Date: Wed, Jan 3rd, 2007. 6:00:00 pm
It was late in the afternoon. Station 51's crew still found
as the warm sun continued to trail across
the smog bound cloudless sky.
Dixie McCall's suitcase
and belongings were firmly encamped
on one of the two bunks the gang had laid out for the nurse
and their young guest behind the taupe fire blanket curtain that had
been rehung nearest the shower
room. An I.V. pump and a portable
dialysis machine on standby glowed softly in the darkness wih
bleeps, but the beds themselves, were empty.
Giggles were echoing into the kitchen from the
Charlie and Felicia, were frolicking with some of the dalmation puppies
in a shallow
pool, constructed from a spare portable water vat off
the engine. McCall hovered protectively by them,
earning a thorough
soaking whenever she got too near the playing pair.
The rest of the gang
was cleaning up their finished lunch dishes with
all the windows open so they could listen in on
all the latest laughter.
"Got ya!" shrieked Felicia at Charlie the mechanic as she encouraged
one of the bolder puppies to climb all over an impromptu raft she had
built out of a mop sign for
him. "Come on, Charlie. Pick yours up! She's
got to get used to the water soon, or she'll never get
a- adopted.." coughed
Dixie, hearing the telltale wheeze, scooped Felicia out of the water and into|
a towel. "Ok, hard
play's over. Time to rest or your chest'll fill up again faster
than you want it to." she told the
"Aww, Dixie. I'm not even that tired yet." moaned the girl, sputtering under the
drying the nurse was giving her where she stood on the lawn.
McCall was no nonsense. "What
sounds like more fun? Going on a rescue with
the fellas, or sleeping off too much swimming without
ever getting out to see one?"
"You know which one." squealed Felicia as Charlie splashed her toes
"Ok, so into your jeans and fire cadet shirt with you. It's almost rush hour. A
bound to come in before too long." Dixie told her.
"Ok, ok.. I'm hurrying." said Felicia.
Puffing, Charlie left the small pool for his own towel slung over the picnic
table near the old engine.
"You've worn me out little girlie. How about a game
of something more sedate....liikkkee ...a nice
quiet game of monopoly?"
"I'll kick your butt!" Felicia accepted.
"You're on! You and Dixie
against me and the rest of the guys.." Charlie
crowed, scooping up the pups one by one to carry back
into the station.
Felicia and Dixie captured the rest and dutifully lugged them inside before
closing the station's back outer garage door.
Bonnie wasted no time in scrubbing all of them dry
with her tongue. Several
pups joined Henry's bulk on the couch to warm up using the hound's ample
Chet protested. "Hey, you soggy spotted lumps. I was here with Henry first." he complained,
shoving aside his newspaper's page to glare at the tiny white dogs that
were multiplying around his
legs on the couch cushions as water soaked into
Three jumped off at his "growl" and soon sacked out inside a tipped over garbage |
can, joining a
watchful Boot, who wasn't pretending to be the proud father of
the milling brood.
finished her rounds and settled herself on Dixie's lap where the nurse
was laying out a pediatric
BP cuff on the kitchen table from her nurse's bag.
"Come on, time for your three o'clock vitals check.
How are you feeling?"
she asked Felicia.
"Like I'm being interrupted.." grumbled the little
girl where she was happily
counting out everyone's bank of Monopoly money. "Cap you can be the boot.
And Boot you be the Scotty dog since you are a dog." she planned out.
The gang chuckled. Kelly
shouted out. "I'll be the hat, since I'm already mad."
he said, trying to wipe off the wet spots on
his pants' legs.
"Mad hatter?" quipped Gage. "That certainly fits."
"Very funny, Gage.
Don't tell me you're gonna be the battleship."
"Why not? I battle huge fires all the time."
Cap put in his two cents worth. "Stoker you be the anchor because you
are anyways for all of us at
any fire as an engineer."
"I'll take it." said Mike, smiling. But then the grin disappeared instantly
and he cocked his head at a telltale click.
The rest of the gang froze in place as Boot, Bonnie
and Henry all rose
to their haunches and into attentiveness, as they thoroughly ignored the
still damp puppies seeking their attentions.
"Wait for it." said Stoker, glancing up at the intercom
An all county tones sounded from the grille, two toned, and urgent stamped.
