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  In Certain Terms
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Three, Episode Twenty Two..

In Certain Terms

Debut Launch: June 1st, 2005.
**************************************************
From: "rampartbase" <rampartbase@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat Jun 4, 2005  7:18 pm
Subject: Trying again.  rampartbase


Kel was looking forward to his vacation. The last couple times,
things hadn't worked out. Something either got in the way of his
going or work interrupted it. He was feeling a bit burned out and
needed to get away for a few days.

---------------------------------------------------------

Image of praslinfrenchseychelles.jpg Image of brackettchairoffice.jpg

***********************************************
From: "Cory Anda" <andacory@hotmail.com>
Date: Mon Jun 6, 2005  3:06 pm
Subject: The Deep Heat...


Dr. Brackett sighed as he closed the medical reference text he
had been reading on his desk in the office with an impatient thud
and he rubbed his eyes in immense fatigue. ::Maybe I can get by
with just eating something. Dix's already been on me for that since
two o'clock.:: he thought. He studied his watch. ::ohmyg*d. It's five
p.m. already?::

Kel picked up the phone and dialed her desk again.

Dixie McCall looked up from the patient chart she was working on
when the olive phone next to her started ringing. "Rampart Emergency.
This is Miss McCall." she said.

##Hey, Dix.##

"So, Kel. So are you going to stop slamming books around long enough
to take me up on my offer to buy me my long overdue lunch? We can trade
why-I-need-a-vacation-right-now stories over a pair of burnt cheeseburgers."
said the nurse with a frown into the phone receiver.

Unconsciously, Kel quickly glanced down at the Merck's Manual he had just
abused and slowly loosened his tight gripping fingers from the book's cover.
Then he caught himself and began to smile. "So, are you tapped into the
security camera in here?"

"No. There isn't a monitor wired by me. Besides, anything that goes on in
your office lately is something I don't really wanna know about firsthand.
I'm hearing enough about your frustrations from all my nurses that you've
been so thoroughly berating this week, letting off some steam." said Dixie
in a huff.

"They can handle it. Doctors are supposed to be authoritative whenever
stupid mistakes happen. It's part of doing my job."

"Not when it effects mine and makes my life miserable..." fired back Dixie
in a confidential hiss so no one else working near her could overhear.

Image of brackettgrimacelaughoffice.jpg Image of dixiemad.jpg

"Sorry, Dix. I guess I have been overreacting a bit. The air conditioning's not
working in here again and I've had a lot to handle lately."

"A lot of what? You're down only one doctor today with Joe touring the fire stations
to get feedback from the medics about how they like that new rescue squad program
idea of yours. Remember that he went out into the field on your orders. Perhaps
you should have been the one to go digging for that desired feedback in
his place." Dix said.

"Nah," Kel said controlling his voice to be milder than a slow sizzle.
"It was proper that he be the one. Besides, with the rate of cardiacs flooding
in here because of the heat this week, I have to stay available for all the
angioplastys and surgeries they seem to be needing." Kel sighed. "Joe's
been doing them for a month straight. I'm spelling him as a favor because
he's been getting a little grumpy."

Dixie let out a little strained laugh.
"And you haven't been? I'll let you in on a little secret. You've overtaken
Dr. Morton these days as being the worst in the bedside and deskside manner
department in the latest buzz through the house grapevine." sighed Dixie saucily.
"Kel, I lost two trainee nurses because of another bout of your temper this morning.
And I don't think they'll be coming back. Just what am I supposed to do now?"

Kel remained silent.

Image of dixinnursemeeting.jpg Image of dixstudentnurse.jpg

Dixie decided to end the angry pause pronto.
"It's definitely too late for you to apologize to them and almost impossible
to soothe the ruffled feathers on me so the least you can do is humor me by
buying me a solid hot, steaming lunch! It'll be a break for you and cathartic for
me to not yell at you anymore. I'm done with that right now! Deal?"

Dr. Brackett shifted in his chair uncomfortably when he remembered belatedly the
tears he had seen in two pairs of eyes when one of the newer student nurses had
knocked a Betadine basin off of his sterile tray during a suturing repair. The dark
yellow antimicrobial had spilled onto the floor and all over his hundred and fifty
dollar pair of Swiss made leather shoes and endangered the patient by
making Brackett jump with his hemostat held suture needle and thread that
had been still attached deeply to skin. "I guess." he snapped reluctantly.

"No, don't guess. Just open your wallet. I promise to leave MY frustrations
behind at my desk. You do the same at yours. See you at our usual cafeteria
table under our favorite birdless palm tree in five minutes. Oh, and by the way,...
I've got a surprise for you I think you're gonna like."

Click!

Dr. Brackett actually flinched at the sound of the terminating line because he
was still so wound up.

He hung up the dial tone humming dead phone and lay his head back down
onto his sweating hands. "I hate surprises. Especially when it's not my birthday..."
he grumbled, staring into the fish tank and at the catfish that had once bitten him.
"What are you looking at?" he snapped.

The silver catfish, of course, didn't reply.

