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Where The Wind Blows
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Page Two

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From :  Roxy Dee <>
Sent :  Thursday, January 5, 2006 4:30 PM
Subject :  Heart to Heart~~

Roy and Johnny reappeared back onto the ground
floor of emergency services. They left the elevator with
their two station backboards, already sprayed off and
germicided by a thoughtful surgical technician.

"Man, those two are the luckiest building collapse
victims I've seen in a long, long while." Johnny remarked
while they walked down the hallway towards the
desk to resupply their I.V.s and cervical collar stores.
"The vascular surgeon got great pulses in both
their legs and feet using that sonogram. You can't
get any better results than that. And they both could
still wiggle their toes, too."

"I'm usually not one to be a raging optimist in trauma
cases as severe as theirs, but I think you're right. This
time." he held up a warning finger so Gage would know not
to get his hopes up so high for a future run that proved
as bad conditions wise. "I think they had a lot going for them
because they weren't dwelling so much on themselves as
much as they were worried about each other. How you handle
things psychologically in adverse situations has got to say
a bit about what kind of cards you'll be dealing with afterwards.
I've been in the business long enough to start noticing certain
patterns. Remember that hand stab last week who was so
shocky, that we had to ventilate her a bit whenever she
fainted on it?"

"Yeah, I remember. Talk about panicking. She drove herself
into not breathing so hot." Johnny sniffed as they both paused
at the main desk. "And how about that soy farmer with the severed
hand? Walked right into the ambulance without so much as breaking
out into a light sweat with normal vital signs? That was weird."

"Not really. That was an example of positive will power at work.
Just what I've been talking about here. I wish half the patients we
treat would learn that same mind trick." DeSoto grinned. "It would
make their rescue experience with us a whole lot more comfortable."

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"In your dreams. Think about it from their perspective. You're
suddenly slammed into an unexpected emergency that possibly
threatens your life. Nine times out of ten, you've never been in
that kind of situation before. Now how in the heck can anyone have
enough previous experience in their life to not let that kind of thing get
the best of em? Especially if it happens to them kinda fast like
it usually does. You've got to be absolutely stunned while it's still
going on. It's only natural."replied Gage.

"That's what WE'RE good for, Johnny. To do all the thinking
and worrying for them. I keep thinking that if we find the right way
to explain things to the conscious ones, or even those that aren't,
that they'd do a little better for us on the way in. But there isn't yet
a surefire book on reverse psychology for covering any of that.
Everybody's personality's different."

"Exactly my point, Roy. That's why I think those two up there
in that operating room are so lucky. They figured it out." he grinned

"I just wish I could. I don't enjoy seeing downward vitals trends."
DeSoto grumbled.

"No paramedic does." agreed Johnny. "Let's start experimenting on
that ok? Promise?"

"Ok. I'm game. But who're we gonna experiment on in between
response calls?"

"The guys.." Johnny nodded seriously.

"The guys? Johnny, they're not even hurt or anything. How can
they be of any use to us?"

"They hurt, Roy. Just like we do, when we all lose someone on
a station run. It hasn't been that long since we lost those two
swimmers in the reservoir. We can use that as impetus if the
topic crops up again at lunch today."

"The CISM counselors have already made all the rounds they're
gonna do. No one was interested."

"True, but that doesn't mean they're not hurting any. That means,
they've decided to get mule-headed about it." Gage said, raising
both eyebrows without a smile.

Roy fell silent, listening to the whispers of his own pain still just
under the surface. "They were kind of young. And such a pointless
boating accident, too. I mean, who ties off an innertube rope on
an anchor's drag handle so close to an outboard prop? That
was...uh..." the memory of how badly mangled they were, returned
in a flash. "....pretty stupid."

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"Yeah, it was." Johnny said, getting faintly angry and sad at the same
time. "So there's some hurt we can sink our teeth into. Maybe easing
some of their stuff will ease ours."

Roy looked up at Johnny and gave him a miniscule nod and the
two of them fell quietly thoughtful. His look told Gage that he was
more than game to try.

Dixie wasn't around, so DeSoto and Gage helped themselves
to the base station coffee pot. It was full and fresh, a sign of a
busy shift. Johnny held it up so Roy would get the same sign he
did about the E.R. to explain why Dixie or another nurse wasn't
there to fill a supply order yet.

They filled only two cups since Chet Kelly had already rejoined
the engine crew and had accepted their drive-by pickup. They
had heard as much through the radio traffic coming from their HTs
while working on their two seniors in the pre-operation room.  

About three minutes later, someone did come to help them out.
But the nurse who came, wasn't Dixie.

::That's too bad.:: Roy thought. ::I wanted to pick her brain about
how SHE calms and relaxes people down.::  


Soon, DeSoto and Gage were back at the station and they were
surprised to see Chief Bill McConnikee still hanging around the
chower pot.

Johnny's defense against the mild depression that he and Roy had
reflared was to grab the long dusty guitar out of Chet's locker.

Without preamble, Johnny sat down in a chair, and started playing;... badly.

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From: Sam Iam <>
Date: Fri Jan 6, 2006  7:35 pm
Subject: Hardball..

Henry, the couch potato bassett, immediately sat up
and started howling at the teeth jarring, scalp twisting
absolutely wrong chords and notes Johnny plucked out
of the sorry looking wooden guitar.

Of all of them, Roy DeSoto was the only one who didn't wince.
::He's starting our psych pick me up experiment already?::
he wondered.