Click speaker for sound |
SCU Tones call from L.A.
Cap licked his lips when the message was over. "Relax all. Richter scale one.|
And not even a foreshock.
Won't amount to anything being that sized. That
rumbler didn't effect the public infrastructure in
the slightest." reassured
Kelly bit his lip. "Yeah, but what about the public's mental
like in the past, to me anyway, that folks during a full moon always flip out at
anything going on that's even a little bit unusual." Chet said, frowning.
"Including an unfelt
"I agree." Cap said, crouching near the floor to calm Boot, Bonnie and
"But..there's nothing we can do until something decides to
happen out loud." he reasoned.
finished taking Felicia's vital signs. "You're fine so far. Gluc check in
twenty minutes. And yes,
I've already packed the monitor in our jump bag. It's
sitting in Charlie's rescue squad waiting for
us." she told the girl, winking at
the rest of the gang to keep up that name for the Los Angeles
The others winked back and fought down grins of amusement.
"I suppose my oxygen's there, too, huh?" sighed Felicia, rasping
wetly as she leaned over the table
to straighten out another pile of play
"So's mine." said Dixie. "You never know
when the smoke's gonna catch
the both of us unaware." she insisted. "And we're long overdue for going
to a fire. So let's get cracking." she glared at the wall intercom.
On cue, a station's call
went out as she mocked the local superstition.
"That's more like it!" Felicia celebrated.
Charlie smiled, spreading his arms wide. "Your 'Wish' is our command, little
lady." he told the struck
numb girl. "Come on, let's go." he said, reaching out for
her suddenly nervous, sweaty hand.
##Station 51. Auto accident involving a collapsing structure. 1714 Yellow|
Brick Way. 1714 Yellow
Brick Way. Cross street Ozman. Time out : 16:07.##
Johnny Gage hastened one of the dogs ahead
of him. He whistled at Bonnie.
"Come on, come on. You've always wanted to go, so get in! Now's your
chance, too, girl." he encouraged the small dog with a grin. The tiny Yorkie
leaped up onto the seat
in seconds. "Henry and Boot have already had their turns
a long time ago when you weren't here." he
Dixie ended up carrying Felicia the last few yards to Charlie's truck parked out
in the driveway when the girl's excitement turned her legs to noodles.
"Don't forget to put your helmet
on." she teased her tiny charge as the mechanic
threw on his navy blue jacket and moved the red truck
aside to allow Squad 51
and the Ward engine to take the lead.
Then McCall joined up with Roy and Johnny to ride shotgun in the squad's center |
seat. "Have you
found out how many people are involved in this one yet?" she
"Not yet." said DeSoto,
eyeing the road in front of them. "Why don't you find out?
Truck One's tuned in to our frequency so
watch what you say. Felicia can hear
"Well, aren't you pulling out all the stops
for her." Dixie smiled, dripping mild sarcasm.
"She wants to experience what our lives are like
working our two jobs, Dixie. Only
one way to do that." Gage grinned. "Just like you taught us."
"Yeah, I know. Gotta dive right into the deep end." Dixie chuckled.
Their humor dropped off when they rounded the next turn and caught a glimpse|
of the scene to come.
"Oh, my word." Dixie said, picking up the mic. "How on earth did they do that?"
out loud. Then, suddenly, there was no more time for wondering.
"I'll contact Rampart for you just
as soon as I inform the chief what's going on."
shouted Dixie to Johnny and Roy as they bailed out
of the cab. "Squad 51 to
Battalion One. We've at least five victims involved at the scene. One is
wounded." said McCall, squinted to see the shadows, moving and still inside the
shattered windows. Then she leaped out to intercept a young man cradling
a bloody cheek in a scrap
Cap aided her report on his HT to the listening in Battalion. "L.A. Respond a
alarm assignment. Our car is situated inside an apartment building. Notify
the gas company. Marco,
break out the electronic sniffer. If there's a pipe leak
anywhere, I want to know about it."
Gage and DeSoto started to gather their medical and extrication gear.|
"Bonnie, go to where Charlie
is. Go watch the girl." Gage told the Yorkshire
with a sweeping gesture as he got into his air bottle.