Image of dixbracketttalkoverlunch.jpg Image of anibubbles.gif
Image of silvercat.jpg
Image of dixfishtank.jpg

**************************************************
From :  patti keiper <pattik1@hotmail.com>
Sent :  Sunday, June 12, 2005 5:13 PM
Subject :  Finger licking good.. Chief boot licking, too.  


Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto were in the locker room,
hastily changing out of shower towels as fast as they could
manage. The fire that they had just wrapped up was already
a far distant memory.

Roy leaned forward, standing over the wooden bench, propped up on
top of it with a still soggy bare foot while he struggled to put on
a midnight colored uniform sock, until his face was inches away
from his equally awkward hurrying partner. He wobbled in place
fighting over the glue of water to don it. His dripping back crashed
against his locker door as he almost fell in his tremendous haste.
"Are you sure? I mean is Cap sure? Ohmyg*d. He'll be here in five
minutes?" he stage whispered over Hank's shouted panicky orders
echoing through the vehicle bay.

"Yeah." grunted Gage as a stubborn damp T-shirt didn't make it
completely over his head. "He got the triple ring with nobody on
the line himself from Station Eight's on the captain's pager.
McConnike's beelining for our station as ....we ....speak!" Johnny
squeaked keeping his voice down desperately. He cracked in genuine
fear. "You know the new secret code we got set up with the other stations
about snap inspections. Don't you remember Dwyer setting up this system
so everyone wouldn't haveta suffer an unpleasant surprise by the chief
sneaking in? The first fire house falling under seige from even the barest
glimpse of a creeping battalion car onto property, agrees..." he hissed.

Roy interrupted him citing the mantra. "....to give warning
amply ahead of time for the rest of us.." he hissed.
"I know. I know. Just keep an ear out for Henry's bark from the couch!
He's already guarding the doors, listening for a Chevy idle big time."

Johnny was skinny and won his battle between wet skin and dry clothes.
He was way ahead of Roy, but cursed when he snapped a shoelace
while hurrying mightly. "ShhHHHT!" he yelled aloud and immediately
covered his mouth to stifle it. Far too late.

Hank's voice boomed out from the garage. "I don't wanna hear a single
solitary peep from in there if you know what's good for you! Shut up, twits!
And get those clothes on, A.S.A.P. ! I don't wanna hear talking or I promise
I'll deliver on my threat to give out tower details for the rest of your working
careers!"

Johnny and Roy both ducked into cringing curls, dressing even faster
than before, comically stumbling and rushing to get into shape in spite of
their damp skins. Gage reached behind his poster for an emergency roll
of black electrical tape. He bit off a large piece and started wrapping his foot
snugly with his all expert paramedic long board taping skills, to hold
his still loose shoe onto his foot.

Roy's eyes goggled as his fingers flew to button up his shirt. "Nice idea.."
he said in awe.

"Dwyer's too. He said the chief never lifts pants cuffs to check higher than
the toes for polish shines."

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Then the two of them ran for the doorway. They corked in the doorjam, shoulder
to shoulder for long seconds until they unpretzel-ed themselves and ran
for the hat locker next to the squad.

Stoker was hastily scrubbing the Ward's front fender chrome with licked fingers
and his butt, like a back scratching bear.

Hank noticed. "Forget that! The chief'll smell the fire smoke. He'll know that
we just got back from an alarm call. Get in line!" he gestured sharply at
the invisible one before the rest of the gathering gang's toes perpendicular
to the county wall map. "And don't scuff the floor running over here! He'll see!"

Chet whistled and drew out a small dark blue bottle from his pocket. "After
shave! Spritz down, everybody! Dwyer says this trick works, too!"

The bottle was passed like a hot potato from hand to hand as it was used
then hidden snugly again in Chet's shirt pocket.

To their credit, the firemen didn't struggle with finding their different sized dress
uniform hats. They had long surmounted that little problem by using spare
accountability tags neatly tucked into their inside crown seams. They had a whole
thirty seconds before Henry's muffled wuff from the kitchen's depths announced
the firing gun going off.

The gang quickly combed wash wrinkled fingers through their hair and inspected each
other rapidly for the slightest deviations. Cap barely corrected the crooked
angle on the wall clock with a pinky before they all snapped to straight attention at the
sound of the side kitchen door squealing open.

Hank mumbled from the corner of his mouth. "Nice touch not remembering to D-W 40 the
hinges..." he said in admiration to Stoker on his left.

"Figured overlooking that would be just minor points off for the maximum benefit.."
Mike replied through the corner of his.

Henry preceeded Chief McConnike, energetically seeking the chief's hands actively
for some attention as he had been secretly trained to do by Chet. This allowed
everyone to compose their inspection stressed faces into fascimiles of social smiles.

McConnike was oblivious to the dog delay ploy. He wholeheartedly greeted 51's
hound dog as only a fire station dog lover could. "Heya boy! I'm glad to see you, too,
big fella! How'ya doing? These boys feedin ya too much again? Well I'll fix that." he
chuckled, patting the snuffing, drooling Henry's ribs affectionately.
And then he looked up.