Chief McConnikee wasn't fooled either, his eye didn't miss the
feathery dust wafting up from the guitar strings as Johnny's
uncalloused fingers stoked them into a knotted bluesy
jive. He started grinning. "Why Hank, I didn't know one of your
boys was such an aficionado of one of the finer arts. That's-
that's really starting to come along here." he said gesturing at
Johnny's closed eyed, oblivious playing. He tried a wink at
the paramedic to tell him that he knew the game of emotional
probing hard ball was on, but Gage's enthusiasm slowed
how attuned to the chief's hint he was, unintentionally.

"I didn't know, either." said Stanley, reliving a powerful,
would-like-to-have-forgotten-it-instantly memory of when
Gage had been on his one time and one time only music kick.

McConnikee upped his ante'. "Say, Gage. Did you know that
some of the best, longest serving fire fighters I know are all
talented musicians? When I talk with them, they say playing helps
them initially cope a bit with their excess day to day baggage.
Is that what you do, too?"

Johnny's chording faltered even more when his shock at the chief's
correct guess at what he was up to, sank in. His playing died away.
"Uh,..really. Didn't know that.. And yeah, I've... been known to dabble
with this ..sometimes. Uh, sir, uh, what do you do whenever
you know, whenever you feel like you just wanna rip out all your hair?"
Gage asked loud enough to be overheard by everybody. Then
just under his breath he added, "...what's left of it." he mumbled.

Chet Kelly's face went white as a sheet at that comment and unbidden,
his left shoe under the table, started tapping sharply on Johnny's shin
to shut him up.

Even Henry dropped off into utter silence and his ears perked forward.

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But the chief didn't seem to have heard the jab.

Roy barely hid a smirk and covered himself by folding interested
hands together across his chest to mask his amusement as he
waited for the chief's response.

Johnny's throat wasn't even dry. He was banking on the fact that the
chief was playing along with his and Roy's plans The kind
of talk that firemen usually never shared with each other without some
kind of official counseling mediator, sent from headquarters, hanging
over their heads. He subtlely slid his chair over to the right to
get out of Chet's kicking reach in order to hand over the old guitar to
Bill, who was literally reaching for it with wiggly fingers.

Bill McConnikee settled the ornate country western strap over his
broad shoulders and after a brief, swift retuning of the flaccid strings,
he coaxed a very bright, jaunty prison feeling number out of it. "I just
learned this one last week from some fresh faced new fella playing
an open stage in a bar." he said. "Said he was making his big break
with the record company. Played something called Leaving On a Jet Plane
with a trio of others. I think he was a singer, too." And his playing shifted to
the melody he just mentioned.

"Hey, I think I know him, chief. But I can't remember his name right off
hand." Johnny remarked.  

"I've forgotten what his was, too." said the chief. "But I remember
that I liked his music set immensely."

Henry, instantly collapsed into a heap onto his side in pure
beastly bliss at the sweet sounds whispering out of the guitar.

Everyone but Johnny and Roy just stared at Henry and the chief.
Both of them. Back and forth. Like a tight tennis match.

Only Johnny and his partner were playing things cool. The door
was wide open. "So...." Roy stammered, "You find this allows
you to get whatever's bugging you off your chest pretty easily?"
he nodded in encouragement for Bill to dive right on in. "Nice tune.
Never heard it before."

"As I said, that musician was going places. And I always pay attention
to people who're doing just that." he winked at Cap, tapping his white
inspection hat that he always wore when he was visiting a station, even
when he wasn't conducting a surprise snap inspection.

Hank immediately blanched, and the past sin of committing mayhem by
the burning of Bill's old absent hat came slamming back into his brain like
a freight train. ::The chief's paying close attention to me still for that?!::
he thought in sudden horror. ::I thought he was here to talk about our last
rescue call. I didn't know he was out for my bl---::

"Music's always a balm. Never forget that, guys. Gage may be still be
new at it. But he's on the right track here. You should follow his example."
the chief grinned, taking off the guitar strap. He held out the instrument
by the neck, passing it off to Gage.

Johnny took it.

"I think I will." Chet Kelly said, snatching it quickly out of Gage's fingers.

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"Give me that..." Johnny smiled, which wasn't really a smile at all as
he snatched it back. He started playing again. This time, he plucked
a very hesitant version of the first song the chief had strummed for them,
but at a molasses snail's pace. With every third note a half key off.

"That's the way, Gage. Wrong notes don't matter with the blues. They just
seem to fit." McConnikee grinned. Then he looked to Roy to continue
what was afoot between him and the two paramedics.

DeSoto's stammer was even more pronounced than Johnny's. He
found himself tongue tied. "Yeah, uh, Chet here, collects barbed wire
as a hobby in order to relax. Somedays, he completely fills up the kitchen
table to show them off to all of us. Uh, what do you do, Cap, to blow off
some steam?"

"I yell..." he said with narrowed brows and a firm press on his lips.
He wasn't smiling.

All the gang froze.

Then Hank's mouth opened up and he laughed great guffaws at his own

Bill was the only one to join in.

The chief poured himself some more coffee from the steel pot sitting
in front of them from its place on a gingham pot holder. "Funny, Hank. That's
a good one. Yep. Guitar playing.... Collecting bits of antique wire... It all helps
a great deal, guys. I should come up with a stress relief program demanding
that you fellas practice some kind of hobby to do religiously so I know you
all have a relief valve going for ya." Then he leaned into the table from his
chair in a confidential air. "I hate those CISM shrinks, too." he admitted, "with
a passion. But they do know their jobs and Headquarters seems to like em."

He sat back with a sigh and studied the two speechless paramedics in front
of him, just waiting for them to delve again. But neither of their lips moved.