He could hear screams
from someone older and female from the back seat. "Ma'am. We're here. Now
as still as you can and don't move around. We don't want the car to
slip down even further before
we've anchored it." Johnny warned as he jogged
towards the strangely catapulted station wagon.
Johnny didn't even see Bonnie beeline for Truck One, who was waiting with
her doors propped open to
provide any mechanical aid the crews might need.
He saw Charlie running towards them with a rope
to tie off onto the rear bumper.
On the other side of the car, Roy kept in his mask as he reached
exposed window spaces to feel around for carotid pulses. "Everyone back
he told his partner and Cap, who was hovering nearby. "I can't tell
about the driver though. I'm not
seeing anyone down by the steering wheel."
"Runaway clutch?" Hank guessed, peering through his
"Maybe." Gage nodded, as he began to assess the most vocal passenger
in the backseat.
An older, stunned lady. "Easy, ma'am. I'm Johnny Gage
and this is my partner Roy DeSoto. We're both
paramedics with the Los
Angeles County Fire Department. We're here to help you. Where are you
the most? Is it here where your head's bleeding?"
The old woman could only moan, unable to reply.
Very soon, like
the others, she fell slowly silent and still against the door jam under
carefully probing hands.
"Hey,," Gage yelled at her, reaching for her neck pulse.
when he found it a few seconds later. "Mike, grab out all the
oxygen bottles and masks we have. Get
one for each victim. Dixie, she's
the worst. I'm seeing dura mater pushing through a skull fracture
he said pointing to the first lady he had examined.
"Ok. I'll go grab an airway and
a backboard." she said, as Johnny
carefully fitted a collar around the old woman's neck.
got five tanks, Johnny." said the engineer, laying several down.
He included a charged hose near
the car in case it was needed to wash
away spilled gasoline on the lawn or inside the apartment house's
Hank shouted. "Chet, go grab the portapower, K-12 and the jaws."
in relief as he hastily cast around the gas detector's probe.
"We're clear. No natural gas in the
air." he shouted.
Every firefighter within earshot shed their scba gear then as fast as they
grateful for the added mobility. Hastily, Chet wormed his way
into the hole in the wall. "There's
a man down here under the car!" he shouted.
"And it looks like it's gonna land on him if it sags another
half of a foot."
Cap snapped out an immediate order. "We can't wait for the other engine crew.|
Marco, Stoker, Chet.
Get down there. See if you can brace the front end. Keep
it from slipping. Use the jaws if you have
"Ok, Cap." they said, running for the apartment's patio door. Vince, the cop,
broken the glass on one of its panes to unlock the door. "Boys!
In here. Neighbors say the owner's
not home. They're on vacation."
"Well somebody is, Vince. There's a man in there."
"He might be an ejected driver, but I doubt it. The force here wasn't great enough
to break the
windshield completely open." Hank said, peering once again
into the depths of the vertically up-ended
car stabbed through the brick wall.
"Hang on a minute." frowned Vince. "Let me check it out first."
he said, drawing
"You think this might have been a robbery in progress?" Cap asked,
putting two and two together.
"Probably, knowing this neighborhood. Your freak accident might
interrupted one." said Vince, cocking back the safety on his gun.
Gage's face twisted
in anger at knowing that he hadn't yet escaped
the criminal element for the day. "Ok, we'll wait.
But not for long. Three in there
have serious life threats according to Roy. They'll die if we don't
out of there just as fast as humanly possible!" he said to Vince's disappearing back.
Captain Stanley lifted his HT. "Charlie. Pull back. 10-95."
##Copy. Retreating to a block away.##
said the mechanic, putting
the truck into gear. He told Felicia nothing, hoping Bonnie was enough
to distract her from the obvious reason for why they were abandoning the scene.
Dixie caught the weapons code and knelt behind the rescue squad. She was|
tending the young man who
had been staggering in the street when they had
arrived. He was quiet now, and cooperative. McCall
contacted the hospital.
Keeping her head low, she watched the firefighters do the same as they hugged
the violated wall, waiting for word from Vince that all was clear to continue.
"Rampart, this is Squad
51." Dixie hailed.
##This is Rampart, go ahead.## replied Dr. Brackett. His voice was peaked
interest as to what she had knowing the nature of her special
assignment for the week.
We've a multiple casualty MVA. One minor. Four possibly five
are still inaccessible. In triage priority.
