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      Shadows Of
    The Past
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          Page One

The Story Unfolds...

Season Two, Episode Eleven..  

Debut Launch: 1 June 2004.

From :  <>
Sent :  Wednesday, June 2, 2004 11:19 PM
Subject :  Re: [EmergencyTheaterLive] Episode Eleven Preproduction begins..

As the sun rose over the city of Carson, CA, the 6 men assigned  
to LACoFD Station 51's A-shift, were already awake, eagerly
awaiting the end of their shift.  The previous night had been busy,
with several MVAs and one particularly nasty warehouse fire that
had kept the boys hopping until nearly 2AM.  But, in spite of the busy
night, none of the men were showing signs of exhaustion.  Quite the
opposite was true.  Captain Hank Stanley, Engineer Michael Stoker,
Firefighters Marco Lopez and Chet Kelly, and Paramedics Roy
DeSoto and John Gage were almost buzzing with energy.  Today
was the start of a long vacation.  Ten whole days, and the guys were
pumped up with excitement.  They had brainstormed and came up
with the idea of a camping and fishing trip to the remote, but beautiful
area that Roy, John, and Chet had gone to a few months ago:  Santa
Rose County.  Roy, John, and Chet had visited the area and ended up
saving a few lives in addition to some great fishing.  Everyone had
agreed that it sounded like a wonderful idea, even Cap, who hated
fish under the best of circumstances.

   "Man, I can hardly WAIT to get a lungful of that clean, mountain air!"
said dark-haired paramedic John Gage.

   "Bet it tastes a lot better than the faceful of soot you ate last night,
Gage" snickered Chet Kelly, unaffectionately known to his shift-mates
as The Phantom.

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"Chet, ANYTHING would taste better than this sludge you call coffee,"
sniped Gage.

    "Children children, enough bickering," interrupted Cap.  "Marco,
would you please make some drinkable coffee?  I'd like to drive up to
Santa Rosa County without falling asleep at the wheel."

   "Sure, Cap," said Marco.  "Good thing my culinary skills extend to

   "Yeah, Marco," said Roy.  "Even Henry could make better coffee
than Chet."

   Henry looked up at the firemen from his perch on the sofa and
yawned, causing Mike Stoker, usually the quietest man on the shift
to pipe up, "See!!  Even Henry agrees."

   "I don't think regaining consciousness is exactly agreeing, Mike,"
laughed Johnny.

   "Whether Henry agrees or not, can we at least have breakfast
before we start debating?" said Cap.

   With that, Cap got up and walked to the refrigerator and opened
it, looking inside to see what he could whip up for a meal.  Spying a
carton of eggs and a slab of bacon, he pulled them out of the
refrigerator, only to bump into Chet Kelly, who was standing right
behind him.  

   CRASH!!   The eggs fell to the floor and broke, spreading out in a
slimy puddle of yellow, dotted with shell fragments.

   "KELLY!!!  Watch where you're standing, you twit!!"


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From :  Maggie H <>
Sent :  Thursday, June 3, 2004 1:15 PM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Shadows of the Past -- scene 2

"Perfection!" breathed Johnny Gage as he slipped down into
the camping chair, a beer in one hand and a sandwich in the

In front of him, the sun was sinking behind the mountains, and the
the pale hues in the sky promised a gorgeous sunset in a matter of
minutes.  Orange and reddish sunlight rippled across the lake.  A
short distance from the shore, the silhouette of a boat and its two
occupants bobbed up and down.  Chet and Marco, who had been eager to
get out fishing since they'd set off from Roy's house at 9am that

Behind the dark-haired paramedic, laughter echoed from within the
long Skyliner camper that the guys had chipped in together to rent
for their 10-day excursion.  It was parked some 300 feet from the
lake shore, and it could provide a fairly comfortable "base
camp" for them, as they hiked and explored the area.  Heck,
it even had a generator that could keep a fresh supply of cool
beers on tap for the end of each day.  And even six men could
comfortably sleep in the huge camper.

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*Pretty cool,* thought Johnny as he sighed and watched the sky blaze
a dark orange and fiery red.  

The sounds of laughter and voices blossomed as the door to the
camper opened, and Roy, Mike, and Hank headed out and down to the
lake shore.  Plopping their chairs down, they settled in next to

"Do you think they'll actually catch anything?"  mumbled
Johnny after a bit.  The boat was slowly disappearing into
the darkness as the sunset faded into night.  A lantern in the boat
had illuminated a few minutes previously.


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From :  Cassidy Meyers <>
Sent :  Friday, June 4, 2004 2:25 AM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Things That Go Bump In The Night...

"I wouldn't hold it past them.." Roy chuckled matter of
factly. "You know, Chet's been working hard at reading
all those Outdoor Life magazines. Maybe he's picked up
a little from them."

