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    Tower Drill
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Page Three

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From :  "patti keiper" <>
Sent :  Wednesday, August 30, 2006 4:40 PM
Subject :  The Daring Do..

Roy grinned at his partner. "So, how'd it go?" he smiled, eager for
Gage's news about his teaching session.

"We're down two. And it's not because of the smoke.." Johnny
frowned miserably.

Roy bit his lip after sucking in his breath in sympathy.
"Oh, don't tell me. You found a couple of recruits lying about
pre-existing medical conditions?" DeSoto nodded when Johnny
began studying the ground without answering.
"I don't think I'd enjoy discovering that kind of thing either. I'd rather
get soaking wet jumping out of a helicopter into a polluted harbor
than deal with that."

"That's what I told Chet, too. Well, ...not in so many words but.."

"I get the picture, Junior. Try not to think about it so much. What's done
is done. Ready for another rocky bout with baby faced cadets feeling
their nerves again?" Roy asked.

"Don't I have a choice this time?" Gage insisted passionately, rubbing the
sooty sweat off of his brow. "Man, I can't wait until the day I make captain.
Then I won't have to kiss up to battalion chiefs mandating last minute orders
to teach at the... Hi, Chief..." Johnny brightened as he spied the tall lanky Page
striding towards them from around the corner of the squad.

Chief Page calmly made his way over to Roy and Gage where they were putting
away some small tools from their demonstration stations. "The perimeter's set.
Marlowe and Stoker, Stephens and Conrad are ready with hot aerials on engines
501 and 22. Gage, any casualties to report from the smokehouse exercise?"

Johnny winced at the question. "No physical ones due to injuries, sir.
But I've these two concerning paperwork discrepancies. All the deciding
details are in my instructor notes being held by the quartermaster." he sighed,
handing over two metal id jacket tags that he had pocketed earlier.

"Oh." said Jim, immediately understanding. "I'll take your passed buck. I'm
sorry you had the weight of that on your shoulders all morning. I had a bunch
of politicians visiting who wanted to see the facilities in close action."

"So did we get more funding in trade for that wonderful fact filled tour
you conducted, sir?" Roy asked Page.

"Yep. We've another year's cadet training completely paid for. That and
we've finally filled the price tag for 36's new engine and squad. I just
commissioned those a few minutes ago from our manufacturers."

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"Then it was well worth it sitting on all the bad news about these two
cadets then." said Johnny, smiling and taking the chief's hand as he
accepted Page's heartfelt apology.

Jim sighed, pushing his white helmet up a little higher on his bald head. "Ok,
DeSoto. I gave the word a minute ago to torch the tower. Hank's in position
with his ten recruits on tower level eight east. Ready to create a snafu for
them over HT?"

"Yeah.. What shall I pick this time? Roof collapse? Or a lost man?"

"Your choice, Roy. Stanley's set up a couple of dummys ahead of time up there
for either scenario." grinned Page cheekily.

"Hmmmm." Roy grinned, rubbing his chin in chuckling consideration.

A loud sputtering pop and answering rumbling vacuum belch startled all three
of them where they stood by the squad.  An unscheduled fire eruption burst suddenly
from the Tower's ninth floor fire escape balcony window.

"What the h*ll?!" Gage muttered as he and Roy whirled around to squint up into
the sun at the tower building mockup. Two stories were on fire instead of the
usual one that had been originally planned to burn on the floor directly above
the cadet group.  The second one that had just exploded, was floor seven east,
just below the rookie group, putting them in tremendous danger.

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The chief immediately got on radio. "Page to Stanley. Report..." he said, turning
his gaze to the control house where the explosive charge controls were set.
Inside the glassed off hut, he could see a confused anxious milling as technicians
rushed to figure out what had happened.

Static met their ears..buzzing and chaotic. Then,.. ##.--mergency! Premature charge!
Premature charge! Abort! Abort!## came Hank Stanley's order from inside the
Tower through the muffled glass of a scba mask. Flames' noise behind his
voice was far too loud for safety's sake. ## I've a separated air bottle-less man.
He ran into the direction of west and north!##

Page and others began running towards the two stationing engines encircling
the burning practice tower with fully charged hoses.

Another explosion of incendiary wired tagboard erupted into fire on eight east
and a rectangular black object blew out the window at high velocity. It was a white
striped HT they all recognized, it had been blown clear out of Hank's gloved hand
along with large splinters of balsa wood, light aluminum and teak.

"Look out!" Page shouted at the hosemen at the foot of the tower. "Debris fall!" the
chief yelled into his own hand held.

