"The fourth fl-- Oh my G*d.. 415. Kel, I was|
up there trying to find John Gage and Megan
Their room's facing the fire. I found
their door blocked shut by fallen scaffolding!"
and Dr. Morton both grabbed her
shoulders to keep her from rising. "They got
out. An orderly who
helped us with you told us
so. Most likely they're outside in the lobby
somewhere just hanging
around, waiting for
a check up."
"No they aren't.. Because I ..." Just as fast,
eluded her. Dixie sighed, giving up
trying to sit as she sank back onto the bed.
certain that we---"
"Dixie, just hold on and think about the whole
thing for a moment. Do you
really have cause to
worry about those two? Or is this moderate
shock kicking in? The nurses at
that desk say
everything's 10-2 on that floor. Has been for
at least twenty minutes."
I still can't shake this feeling, not exactly..
It's just that...something's not ...right." she
"Dix, you just had minor surgery to repair
that brachial artery. You
lost over 1000cc's
of blood. You're bound to feel a little off kilter."
Mike Morton said with a
grin and more than
a little insistence.
"Mike, I know what I'm feeling now. Do me
Just go up and check on them, ok?
It'll only take a few minutes.."
Kel shook his head. "Wish
I could spare the time,
Dix. But the E.R.'s packed, and we're still deep
in triage mode. I'm sure
Johnny can take care of
things by himself for a while. You know how fireman
are. They're really
really good at keeping on their
feet. Now no protests, Mike and I have to get right
back at it
a.s.a.p. You were something of a priority
case for us and that's the only reason
why the both
of us are here."
"Kel, Mike.. I.."
Mike looked up and said, "Are we gonna trust
to stay parked?"
"H*ll, no. So let's encourage her strongly,
shall we?" And both doctors,
to Dixie's chagrin,
strapped the bed belts around her legs, waist and
shoulders to guarantee
"Guys, you can trust me. How about if I promise
to be a good patient and not go
"Rest, Dix. And that's an order..." Brackett said,
tempered by a smile. "At least until
your IV bag finishes
up. Then you can start to think about hobbling
around to bark orders at the
other nurses all you like.
We're gonna need your bed space. Until then we're
keeping you strapped
in until that arm decides it's going
to stay clotted up. When the chaos clears up a bit, we'll
back and do a neater job on those artery sutures."
The two doctors stripped off their gloves
they had donned
for Dixie's repair job and hastened from the room into
the triage filled bustle
of the outer wards.
Dixie sighed, eyeing her arm splint and wrap
job critically. "That's just
great, you two." She took
a deep breath from her oxygen and the elusive
memory that had haunted
her came flooding back.
"Oh no.. Guys! Come back! I know what I saw in
that back corridor now!
Children's drawing pens
don't lie around littering the floor for no good reason..!"
Feeling weak, Dixie whispered to herself in defeat.
"How can they when regular patients can't
find a way
into that restricted part of the hospital without help?"
A few minutes later, she
set in again for someone
to search the fourth floor loudly, but Dixie's words never
ears that really wanted to hear her out.
"Mr. Gage! Now I know you
can hear me. I've been
telling you all my best riddles. And I'm getting tired of
doing that to
a quiet audience.. I--I DARE you to open
your eyes and laugh at them. You have to remember
so you can tell Chet your friend when you
Mr. Gage..? Come on, wake up. My
hands are getting tired holding this oxygen mask. It's
so heavy and it's too big for you."
Johnny groaned and he coughed once
when Megan accidently bumped a painful cut
on his cheek with
"That's it. That's it. I knew you could do it. Tell me.
Tell me what I can do to
get you better faster. I
need you, Mr. Gage. I need you to get us out of
here, now.." Megan pleaded,
shaking his shoulder
with both hands.
Gage pushed away the oxygen mask and rolled over
his side, getting ill all over the floor.
Bravely, Megan didn't back away from the sounds.
just held his head on her lap. "It's ok, everybody
gets upset stomach now and then. Mommy says
a little 7up always makes it better. I'll get you
some when we get out of here."
rasped, frightening her,
when he didn't speak again.
"Hey,.. are you ok?" Megan asked.
Huge wracking coughs kept Gage from talking
right away.. Then he said softly.. "No,.. I... I'm not,
Megan. I...must have gotten ....more toxins from
the smoke ...than I had.....originally....planned
Chest's...*choke*..filling up fast.."