Image of ganginspectionday.jpg Image of mcconikeecapatstation.jpg

The chief immediately blinked when he saw the silently straight backed, impeccably
positioned firemen standing in a row, already in front of the fire trucks before him.
He knew he didn't need to draw out a ruler to measure the spacing between them
because everything was absolutely....perfect.

He eyed the bay, sniffed the air for fire smoke to dismiss the fire trucks currently
sooty conditions. And then approached Hank as was customary. But he couldn't
hide the shock of his sudden appearance failing to surprise his current inspection
targets. "Hank. Gentlemen. What's with all this?" he said, throwing a careless hand
to the air between them.

Cap cooly replied. "What, sir? Welcome to Station 51, chief, uh, sir. I hope you find
everything in its proper order." he said with barely reined in smugness.

McConnike narrowed his eyes suspiciously, but one glance at the receiving alcove
mic panel showed that it hadn't been used for recent intra-station communication.
At all.

"The sink's dripping in there." the chief said finally, while the gang's eyes twinkled
secretly as his puzzlement grew at their lack of nervousness.

"Stoker. Go fix that." Hank said neutrally.

"Immediately, sir.." said Mike neatly saluting. He and Henry beelined for the kitchen
in formation. Stoker coughed a smoke cough to hide his opening the fridge to reward
Henry with a piece of bacon for delaying the chief's entry. Then he tightened up
the water faucet and returned to his place in the inspection line.

Henry retreated to his dog house to chew his savory mouthful.

The gang stood quietly composed while the chief walked rings slowly around the
squad and engine, casually opening gear doors to check their inner contents,
without further comment. His eyes widened when he saw hose couplings, neatly
strung on tarp ties, organized by size in the engine's cab along the back equipment
hooks in between the hanging scba tanks. "Who's idea is this?"

Sheepishly, Marco Lopez raised his hand. "Mine, sir.. Do you like it?"

"Yeah, can I borrow it to ply onto other stations? I can write it in as new protocol."

"Feel free..." the hispanic firefighter replied. He was nudged with a shoe from Chet
to wipe the cheshire's grin off his face. Kelly's eyes said it all. ::Tone it down and
we'll survive..::

"Thanks, crewman." said the chief.  He slowly opened up the squad's doors to
peer at all the medical gear on the driver's side. "Where's the defib been moved
to?"

Gage piped up, sniffing hastily. "Uh, on the passenger side, chief. Upper left
compartment. We found that a squad rider can grab it and the resuscitator more
quickly than if the driver does it. Saves about fifteen seconds since a passenger
doesn't have to put anything into park before he does it, ....sir." he added.

"Can I use that idea, too?"

"Certainly.." Roy said, with perfect timing.

McConnike merely grunted. Then he slowly shook his head in the barest grudging
admiration for what he was seeing around him. "Congratulations, gentlemen." He said
with an expansive sigh. "You're the first firehouse this quarter to have five or less
points taken off on one of my infamous pop inhouse checks."

Image of capinspectionstokerchetlisten.jpg Image of henryinhouse.jpg

Hank smiled broadly, but then started to frown, and broke his eyes away from
the far wall where they had been staring. "Wait a minute, chief, uh, sir. A dripping
sink's only three points/demerits. Where'd the other two come from?"

The chief grinned, and pointed. "From the Ward. She's parked partially blocking
the doorway leading to the bunk room. That'll slow how you guys'll pile in here by
a few seconds if you all try to squeeze through one by one, getting by her, to
answer a call."

"Stoker...." Cap said again..

Mike anticipated. "..Fix that. Yep. I'm on it." said the engineer. And he smartly
about faced once more to correct the error. Then he returned back into line
and McConnike held them all there, still at attention, while he gave their uniforms
a good eyeing over.

McConnike noticed the waft of aftershave with surprise, but then he nodded in
satisfaction. "Yeah. Wearing scent'll be good for calming female victims
down. Nice thought, fellas. Can I borrow--" he asked.

All the gang murmured hasty acquiesences for that idea as the ones for
the nozzles' order and the defibrillator's store shift and then they
froze back into ramrod places.

A minute dragged by and Gage ate a drip of sweat when the chief's eye swept
over his shoes.

Hank cleared his throat finally with the barest sign of strain.

And that, satisfied the chief's perpetual appetite to make his favorite captain
remember his burning hat sin yet again.

"I'm through. At ease. Who's making the chow today, guys?" he said, dropping
the officienado stance. "I'm starving."

Five sets of index fingers stabbed to the right. "Stoker." came the reply in
stereo.

"Fine. Fine. Hope it's fried chicken for lunch."

"Of course." Mike grumbled in amusement. "Nothing but the best for a busy
fire season."

"Don't rub it in.." Cap mouthed to him behind McConnike's back.

Stoker immediately amended. "Uh, I'm trying to recreate the batter from
a fast food place."

"Oh?" cheeped the chief. "Which one?"