Hank chuckled as he sipped his icy Pabst beer in its
plastic cup."I've never seen anyone strike a beeline for a
boat faster than him. You hadn't even shut the motor off on
Gage's rover here when Kelly and Lopez's rears were on the
boat cushions, roaring off into the sunset. I wonder what they're
using for bait though. He forgot these.."  and his foot kicked
the styrofoam container full of swarming leeches.

Johnny grinned, gulping half his beer before he set the rest
down in the sand next to his chaise lounge chair. "You're
forgetting he's still cringing about ruining breakfast for us
this morning by dropping those egg cartons. Chet's never taken
the steam that blows out of your ears whenever you're mad
very well."

"Really?" Cap wondered, his face suddenly vulnerable with
reflection."Do- Do I really have that kind of effect on you guys?"

Immediately, the other three squirmed in their chairs. Mike
Stoker took this as an excuse to clear Johnny's empty plate
full of fried chicken bones. "Gotta go wash before this crusts
over." and he disappeared into the gathering warm darkness.

Gage leaped at the chance, "I'll help."

That left Roy in the hot seat, who bore it bravely.

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Around the corner of the camper, out of eye line, Gage and
Stoker leaned in to listen to DeSoto's reply like eager playground
kids watching a bully go to work.

DeSoto kept sipping his lemon iced tea, considering Cap's
question. "It depends..."

At Hank's go on nod, Roy plunged into a man to man analysis.

"At times, let's say the leaning in heavy is fully justified. Especially
when you're dishing out the chorelist and the other guys have
antsy feet about it. But then there's this morning..." and DeSoto
trailed off, waving his dewy drink in significance.

"Roy, I was hungry. We all were. And the stores were all
closed because of Memorial Day. Now tell me the honest
G*d's truth. Those BLT sandwiches minus the L and the T
were disgusting, right?"


"Thought so. Henry seemed to enjoy what was left well
enough. But d*mn it, Roy. Dropping those eggs was ...sheer
carelessness." his voice rose in passionate ardor.
"If he'd been carrying a hose nozzle and clunked it on the
ground at a fire scene, a whole lotta guys would be in serious
danger for lack of water because of a dented ring!"

"Cap..." Roy informed softly.

"What!?" Hank replied, a little red above his T-shirt.

"We're on vacation..Can you simmer down? I think you're still
putting the fear of the All Mighty into them." and he jerked a
thumb over his shoulder meaningfully at the invisible Gage
and Stoker lingering nearby.

There was a clatter of a tin metal garbage can tipping
over noisily as the two with their cover blown made tracks
hastily. Gage went inside the camper and Stoker took cover
inside the Satellite near the propane gas grill bottles.

"Oh, uh. Right." Cap sputtered, taking a huge gulp of his
beer to fortify himself. "Guess I should glance down and
take a look at what kinda clothes I'm wearing before I spout
off like that. Thanks for reminding me."

Roy glanced at Hank askance. "You needed reminding
when you're surrounded by all of this?" he asked in mild

A sharp piercing call of a Red Tailed Hawk punctuated
the air and a wave curled musically up onto the beach
from a boat's wake as if on cue after Roy's question.

"Well.. yeah.." Hank said meekly. "Do you remember
the last time I went on vacation?"

Roy turned his head and studied Marco and Chet's
nodding profiles in the indigo twilight from where they
were anchored sixty yards out on the lake. He could
just see Kelly fussing with a fly on the end of his line.

"Well, I don't. Emily tells me that I went to Pasadena or
something for an expo about the time you showed up
at the station..." Cap confided.

"Really?" Roy's head jerked around. "That's ...that's
a long time ago.."

"You're darn shootin, it is.. No wonder I'm a little short
in the wick department lately. Now perhaps, I'll get a
chance to ..." and he sighed expansively, stretching,
"..unwind a little." He sat in his beach chair, trying to
look at ease, but failed miserably.

"Yeah, well do it soon.." came Gage's voice as he exited
the camper in his swim trucks. "We're all tired of hearing
you pop your relief valve at every stupid tiny thing that
happens." he counseled gently. "Watch me, Roy. I'm going
kinda far out. The water's cooler out there."


Gage dove neatly into the lake and swam deliberately
away from Chet and Marco's fishing boat.

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"Maybe I should go for a swim.." Cap considered.

"I can only watch one of ya at a time.." Roy replied.
"Besides, maybe you shouldn't go in just yet. Four beers
might cause a few problems."

Cap slumped back in his chair, and looked at the finger
full left in his glass. It had gone warm in his hand. He poured
it out onto the beach in an out of the way spot and asked.
"Is that Lipton stuff any good?"

Roy's nose wrinkled just then. "Do you smell something,

Hank's long proboscis lifted and his nostrils flared. "Am
I hallucinating? That smells like.."


Both men turned out to see Chet and Marco flailing from
the boat, and their motor kicked in immediately back
towards the shoreline right at them.