"What can I do, Mr. Gage? Come on, tell me. There
must be something I can do..." the little girl sobbed.
voice took on a quiet tone and she
started talking, keeping the mask tightly over
as he tried to pull himself together.
"That's ok... I'm nine years old. I'll do the thinking for
of us.. I'm used to taking care of my younger
brothers and you're only just a bigger kind of brother
to me.... Only,...only.." Megan's face screwed up under
her bandages and tears began to soak through,
them damp and pink.
"..I don't know what to do now, Mr. Gage. I - I just keep
on hearing that awful low rumbling sound that
came before that jetplane fell out of the sky. I'm
Mr. Gage. I still am.. It sounded so much like something to
be afraid of." she sobbed.
"D-don't ...be afraid.. I ..I ...*gasp* I...know what to|
do now. Megan...I...need you to find me
a shot, ok.? You know, the kind with medicine in it.."
"What?" Megan said, brushing
dirty hair out of Johnny's
eyes. "I don't understand."
But Johnny didn't realize he was confusing
He just blearily kept mumbling. "It's like your dad's coffee,
only stronger..." he gasped,
pushing the oxygen away...
"It's called...a-atropine.... Go get the shot, Megan. Get
it now. It's...it's..got
to be nearby.. I just ..saw it."
"Where? Mr. Gage, I can't do that.. I can't see anymore."
"It's ok, hon. Oh,...I see it right here, just out of reach
about six feet to
our right. Can you sweep around for
it? Wait a minute, d- don't reach so far, you'll
pull out your
IV. Go slow.. A little farther.. There, feel
it? It's like a plastic pack of silverware from the fast
food restaurant. Yeah, that's it..." Johnny let his
head fall back on Megan's lap and he closed
eyes, exhausted from the effort of picking up
his head.. "Take it out of the paper and hand it
You're gonna have to help me take it.."
"No,.. I can't do that.. I..hate shots.. Even watching
them.." Megan protested.
Johnny gave a little laugh. "Well, we won't have
that problem now,
will we? Your eyes are wrapped
"Oh, yeah. That's right. But I know it's gonna feel
anyway.." she reasoned.
"Not that much for you to gross out with, now
is there? You aren't
going to be on the receiving
end of it.." he coughed, trying to put a laugh
into his tone. He
failed to hide his weakness.
"Oh...h.." Megan quailed.
"Now,... I gotta take this in the
I'm too beat to get my jeans loosened.
You're gonna have to help me." Johnny
"I'm not going to undress you!"
"Megan, you won't see anything.."
he gasped in frustration.
"No, but I will know what's going on and
that's bad enough.." she yelled right back,
"Ok,...ok...ok.. *choke* Change of plans.
Calm down. I won't make you do
you aren't willing to do. Geesh. Relax a little."
Gage snaked out his hand until he grabbed
a pair of clothes shears that had fallen from
the crash cart when he fell against it. "Just
me... get my breath back ...it'll only
take a bit.."
After some time taken to use the black
O2 mask on high, Johnny spoke again.
"Ok, here's the s-scoop. Can you cut away
my jeans pocket
on this side? Here's a
pair of scissors I got...from the cart.."
"I don't want to cut you..!"
"Megan, these are paramedic's scissors.
Feel that? There's no sharp
points on these,
they're blunted with skin guards. Now.. go
breathe now..." And Johnny exaggerated his
true condition by breathing noisily to
over her qualms about ruining his jeans.
He eased off his acting when he felt cool
air over his hip after much tugging and
slicing on Megan's part. Soon the job
began to realize that
his respiratory distress wasn't all himself
faking it. ::Edema? Too soon.
"M--Megan.. pull off the cover from the
needle.. Now..push the plunger until you
the medicine squirt out the top."
"That's...o..ok.." Gage puffed. "I-I'll
soon enough when we get out of here.." Gage
The room started retreating
Johnny could feel his chemical burned
bronchioles closing off despite of the O2
suddenly another blackout threatened
to swallow him up. ::I need the atropine..
Now.. or I'll quit
where there's a padded spot on my hip
and give me the s-shot where ..*gasp*
feel the skin isn't b-bony.."
"I can't do that!"
