sighing and shaking, Chet Kelly raised his HT to his lips
and reported the finding of two more
air plane victims.
Then his firefighting cool reestablished itself when his
brain began working
"If we found those two, the cockpit can't be far away.
officials want to get their hands on the flight recorder
as soon as possible?"
"They sure would."
"What color is one from a Boeing? I can't remember."
"Red, I think."
wonder what the lame brain who thought
up that shade was thinking when he designed it."
"Kinda hard staying positive just about now. I'd do anything
to find someone with
"Reach over and feel mine then. Anytime. I'm really glad
you're here with me, too."
he said sarcastically, barely
abreast of his own fear and stress.
Kelly chuckled and groped for Stoker's carotid. "Just so|
you check mine, too, periodically. I feel
like I'm numb all over."
"Numbness is bliss at a disaster scene. Wish for that pure
novocaine each time at one, Kelly.. What's my rate
at now? Feels like 180 just slamming into my chest."
Chet's hand never touched Stoker's skin.
"Would you look at them?" Chet said, his grin at Mike's
rejoiner falling away once again into deep tortured pain.
"Look at who?" Stoker coughed, peeling
off his hot
helmet to let the hot wind dry his hair.
"Them..." Kelly said pointing.
rescue searcher and his dog crouched tightly in an embrace,
comforting each other across the street
on a block of concrete
raised slightly above the level of the dead. As yet, the human
no sound. But the labrador was trembling.
"Come on, let's give them some privacy." Chet said.
"Looks like they've already checked that last side of
the block ahead of us. Let's try and find that
thing like good little fast firemen, hmm?"
Roy looked up to see what row of cars they were
next to in comparison with the hospital's outline looming above.
He could just see
the fourth floor and Johnny and Megan's patient
room window. It was one in the shatter zone. ::Be
We're coming. Just whatever you do, don't get the crazy
idea in that idiotic head
of yours to move around with the girl
to free yourselves from what you think is danger. I never
you on the realities of a large plane crash scenario and
about the fires that come from one. Magnesium
burns can't be
barreled through, Johnny. They're far far hotter than you can ever
hope to expect
Unseen, behind a preoccupied Cap and Chief McConnikee,
Boot wormed his way out of the Ward and went
Ground Zero and Rampart as fast as his hairy legs could carry him.
From : patti keiper <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent : Wednesday,
February 11, 2004 11:55 PM
Subject : [EmergencyTheaterLive] One Step At A Time...
Gage coughed, and pushed a fallen bedstand
table off his shoulders. He immediately looked down.
The tiny burden in his arms stayed quiet, her eyes half
lidded around tinges of blood.
Gage bent close over her nose and mouth and he
sighed gratefully when he felt slight puffs of warm
wetness dampen the stinging cuts on his cheek from
her strong even breathing.
the nine year old off his knees
and onto the floor gingerly, his eyes sweeping her body for
reason why she was unconscious. Apart from places
where the window glass had sliced her skin, his
hands only found her over full coloring pen pouch bag that
she was still wearing around her waist
like a fanny pack
and no other sign of serious injury.
The hallway outside their patient room
door was amass
with shouts and seniors crying down the hall. Hustling nursing
staff around the
central desk were trying to regain control of
the crowd of patients awakened by the plane crash.
An orderly's voice was loudest, and it was coming nearer,
checking the one room down the construction
scaffolded hallway that he knew was occupied and
facing the direction of the crash. "Hey! Anybody
still down here?!" boomed an African American
voice. "You gotta move to a room across the hall
to get away from those broken windows.."
Gage wiped a trail of blood out of his eyes and looked
up at his room's door, scratched and impaled by the
shards of glass that had been driven there from
The light over Megan's bed sputtered fitfully from |
debris that had damaged its ballast. It only enhanced
the pale color of the little girl's cool skin. "Yeah! In 415.
Me and a little girl! Get us out of
here! The smoke's
"All right, I'm almost there. Stay put mister!" came the
voice of the orderly. "I'm coming in. You two
"Megan's out but I've got a good airway
She's gonna need some serious O2. She took
some glass into her eyes and yes, her IV line's
"How about you?"