51's captain's radio arched down in a tumble and shattered at their feet with a
resounding crack onto the concrete. Then, as if in mockery, the Academy's elegant
minature repeater tower was struck by fire and it groaned as it began to lean
towards the burning floors when one of its support wires began stretching from
the heat.

The Battalion Chief began barking.
"Gage, DeSoto. Get with Engine 501. Mount up an aerial with belts!" Page ordered,
running to catch a glimpse of the north side of the building. "That panicked cadet
may have--"

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## Code I ! I've a jumper fallen on a ledge! ## shouted Ed Marlowe over the main
channel from the control foot of his fire engine. He gestured, pointing up.
And he was already swinging the boom of 501's extended ladder through a
thick column of smoke to something only he could see.

Stoker's face paled. ## We can't reach over there, the toppled radio antennae's
in the way.## he said into an handy talkie to the other engine. ## Engine 22. Have
you sufficient clear air for a good touchdown?##

## In a mic! Repositioning now! ##

"I can't wait for them..." growled Marlowe, tightening his helmet strap. "We don't
HAVE a minute!"

Grabbing a coil of rope, Ed began climbing the ladder Mike Stoker had locked off
as close to the eighth floor as he dared. Gage was close behind him.

Roy followed with another line, and four air bottles. "Get a stokes ready! After
we get this guy down, we'll go in after the others!" he shouted to Page.

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The chief nodded, already speaking, using the engine's dash radio to notify
L.A. about a possible mass casualty incident at the training center.

Gage and Marlowe got to the top and collapsed into the basket to catch their

They could see their victim. The panicked cadet had stripped out of his
turnout jacket and he was partially dangling over the edge of a
mock scaffolding platform, his booted feet banging painfully against
the tower's seventh floor balcony in the wind. He wasn't moving.

"He's gonna get knocked off.." Marlowe said, tying a rope off in a quick knot
on the bottom railing of the aerial basket. The other end was netted around his
waist and hips in a peculiar kind of lattice rig. "I'm gonna swing over there.
Steady me..!" Ed shouted back at Gage as he stood up on the basket's
raised motor housing and balanced himself there precariously with outstretched

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Then he raised them above his head and shoulders precisely, like a
swimming pool diver about to jump.

"Marlowe, no!" Gage gasped, realizing what he was about to do next.

Ed Marlowe leaped off, like a bungee thrill seeker, straight down into
the rising black smoke in a plummeting swan dive.

Johnny felt stunned and let go of the grip he had on Ed's rope's slacked
coils just in the nick of time before it jerked taut with snapping strain.

The aerial basket and topmost ladder section acted like a springing
flagpole, cushioning Marlowe's weight when he hit the end of his rope
a second later. Johnny was jolted sidewise as the ladder's rigid length
compensated in back oscillation like a tree branch swaying sickeningly
in a high wind.  

Grunting, Johnny threw himself forward, grabbing Marlowe's rope in
between his gloves, and then he began to swing it like a pendulum,
back and forth, until he heard a shout from the invisible Marlowe
somewhere below him.

"I'm there! I got him!" cried Ed.

Looking down, Johnny could see Marlowe hauling the cadet by the
back of his blue shirt jacket and pants up into his arms. "Is he alive?!"

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"Yeah.. Good thing I didn't wait any longer than I had to. He almost
slipped off over the edge on me." Ed told him. "He's out cold.."

"Do you need a pair of air bottles down there?"

"Nah, the wind's blowing all the smoke away ok where we are. Just get
Roy lowered down here with a C-collar and a stokes. I think he landed
on his head. He's gonna need an airway a.s.a.p."

"All right. Hang on a sec. He's almost caught up to us." shouted Johnny,
grinning with relieved tension despite himself.

Roy soon reached the basket, huffing from the weight of four air bottles.
Three of them, were slung on his arms. "Where's Marlowe?!" he asked in shock.

Gage pointed down, shouting over the wind and the sound of the emergency
hooter blasting over the intercom from the training building. "He's down
there with our missing man."

"I didn't see him rappel down." he said defensively.

"He didn't climb down one inch, partner.." Johnny grinned at him.
"He dove Mark Spitz."

"Huh? Johnny, that didn't make any sense." Roy puzzled.

"Never mind. Just gimme that stokes line." Johnny coughed,
getting down to business. "You're going to go down two stories
and shift over to the left towards eleven o'clock. That's where
they are."

"I don't see anything.." said Roy, peering down through the choking
smoke rising up towards them. He put his legs over the edge as
he sat down on the basket's floor through the open gate.

"Neither did he, that nasty little show off. But I'll tell you one thing.
He's sure got the b*lls for the engine basketing business."


Soon, Roy was at Marlowe's side. "How's he doing?"