Roy and Cap didn't understand what Chet and Lopez
were pointing at.

"Behind you!" Marco shouted over the boat motor's roar.

"Geez, turn around you guys! There's trouble!" Kelly
yelled in frustration.

Roy and Cap finally got the message. They turned around
and looked back towards the camper parked underneath
the swaying birch trees.

The biffy was on fire.

"Ohmyg*d. Mike's in there..isn't he?" Cap asked.

"Stoker!" DeSoto called out, rushing forward. He paused
only long enough to grab the fire extinguisher that was clipped
to the camper's trailer frame between it and Johnny's rover.
"Hey, answer me!"

"What are you guys waiting for?!" came Johnny's yell and his
water slicked slender body booked high speed for the burning
outhouse. He stumbled only once over the rocks where the
beach ended and the forest began. "Just tip it over and
he can get out that way.."

The three firemen were quickly joined by the other two and in
a flurry of shouts and hissing fire repellent and brute strength,
they broke the satellite's concrete clamps enough to create a
gap near the ground large enough for a coughing Mike Stoker
to crawl out.

Marco and Johnny dragged him away by the pants butt and got
him to his feet. " you smell... are you ok?" Gage asked

Mike leaned over and spat stench out of his mouth and coughed.
"Yeah, I'm fine.. How did that get started?"

Roy stopped spraying the ABC extinguisher on some wires he
had found touching the fiberglass shell of the biff. "I believe here's
the problem. Some of this insulated wire on this grill's
timer valve is worn bare."

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"You mean I almost fried with my shorts down because of a
faulty propane tank regulator?" Mike said, still worked up a little.

"Yep." Roy shrugged.

"Why.... I....Oooo..!" Stoker sputtered.

"Stoker... Easy, pal.." Cap soothed, taking his engineer by the
shoulders briefly before thinking better of it because of his
odiferous bouquet. "You gotta learn how to unwind a little..
Here, have my beer."


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From :  Jeff Seltun <>
Sent :  Wednesday, June 16, 2004 10:11 PM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Night Visitors

There was a commotion in the darkness.
A rustling sound, from the woods. All six
firemen turned to face it.

It was a woman, her page style hair dishevelled from
a panicked run, that came dashing from the deeper shadows
into the campfire light. She was dragging behind her a
running hose they recognized from the fishhouse.
"Oh, my gosh. Oh my gosh.. Are you guys all right?!"

The gang's eyes oggled for the young woman was very
pretty for her age of twenty or so years. Roy and Cap
immediately became politely discreet, for the young gal was
in a very short mini skirt and western blouse. Mike Stoker finally
jerked his head stupidly, answering their surprise visitor.
"I'm fine. Not even singed."

The girl didn't stop and kept on rushing past the stunned men.
"Good. Here, let me wash down these sparks still smouldering
on the grass. Oh, I've got to hurry..  I don't want Beauford,
he's the fire spotter across the lake, to see this. Knowing him,
he'll raise holy Caine for sure if he sees a glow not inside
a fire ring on the beach. He'll call in every fire station in the
county for no good reason at all and having the campground
crawling with firefighters in the middle of the night is the
last thing I need the sheriff finding out about." she blithered.
"I'm sick to death of dealing with fire boys. I've seen far too
many of them this summer as it is on my resort's land. "

The gang from 51's shared looks of irony about the
firefighter comment. Then Captain Stanley took a step
forward. "Uh,," and he cleared his throat. "..thank you Miss,
for the water. Here, let my friend Mike Stoker here finish that hose
soaking while you sit down and take a breather.  You look like you're
about to fall over. My friend Roy's got some iced tea chilling on
the table over there. Help yourself. Please. You look like you
could really use some. I'm Hank Stanley by the way."

The panting woman gave one last worried glance at
the smoking outhouse and back once more at the far shore of the
quiet lake before she accepted Hank's offer of a lawn
chair.  "Nicola Sommers. Charmed. Thanks." she sighed,
dropping into the chair with a healthy collapse and sprawled
into an undisquised state of sweaty exhaustion. She wiped some dirt
off her upper lip, while her other hand snatched the ice tea tumbler
Cap had offered to her from the picnic table. "Cheers. "
And she downed Roy's whole glass of Lipton Lemon Twist as
rapidly as she could.

The guys watched her every swallow. Especially Chet Kelly.

The charming Nicola was oblivious. Then her head whipped
around to look back at the hose dousing Stoker was just finishing up.
"Look, are you sure he knows what he's doing? Embers under
all this meadow grass can smoulder for hours.."

Johnny Gage came up aces.. "Stoker's a real pro, Ms.
Sommers. You can kinda say that he ..uh....plays with water for a
living... In fact, we all do.."

Marco smacked Johnny on the arm and he hissed under his
breath so only Gage could hear. "Don't spill the beans that we're
firemen. We might lose her as some real good company."