::Yeah, how about me?:: Johnny thought. He hadn't even
himself. ::I must look a sight right about now.::
He ran experimental hands over his chest, head and
and they came away bloodied but sharp pain or areas of
numbness didn't announce themselves.
"Not finding anything
at all. Just some leftover dizziness from a sleeping pill
I took an hour
ago. I'm not shocky in the slightest."
"Sounds like you're very certain of that." came the voice
and soon came rough aggressive noises that showed the hospital
man was pushing aside construction
tarps, shelving and paint
carts out of his way right by Gage and Megan's room.
"I should sound
certain. I'm a fireman paramedic. *cough*
Hurry, the air's going to turn real bad. We gotta get her
of here." Gage got back down onto the floor and rolled Megan
onto a sheet he ripped free
from his bed and he started
dragging her behind him across the floor towards the door
the oily smoke layer that was pooling into the
"Working on it. Looks like people
panicking out here pushed
an equipment cart over into scaffoulding and the whole lot's
against your door! See if you can crack it open." came
the man's exerted voice. "I got most of it
Johnny felt once more for the quality of Megan's carotid
pulse before he crawled nearer
to the wooden door that
he could see bouncing in its hinges from the impacts
the orderly was making
trying to free more space around
the door's handle latch.
New stabs of pain bit into his blue
jeaned knees and his
bare palms as debris shards cut them. He moved closer
to the orderly's position
getting ready to rise.Johnny kept his
head down in the clear air pocket near the floor only long
enough to snatch a breath of untainted air. He decided to
risk standing up into the blinding smoke's
gasses to try his
luck at speeding the escape from their room.
The rush of air that sucked
in from the window when
Johnny cracked the door slightly open, rapidly caused
an awful stench
of death to gush inside the room.
::Too close. The plane's too close to us. Aw, man..::
Johnny saw the tangling jumble of equipment
and the construction rack that still blocked his way
as the fetid wind from outside finally picked a direction
to flow. It decided to flow inside the
Gage shouted, not being able to see the orderly at all
around the smoke
that suddenly came billowing out of
415's open portal that lay between them.
"This is gonna
take too long, *choke* This door
can't stay open, the toxic fumes are flooding in and that's
last thing we need in the hallway with all those sick
patients out there, all right? Is there another
way out of here for us?"
"Just- Just think on it. We've got a minute or
to get out of here." Gage said calmly.
" Yeah.. Yeah, I think so. In the bathroom, straight back. |
There's an adjoining access door with
a lock. Yeah, I know
it for sure. Take this to open it." Johnny felt a key ring and chain
pressed into his hands. "After you get through that
door, go left along the service hall. It runs
behind a surgical
store room. The firedoor at the end leads to the glass elevator.
You can get
out that way. ..uh, wait a minute, no you can't.
D*mmit! I just remembered. That whole outside shaft
be damaged and non functional. It's on the crash's side." the
invisible orderly quailed.
"Good enough for me. I'll take my chances. If not, I'll park us
in that store room and we can
wait it out safely enough.
Now seal us off again so we can save what good air we
have left. It's
enough to get us out of here." Gage commanded.
"Just be careful, man. I'll tell security you'll
be showing up
anywhere along that route. Oh, and don't try to leave Rampart.
We've been ordered
by the fire department's city dispatcher
to keep everybody inside no matter what."
why. The powerlines in the area have to be down
just about everywhere. Now, go. We'll be fine. You
your search for others who may still be trapped. We'll get out fine
now that we
"Don't worry about the little girl, she's stable.. Just go."
The door thudded shut and Gage slid gratefully back
down into the good air around his knees to try
Already, biting jet fuel was swelling up his throat and
worry about that later.:: Johnny said,
clenching the key in his teeth. ::Thank G*d I'm used
eating smoke.:: he sighed. "Megan,...we're getting
out of here. If you can hear me, just keep breathing
shallow all right?" he said coiling up a corner of her drag
sheet around the better of his
two lacerated wrists.
Then he remembered, his station's gang would be
looking for him just
as soon as the whole disaster scene
had been given a quick once over for survivors. "I know
he'll try ta sneak some of the guys in here at their
first rest break to try and look for me for
sure. But d*mmit,
how can I tell them I got out ok?"