"It's from a new joint called ah, uh...Colonel Sander's .." Stoker stretched.

"Tenessee Fried Chicken." Lopez supplied eagerly to help him out.

Stoker couldn't summon up the courage to correct him on the proper
state's name of the brand new restaurant.

"Hmm, guess the missus and I'll have to try that one out." smiled
the chief.

Kelly piped in, while gathering up the hats into their customary box and heading
for the mop closet. "You can't miss it, sir. It's on Laredo and San Bernadino
Blvd in Torrance. A victorian guy looking like Mark Twain's on the sign
and the building's got diagonal red and white stripes on it around the roofing."

"I'll remember it. Thanks." And they all filed into the kitchen.

While they were eating, McConnike struck up unusual casual conversation.
"Fellas. Have you heard of the fireman's contest I'm starting up next month yet?"

Everyone admitted their negation.

"Well, the prize is a whole year of no spot inspections to the firehouse I vote
as the winning entry." the chief grinned.

"Really.." said Hank, perking in interest as he chewed a drumstick hungrily.
"What kind of contest?"

"Equipment re-designing. Game, fellas?"

"Sure am. Uh, we are.." Cap said quickly.

"And we'll win it, too, chief. Just for you.." Chet muttered out loud.
Stage whispering to Stoker, he added. "Because you gave us
such good marks this time around on our records."

Mike flashed him a warning silent hush with a greasy finger.


But McConnike had been thinking too much about filling his
stomach to overhear that remark. "Fine, I'll send the details over by courier from
the head office as soon as I get back. I think I'm gonna go make a hit on
station th-- uh, down yonder next." and he rose in his chair, wiping his
mouth with his paper napkin. He was, of course, the first to empty his plate.  
Decades of experience had made McConnike a veteran food vacuum
at which the others could only admire.

They hastily rose in their chairs, too, as the chief took his leave of them.

Chuckling, the chief picked up two drumsticks from Stoker's platter.
"Might tasty, Mr. Stoker. When you declare this recipe as fitting
identical to that chicken stand, I'd love a copy of it."

"It'll be yours." promised the engineer.

"Good. I like new chow recipes to hand out at all my firehouses as much
as I like to collect organizational ideas during one of my inspections. Keep
up the good work, 51." he said, tossing one of the chicken pieces to the
couch where Henry's head suddenly emerged from the leather cushions
to neatly intercept it.

And with that, he was gone.

The kitchen door had barely closed behind him when the gang piled
against the window, to watch him pull away in the chief's car down
the side drive to the avenue beyond.

Image of capeatwithmcconikee.jpg Image of stokerwithchickenroyjohnny.jpg

"Left! He turned left!" Chet piped up excitedly.

"Doesn't help us." said Roy. "That still leaves either station thirteen or
thirty as his next target."

"No problem." said Gage. "We'll just warn them both with Dwyer's ringing--"

"Marco, get it done from the office. Gage use the payphone to save time."
Hank ordered, still watching out the window through the peep blinds.

"With my dime?!" Johnny protested.

"You certainly aren't going to use mine..." Cap snapped. "Now, hush
and think of the service you're doing for your fellow firefighters. Eight's
certainly done it for us. Now move."

"Moving, Cap." Gage grumbled, making for the phone. But then he
about faced. "Hey guys. I just had a horrible thought."

"What's that?" Chet asked, diving into his plate of chicken again
and licking all of his fingers like he couldn't do in front of the chief.

"What if McConnike's onto us with the ring warn network? He could've
slipped us that station's number of his planned route on purpose.
After all, he's been in the fire service long enough to know all the tricks."

That stopped everybody chewing. But then Marco scoffed with a laugh.
"What's he gonna do? Have Vince begin tracing fire station phone lines?
That's illegal. Besides, nobody's even doing any talking when we're warning
each other. Just the rings and the hangup after three."

"Still, he could trace that as having come from one firehouse to another."
Gage surmised.

"No chance in h*ll, Johnny. Our scheme's flawless for a change. Anyone
could say they were calling up a station when their own got called out
on a run, interrupting business." Kelly explained.

Gage hung onto the phone receiver and bobbed it against his chin.
"Yeah.. never thought of that."

"Gage!"

"Cap?"

"Call. Thirteen's is only four minutes from here!" Hank growled,
eating from his center breast without looking up from his meal.

"Uh, right. Right." And Gage gave out the warning to one of the two
stations that might be next under the chief's pop inspection gun.
After he made his call, he frowned again, the devil's own
advocate. "Guys. What if the chief never shows up at either station?
Would the other fellas who had to rush butt to get into order
remember that it was us who tipped them off falsely? They might
take that as a malicious joke and get their revenge by not
warning us about the chief's knocking on doors next time around."

That, put the others back into worry mode faster than hose water
on fire flames.

But then, L.A. was merciful and delivered them from troubled
thoughts instantly. **Eee Ohh OOOoooooo.** issued the chrome
holed speaker.  ##Station 51. Unknown type medical. 412 south
Davis St. 412 south Davis street. Cross street Melton.
Time out : 13:55. ##

Johnny beat the others to the response mic. "Station 51, 10-4.
KMG 365." Snick. And then he said, unnecessarily. "Let's roll
guys."