Bill decided that they were giving up on the emotional probing and he changed
the subject. "Now about the way that earlier tower tumble was handled..." he
said, lifting up a finger with a stern face.

The gang's eyes got bigger and they re-petrified.

"Nice job, all. I got word on my way over here that those two victims we dug out
together are doing just fine. That's a thing I always like to hear." Battalion said.

"We do too,..Bill." Gage peeped, smiling faintly, slapping an affectionate hand
onto McConnikee's shoulder.

Chet kicked his shin again. Cap did, too.

"I mean, Chief, uh, sir..." Johnny amended, pulling back his hand as if it had
burned him. He started playing again as if his life depended on it.

The chief's gray eyebrow furrows narrowed stonily, but then Cap said...

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From: "Cory Anda" <>
Date: Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:52pm
Subject: Struck...

"Chief, at our last call, you said that you had something
that would interest me about the response we just wrapped
up an hour ago." Hank deflected.

Bill looked up, effectively diverted. "Hmmm? Oh, yes, I did
say that, didn't I? A change in the department, captain. And
for the better."

"Oh?" Stanley asked, his eyebrows raised.

"By next week, no fire department will ever have to haggle with
a city or suburb via Headquarters in order to turn off gas or
electrical utilities at the scene of an incident.." McConnikee
smiled. "They will have already been shut down even before
any firecrew gets there."

That shocked everybody.

"Really?" Kelly asked.

"How'd they manage to do that?" Stoker added. "Don't tell me
that all the public utilities suddenly turned clairvoyant.."

Bill looked up at 51's engineer with a frank frown. "In a way, they
have. Gentlemen, yesterday, I was informed that within soco city
limits in all L.A. County Fire Department service areas, that we've
finally entered a new age of infrastructure regulated technology.
They've gone fully computerized, boys. The minute there's
a disruption of any kind in the power net or in the gas flows, safety shut
offs are triggered on both sides of the trouble spot and plant operators
are notified soon afterwards."

Cap celebrated. "Terrific! No more ripping my hair out waiting
for the proverbial tinder box to unfuel itself under other fingertips
while chewing on my own."

"Wow.. " remarked Roy. "When did all that automation happen?"

McConnikee grinned expansively. "Little by little over the past three
years.  Believe me, I was shocked as snot myself when I heard the
news. That whole robotic communications net they have up now, is
a lot like the monitoring network usually in place in a subway transportation

"Something of which we don't have in California due to all the
earthquakes..." DeSoto smiled.

Bill nodded. "We been behind the times on how the city senses itself.
But not anymore I'm pleased to say. And that's a boon for the whole department."
He rose in his chair and subconsciously, so did the rest of the gang.
"Well, I'd better be getting back. I've a stack of captains' exams to plow through
from Division 2 to get done before sundown. See you fellas. Stay safe out there."

"Thanks for helping us today, Chief." Hank said seriously. "Your hands
on bit probably made all the difference in the world for those two people
we dug out this morning. There's nothing like having a higher up around to
motivate things to move along a little faster."

"It wasn't about that, Hank. Your station has one of the best track records
for speedy extrications. I wasn't worried about that. I only wanted to get
my hands dirty again for once. I've missed getting into all the action, especially
since new paperwork, like the new city automation alert packet I just told you about,
seems to ...magically pile up by the pound in front of me onto my desk.
Seems like there's more and more of it every year, too. It sucks, gentlemen.
And the main consequence besides burning the eyes out of your head for
all the reading, is gaining a big one of these.." Bill said, smacking his ample

All the gang chuckled.

"Well, I'd better go. Maybe I can bug 116's after dinner and help out on one of
their brush fire assignments while I'm delivering the good news about the
new utilities management system to them. See you, thanks for lunch and coffee."

"No problem, chief." said Captain Stanley as he opened the kitchen side door
for McConnikee. "Thanks for lightening my radio load."

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"Any time, Hank. Any time." said Battalion as he returned to his chief's car parked
neatly facing the avenue in the side drive. "I like being the bearing of good tidings."

They watched, as McConnikee pulled away from the stoop, waving at his tip of the hat
he gave them as he drove off.

"Ooo, Cap.." gushed Chet. "Does this mean you're gonna find a way to lighten our
radio traffic load so us guys can enjoy something just as nice as that bit of news
was for you?"

"I'm working on it." Cap said after a thoughtful pause. "There's a new fangled
thing called a passage device or some other name that some yokel dreamed
up last month. It's still in the testing phases."

"What will that do for us?" Marco asked.

"Don't know the answer to that quite yet. Its designer claims it'll revolutionize the
whole fire department. He's hailing it as a new kind of life saver."

Johnny sniggered. "You mean there's something more revolutionary than a blind
insertion luminal airway? I heard about that new paramedic tester device from
Brice yesterday. He says it's being used in the surgical wards at Rampart right now
to learn its versatility."

"Apparently so." Cap said, finishing off his cup of coffee. "I guess we'll all just have
to wait for the final word on both of those things when they finally filter down to
us as official gear."

Kelly started clearing the lunch bowls. "Meanwhile, the waiting's intolerable.
It'd be nice for a little job improvement more often than once every five years.
The last thing we got was that our asbestos tarps were taken away."

"Hmmm." Cap snorted. "We got a change. Roy and Johnny here got themselves
free of being tied to those dangerous glass I.V. bottles last month."

"I'm talking about something for us common fire guys, Cap. Everybody knows
that it's the paramedics who get all the experimenting benefits when they crop up."

Gage had a compliment to cheer Chet and he shared it. "How can you improve
perfection? Maybe engine firefighting's honed to the sharpest it can be already."