Then a brainstorm. Johnny reached and
pulled out a
handful of Megan's markers and quickly patterned
out an arrow with them on a patch
of floor he cleared free
of black dust with an edge of Megan's sheet.
"That'll clue them in.."
he grinned. "I remembered my
boy scouting days just fine.."
Johnny wormed his way into the
Megan's limp crevat and slammed the door shut behind
them, sealing off the choking
As promised, the other door was there. Gage reached
up and turned on the wall light.
He startled when he saw himself in the mirror.
There wasn't an inch of him that wasn't
dusty with black
and blood. Quickly, he unlocked the service door with
the orderly's key and the
two of them fell into the still pristine
air of the brightly lit hall that lay beyond it. It was
quiet in there and everything was eerily devoid of any
sign of the ongoing disaster outside.
Johnny pocketed the door key into his jeans and
bent down to recheck Megan's status. "Megan...sweety..
You with me yet, hon?" He dug a knuckle into her breast
bone. Megan didn't stir, but her chest
and fell regularly. "That's all right. It's ok that you're
unconscious, I'm gonna be
happy your heart's still
beating, kid. Let's go."
Gage gathered her up into his arms, holding
IV bag in between his teeth as he barefooted it on tender,
wounded feet down the corridor
towards the surgical store
room he was told to watch out for. He paused only long enough
another arrow of markers showing the direction
that he and Megan were traveling in.
looked for the next door, his other hand turned
up Megan's IV port to wide open when the carotid
beneath his finger skipped a beat.
The way along was not hard to find and the next light
Gage flipped on, revealed a stainless steel and tiled walled
anesthesia gas bottle store
and a cart full of surgical dressings.
"Bingo.. but no phone." Gage coughed. "Oh well, Nothing
we can't take time for a rest stop. We're safe now."
Johnny carried Megan over to some crates and dug around |
a few of them until he found the right bandages
to dress her
eyes and her bigger still oozing wounds and even some of his
own lacerations that
refused to clot up.
The markings on one of the huge gas bottles surrounding
them caught his
eye. "Wait a minute.. That one's green.
I'll just bet that's oxygen!"
It took a search but
soon, Johnny located a regulator
that fit the giant O2 tank. He snatched an anesthesia
tubing from a blue surgical paper wrapped
bundle that he recognized from working in ER treatment
And a child's oral airway just the right size for Megan
from a plastic covered recharging crash
rapidly set up the apparatus and tested it on himself,
breathing deeply from the O2 to
make sure it was the right
gas and that the gas flowed well. He took a short while
on the mask to clear an alarming,
rising congestion in his chest.
Then he secured Megan's airway
with the oral tube
and strapped the too large adult black rubber mask
as well as he could over
her face. Then he tended
the child with a more thorough exploratory exam.
"Looks like just your
eyes, hon..as I thought." he
concluded, wrapping both of hers up carefully with
her head until they cushioned them
thickly. "These cuts are nothing."
He grabbed a BP cuff
from the defib cart
and took a quick palpated reading on the
child to further ease his paramedic
"72. Fair enough for me.." he sighed,
coughing as traces of acrid smoke lingered
chest. "A few minutes of this oxygen and
I promise we're gonna get you out of here
We got a date with our coloring
books to keep and we sure can't do that in
from an unexpected quarter made
Johnny sway and suddenly, there were two Megans
lying sheeted swathed
on top of the cleaning
boxes. "Well maybe after I treat myself too."
He set a cannula off the
regulator and strung
it onto himself, breathing in the rich oxygen it
delivered to try and clear
He leaned on the crash cart as his head sagged
down to his chest. "Maybe I'd better
sit down on
the floor." And suddenly, he was there, his butt
bruised from falling. "Terrific..
a smoke inhalation
downer already? D*mn.. W- wonder what my
pressure's sittin at..." Groping,
he felt his own
"No radial pulse.. that's ..that's...lower than ninety.."
suddenly air hungry. He felt a little
higher up his arm and pressed down under
his bicep at the
pressure point. "Just
a weak brachial.. that puts it.. somewhere near
the low 80's ...*cough* systolic.
Last thing I need is to black out. And Megan needs
to get to a doctor asap."
::And so do I..for that
matter..:: his inner voice added.