Soon, the kitchen lay abandoned as they leaped for
the trucks. And the lounging dog noticed exactly what
things had been forgotten that would really make his day a
happy one.

In spite of his short stature and great bulk, Henry used some
brainy gray cells that he had only used once before with his
human companions and a certain missing plate of food.

He bit into a chair leg, and tugged until its wooden seat was
exposed. Then he leaped up with an eager moan onto the table
top, sniffing like a blood hound.

He found the one quarter full, still steaming chicken platter in two seconds
and started gnawing happily with bright full fledged tail wags. ::Guess my
reward for the day just got a little bigger. :: the dog thought. ::Stupid firemen.
They're so gullible.::

Henry burped as he ate.

And Station 51 hit their sirens liberally as they responded to their
assigned rescue in the immediate nearby neighborhood.

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Image of gangwavechiefcar.jpg Image of engineviewofrunningsquad.jpg

**********************************************************************
From: "Champagne Scott" <chameleonkate@hotmail.com>
Date: Mon Jun 20, 2005  7:20 pm
Subject: The Sad High..  
   

Station 51 pulled up at the edge of the cliffside homes ringing the La Conchita
neighborhood. The surrounding hillside was covered with a dense carpet of
coastal sage shrub and some scattered trees, so thick that Johnny noticed.
"It's sure green out here. This area in a fog zone?"

"Yeah, the ocean's a mile that way." Roy replied, pointing downward
where all the roads were converging. "Builds a rain effect."

Cap flipped off the sirens when he, too, spotted the correct house address.

Hurrying, the gang helped Roy and Johnny gather their complete set of treatment
gear and they all clustered around the front door. Cap rapped sharply on the peach
colored doorface. "Los Angeles County Fire Department! Can anyone hear me?"

There was no reply.

"Chet. Marco." ordered Hank. "Check the back. Mike, let's check in all the windows."

The firemen separated, leaving the medical equipment at the paramedics' sides.

Right about then, Vince Howard showed up, pulling up quickly in his squad car.

"What's the call, Vince?" Cap asked the helmeted policeman as he alternately
peeked into every window he found while shouting his station's identity.
The yard rang with their loud shouts of attention aimed at whoever was inside.

The stocky city cop said, "The neighbor next door said that he heard a woman
screaming that she felt like she was going to die and to go get help. He couldn't
find a way to get in here himself."

"Is there more than one person living here?" Roy asked him as he kept on looking
for a way into the house. "We're not seeing signs of any smoke."

"Yeah, a girl aged 25." Vince replied."According to the neighbor.
She lives alone."

Image of vincesquadgrinclose.jpg Image of gangwithgear.jpg Image of venicebeachskyline.jpg

Right then, a piercing, wrenching wail of agony jolted through a bush
heavily shrouding a veranda window in the backyard facing the clifftop.

It made Vince instinctively draw out his gun. "It sounds like she's getting
attacked." he said plastering to the side of the house. "Be careful fellas.
I'll cover you."
 
"Hey!! FIre Department! We're trying to get to ya!" yelled Johnny as he pushed
through the bush to get a better look past the sun shadowed glass. "Keep making
noi--!"

The screams cut off abruptly.

"I can't tell which room she's in.." Johnny grunted as he tried once again
to futilely open the window. "I can't see anything in here."

"Cap! Nothing's open! Everything's locked down real tight." Chet shouted
as he and Marco returned at a jog.

"Then we'll have to break in..." Hank decided. "Intruder or no intruder, Vince.
That's not something we can just ignore." he said, jerking a thumb at the
bush and at the total silence curdling their blood.

"Front door." Vince nodded. "Use your helmet on a side pane." he said at last.

"Thank you.." Roy sighed urgently, stepping quickly back to the small front
porch. "Stoker.. grab the resuscitator." he said and he pulled off his helmet and
used it like a piston to crack one of the two windows surrounding the front door.

Once the frame was swiped clear of shards with a jacket halligan, he reached around
carefully under Vince's watchful eye and gunpoint and tried feeling around where
a deadbolt lock would be.

"Fire Department! Hey! Are you ok?!" Gage shouted through the opening. "Got it?"
he asked.

"No, there's more locks on this door than Fort Knox.." DeSoto said in exasperation.
"I can't reach them all."

"Then battering it down isn't going to do any good. John, don't even try. You'll
wreck your shoulder.." Cap said when Gage looked like he was hunching up.
"Stoker. Grab the K-12, will you pal?" he ordered.

Mike Stoker ran to get it.

The firemen and cop were highly disturbed by the lack of response
from the woman they now knew was in serious trouble. It reflected in their haste
as they split the door and its hinges and drew it away with many gloves.

Image of rjscbasawdoor.jpg Image of johnnyk12.jpg

Vince went inside first. "Let me check it out first." he said, keeping his loaded
revolver aimed up at the ceiling with cocked elbows. "Once I sweep a room,
then you can look for her. Not a moment sooner."