"So where's the pay raise then? Geez, guys. Think about it. We're in the forgotten
multitudes." he sighed at Marco and Stoker. "I'm bushed. Who's up for a nap after
someone volunteers to help me do the dishes?" Chet auctioned off.

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All hands were fully raised just as an injury tones call went out for the station.

##Station 51. Man down at the shipping yard. Dock workers report
an explosion occurance without fire. 6610 Busch Blvd... 6610 Busch Blvd.
Cross street, Canal 5 Causeway. Time out : 13:11.##

The gang rolled out of their chairs, abandoning the kitchen lunch table.

Roy got in an acknowledgement at the alcove station. "Station 51, 10-4.
KMG 365."

Soon, both the Ward and rescue squad were flying down the boulevard towards
the nearby industrial ocean canal district.

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They were met instantly by the loading dock boss. "This way fellas. He's still out."
said a big burly yellow hard hatted man wearing tan coveralls. "I think he's
hurt real bad."

"What happened?" Cap asked, as he shut the engine's door.

"We don't know. Mac was unloading those crates from Europe over there
using the ship's roof crane when Kablewy! Something went up. It caught
my brand new man here real bad in a flash and knocked him flat."

Johnny and Roy immediately got their medical gear and the oxygen over
to the clustered group of dock workers holding another young man on the
ground's head still.

"Did you move him?" Gage asked loudly.

"No. They didn't." answered the dock boss. "I'm not that stupid. I know about
the possible broken neck and back thing happening in any fall or bump
my men might take. I told them to lay off him past making sure that his tongue wasn't
blockin' off his breathin."

Cap got the boss's attention again. "What do you think caused this mess?"
Hank asked, sweeping a glove and active HT over the shattered debris dotting
the canal waters and the concrete immediately upwind of them.

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"Larry found this.." said the boss. And he handed Cap a bill of laden.

Cap read it quickly. "Aww, nuts!  Gang, get your air bottles on before you
go anywhere near that fallen pallet. I got a CAS number of 7439-95-4."

The boss immediately got alarmed. "What? Did we screw up somehow moving
that junk?"

Cap took his arm and spoke gently. "You had no way of knowing this clearly.
The crates are marked totally wrong. Stoker! Call a foam unit. We've got
pure, loose magnesium powder of an unknown quantity, right there!" he said,
stabbing a finger at the jumble of splintered crates. Then he turned to the boss
and the small group of dock workers still hovering over Roy and Johnny
and the unconscious man, sprawled on his back. "Mister, I want you to get
everybody who's outside within three hundred feet of him.." he said,
pointing at the injured man. "...well back. Better yet get them all inside the
warehouse and close those main bay doors."

"I'm doing it!" said the boss man, running and shouting. He soon had the area
cleared and locked down tight so the firefighters could work.

Gage was still tossing the wooden boards off of their explosion victim while
his other glove rested on the man's stomach to monitor his shallow respirations.
"Cap, you want us in scba, too?"

Hank shook his head, squinting at the color of the sky. He set up the oxygen
tank his paramedics needed. "You're safely downwind. The day's land/sea
breeze is already rock solid. It's not going to shift with the Santa Anas shearing
like they're doing on its topside."

Gage finally got to their patient's head as he shooed the last first aider away.
His fingers found a careful jaw thrust lift that eased the man's fitful gasping
soon afterwards. Then he did a double take, when his eyes caught sight of
the man's face. "Ohmyg*d. Is this man who I think he--?" he broke off when he
realized the dock workers had already retreated to safety on Cap's order.

Johnny leaned in closer, making sure the man was breathing well in a listening

Roy smacked his arm, holding out an oral airway and handing Johnny
a flowing oxygen mask. "Here. I'll check out his back next. Cap, would you
go get a C-collar from the rear stow?"

"Yep." said Hank. And he jogged to the squad to get one.

Johnny was still gaping and he stared at the young, round eye glassed, page
styled, blonde haired man under his hands for long moments.

Roy finally lost patience and snatched back the oropharyngeal from his partner.
He cross fingered in the short oral himself and planted the oxygen mask down
over the pale man's nose and mouth.

Gage slowly reanimated. "Roy, don't you know who this is?"
he said, throwing a chin downwards while his hands continued to hold the
face bruised man's head and neck still.

"No." DeSoto said, working swiftly in a check for broken bones and other

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Gage dissassembled. "This here's Jimmy Colorado! The one and only."
he grinned.

"Yeah, well whoever he is. He knows you're not acting very professional right
now while you're drooling in amazement, all over him. Sorry, sir. Forgive,
Johnny here. We ARE taking good care of you." he said to the unconscious
man's closest ear. "Try to pick up your breathing a little. You're doing ok
for us. I'm not finding any bad problems yet past a swollen right knee so far.
Can you hear me?" he asked tapping a light finger over one of his eyelids
a few times after he gingerly removed the man's round glasses for safe keeping.

The man didn't move or swallow around the airway in the slightest.

Cap returned with the cervical collar and a backboard. "Marco, Stoker. Grab
some sandbags. Once we get him moved outta here, we'll worry about the
mag spill."

Soon, Gage was freed up hands wise so he could get an initial complete
blood pressure past a pulse estimated one. His earlier starstruck gape,
was disappearing and he was fully back to business. "Roy, 92 over 66. He's not
reactant to pain either." Johnny shared, after pinching the underside skin of
the man's upper arm firmly between a few fingers. "He's not diaphoretic
though despite this pallor. Resp rate's twenty two and regular."