Victim One. Female, approximately
eighty two years of age. Open skull fracture. Rapid loss of consciousness.
Vitals are : Pulse forty, respirations ten and shallow, BP 170 by palpation.
Minimal external blood
loss but there are definite signs of building ICP." Dixie
said. "She's airway protected and being
hyperventilated on oxygen." the
nurse said, seeing a gutsy Marco reaching up an arm into the car to
supported breaths into the woman's ET tube.
In the base station, Kel rapped on the window to get Morton's attention.
He handed over a fresh
note pad to the young resident and held up five
fingers. Morton took a pen from behind his ear and
as McCall's report continued.
##...Victim Six. Walking wounded. A male of
16. Slight concussion with a
large laceration of the face. No blackout. Probable cracked ribs on
Breath sounds are normal. He says he wasn't in the car. Claims it only grazed
as it sped by out of control. BP is shocky however, eighty palp. I've got
him lying down, covered,
on light O2. Pulse and respirations are normal. Stand
by for the other victims. We've a possible weapons
Not for the first time, Kel felt a pang of worry for Dixie in the field that was
than just a doctor's usual professional concern. Flicking off the recorder for a
he voiced his feelings. "Dix, be careful out there. I'm speaking as your
best ever friend when I'm
saying that, so hear me out."
There was a pause over the radio.
"Dix? Tell me what's happening."
Kel began again, still pausing the dictation tape.
##.....We're safe, uh, sort of. At least no
heavy armor's involved in the equation.
I'm signing out until the next one's been freed.## McCall
sputtered. Then the
biophone connection went dead.
Nothing but static met his
ears. Followed by a derisive snick.
"Dix! Answer me, G*d d*mn it!" he cursed, sighing in irritation.
He turned the
recording reel to reel off. "You know, some days I think she's even more hot
and impulsive than I am." he grumbled.
"Wanna bet?" Morton quipped, taking another sip from his
"Who asked you!" Kel roared, nearly spilling his own in his ire.
Vince ran to the basement, carrying his revolver in front of him like a talisman.|
He still had fresh
memories of the shooting they had dealt with that morning.
"I don't know why I picked Los Angeles
to work in, somedays." he whispered to
himself when he finally got to the car's location inside the
basement. Luck was
with him and the bright setting sun filled that end of the crawl space with daylight.
He found the man Chet Kelly had been talking about. And he was awake. A quick
visual proved that
he was completely unarmed, sprawled where he was on his back.
He lay underneath the steaming chassis
of the car, but there was no blood at all.
Vince put away his gun and snapped it shut. "Hey, are you
hurt at all?!" the
policeman asked him, crouching near his face.
The man startled, shouting.
"I told you they would find us. Stupid. Stupid. Stop
looking at me!" he yelled at himself oddly,
repeatedly reaching up to touch the
under carriage of the car. "It's always better if you don't watch!
So why did you
do it?!" he sobbed, his emotions flipping from fear, to anger to total confusion.
"Hey, keep your hands down or you'll burn yourself." Vince warned him, changing
his position as he
gave the all clear high sign to the fireman outside with a triple
slap on the car's roof as a signal.
"The muffler's still hot. What's your name?"
Again the man's eyes didn't connect with his. "Crazy
jerk. Gotta go to ma's now.
She'll understand. She always does. Making good time walking the straight
he chanted, his eyes darting rapidly around him as he gasped in severe emotional
"I'm gonna get me a good meal..." he sobbed. "Right away."
Vince saw that he lay as if paralyzed.
::No 'petrified' is the word.:: he corrected
himself. He saw a bottle of pills lying on the cement
by the man's waist. It was
a psychogenic suppressant. He gave voice on his radio. "Engine 51. HT Mary
One. This man's a space case. Altered level. Seems like some kind of nervous
breakdown or something.
I found these fallen out of his pocket." he said, holding
up the medication. Shaking it, he found
that none of them were gone. "And he
hasn't been taking anything for it lately." A flash of plastic
at the man's wrist
caught Howard's eye. "Looks like he escaped from the hospital. He's got a
"Is he pinned?" Chet asked peeking his head through the opening in the wall
the car again.
"No, nothing's even touching him. But he's a little manic. We may have to cuff
him and drag him out of there before you guys can get to work on the car victims.