Gage ansed with the defib and drug box on the porch. He still had on his
helmet and the strap dangled in his face. "We got it. Just go.." he hurried Vince
along with an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

There was no disturbed furniture in the living room. But a tang of rotten food
and garbage stung their noses. Room by room, Vince cleared the way for
the gang. Then he holstered his weapon. "House's clear. Nobody else is
around. Go ahead with your searching. She may be scared and hiding." Then
he raised his voice. "Diane Hart! This is the police department. It's ok, you're
completely safe. Nobody but me and the fire department are here! Come on out!"

The men paused briefly for a reply from the girl. None came.
Cap split them up. "Try the closets, shower and laundry rooms." he suggested.
"And the floor. Maybe it's like Vince said, and she just blacked out somewhere
in an odd place."

Each firefighter took a room and started opening doors. "Diane?! Los
Angeles County Fire Department and Police. It's ok, we're here to help you!"
Hank yelled.

In one bedroom, Gage slapped Vince on the arm, pointing to the desk top.

A spoon and packet of powder lay in the open by a spent syringe.
Using his gloved fingers, the cop picked up a corner. "Yep. I see it. Narcotics.
All of this is making more sense now. She's probably a junkie on a bad trip.
This spoon's still warm." he said, touching the scooped metal with the skin on
his inner wrist.

"Diane?" Johnny shouted loudly. "Listen to me. We're not gonna hurt you
at all. We just wanna talk to you. Look, a neighbor called us because he was real
concerned about how you were doing today.. Can you hear me? Where are you?"
He pulled open a linen closet and stopped short when he saw a shoe with the rest
of someone it in, in the row of neatly spaced empty ones beneath the hanging clothes.

"Roy! Hank! In here." Vince shouted.

Gingerly, Gage parted the clothes and spotted a frightened eye peering up
at him. "She's awake and sitting on this hamper." And he reached inside to
grasp her hand.

Screams and flailing arms and panicked kicks greeted his touch and he leaped
back as the whole rack of clothes tumbled down over the struggling girl.

"Easy.. Easy.. Diane.. Cut that out. We're here to help you! Now tell us what's wrong.
Don't struggle and I'll pull this stuff off of ya. Now I'm a paramedic and this is
Vince, a policeman. We're not gonna hurt you, hon. We wanna help ya." Johnny
said.

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The kicking ceased and the wild eyed girl let the fireman free her face and mouth
from the mound of clothes. She was deep in paranoia and unable to talk.

Thinking ahead of time, Gage didn't free her arms and legs right away. He
gingerly got out a penlight and showed it shining down onto his own palm as
he spoke, moving slowly closer to her. "This is just a light from my pocket.
I just wanna check your eyes out. It's ok."

Diane flinched and pulled away, sinking deeper into the tangle of hanging
clothes piled around her.

Gage froze in place.  "Sorry, Diane. Easy. Listen, I won't touch ya if you don't
want me to, I'll just look from here." and he aimed the beam from a foot away,
at her eyes.

Diane started sobbing, but she never stopped watching Gage's hands warily.

"Grossly miotic, Roy. It's heroin or cocaine for sure." he said over his shoulder.

DeSoto started setting up the biophone and oxygen equipment onto the messy bed.
"She diaphoretic yet?"

"Yeah." Johnny replied, still not moving. He swept his light a little lower and found
signs of many many track marks on both her arms. The freshest still had a needle
and plunger sticking out of it. "Roy, she's free basing it."

He fluttered a few fingers in a distracting move in front of Diane's face while his
other hand quickly jerked out the syringe buried in her arm. He held it up to the light
in a quick check. "Lotsa residue. This is a ten mil. And all of it's gone." He tossed it
onto a dresser top so no one could get stuck by it. The familiar sound startled Diane and
she suddenly flew up out of the heavy pile of clothing and got past Johnny.

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"Diane! No!" Gage shouted. Diane started to fight with what seemed like super human
strength when Roy grabbed her. "Get her on the floor where we can control her!"

Vince swept out the girl's legs with one of his own but she didn't go down.

Hart screamed inhumanly and actually tore free from DeSoto's grip. Johnny,
Stoker and Chet added their weight and pinned her back against the side
of the bed with their shoulders. Diane kicked out and her left foot connected with
a heavy dresser. The ankle snapped loudly and angulated, broken.

For one hideous moment, Diane froze in their grips, falling silent at the choking jolt
shooting from a fresh source of agony. Then she started screaming decibels.

"Grab that leg! Or she'll open it up!" Gage shouted, avoiding her raking fingernails
as he and Roy hung onto her wrists to protect themselves. It took Marco laying across
her pelvis sideways, to finally drive her onto her back and onto the carpeting.

Vince worked Diane's arms over her chest and held both her wrists in a hand
lock and he crossed her elbows slowly over her neck. "I got her. Roy, Johnny.
You can let go now."