"Ok.." said Roy, finishing up a Babinski's on the man's feet that he had bared
for a CMS check. "So far so good down here, too. No apparent fractures.
But I think we should splint that knee up anyway. It's getting pretty big. Marco,
can you handle that before we check out his back and log roll him onto the

"Got it." said Lopez.

Gage added more. "And see if he's got his I.D. on him in one of his
jeans' pockets, too." he ordered eagerly.

Roy threw his eyes skyward. "That can wait. We're rapidly getting out,

"Finding a wallet's important, too. He.....might have a preexisting condition
we need to know about to explain all this wheezy breathing." Johnny
stammered as a little of his recognition stun came back.

"He got the wind knocked out of him when the crates went up most likely."
Roy shrugged dryly. "Come on, focus here, Johnny. Ok? ..Chet. Fellas.
On the count of three, we'll tip him my way. One, two... three...
Cap, keep those legs in an easy line. He's twisting a little."
Roy quickly scissored away the man's shirt back and pants to look
for more injuries and bleeding. There was none. "Ok, that's
it. He's clear. Roll him back down. Yeah, he's centered. Ok. Let's get
those straps on next."

Soon the comatose man was safely long boarded and head tilted up onto
the splints box by the squad behind the secure shielding bulk of the Ward.

Cap and the others went to tend the hot spot in air bottles.

Gage silently brandished a found wallet at Roy and set it open onto Jimmy's
stomach and turned it so Roy could read the driver's license himself while
they opened Jimmy's shirt to set him up for an EKG reading.

Roy ignored his partner with a sigh of long patience and picked up
the phone to Rampart to give their opening hail.

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From: Sam Iam <>
Date: Wed Jan 11, 2006  5:31 pm
Subject: Hazmat

Captain Stanley got on his HT to Headquarters. "L.A., Engine 51."

##Engine 51, this is L.A.## answered the dispatcher's calm baritone.

"We have a positive I.D. of several hundred pounds of pure magnesium
exposed to the air and sitting on a wet pier. There are signs of recent
explosive hydrogen gas effects. Respond a Haz Mat crew for
decontamination and clean up. I have a foam truck standing by should
this spill ignite other combustibles in nearby shipping crates of unknown
content." Hank told him, cocking his head. He had heard Foam 127 pull
up at the same safe distance his own vehicles were positioned at
around the corner of the large sea facing warehouse. He motioned for
their captain to come on over once he saw his men air bottled.
"For now, holding dry and seeing about getting large quantities of sand."
Captain Stanley made sure he was upwind and pulled off his air mask
long enough to eyeball the pier boss and crook a finger to draw the man
out of the building from where he was watching anxiously, to commandeer a
front end loader to deliver just that. The boss took the hint and exited a side
door away from the canal and he circled around until he had met Hank
behind the bulk of the engine. He had on his own contamination air bottle
of short acting duration, the kind normally issued to ship firefighters.

Immediately, a triple beep intercepted the transmission. ##L.A. This
is Battalion 14. I'm in the immediate area. I'll be responding to fully
assess the situation for escalating fire conditions. My E.T.A. is
four minutes.##

##Battalion 14, 10-4. 51's incident address is 6610 Busch Blvd.
Cross street, Canal 5 Causeway. Your time out : 13:19.## said L.A.

##Battalion 14. KMA 116.## acknowledged Bill through his wailing
siren over the frequency.

Captain Stanley replied. "Engine 51, Battalion 14. I note your response
and estimated time of arrival. We've only one injured civilian who's
been confirmed as contamination free. Ambulance is not on scene. I'm
getting bills of laden handed to me right now for all cargo inside the hot
zone. We're located on the north side of the causeway. Our wind is north
to south banking west and then out to sea away from most line of sight
cargo barges and all buildings. Please notify responding units
of our local weather conditions from the coast guard. In fact, having
them come out here themselves isn't a bad idea. They could
oversee operations."

##Copy, Engine 51. Keep your men in scba and fully outfitted
outside the radius you've marked. Have them wait until your sand arrives.
A three hundred foot circle should just about cover it.## McConnikee
advised Captain Stanley.##And I already have a Coast Guard Dolphin
crew, their closest cutter and Fire Boat 110 en route to your position
with an E.T.A. of under two minutes. Watch for them.##

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"Engine 51, 10-4, Battalion. I will advise you of all changes." Hank
replied. Then Stanley put his mask back on as he turned to the pier
boss to discuss getting one of his pier firefighters to drive in a
front loader to dump sand and air smother the magnesium spill
until it could be scraped into an empty cargo container in the
canal for safe water decomposition and later disposal.

127's captain jogged on over, placing his helmet over the
air straps fastened around his face. Hank leaned into him, grabbing
him around the shoulders and soon they got into an immediate plan of
attack huddle with the pier boss and the new paired pier firefighting
team the warehouse boss had summoned through the harbor
master by phone.

Battalion 14's lanky red car soon pulled up behind them and their
efforts were joined.

Then they broke apart. Hank got on his walkie talkie to advise his
own men, waiting in a line along the landside of the La France.
"Engine 51 to HTs 51, all. In two minutes, a front loader will be
coming in from the shipping yard with his first load of sand.
Marco, Stoker, Kelly, follow him with a charged inch and
a half each time he moves in to dump his sand but do not
release any water over him. Do that only if a fire erupts to turn
away any explosion from him. And if fire does happen, do not eyeball
any flames directly or you'll burn your eyes. The brightness
flaring from the burning mag will flash sear your eyes in seconds,
faster than an arc welder's. Foam 127 will be covering you should fire
get around your cover before you make good your escape with the
driver. Secondarily, wash down those blue crates..... right over there,
when he goes back for more sand without getting any of the original
fallen ones dampened in the slightest. Make sure all the runoff you
make goes straight into the ocean. Those second bins contain
fresh shrimp." Cap told his men.