The bright blue tile and steel room
his eyes chaotically and Johnny slid the rest of
the way down the crash cart, slumping
onto his back.
On the way down his elbow caught the cart and it
tipped over on top of him.
He grunted as a drawer of
drugs shot out from their housing and hit him in the chin,
see sudden stars until he rolled over
to try and get some blood back into his head.
syringe rolled by his nose and
it begged a familarity to his foggy senses. "What
the h*ll is that
one? Can I even guess? I'm feeling
pretty crappy here..."
Johnny drew in another deep breath
on his O2
and strained to read the labelling. "A..t...r...o..
*cough*..p...i.. oh, atropine.
Point five milligrams.
Easy one.." he grinned as his consciousness faded.
"I sure could use some
of that right about now.."
Gage's world went black before his hand obeyed
a mental command
to try and reach out for the
Dr. Brackett looked up from the smoky, fire lit|
emergency doors as neighborhood residents
personnel brought in highway and
residential house victims in a steady stream,
"Where's Dixie?" he snarled at
a rushing candy striper, her hands full of trauma
picked a h*ll of a time for a coffee
The young teenager just shrugged and fled from
his rage offering a tidbit from the hospital grapevine.
"Dr. Morton said she was headed up to Pediatrics
for some reason. Hope that helps you, doctor." And
she was gone amid the jumble of screaming
and calming hospital staff in seconds.
"Yeah, I'll say it helps. It helps me raise a little
pressure..." Dr. Brackett mumbled. He
peeled off his pair of bloody gloves from the last
patient he briefly examined, who had been
tagged triage yellow, and dropped them, without
onto the floor.
He spied Mike Morton standing with a puzzled look
in front of strangely quiescent
silver metal elevator doors.
"Aren't these running?" he asked Kel as the senior
him out to find out why.
"Nope. Compliments of the Los Angeles County
Fire Department. They
want no one getting any
bright ideas in their heads about heading down
to ground floor trying to
escape the hospital. A
control measure I guess. "
"It's a d*mned stupid one if you ask me.."
flared. "It's hampering our patient room checks."
"I'm on your side, doctor.." Kel said,
defending hands. "Ease off a bit." Then he fell
to guessing why Morton was still staring
closed doors. "Why are you here, Mike. Isn't
there plenty that you should be doing?"
"I just got a call from Security. They say they saw
someone in white getting in the elevator before
the lockdown, trying to ride it after the prohibition
on use announcement. Only now, they report
can't tell on camera whether or not someone's
still in there." Morton said.
"A panicking patient?"
"They don't know."
"That's odd." Kel said. "Usually the camera
has a pretty good view inside
the car, doesn't it?"
"Key word, pretty good."
"What's the disparity?" Brackett wanted
"Anything knee high or lower,. Probably
because some crazy designer thought the
floor phone was good enough to
cover for the oversight."
That sent a chill up Kel's spine that
he didn't like.
"I now see why you're over here."
Morton nodded gravely, folding his hands
his arms. "Maintenance is on the way with a
service key so I can get in there. Everybody
"How about trying to get a fire captain? They
always carry universal elevator
"No one's around, Kel. But someone did report
a fire dog running around our floor somewhere..
Is that close enough?"
Dr. Brackett made a face, "Hardly.."
Kel heard a shout down
the corridor from a nurse
calling his name. He started off to handle the
problem. "Let me know
what you find out."
"I'll do that.." Morton said, drumming his fingers
impatiently on the inoperative
buttons in front of him.
The phone at the unattended desk across from him
Morton tried to flag down a nurse
to answer it but everyone was too busy with patients
visitors to notice.
The sound finally grated on him and he
jogged over and picked up the
"Emergency. This is Dr. Morton."
##Doctor! We've been trying to reach
we could. This is Carol from
Pediatrics. Is Dixie all right? We saw
her take some glass in the
arm when the
windows blew out. I wanted to help her but
she just wrapped a towel around her arm
I could see anything and said she could handle
it on her own. Then she got into the elevator
and I lost track of her.##
"How long ago? Just now?" Morton demanded.
##No, maybe ...five,
six minutes ago..##
"What? She never arrived down here!"
Morton dropped the phone and grabbed
the maintenance man he finally saw
aimlessly through the frightening sea of
casualties.. "Come on, mister. Move it..
have a nurse who may be down in here."