Roy scrambled clear of the tangle for the biophone,.  "Cap. Hold that foot down
by her knee. We'll splint it later." he said over her terrified screams and gasps.

Hank sat on top of Diane's knee.

Johnny leaped for the drug box and grabbed out a narcan pack and began setting
it up as fast as he could. He passed off the medication to Cap to hold while Roy
got a blood pressure cuff on around the gang's tight gripping forms. Diane was beyond
reasoning and nothing she uttered was anything resembling coherent words,
so the gang stopped talking. They just clung tightly, trying to keep Diane's
head and limbs protected from her own drug overdosed, crazed struggling.

"Johnny.. Getting a BP of 174 over P. Her pulse is 160 and weak. I'm finding it by apical
only." he reported, yelling. "She's now bleeding from the nose and from a deep cut
on her sc--"

Diane started vomiting up half chewed sour food and her conscious attempts to
kick and hit shuddered into huge, wracking, unconscious convulsions. Her eyes
rolled up into her head.

Vince and the others quickly let go of the girl and Chet and Stoker rolled Diane
over to get it all out by quickly sweeping her nose and mouth with their gloved fingers.

Cap reached up and dragged the resuscitator over for the suction wand tubing.
"Here! It's on." he said, handing it over so they could use it.

Diane sagged into motionless unconsciousness as the firemen worked to
clear her throat so she could breathe again.

But Diane didn't even try when they were done. Stoker found a lack of a
pulse in her neck. "I'm getting no pulse, Johnny. Just stopped."

"Start CPR as soon as you've got her airway clear." Gage said
quietly grabbing for the defibrillator so he could power it up.

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Roy stepped up the pace on his call to the hospital.
"Rampart Base, how do you read?" He dug out his clothes shears
from his hip holster and tapped Marco on the knee with them. Lopez
snatched them up and got Diane out of her soaked sweater top and sport
bra as fast as he could.

The wool was barely parted out of the way when Kelly began aggressive CPR
on her. Stoker took over her blood dampened head and started using the
demand valve to give the girl full, active ventilations on 100% pure oxygen.

"I've got good chest rise.." Chet confirmed, when it was time for delivered
breaths a fraction of a minute later.

Roy let go of Diane's neck. "And I've been getting a pulse
with compressions. Keep them fast and even while I get the ET ready.
Stoker, don't skimp on her. Get up to a rate around thirty."

"Vince.." Gage said. "Get a good look at the stuff on the table. Is
it heroin for sure?"

"Yeah. Fraid so. I pegged it by the smell. How's she doing?"

"She missed a vein and got an artery instead. That's where
I found that needle. She literally fried herself. Doesn't look good." Johnny
said, gelling up the paddles. "Ok, Chet. I'm set. Wipe her dry with her shirt."

Kelly hastened to get the dripping sweat off of her chest as fast as he
could. "Ok.. I'm done."

Johnny laid the two handgrip electrodes on Diane and confirmed
the lack of a viable beat scrolling on the screen. "V-fib confirmed."
He moved his thumbs to the shock triggers. "Everybody clear?"

Everyone was and Gage pushed the paddles down firmly with
the countershock as he pressed the buttons derisively to activate one.

Diane Hart lifted off the floor and jumped.

Johnny let the defib sensors connect with her skin again afterwards
to see what the monitor showed as a response to the shock. "Nothing..
Guys start up on her again while we're waiting for the recharge."

Kelly and Stoker did.

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"Roy, stir them up over there sometime soon." he said of the still
as yet unanswered radio transmission. "She's not capturing
in the slightest. Now shocking times two.." He warned everybody
and again Diane's torso jolted upwards under the paddles.

Johnny studied the manual readouts for long moments. "No conversion.
Still coarse V-Fib."

"I.C. epinephrine?" Stoker asked Gage.

"As soon as we can get it. The doc may order narcan by tube first
'cause we have to cut down on her high before we can use any other
stim med on her." he answered.

DeSoto got through his abbreviated report to Dr. Morton a half minute
later "...second time to no effect. Police confirmed heroin use. Self
administered arterially. Guessing around ten mils free based. Previously
fighting enough to break her left ankle."

Roy could hear Morton letting go a sigh of great sympathy over the phone line.
## 51, intubate her endotracheally after one more minute of CPR. Give her
0.8 mgs Narcan with a 10cc bolus of ringers lactate with normal saline
by ET. Then countershock once again. Give me a strip as soon as
possible. I'll order cardiac meds once I see how this works. Use
caution if you restore a normal sinus rhythm. She may regain complete
consciousness quickly on you and injure herself on the breathing tube
by struggling again.##

"10-4. 0.8 milligrams Naloxone ET and countershock with EKG strip.
Stand by.."

Johnny prepared the narcan bolus by connecting two air evacuated
syringe halves together. He held the injector in between his teeth
as he applied the heart monitor pads they would need to send
Diane's telemetry to Dr. Morton. Hank hooked up the wires while
Stoker, Roy and Chet got Diane airway secured and drug antidote
treated. "Stop CPR a sec." he ordered his two crewmates
when he saw Roy was waiting with a tooth blade guide.