Chet groaned. ##Oh, no. Iodine? Those'll smoke the mag for sure
if the wind blows any powder over there.##

Hank grinned ruefully through his air mask. "That's probably what
made the initial explosion go off when the magnesium crates fell off
their unloading cables the first time. So, the sooner we wash the
fish juice away, the better off we'll be. Go.."

Marco, Stoker and Kelly soon had their hose set up ready and waiting
for the silver hazmat suited and air bottled pier firefighter to start
up the heavy machinery.

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Click for a music change..

From: "patti keiper" <>
Date: Wed Jan 11, 2006  7:18 pm
Subject: World of Silence..?

Roy lifted the biophone receiver and plugged in the antennae.
He was just about to speak when Johnny looked up from
the eyes of their victim that he had been checking out with a penlight.

"Roy,..he's gone tachycardic.." Gage said suddenly. "Just started
happening." he said, getting a grip on Jimmy's carotid as he
looked at his watch to time it.

Roy set the unused receiver onto his shoulder and he looked
at the EKG monitor which was set to visual tracing, studying it for
long moments, then he flicked on the audible mode so both
could follow what was happening without looking away from
what they were doing by listening to its sounds. The beat was
racing at 150, and it was bounding. "Adrenaline effects? He
might be waking up some. His breathing's still ok. It's not
causing this V-tach." DeSoto told him.

Johnny shifted his attention from his patient's vital signs to
neurological ones. He tried another pain check with a firm
sternal rub in between two of the man's EKG pads. He was
rewarded when Jimmy jerked both of his hands under the
backboard straps. Deftly, Gage slid the oxygen mask aside
and pulled out the oral airway before he could gag on it.
"Jim?...Jimmy? Can you hear me? Open up your eyes. Can
you do that for me?.. Hey.." he said, rubbing knuckles once
more, grinding a couple fairly deep into Colorado's breastbone.

A weak groan trickled out of Jimmy's cracked lips and he kicked
out both legs. Pain from the knee finished the job of arousing
and he was suddenly awake. "OhhHHh...  nghhH. *cough* "
The heartbeats coming from the monitor speakers jolted a series
of slow beats at the cough, then started racing once more when
a sudden new panic filled Jimmy's face. Fear poured into his eyes
as they snapped open and started watering under the sun.

"Hey,... take it easy. You're all right... You're all right." Gage said,
firmly, grabbing one of Jim's shoulders to keep him still. "That
explosion's over. You're safe. Tell me what's happening to you,
ok? Can you talk?" he said, leaning close over his face.

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Jimmy's eyes met and tracked Johnny's easily. But he didn't speak.
He remained obviously frightened and it reflected in the monitored
heartbeats, which climbed even faster.

"Are you in pain? Is it your leg? Or is it your neck or back?"
Roy tried asking him, taking a hold of his other shoulder.

Jimmy Colorado gave a cry of dismay.

Then he froze, taking in an unpleasant breath of discovery.
"Guys, I can't hear you. At all. Are you yelling? I can't.....hear ....
anything.  I... my ears were ringing before. Now they're totally quiet!"
he panicked in a rich sounding tenor voice.  The paramedics saw
that he wasn't even the slightest bit confused mentally from the blackout
disorientation that they were used to seeing on people who finally
decided to wake up for them.

"Ok. ok.." Johnny said. "Just let me put this oxygen mask
back on. It'll start slowing your heart down some. I'm going to
check your ears out right now. Just try to relax. You're not hurt bad
at all. We've just got you on a backboard and in a C-collar as a
precaution." he pantomimed with two hands wrapped around his
own neck to demonstrate what he was talking about visually.

Jimmy's eyes took in the straps over his chest and the wires
feeding the Tetronix display and a hand worked free to
feel the oxygen mask sitting over his face tentatively.

It was more Johnny's reassuring smile than his words that
made the man settle a bit. Fright was still very highly evident on
the EKG monitor, but Jimmy no longer tried moving his arms and
legs. He was watching both paramedic's faces intently instead.

Johnny knelt down with his penlight and check both ear canals.
Then he looked up. "Roy, bleeding in both. Perforated eardrum
on the left side. Contusions and swelling on the right." he reported.
Then his hands slid under the collar to palpate the back of Jimmy's
head. "There's no stiffness in his neck, or Battle's sign. Negative
on CSF in any of this drainage." he said, looking at the reddish
stains Jimmy's ears had left on the sand bags holding his head still.

Roy took another blood pressure. "It's up. 140/100."

Gage nodded and then he turned his attention back to communicating.
He pulled out his writing pad and a pen. With it, he wrote Jimmy
a few facts and asked a few questions while Roy slid the round
glasses back onto his face so Jim could read the note being written
for him.

Jimmy gasped. "No, my neck and back don't hurt." he said,
his eyes growing wide. "I just can't hear myself talk. But my knee's
old news. I hurt it last week getting tossed off a horse. Are
my ears going to be all right? You see, I'm a musician and I
play and sing for a living."

Johnny wrote. ~I know. I recognized you when we first got here.
Just take it easy. Is it okay if we start an I.V. on you? The doctor
we're gonna call may want one for you because you were knocked
out for a while.~

"Yes. How long was I out?" fretted Jimmy.

~Around twenty minutes according to your boss.~

"Am I ok?" Mr. Colorado asked with alarm.