Chet Kelly covered for Lopez's mumble loudly, covering
it up. "Nicola, did you come from the cottage house perched
all the way up there on the ridge?"

"Yeah. I had to. Luke, my bassett hound, starting carrying on
something fierce and that usually means trouble on the beach
so I started running when I saw the fire starting up."

"Wow, you made it down here to the lake in record time.
You sure are in incredible shape.." Kelly continued and his eyes
flickered downwards the length of her body, admiring her black
leather boots to go along with the rest of her. Gage smacked Kelly
discreetly on the back of the head for his indiscretion.

"Ow..." Chet complained, glancing back at Gage.

"Ow  what?" Nicola said, oblivious to the exchange. She
looked up from the empty ice tea glass she was returning
to the table.

"Mosquitoes.." Gage supplied.
"Nothing." Chet said simultaneously.

They immediately reversed a verbal tumble.
"Yeah, d*mned bugs." Kelly burbled.
"He's sore from fishing." Gage admitted at the same time.

::Uh oh..:: they both thought. ::We're caught for sure.::

Cap and the other guys froze like spotlighted deer,
waiting for a defensive reaction.

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But the young woman sitting across from them just
smiled sweetly and pushed out her bottom lip in acquiescence.
"Happens to the best of folks..." Nicola agreed, leaning
back and breathing expansively of the pine scented night
air to begin cooling herself further. "Especially city folks
like yourselves. My guess is that you're all from L.A. or
very close there abouts."

Gage was surprised. Smart chicks really threatened him,
and his question popped out before he could wrest it
back inside of his mouth. "How'd you know that we were from
Los Angeles?"

Ms. Sommers tossed her head at the Rover
still hitched to the rental camper. "Only city
cars are stained that dark from smog dust. And the only city
that's so smoggy this time of year is L.A. I spotted
your rover and camper this afternoon when you drove by my
house on the way to the lake access road..." Her eyes twinkled
as she added more. "I wouldn't speed so fast next time.
Sheriff Bittner's new deputy is always on the lookout for
new out of towners to ticket."

"We'll keep your advice in mind. Had enough?"
Hank asked about Nicola's drink.

"I'm topped off. Thanks. That was really good."
Nicola tilted her dainty chin and high arched
cheekbones delicately in challenge. "I'm the caretaker
of that resort you can see up there on the ridge. It's got
seven cabins and a pine log lodge and a trading post.
I sort of inherited it from my step father when he died
earlier this past winter. "

"I'm sorry to hear about that, Ms. Sommers. " Roy
mentioned politely.

Nicola rubbed her nose absently.
"It's ok. We hardly got along as it was. It was just the two
of us for a long time. And it's taking a while to get the hang
of running the whole business. Foreign investors keep stopping
by saying they'll buy my land and everything on it to save me some
grief but the sheriff says that I shouldn't sell. I quite frankly, I'm
growing to love it up here. Almost as much as the sheriff does...

Say,.. what made you guys choose Santa Rosa County Park for a
vacation hot spot? Can't say much about attractions around here.
Except our sunsets, which are made to absolutely die for." Nicola

Hank laughed. "Sheriff Blaine Bittner recommended this campsite.
Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto over there .." the two paramedics waved,
grinning in the fire glow as they were introduced, "...went fishing with him
last year after an adventure or two while working with him and fell in love
with the place. Myself and Chet Kelly, Marco Lopez, and the man
you already met watering the grass over there, just had to see what
was so magical about Santa Rosa County, this year."

"Well, glad to make your acquaintance gentlemen." Nicola
said, getting up and shaking their hands one by one in greeting.
"Thanks for the tea, Mr. DeSoto. Lipton's my all time favorite."
She brushed some weeds and burrs out of her skirt. "Well,
I think I'll be heading back since everything down here is
a. o. k. " and she folded up her lawn chair.

The gang immediately rose to their feet.

Hank said, "It's almost completely dark now. Are you sure it's
safe to wander around the woods at night? We'd- We'd be happy to
offer you one of our tents to crash in until morning.. See?
Chet Kelly's got one already set up over there.." and he pointed.

"Oh, yeah. My sleeping bag's real warm." Kelly nodded.

Nicola's askance look at Chet's school boy oggling of her
unique attire made her raise her eyebrows and that gave the
gang her unspoken answer to the offer.

Marco piped up. "Don't worry about Kelly here, Nicola. We were
just being neighborly.  Helping folks comes naturally to us. Part of
our jobs you could say. He didn't mean anything by that."

"Yeah, Kelly usually puts his foot in his mouth at least once during
the day. Only now, he's on vacation and had to wait until now before
he embarrassed us all by doing it again." Gage said, with a glare
at Kelly.

Nicola was not offended. In fact, in the rising moonlight, she
smiled, still at ease.