I'm gonna need some
help. He's restless and might be primed to fight if he finds out
that we're not one of his hallucinations."
Vince told Kelly.
"Ok, we'll be right down. Is there any gas leaking from the car in there?"
"No, just water from the smashed radiator!" Vince replied.
Kelly waved back and disappeared.
"See if you can get him to crawl out
to you. He's not safe under there!"
"Ok." Vince replied.
Captain Stanley quickly got his update from Chet. "All right. He's a psych call.
here. They're grabbing support struts, H-bricks and anything
else that can be used to start shoring
up the front end of the car. I don't want
anything to move once we start tearing it apart to get
the rest of those people
out of there." Hank told his three non-paramedic firemen.
"Hank!" cried Vince.|
"It's not that bad in here. Looks like the car missed the
rafters of the first floor
foundation. And nothing's caving in yet."
"Thank heavens for small
miracles." Cap sighed gratefully. "Hold tight. I got
your backup coming. Stoker's a wrestler on his
"Terrific." Vince smiled tightly. "Just what I need. Lots of muscle."
the engineer came down the stairs of the apartment into the basement a
half minute later with Marco
Vince held them off with a gesture. "Leave your gear up there. Have nothing on
that can turn into a weapon." he ordered. "Then you can help me." he told
them no nonsense.
three pulled off their jacket halligans and left them on the stairs out of eyesight.
But they kept
their helmets on.
"All right. You can come down now." said Vince, flashing come on fingers. "We'll
try the direct approach and each take an arm and a leg. I don't think he's even
aware of us. But watch
for kicking and punches anyway."
"Don't forget the biting." Chet reminded him.
I still got the scabs and the tetanus shot bruise from the last one."
the policeman grinned, still
inching forward towards the delusional man.
"Are you convinced he's not on some kind of upper?"
Lopez asked, not relishing
the idea of a superhuman effect that could possible come from their target.
"Positive. His pupils are normal." hollered Gage from where he was squeezed
inside the car again
over a second unconscious woman. "I can see them from
here." he said.
"Like he said. Strictly
psychogenics." Vince shrugged.
"Ok, I'm trusting you like I always do the men in blue. Hope you're
me down, Johnny, with that observation or there's gonna be h*ll to pay later on
I get even with ya for lying to me." Kelly said softly, inching forward for the
man's nearest leg
like Vince was doing for an arm.
Gage rolled his eyes, but kept working on establishing spinal
precautions on his
patient. He didn't bother to reply.
Marco and Stoker reached for the man's
contact burned arm and second leg with
their gloves at the same pace as Chet and Howard.
asked Vince of the firemen, speaking quietly. "Don't make any
sharp moves. Just be gentle. He may
not trigger into a violent episode."
"How can you be so confident of that?" Kelly whispered nervously,
"I can tell by the color of his bracelet. It's yellow. He's an outpatient.
Somebody's probably looking after him. Most likely he lives in the building
and was attracted down
here by all the commotion." Vince told him.
"Let's hope so. I'm set." Chet nodded. So did Lopez
"Now..." Vince said softly, and he grasped one of the man's arms as he
ready for anything.
But the mentally ill man's only change was to collapse into tears at the
He let the firemen drag him clear of danger like a limp rag doll.
"Where's my sister?..She...she's
always there for me. Where...where is
she. Can you tell me where she is?"
Vince rolled him
over and handcuffed him for his own protection before
hauling him to his feet. Quickly Stoker examined
him for other, more
serious injuries. Then he stepped back. "He's clear, Johnny."
back here. We'll cut this gal out first. Get the K-12 going."
Johnny requested. Then he turned to
his partner. "How's he?"
he asked of the elderly man Roy was fitting with an oxygen mask.
"Two broken legs. Nothing else. He's even starting to come around a |
little." DeSoto answered.
"There's a child underneath my lady. She's awake but catatonic or
something. Respirations are normal."
"Anything else on her?"
"Mild cuts and bruises. Reactions are fine. But I want to board her
anyway considering the damage the car's got." Gage decided.
"Better safe than..." Roy broke
off, swallowing as the hard lessons of
the day suddenly struck him ironically.
mildly. "Yeah. I know what you mean. I've got goose pimples."
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