~You must have a very hard head. You're doing just fine, Mr.
Colorado. But we were wondering about that wheeze you've
got in your chest.~ Johnny wrote.

"I'm not used to the California smog yet. I've a dust allergy.
I've only been in the state for a couple of days so I guess it
must be flaring up now."

~Do you have any other problems we should know about?~
Gage asked in words.

"I've hypoactive thyroid in the wintertime. I take a pill for it
when my energy's low." said Jim.

~Ok. How about pain. Are you in any?~

"My head, a little bit. Guess I cracked it when I flew backwards.
And both of my ears are stinging badly. Is that why I can't
hear anything?"

~The explosion put a hole in your left ear drum and bruised
the right one. Once we get to Rampart General Hospital, a doctor
will examine you much closer to see exactly what is causing
your deafness right now. And he'll get you out of this
contraption, too, after a couple of x-rays.~ Roy answered
on the note pad after pointing to the longboard.

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Jimmy sighed and closed his eyes. "All right. I hope they can
fix whatever's wrong soon. Music's my life... Annie, my wife,
will kill me if she finds out that I have to give any of that up."

Gage tapped his shoulder again to show him another question.
~Do you want someone at the hospital to get a hold of Annie
once we get there?~

"Yes. Could you arrange that?"

Johnny nodded.

"I want to thank you for caring for me like this. I never thought
I'd see the day where I'd need a couple of Los Angeles
County paramedics called out to look after me." Jimmy grinned.

~That's what we're here for, Mr. Colorado. Welcome to California.~
wrote Roy.

Jimmy managed his first full smile and the racing audible heartbeat
finally slowed to near normal. "I'm ...a little tired.  I was up all night
playing a gig with my new band. We were practicing for cutting a new
record when I remembered that I had my first day of work to report to
at the pier. I barely got here in time. Is it ok if I sleep a bit?"

Johnny and Roy both nodded that it was safe for him to doze.  

Their patient relaxed instantly, his face going slack with released
strain. His breathing evened out and his slight gasping went away.

"He's a very busy man." Gage remarked to Roy.

"I guess so. Who is he again?"

"A famous country western singer. Remember the second
song the chief played for us? That's his."

"He still doesn't ring a bell." DeSoto said, looking at their patient's
face again.

"Roy, you need to get out of the house a little more. You're
sure missing a whole lot." Johnny frowned, cutting away
Jimmy's sleeve for his future I.V. "This young man here's
gonna be as big as the Beatles someday. Mark my words.
I got his first album and his second one, too, I think." Gage
thought out loud. "Yeah, I played 'em both last month."

"I may be behind on the music scene, but little else escapes me."
DeSoto teased Johnny with a straight face. "You should loan
me those records sometime. Joanne and I like to try new things
every once in a while."

"Deal. He's real good. You won't be disappointed."

Roy got on his HT. "Squad 51 to L.A. Can I get an estimated
time of arrival on our ambulance?"

##L.A. Squad 51. Mayfair Two reports an E.T.A. of four minutes
to your location.##

"Squad 51, L.A., 10-4. We'll be set. Our scene is safe."

##Squad 51.##

Roy got switched over to the phone on top of his shoulder.
"Rampart this is Rescue 5-1. How do you read me?"

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Click for a music change

From :  Derrick <>
Sent :  Tuesday, January 17, 2006 12:46 AM
Subject :  Where The Silence Is

There was a brief period of silence. "Rampart base, County 51.
How do you read?" Roy repeated.

##Go ahead 51, this is Rampart. We read you loud and clear.#
replied Dr. Early.

"Rampart, we are at the scene of an explosion at an imports pier
involving powdered chemicals. We have only one previously
borderline critical patient at this time. Our victim is now a conscious
and oriented late twenties to early thirties male trauma patient. He
was thrown back onto his head from the force of the blast and was
initially unresponsive for twenty minutes prior to our arrival. At this
time, his chief complaint is stinging pain in both ears. On a scale of
one to ten he rates his ear pain as a nine.

"On examination, he has active bleeding in both ears with a
possible perforated eardrum on the left ear and swelling in the
right with profound early tinnitus and deafness. He has
swelling in the right knee, now splinted, and facial contusions.
But we have found negative findings of any stiffness in his neck,
battle's sign, CSF fluid drainage, or signs of pain with his
neck or back. There are no other injuries, past these, detected ..but  
we have him longboarded with a C-collar for his protection."
said Roy.

At Rampart, another doctor was with the carefully attentive
Dr. Early. It was Dr. Brackett, listening in.

They heard Roy add more to his radio conversation. "Vital signs
were : BP 92/66, pulse 150 and regular, respirations twenty two
with wheezes detected in all fields. We now have a BP of 140/100,
pulse is 110 and regular, respirations are twelve and normal. His
chest sounds like it's clearing. O2 saturation is at 98% on six liters of
O2 via non-rebreather mask. On that right knee injury, it is from
one week ago following a fall from a horse. He also expresses a history
of hypothyroidism. He is allergic to dust and takes thyroid medications
for his condition only occasionally. We request an I.V. and affirmative,
I will be sending you a strip. Over."

Dr. Early replied. ##Squad 51, do we know what chemicals were

"Rampart, distilled powdered magnesium as far we can tell." Roy

##51, are any of you or is your patient contaminated?" Dr. Early queried.

"That's negative." Roy answered as Mayfair two's electronic wail
siren tone shattered the air. "Rampart, this will be Lead II."
Roy said as he sent the EKG strip over the radio.