Right then, an unearthly set of howls in the distance made the
whole gang start. Chet actually took a few steps closer
to the camp fire.

"And there you have why the campsite has up the no tents restriction
sign this week. Guys, I'm suggesting strongly to you that you all
sleep in the camper at night." Nicola said, pointing toward the
park's roofed regulations board. "The ranger put up that new
notice about two hours before you got here."

"Wh--What was that? Wolves?" Chet shivered.

"Something like them I suspect." Nicola said. "As long as you stay by
the lake and keep a fire up or stick inside your camper when it's
dark, you'll stay safe and sound. The sheriff and I have been working
on this little unwelcome wildlife problem for three weeks now. It's
just a matter of time before we find them all."

The gang was too busy getting serious chills over the eerie howling
chorus bellowing at the moon to ask Ms. Sommers any more
questions. Even Hank Stanley was mute and listening.

Nicola was getting her jollies over the city folks cowering
at the night woods. "See ya fellas. Have a nice vacation.."
And Nicola strode into the night pine forest cheerfully.

But, just before she vanished out of the fire's light, she turned and
shouted back at them, feeling guilty about getting enjoyment out
of their discomforture. "Tell you what? If you're too afraid to cook
supper, eat light of sandwiches or something for tonight
and then come hike up to my cottage tomorrow morning.
I'll put on a hearty breakfast for all of ya.. I'm turning the lodge into
a bed and breakfast inn. Sheriff Bittner says it's a concept
that's all the latest rage in the North. You fellas can be my first
customers to try out my new menu.  On the house."

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The gang nodded warmly and waved, saying that they'd be
there by first light.

Nicola was hardly gone a minute when the six of them fearfully ran
into the camper and slammed the door shut behind themselves.

The morning couldn't come fast enough for the gang of 51's.


"Say, this is gonna be a real swell inn, Ms. Sommers."
said Chet Kelly as he stuffed another poppy seed roll into
his mouth. "I mean, you got moose antlers on the walls and
everything.." he admired. Then his head nearly split in two
with a monstrous yawn that drowned out another compliment.

Nicola chuckled. "Somebody didn't sleep well last night.
Not used to roughing it, Mr. Kelly?"

"I slept just fine.." Chet said with a frown. "That's only after
those wild animals finally quit yapping at the moon around
four a.m."

Nicola whipped off her flour dusted apron and sat down
to join the gang eating. "The sheriff and I are going out this
afternoon to deal with those creatures. Don't you worry.
He's coming right after breakfast and we're going hunting."

"Is it the season for that?" Mike Stoker asked, chewing on
a ripe strawberry.

"It is when two town kids get ambushed walking in to school
from the outskirts and can't give a clear description of what
kind of animals attacked them." Nicola said. "I'll be glad to
see them gone."

Johnny Gage took a sip of his black coffee. "Were they hurt
bad?" he said, remember the tiny doctor's office that he and
Roy had used for their injured the last time they were passing
through Santa Rosa County. "Was the doc in to treat them?"

Nicola showed some surprise. "You know the doc?"

"Sure do." Roy said, wiping a milk moustache off as he pushed
his empty plate away. "We ran into him helping a few climbers,
and folks from an auto wreck and then two more from a fishing
mishap. We met up Doc Frick three times in the same day."

Nicola set down her fork and stopped chewing. "Oh,.. so you're
the fire department boys Bittner keeps on talking about over
chili at Rosie's Bar.  He's still all hot to trot about that para.. para
medical operation he wants to set up between the area ranchers."

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Johnny lifted a hand, pointing. "You mean he was serious about
what we told him last year? Roy and I thought he was just humoring
us because we didn't get in any decent time to fish like we had
planned on doing."

"Sure the sheriff was serious. Dead serious. I was even in the first
responder program for a few months. That is, until my step father
died. After that, I kinda got too busy to worry about that kind of
thing with running the resort and working on this new bed and
breakfast business idea." Nicola said. "And I had to forget all
about that to concentrate on myself."

"Too bad. Santa Rosa could use more than just a few first aid
trained people." Johnny said. "I'm sure the doc would love
to have all the help he can get."

"Nice try recruiting me back into the fold, Mr. Gage. But I
have to think about floating my resort and lodge first,
my college major second, before I even think about doing anything
fancy like volunteering in any spanking brand new rescue
program. No matter how good it is for the community. Learning how
to stick a few bandaids on people isn't going to pay my bills any
or my tuition. " she nodded empathetically. Then she
thought better of her distain to her guests and leaned in closer.
"Sorry. You know, about last night. You didn't have to hide the fact
that all you were in the fire department business guys. I knew that
the moment I laid eyes on your fishing boat moored on the beach."

"Uh oh, more detective insights.." Kelly groaned teasingly light.

Nicola's eyes sparkled in a laughing smile.
"Yep. Locals don't include fire extinguishers and first aid kits
as part of their fishing tackle's staple gear."