"He's breathing.  And the goose egg's tiny. No skull fracture."
Ed said of the unconscious cadet. "Am I allowed to collar him
even though I'm not a paramedic?"

"Sorry." Roy grinned. "You'd better let me do that part. But with
your officially valid CPR training, you can insert an OPA without
me having to hold your hand." he teased. "Here." he said, passing
over a crescent shaped oral airway to Ed from his pocket kit.  Then
he got on the radio. ##Chief. We got him. As soon as he's on the way
down in the bucket with Marlowe, Johnny and I will enter the Tower
after the cadet group. ## ::And Cap.:: fretted DeSoto privately.

##Roger, we've got an ambulance and paramedics standing by.##
said Page.

"So, you think I'll get pointed for recklessness?" Marlowe growled
in self conscious ire.

DeSoto looked up in surprise and it was not because of Ed's abrasive
attitude."Not this time, Ed. Only Johnny saw what you did. And he's not
gonna talk about it to anyone else but me." Roy smiled. "I think he's
finally rated you a hero in his book. At least, for today..." he grinned.

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"That's good enough for me, DeSoto." said Ed thoughtfully as they worked
to immobilize their patient. "Can I be frank and admit something personal
to you, Roy?"

"Sure." blinked DeSoto, he kept his face passively kind when he finally
looked up again.

Ed sighed deeply as he strapped the stoke's belts in tight around the
cadet's shoulders, waist and legs. "All I've ever wanted from any of you guys
was to find a niche for myself in the fire department with folks that felt
comfortable. As a paramedic trainee, I felt too much like the odd man out.
I felt like a ...a...Viet Nam flavored rebel medic black sheep or something
else just as empathetically unsavory."

"Ed, I think you've definitely found a home for yourself this time. You're a
a natural born fire engineer. I don't think even Stoker knew an extended
aerial could handle a roped in free fall leap like the one you took to save
this man."

"He didn't?"

"Nope." Roy grinned, taking a respirations count on their victim.

"That's incredible!" Ed exclaimed as he finished tying off the pulley
rope carabiners to the ladder bucket's cross carrying line.

"I'm afraid you took the words right out of Johnny Gage's mouth, Ed."


Chet Kelly made for the stairs of the Tower as fast as he could run. Behind him,
he felt Marco and his anchor man cover him with a liberal soaking of hose water
which wet down his tan overjacket thoroughly. ::What's going on in there? Cap,
where are you?:: he worried in his head.

Immediately, on the third floor stair landing, he began to encounter smoke that
should never have been there.

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From :  patti keiper <>
Sent :  Thursday, August 31, 2006 1:30 PM
Subject :  The Wheat from the Chaff..

Chet Kelly put on his mask as he made sure his air bottle was
patent. He quickly felt Marco Lopez tap him on the back to let
him know that they were following him into the Tower as cover.

::Smoke's down here? In an all cement building? Now I wonder
what would cause that? In every manual I've ever read, smoke
always rises...:: he thought quickly. Then he had it. Chet no sooner
thought about it when his HT was in his gloved hand. "Kelly and
Team Two entering Tower east to Battalion One!"

##Go, Team Two.##

"I've a working theory! Get some men on the roof and check the
top ventilators. I think something's blocking them. We've spill back
in all the stairways down to the third level." Chet told the chief.
"Excessive heat could have set off all the planted fire starters early."

##We've been thinking along those same lines, 51. Keep me updated
on your search. We've an infrared crew on the way in with you on your
tail and a problem crew on the way up 22's aerial to check out the roof
vent theory.## Page replied.

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"10-4." said Chet as he reburied his handy talkie into a jacket pocket.

::Come on, Cap. You knew your group was near the roof. It's not like
any floors are gonna collapse here. This Tower's built more solid than
Fort Knox. The only thing wood in here are the thin boards coating the
concrete walls and ceiling which we stapled up real nice with open gaps
large enough for the fire to breathe through. Where are you taking all
the grunts? You're sure not coming down my way..:: Kelly wondered as
he and the others crouched low as they slowly made their way up the east
stairwell towards the eighth floor.


Outside, the training chiefs were conferencing rescue plans over
the blue prints of this year's Tower design.

Page was deep into the maps. He turned to one of the academy's demolition
techs. "You say there were live charges only on floors six through ten?"

"Yes, sir. The budget for this year was limited, we didn't have enough wood fuel
in Supplies to light up the whole tower for this session." said the worried man.

"That's a good thing, too." answered Page. "What's this?" he asked pointing
to a newly hand markered place on the roof in one corner that wasn't labelled.

"Relief valve, sir. For the manual fire sprinkler system we've been installing."

"Is it in working order?" asked Page.

"Yes, sir. Partially."