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"I've got cords.." DeSoto said using the laryngoscope. He threaded
down the thick milk colored airway until he was sure it was in the right
place. Then he nodded.

Stoker shot two slow ventilations through the tube while Roy listened carefully
with his stethoscope in a couple of places to hear lung sounds.
Not yet satisfied, he pulled up on the tube an inch to get rid of some dead
sound over the right side of Diane's chest. Breaths soon entered well after
that and Gage quickly followed up with the Narcan injection down the tube.
Roy listened as it trickled completely into her lungs. "Ok, Mike. Hyperventilate
her. Chet, keep going. Give CPR until Johnny's ready to shock her."

Kelly relocated a careful landmark for his gloves and started up again.

Johnny waited until the medication had absorbed. Then he cleared
everyone and defibrillated firmly for the third time.

The green indicator shot up on the datascope and wavered for long
moments from the broad leaping electrical effect but then the tracer
slipped into a horizontal level unremarkably.

"Flatline..." Gage said.

Roy got on the phone. "Flatline post narcan, Rampart. Sending you
a strip on lead two.."

Chet Kelly grunted as he worked. "Marco, on fifteen, switch with me.
My gloves are getting too slippery on this stuff." he said of the defib
gel and the debris that he had wiped from between her lips.

"Ok.." And Lopez knelt over Diane, too. "I'll scrub her off during the next
vent cycle and I'll take over."

Mike Morton studied the monitor intently. The cardiac signs looked clearly
mortibound. ##51, Give 1 mg. epinephrine I.C. followed up with one amp sodium
bicarb by Normal Saline I.V. but only if a venipuncture's successful. Countershock
one more time. If we still don't get a recapture, continue CPR. After one minute,
administer another Narcan to airway bolus of 1 mg, then transport as
soon as possible. Don't waste time with that fracture on scene. Immobilize
and treat any other trauma she might have sustained from fighting, en route.##

Roy repeated his orders to the doctor.

##10-4, 51. What's the ETA on your ambulance?##

The siren outside slowed and fell away as it died. "They're here right now,
Rampart.." replied Roy.

Johnny quickly got out the long needled syringe of epinephrine and prepared it.
Gage stabbed it home into Diane's left ventricle after calling for a cessation
in CPR so he could deliver it safely to her heart without harming himself or
anyone else.

Then he defibrillated the girl for the fourth time. Diane jerked but her
heart didn't begin beating afterwards.

DeSoto reported in. "No recapture, Rampart."

##I confirm, 51. Switch to an oyxgenated ambu after your second Narcan
dose. Get her in here as fast as you can.## Morton said gently. ##We'll
see what more we can do once she's in.##

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"10-4, doc. I estimate our ETA in nine minutes." Roy sighed.

Captain Stanley and Chet began packaging up all the medical gear. Kelly
had plastic bagged his gloves up and he wore the bundle hanging from a turnout
snap out of the way for later cleaning. He handed Stoker one for his soiled pair
when Roy final took over Diane's ventilations on a bag valve mask.

The ambulance attendants quickly loaded up Diane, leaving her bare
from the waist up for unimpeded continued CPR. Lopez stood on
the bottom rail of her gurney to work on her nonstop
while they wheeled Diane out to the driveway.

Cap jerked a head at Kelly. "Take the squad in after them." he
ordered. "Radio me if they have to make a stop for further care."

"Right, Cap." said Chet.

An ambulance attendant and Gage took over for Roy and Lopez's
tasks once they reached the waiting Mayfair.

Stoker and Hank hefted a second O2 tank and regulator from
the engine for the paramedics to use for the trip along with
the squad gear boxes, and the defibrillator case.

They slapped the back of the rig twice in a signal once
they had sealed up the hatch latches of the ambulance
doors after Roy and Johnny got settled around Diane.

They returned to the house and began to clean the
bedroom free of all the papers and plastic wrappers from the medications
that had been used on Diane. They were careful to not disturb
much else in the room, knowing that it was now a crime scene.

"Are you going to come with us in case she makes a turn around
recovery in transit?" Cap asked Vince. "She may have a few interesting
things to say about where she got her dope."

"Nah, I'm going to stick around here for the backup I just called to
case out the house. Who knows how much drug money or heroin's lying
around." he said. "With that front door in shreds, somebody's
got to watch the place until the DEA muscles in."

"Suit yourself. I'll make sure Roy and Johnny make a statement, if
she does come to, for you to check out later."

"Appreciate it, Hank."

"Anytime. See ya.." Cap waved wearily. "Come on, Stoker, Lopez.
Let's go home."

"I think we watched a woman die on us in there, Mike." Lopez said to
Stoker once Cap had left them to go climb back into the Ward.
They heard him say the station was still unavailable for another
hour, until Diane's follow up run was over.

"I think you're right, Marco. She was probably dead the moment
she started screaming for help from that bedroom closet." Stoker
whispered sadly.

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