Johnny nearly spit out his orange juice. "Just by that?"

Nicola waved an absent hand, smiling. "That and the way
your friend Mike Stoker over here snuffed out those
embers. He used a fanning spray and not the end of a hose's
stream like anyone else might do. Training tells, guys.."

"I'm seriously glad for that, Ms. Sommers. Being their captain,
I'd be sorely disappointed if it didn't." Hank snorted.

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Right then, the screen door opened and Sheriff Bittner,
the familar personality that Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage
knew so well, entered the sunlit dining hall.

Everyone got to their feet to greet him.

But the rosy cheeked sheriff wasn't smiling. He opened
his mouth and said...


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From: "Roxy Dee" <>  
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 21:14:31 +0000
Subject:  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Frick Frets And What Every Mother Gets..

"Nicola! Let me in to use your phone!" Blaine sputtered,
ignoring who was around him and barging past through
the cottage's dining hall and into the parlor where he
knew an antique phone rested on a table.

"What?" Ms. Sommers ejected. "What's wrong,
Blaine? Another attack from those--"

"Nope. But just as bad little Missy. It's Mrs. Caine.
She's hard up in labor at Ender's Pass and I can't
raise Doc Frick on the radio. I got his gear from town,
he said he'd meet me, but that was a half an hour ago."
he said loudly, picking up the phone's brass receiver.
He bellowed to the switch board operator to try
Dr. Frick's office one more time. ".....and don't dawdle,
Mable!" he told her. "You know how fast Mary's kids
come when it's their time."

All the guys listened with interest, keeping quiet, learning
more. Then Hank Stanley spoke up, gripping the chubby
law man's shoulder, getting his attention. "Sheriff,
can we help at all? My men and I are Los Angeles County
Fire Fighters and I believe you already know my paramedics,
here. This is Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage."

Blaine Bittner blinked and did a double take, throwing down
the chattering panicking operator on the phone when he
heard yet again that there was still no answer at Dr. Frick's
clinic. "Why land sakes alive, I do believe my prayers have
been answered.." the sheriff. "Hiya boys." He said to Roy
and Johnny. "It's nice ta see ya again. You've been missed.
Can't you tell?" and he held up the now dead phone. "Let's go.
I can use all the help I can get." and he bolted out of the door,
slamming the cottage's screen door shut in Cap's face in his hurry
to get on with his emergency call. "Mary sounded like she was
screaming to high heavens. Nearly frightened old Mable half to
death when she called."

Chet said, "I'll go grab the Rover, Cap. We can all go."

Gage grabbed his arm. "Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
Cap, we can't just go rushing off to see this woman.
We'll have the same problem we had last time and not be
certified at all to work in this county as paramedics enough
to treat her. "

Marco piped up. "You heard the Sheriff, Johnny. Didn't
he say that Ol Doc Frick's on his way to this lady's
house, too? He said that he had the doc's medical
gear in his car.."

"Yeah," said Mike Stoker. "And that means, he can
be your doctor once he gets there. We can just be
first responders and have things set up for him
ahead of time."

"End of discussion, Gage. Move.." Hank crooked a
thumb towards the door.

The gang piled out onto the porch only to see
a great big cloud of dust the sheriff's car had left
behind in his haste to get to Ender's Pass. His
speeding vehicle up the interstate was nowhere
to be seen.

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"Uhh,, " Roy said, scratching his chin. "Ms. Sommers,"
he asked Nicola, "You wouldn't happen to know where
Mrs. Caine lives, do you?"

"I sure do. I visited her a couple of days after her
little boy was attacked in the schoolyard." Nicola
said. "I know the way to her place really well."

Before anyone could ask. Kelly took off running.
"Wait right there. I'll have the rover unhitched
and up here faster than you can count to twenty!"

The whole gang heard him break branches noisily
as he tore down the path back to the lakeside camp ground,
cutting corners through the hairpin red dirt turns
weaving into the valley.

"Easy Chet! Don't break a leg ! Stick to the trail!" Cap
hollered after him. "Man, if we haveta haul his butt out
of a ditch somewhere, I'm gonna be really mad." he
said, huffing out his air in frustration when the
commotion in the pines didn't let up as Chet
made his way downhill.

Roy snapped his fingers. "Say, maybe we can call
Mrs. Caine. See how she's doing. I'm assuming there's
a telephone in her bedroom, right?"

Nicola said. "Of course, that's probably how she called
the sheriff in the first place. I don't see her making it to
the hobby shed's short wave radio in her condition.."

Johnny Gage went all analytical. "So she's close to full

"Very.." Nicola said rolling her eyes.

"How many children has Mrs. Caine had before now?"
Roy asked as they all piled back into the picturesque
little country cottage.