"Megan, I'm gonna faint on you
now... I can feeling it ....c-coming on.. Now,.
just do it. Come on, there's a good
Johnny's laboring lungs suddenly
snuffed out his consciousness in mid sentence.
Gage's hands fall away from
hers and she heard the mask tumble off
his face to the floor and his
quieted alarmingly. "Mr. Gage? Are you
ok?.." she asked in horror. "Don't go
You gotta show me how to do this..."
Then something integral made
Megan let go of
the "child" way of thinking and a new budding
"adult" side of her kicked in.
With only slightly shaking hands she stuck the needle
firmly home and injected all the atropine
syringe into Gage's hip muscle. Then she jerked it
out and flung it away in absolute disgust.
Weeping, Megan Miller hugged Johnny Gage,
listening to the rapid and weak wheezing noises
from under the mask she had quickly
returned to his face.
"Please don't die..." she whispered.
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 16:43:28 -0800
From: "Sam Iam" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: A Glint In The Light
obnoxious squelch over the open frequency made
Chet Kelly startle as he and Stoker climbed over the
airplane debris field colorfully marked in fatality sheets.
"J*sus H Christ... That's too loud!" he
his hand shot into his turnout pocket to pull out his HT.
His face was hot and streaming
inside his air mask
that he still wore. "Gonna be a scorcher today. Feels
like 80 and the sun's
just coming up."
"Could be because of all the fires, Chet. Relax. Feel
like going for another
air bottle change out yet?"
Stoker asked, wiping a sooty glove over his faceplate
so Kelly could
see the glint in his eye that was an
attempt to lift his spirits.
Kelly stared at his radio
accusingly as L.A. did its first
communications check in with all the rescue and police
on scene of the jet crash. ##L.A. Stations:
99, 36, 118, 12, 127, 8, 51, 10, Battalion 14, Ladder
90, Brush 5, One Adam Twelve, One Bravo Three,
One Tango Six...#... the list droned on and on...
"Man, Stoker. I'd thought I'd never be on a response
this big. I mean, how can they ever keep track
everybody? It's hard enough just keeping our own
station's chatter on sub band 51."
Stoker stopped in his tracks and turned a
circle in place just like he'd been doing every
steps for the last two hours, looking for
magnesium hot spots that might endanger
their boot material.
He eyed the signs of carnage
and rubble alike with a professional dispassionate
Chet knew he'd never be able to
master. "That's what the Fire Chiefs are for.
L.A. can only ferry
transmissions, not organize
"I know, I know." Kelly said, hooking yet another
of plane metal away from a tiny fuel blaze
as they searched for their current assignment,
for the flight recorder. "Maybe I'm just
on edge because we haven't found a live victim.
didn't need to see that rescue worker
and his dog all busted up like that. It kinda gets
down. Know what I mean?"
Mike Stoker motioned that their way forward|
was clear of hazard without saying anything.
counting out their twenty paces
out loud once again as the lead man on
the recovery team. His
left foot stumbled
on some baby clothes and he only hesitated
briefly before walking on, using
his hook as
"Ah, man... I should have been a farmer.."
Chet said softly as he
regarded his crewmate's
hunched over back. "This stuff's for the birds."
He hurried to catch
up to Mike to give him
an affectionate pat on the shoulder.
They were on the east side edge of the triage
area outside a SafeKo store.
Roy DeSoto and
Brice patted the back of the
Mayfair after sealing off its access doors.
"Go, go go!" the weary,
ginger haired paramedic
urged the driver as he stepped back away
from the tires. Then he leaned
his breath with his hands on his knees.
Brice whistled, getting Roy's attention.
"Need this again?" he asked, lifting a
demand valve mask from a coil wrap
he had just finished
making in their O2
DeSoto shook his head, and waved him
off with a gesture. "Nah...
and he parked his soiled backside on
a spent foam unit casing to rest.
his face. "It's just... that last
one really got to me. I mean, who'd figure
a four year old boy
going to his first day
care center would ever end up on the receiving
end of all of this..." he
said, throwing up his
hands at the chaos around them.
A sharp support volunteer quickly darted
from a supply tent and handed both paramedics
plastic water bottles, already opened. They
were luke warm.
Roy and Brice nodded their thanks mutely.
Craig rubbed the dirt off his
face and made a
half hearted attempt at rubbing some more off
of his usually pristine uniform.