Mike almost opened the door through sheer
strength as the chastened worker
slowly cranked the doors ajar using his spanner
jack as fast as
he could get his shaking hands
to turn it.
Mike jammed his skinny torso inside the growing
crack in the doors and both feet almost slipped
on the tan carpet that was almost completely soaked
in fresh blood. A huddled unmoving female
form, just as red, lay in the center of it. "Dixie?!"
"Oh my G*d." gasped the maintenance man.
Morton dropped to his knees and carefully
Nurse McCall onto her back as he opened
her airway to listen for any sign of breathing. She was
so, very well. ::Point for us. Now..::
Just as fast, he felt her neck pulse and found it
He looked up to the maintenance
man and said, "Get in here and hold her head
back so she can breathe
"Doc, I-I can't.. There's gore all over. I'll
Mike eyed the
man's name tag quickly with
anger. "Do it, Jenkins ! She's bleeding to death
from somewhere and
I'm gonna need both my
hands to find and handle it!"
He did so in seconds, grimacing at the
sticky wetness soaking his knees.
Morton cut away the sleeve on Dixie's left
located a glass shard protruding
from a gaping laceration. Blood was spurting
out of it. "The main
artery's been cut."
Very pale, but still upright, Jenkins offered
Morton his office jacket
for a compress.
Mike shook his head and just pointed to the
knife of glass embedded in Dixie's
work that way, don't wanna push that in anymore."
And he lifted up her arm high enough
to reach its
pressure point and rapidly bore down with both sets
of fingers, pressing the vessel
beneath tightly against
Then they both began shouting for all they
to summon some very fast help.
"Mr. Gage..? Mr. Gage? Can you hear
Stop playing dead and talk to me.. I'm really
"M...Megan?" Johnny's voice
was a croak.
"Oh thank G*d. I woke up and heard you
breathing funny down on the floor. What
happened to us and why are my eyes all
"Plane crash in the lot outside.. Glass
in your eyes. Keep those on..." he said,
trying to lift his hand to stop Megan's from
"Ok, I will.. What's that tube doing around
your face? I felt it checking you out."
"Oxygen.. I got us out of a lot of smoke..."
Gage said weakily without moving from
lay. " Do me a favor huh? Do
you hear that hissing sound on your right?"
"Yeah,, what is it?
"No, it's the oxygen mask I gave you when you
were.....uncon-- uh,...sleeping.. Give
it to me
for a sec..."
Gage saw Megan's groping hand locate it
through blurry vision. He
took it, foregoing the
nasal cannula for its use instead. Johnny
curled around the mask, sucking
breaths from it, waiting for his head to clear
enough and his body's resources to push
increasing state of shock away.
"Mr. Gage...Mr. Gage.. are you all right?|
What's wrong with you?" she said, shaking
in some bad air hon.. I'm...just gonna be
a little sick right now for a little w--" He face went
slack and Megan felt her fireman friend go limp.
"Mr. Gage?.. Wake up...." She started to
"Don't scare me like this.. I...I don't know what
But then she picked up
the flowing surgical
mask and held it over Johnny's nose and mouth
when she figured out that he
must have done
the same for her earlier. "Maybe this'll help him
Try to wake up."
McCall moaned, the sensation of still
coming back slowly to her spinning senses.
" We've managed to stop all the bleeding
arm. You're going to be just fine.." Dr. Brackett soothed
as Dixie opened her eyes to
blink up at him blearily.
"W-Where am I? Oh... my head.."
"Easy.. Just lie still." Kel
suggested, and slowed
down the flow rate of her Ringer's IV.
Mike Morton grinned, taking a
reading on his patient. "You're in Treatment
Three. Pressure's up to 94 over 70,
Dixie was too muzzy to analyze much
of anything. "What happened?"
"We found you
in the elevator."
"How'd you find me in there?" She said through
an annoyingly dry mouth from
her nasal cannula.
"Security spotted you going down on the camera.
Err,, rather, they didn't
spot you passing out."
"What was I doing in there..?"
"I guess you were headed here from
floor after you got hurt, judging from readout panel.
But then further explosions caused
to use the emergency stops to control our supposedly
panicky people flow and that unfortunately
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