"Uh,,, two, I think."  Ms Sommers said. "She had
Jeremy.. the little boy I met last week in the hospital, and
I remember her mentioning that she had to go to town
to get some new shoes for an older daughter. "

Gage sighed, looking at his watch. "That doesn't leave
much time left.."

Nicola was puzzled. "How do you mean, Mr. Gage?"

"A third baby coming to the same mother usually doesn't
wait that long before coming out and surprising everybody."

Nicola's eyes got real big. "Oh..." she said, the concept
dawning."Well, how long do we have?"

"Anywhere from a couple of hours.." Roy began..

"To a couple of minutes.." Johnny completed.

"Well, why didn't you guys go after Chet to get to
your car?" Nicola said, her voice rising.

"Calm down. Chet's real speedy. He knows
we have to stay here to call Mrs. Caine.. to
see how thing's are progressing." Roy said.

"Roy?" Cap asked.


"We'll wait for you outside. We gotta glean
some directions out of Ms. Sommers here."
he said taking the chatting woman's arm
as she kept asking questions and giving
opinions about how worried she was about
the current emergency.

He picked up the receiver and dialed out 0 for
the operator. He immediately got a still flustered
Mable who talked his ear off. "Maam, I don't know
yet. Yes, I'm a stranger ....a paramedic from
Los Angeles County. The sheriff..."he broke off
when the operator's yammering got really loud
and frantic. "...maam, yes...I understand the need
for urgency. So if you could just..connect me up
to Mrs. Caine we can get things going here, all

Soon, DeSoto's face fell into one of relief when the
phone against his burning ear fell into person to person

Right then a crack of lightning came from the mountains
and the sun disappeared.

"Wow, storm's brewing.." Lopez said.

"Yeah, they come up real fast." Johnny said to
him. "Well, a little rain never hurt anybody. And
Mrs. Caine's inside a nice warm snug house."
he grinned.

The guys leaped back for the porch overhang
when a strong bank of rain suddenly whipped out
of the sky and wet the sandy ground in a torrential

"Good thing I got radials on the rover.." Johnny
grinned toothily. "We'll get there in no time."

Roy came out of the house. "Well, she says her contractions
are about three minutes apart. She says she's not bleeding
at all or anything like that. But she says something doesn't
feel right inside and she's straining."

Gage grew concerned and his voice matched it.
"You told her not to push, didn't ya?"

"Yeah. I told her. And I told her the sheriff and the
doc, and us, are on the way to her."

Nicola had calmed down, a good rain soaking having
helped with that. "Who's with her?"

"Nobody.. That's why she called the emergency operator
instead of her midwife or husband. He's in town at
the hospital with the older daughter, looking after little Jeremy."
DeSoto replied. "Mrs. Caine said that Mr. Caine will be
real disappointed if he misses the birth of their third child."

"So will we, Roy, if Chet doesn't hurry it up." Gage


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Gage insisted on driving his own vehicle after the six of
them, plus Nicola, crammed aboard and they roared in a
raging downpour to Ender's Pass and up the ranch road
leading to Mrs. Caine's house.

There was the sheriff's car. But no red station wagon belonging
to Doc Frick.

"Ok, everyone. Pile out. Let Roy get out first." Johnny
said as everyone jumbled arms legs and torsos around
to free up the paramedic from the land rover.

Johnny got out next, not bothering to set a park brake
and hurried over to Bittner's squad car to see if the
man had remembered to take in Doc Frick's obstetric gear
or not. He had. "Nice.. Guys, let's go. It's all inside."

The five dripping firefighters in summer wear piled into
the warm ranchhouse after Gage.

Roy was already taking a respiration count on Mary
and she was set on O2, high flow. "Hi fellas, meet
Mrs. Caine. She's having a little trouble breathing
but her pulse's good. I haven't done much else yet,

"Hi..boys.. OhhhhHHHHHH! Make it stop!" said the
red haired Mary Caine, sweating and writhing on the bed.
"My first boy and girl never hurt this bad.. Mr. DeSoto,
tell me, what's wrong with my baby?" she gasped.

"We'll know soon. Just try and pant short breaths
under that oxygen around the contractions. Don't
bear down and we'll get thing's set up to find out,

"S...sure..." she panted. But soon, another rippling
screech parted her lips a lot sooner than the original
three minutes projected by phone earlier.

"Uh,...the three of you can wait outside.." said Cap and he
shoo'd the others out of the room, leaving
himself to help Johnny and Roy. He spread out the medical
gear they looked like they needed. ::Santa Rosa
township may have a small town clinic
and a hippy for a doctor, but their emergency medical
gear's top notch. :: he thought.

Gage dragged out the neonate
resuscitation gear and gloved up.
"Mrs. Caine. I'm gonna haveta check you out, ok.?
I'm Roy's partner, Johnny Gage of the Los Angeles
County Fire Department."