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Joe Early and Kel read the strip as it came over the telemetry lines and
they interpreted the rhythm to be mostly a normal sinus rhythm at a
rate of one hundred ten without ectopi, with intermittent periods of sinus

Kel thought. ::That's probably due to the fact that their patient's worried
about his sudden loss of hearing. His vitals are too good for this reading
to be anything else.:: Brackett saw that his mental conclusion matched
Joe's by the expression on his face and they shared a look without
needing to speak.

Dr. Early replied. "51, start an I.V. of Lactated Ringers TKO at 30 to
60 cc/hr. Monitor for any changes and transport as soon as possible."

Roy answered.##10-4, Rampart. Copy an I.V. of Ringers at 30 to 60
cc/hr, monitor patient vitals and transport. Our ambulance is here
and our E.T.A. is twelve minutes.## he added.

"10-4, 51." Dr. Early said.


Roy had just gotten off the air with Rampart as Johnny double
checked Jimmy Colorado's sensory, motor functions, and
immobilization effectiveness to the long spineboard. He told
Johnny. "Early wants Ringers, TKO."  Then he handed him the
I.V . bag, microdrip tubing, and a 20 gauge needle. He knew
the reason for the infusion of small fluid volume to their patient was
because of the fact that Jimmy might have sustained a head injury.
It was his goal and Rampart's to prevent any swelling in his brain
which could lead to disastrous consequences. That would change
though if their patient went into a poor breathing shock level on
the way in. Then Colorado would have to be rapid sequence
intubated and hyperventilated as an increased intracranial pressure
preventive measure and a faster flow on the I.V. would be dialed up.

~Okay, Mr. Colorado.~ Johnny wrote . ~I am going to start an I.V.
on you. You're going to feel a big pinch here in your arm for a
couple of seconds. That's just me putting the needle inside the
the inner elbow vein in your arm.~

Colorado froze, looking away from the needle. His trepidation
was plain on his face. Then came the sharp stick, ..but he didn't
move. "Ow. That stung a little. But no worse than getting a shot at the
doctor's though." Jimmy Colorado replied nervously, gasping
as he released the breath he had been holding.

~Believe me, they do sting. I've had em', too.~ wrote Johnny
Gage with a smile after he secured the I.V. catheter with tape to
Jimmy Colorado's right arm while holding pressure on the
lanced vein above it. Gage attached the I.V. bag and its drip
set after he flushed out the tubing to the catheter. He adjusted
the drip's rate after the fluid chamber was half filled to start the
I.V.'s challenge.

Mr. Colorado's face expressed relief the ordeal was over.
"I truly hate needles. Sorry for flinching."

Johnny then signaled Harold and Malcolm to move in with the
stretcher. ~No problem. But I'm glad you felt that to tell you the
truth. It means you're waking up well for us and have absolutely
no signs of upper body paralysis to speak of.~~ he joked on
his notepad.  

In a test, Colorado wiggled his toes to reassure himself
and the paramedics both that he was still fine the rest of the
way down, too.

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Gage smiled at that and looked up at the waiting ambulance
attendants who quickly picked up the longboard after dropping
the foot guard flat on their mattressed stretcher.  "Guys, he was
in an explosion and got knocked off his feet. He has injuries to
his ears, possibly the head, and a bum knee that he got last week.
We got loose dressings to both ears, just that knee splint, and he's
on light O2. He's pegged for a continuous read on the monitor
and will remain fully immobilized. Note that we're going to Rampart
and it's a rush. Be careful." he told them.

Chief McConnikee walked up to check on the progress of his favorite
bar singer. He examined the loading scene and said to Roy as he
was picking up the biocom and trauma kit to hand to him. "How's he

"He seems to be doing better now. We're taking him to Rampart and
we'll know a lot more later. But I think he's got nothing serious that
can't be repaired or healed, most likely." said Roy.

"Before you go, I want to warn you that as big as he is getting,
there will be a ton of media at the hospital. Maintain your silence
about meeting him, both of you, unless he personally says you can
do otherwise." The Chief told them as his eyebrows furrowed with
a straight face. "I'll be back at the station in a couple of hours to tell
you how to report his run in the logs to fully protect his privacy to
prevent someone in our internal departments from leaking his
misfortune to the papers."  he added.

"I'll drive the squad in." Johnny told his partner. "Get to know him,
Roy." he grinned. "Here's a once in a lifetime chance that I'm
just handing out to you. Remember that."

"See you there." Roy said unimpressed, as he and Malcolm
stepped inside the ambulance to transport Jimmy Colorado to
the hospital.

Vince Howard arrived at Roy and Johnny's location and gave the
ambulance the all clear, double slap signal as the ambulance
pulled away with red lights and siren towards Rampart with the
squad leading the way.  

McConnikee afforded one more look of concern for their
young, rising, from out of state singer. Then he put his white helmet
back on and strode back to work on the long hazmat cleanup
ahead with engine 51 and the other units covering the incident.


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Their Mayfair's arrival at Rampart took a couple minutes longer
than expected because of the strong head winds and low visibility
from blowing dust that slowed down the squad and ambulance's speed
as they travelled. They also had a couple of unexpected obstacles to
overcome, like a windblown trash can and a road strewn cord of firewood
that some motorist had lost unintentionally that had blocked lanes of traffic.

However, Roy's celebrity patient remained stable throughout transport
and there were no unforeseen events.

When they arrived at Rampart, the emergency entrance looked like a
used car lot with three squads and four ambulances parked there.

::It looks like business is still picking up.:: thought Roy. ::I wonder how
busy it is now.::

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Where The Wind Blows
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