"It doesn't pay
to get emotionally involved with a patient while
"Does it look like I'm treating anybody
right now, Brice?" he shouted, sharp. "No..."
studied his feet and then just knelt and
finished putting away the O2 apparatus. A long
seemed to isolate the two men despite
the roar of fire and echoing radio transmissions
hoses and idleing engines surrounding
them. But then, his face altered and opened up.
I go again, offering stupid advice
where it isn't welcome."
Roy lifted his head and just shook it, brushing off|
the apology. "We're tired. We're all tired. And
things really seem like they can just.....go on forever.."
His eyes wandered over to ground zero
he could just see a crane trying to lift
the tail section of the airliner away from an
full of body parts. "Not your fault lashing
out.." he said softly. "I just did it myself.." he said
with an unconvincing familiar smile.
Brice's back just stayed stiff as he slowly
gear back into the squad
Roy got up and walked over to recollect
soggy coat from where it lay on the roof
of the squad in a futile attempt to dry it off.
on, let's go grab some coffee. Dwyer said
they have a refreshment tent already set up.
gotta taste better than these things."
he said draining the last of the water from his
"We'll keep our talkies with us in case
we get any more calls. I don't know about you,
but I don't
wanna be tied to the squad's radio
for that. I wanna move around a little."
Craig finally grinned
and looked at Roy.
"Same here. I thought I was the only one
"Not by a long
shot.." DeSoto smirked.
But then Craig's face fell into another
disturbed frown that DeSoto
"What's wrong?" he asked Brice.
"I....can't put my finger on it. But have
been listening to all the radio
checks? There's not one voice going
on the air that I recognize.."
he told Roy.
Roy tipped his head, thinking a bit.
"Well, there are a lot of us here.."
"Yeah, perhaps you're right. But I can't
shake the willies I've had ever since
we both got here."
"Body recovery blues?" DeSoto asked.
"No..no.." Craig said carefully. "It's
"Well, a little sugar might help. We're
both a little transparent right now. Not
hollow. And we still have to
do our vitals sets on each other looking
for hidden trouble spots
all the complex smoke around here."
"We'll do that after the break." Craig
Roy shrugged back into his damp jacket.
"Ok.." he grinned. "Let's go."
Chet Kelly passed by mountains of steaming|
rubble, house and plane and nothing he
saw was familiar.
"We've been all over
the place, Stoker. I don't think we're gonna
find it. Maybe we should let
"We haven't been on this side yet, Chet.
I know, I would have remembered passing
that.." he said, pointing down to a charred
car that had a severed fire hose lying by it.
leaned in a little closer. "What happened
"Hose burst. The crew manning it must have
touched a mag fire."
"Oooo." Chet winced in sympathy, peering
into the windows of the car.
they got out a live one. There's IV and EKG
papers all over the place. And I'm seeing
a used suction cylinder in here. "
Mike hooted. "Whoo Hooo! There's one
LESS for ya, Grim Reaper!
" and he
celebrated by raising his fire hook in
Chet raised his eyebrows in silence
mumbling, "Always gotta watch out for the
quiet types, man.." but he smiled just a few
Unfamiliarity reigned across the landscape
on the ground with nothing recognizable,
but all the fire and smoke was all too
familiar to them as they resumed search.
to the west under a rising column
of an as yet unbattled fuel fire caught Chet's
attention. A shape
sticking out of the mess
that bothered him. "Hey, Stoker. This way."
"Kelly, we'll mess up
"Just come on.. I may have spotted something."
Mike Stoker followed line
of sight along Chet's
arm. Then he shrugged. "A firefighter. So.."
"Stoker, think a minute..
Do you see a truck
around here anywhere. No one leaves
the hundred foot perimeter from the engine
in an unknown hazard scene."
Stoker once again eyed the figure picking its
way over the debris
field, shimmering in the
early morning heat thermals. Its helmet
almost seemed to big. "Looter?"
"I'll bet fifty bucks on it.." Kelly complained.
"Now, I'm really mad...." Stoker frowned.
The mild expression on his face hadn't changed.
"Good, glad it's unanimous. Shall we
little city property recovery mission?
Not like we're really needed victim scouting
and I'm fed
up with trying to locate a needle
in a haystack with that flight box." Kelly sighed.
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