The heavily laboring woman just nodded her head,
beyond any shred of modesty, deep in her pain, "I know.
I ...don't care. Just help me.. Please.. I'm scared for
the baby.."

Johnny draped sheeting around Mrs. Caine's knees
from the O.B. kit Cap handed him and he lowered the
bed's blanket to help get her into a delivery position with
himself sitting her up under the arm pits and Roy supporting
her knees until she was comfortable.

Cap continued to spread sterile sheets from the doctor's
kits around the foot of the bed. He helped Roy into
a pair of gloves when Roy's hands, damp from stroking
Mary's hair, made it hard to do solo.

"Johnny, I got a rate of 134 on Mary. Respirations are 26
and short. Contractions are full duration every minute now."
Roy said calmly, keeping a tight hold around Mrs. Caine's
shoulders. "Cap, take my spot." he said.

Hank did so, adding his quiet reassurances. "I'm a father,
so I know what to expect from a mother with the baby on the
way. Don't worry about breaking my hand squeezing it. I'm

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Mary laughed, blowing out her air in a wavery attempt to smile.
But just as fast. She sucked it up again. "Oh, the baby's coming!"

"Don't push.. Don't push...!" ordered Johnny from Mary's knees.
"Roy, I can't see the baby's head. Only part of the cord,
preceding it." he frowned.


"Yeah... Definitely that."

Roy and Johnny kept the bad discovery from showing on their
faces. "Ok. Cap, get those pillows under her hips. We have
to raise her pelvis higher than her head."

"You got it." And he helped Roy accomplish it.

Meanwhile, Johnny was telling Mary what was happening.
"Mrs. Caine. Mrs. Caine.Can you hear me? Now, the baby's
getting a little over eager right now trying to be born. The cord's been
pushed out first. That's probably what you were feeling earlier.."

"oh, NnnOooo. How's the baby? Is my baby still alive?"

Johnny gently placed a glove on the shimmering purple,
white and pink cord showing outside and felt no pulsations.
"Mary, I'm gonna see. Now you'll feel a bit of pressure here.
I'm just gonna check the baby's pulse a bit." he said loudly,
over Mary's moans. Quieter, he added. "Roy get me an O2
line, I'll get an airspace down to the baby's nose and mouth."
And he reached inside the birth canal until he felt the
curvature of the still baby's nose and mouth between
his middle and index fingers. He lifted the baby's head
and immediately, the cord draping across his wrist began
to pulsate. "Mary,.. Mary,.. listen to me. The baby's
fine. I can feel a good pulse. But you can't push and
you can't move around any. I'm keeping the cord from
being crimped off until the doc gets here. Ok.?" Johnny
grunted, sweating.

Mary began sobbing and her eyes suddenly drifted shut
and her breathing silenced. DeSoto grabbed the
base of her throat. "She's ok. Just fainted. Carotid's
still around 120." and he tightened the oxygen mask
a little more snuggly around Mrs. Caine's pale face.
"I'll get a new BP on her and a heart rate on the baby.."
he said putting a stethoscope into his ears.

From somewhere muffled, a telephone in the house
rang. And shortly there after, from the phone next
to the bed. No one had hands free to answer it.

But on the second ring. Someone else in the
house did.

Second snicked by and Cap swallowed, still
clutching the adult ambu bag he had gotten out
from the doc's jumpbag when the mother blacked out.

Roy smiled. "No problems here. The baby's rate is
148. And her pressure's 110/74. No shock for either
one of them yet."

All three firefighters sighed and Hank sat back
down by Mary's head to test her consciousness.
"Mary, can you hear me?" He pinched her arm
and got a weak half groan back in response.

Roy nodded in thanks for Hank's check as he
placed the delivery syringe bulb near Johnny's
free hand where he could reach for it if fluid
pooled over the baby's face. "Any meconium?"

Johnny spoke around the tube in his mouth.
"Not a whole lot. Her amnionic fluid's still fairly
clear." Gage admitted, straining against Mary's
muscles to keep the passage open to the air
for the baby. He had the O2 line in his teeth,
blowing its oxygen stream towards the opening he
had created in Mary's birth canal. "I'm feeling hiccups.
I think the baby's trying to breathe in there."

"Is that working?" DeSoto asked about Johnny's
hold and oxygen.

Right then, Mary began to mumble words and
feel her painful contractions again.

"Yeah. ..Hey Mary, wake up. Your baby's
doing the Twist in here. A real dancer.." Gage

"That's my girl...." Mary smiled groggily,.."Or
boy... OwwWWWWW." and her muscles jolted
in a tight contraction that she couldn't control.

Johnny felt the space between his fingers and
the baby, close off. The cord went limp and white.
"Mary.. Mary.. Don't! Quit pushing. The cord's
blocking off!"

But Mary was beyond caring in her faint, lost
in her body's reaction.  Cap took control of her
head as she blacked out again, pulling her chin back
so she could keep breathing well.

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