"How about these water pipes on Tower East?"

"Not yet, chief. We- we were kinda waiting on more funds to help pay for the
finishing work."

"Thank you, boys. That's all we needed to know. It's not your fault the
igniters blew. We found a roof vent plugged with spider webs that was the
source of all our problem heat. We're sawing it open now." said Page.
"All that fire is gonna be, is hot. It won't do much past ceiling flashes
and 51's Hank Stanley knows this. He won't let the rest of his cadets
lose composure. Not if he can help it. Those men are gonna be just
fine if no one else panics in the simulated firestorm mayhem. The only
obstacle he failed to surmount was the fact that it happened before he
could tell them about it. Return to your station Mr. Brand and completely
disarm all demolition charges linking the Tower to the Vulcan hut."  Page
ordered the demos man.

"Immediately,sir." said the sparky and he soon ran off as fast as his legs
could carry him.

Chief Jim Page sighed as he looked at Michael Freeman. "Chief, it
just me, or do training sessions seem to be getting a little hairier to
carry out safely enough every year?"

"It's just you." smiled L.A.'s Commander. "These same cadet accidents
aren't happening any more frequently than they usually do." he admitted.
"By the way, we just got the preliminary patient status report on that cadet
who jumped. He's gonna be fine. He's already on the way to Rampart by
ground ambulance. Boy is he lucky someone got there quick enough to
prevent him from falling all the way to the ground. Who's the one who
made the save?" Freeman wanted to know.

"An Ed Marlowe, an out-of-stater going for his engineer's test next
month. His trainer, Stoker from 51's, said that he didn't hesitate taking
out all the stops using an aerial ladder to get there in time."

"Really! Hmm. Sounds like he's a very promising candidate. I'll be
sure to examine his scores the minute they come in that day myself.
I hear Station 110 could use another good tillerman."

"That she can. There's a new state of the art fire engine still without an
engineer up there." replied Page.

"Yeah, well. If this man's truly the caliber of firefighter everyone says he
is, she won't be lacking one for long." smiled Michael Freeman.


Captain Stanley rapped on another cadet's helmet. "Keep your hose's fan
pointed up!" he shouted. "The fire can't reach you if you're pushing it away,
ok?" he told the frightened man. "You're doing fine. Just keep an eye on
your mates on either side of you, all right? We're almost to the complete
safety of daylight on the roof at North."

Hank began mumbling as he continued to crawl back and forth
between his three groups of clustered cadets along the floor. He made sure
they realized that safety lay in the hoses themselves and not in the open
windows they could see glowing just beyond them.

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The hallway surrounding the training group was still boiling with
thick curls of ceiling fire that licked slowly past them. Cap dropped his
head a little lower. "Whew..that's hot. Gonna do something about that
just as soon as I--"

A scream lanced out from a particularly nervous cadet crawling
at his heels.

Captain Stanley whirled and grabbed that one by the shoulders. "Easy..
What's the problem? Did your bottle run out? Easily fixed. Tandem breathe
with your partner, see? He's already holding out his regulator.."

"Ahhh! My leg! It's on fire!" moaned the struggling man.

Four cadets threw themselves on the yelling one, slapping and smothering
the cadet's pants legs with their upper bodies and soon, a thick wash of water
in a coarse spray from a fire hose doused both of the recruit's flailing
lower limbs completely.

"Which one is it, Bates?" asked Hank. "I'm not seeing anything. We got you wet."

"Left one! AhhhHH! I'm burning!"

Captain Stanley pulled up the man's slacks legs and peered at all of his skin
closely by firelight. "It was just an ember. You're fine. You've got a tiny
mark just above your knee about the size of a pea. Relax, and breathe
slow. We'll dress that out after we get outta here. Everything's fine. Don't
lose your head. Getting an ember or two inside your shorts's perfectly
normal inside a fire." he joked.

The cadets around him chuckled, although still stressed.

Bates bit his lip behind his air mask. "Is Jeff gonna be ok? It was so creepy
watching him run off like that.." the gasping man grunted, still holding his leg.

"It's never far to a balcony safety zone. They're all around us.
He's probably waiting for a bucket pickup right now and cursing himself for
wetting his pants over nothing." Hank told him. "We wanted the fire storm to
be thrilling. Only, for some reason, it was set off way too early. Somebody was
sleeping in the hut and wasn't listening to our position reports."

"Take away his coffee rations, sir!" shouted a frightened fire recruit to Hank's

"Done." said Stanley. "Now, everybody sound off as you enter the stairway.
There are nine of you, so keep checking on each other as we go. Fire will leap
out at you. If it does, just fling down onto your back and cover it with your hoses
on wide fan. It'll retreat. It always does." he coached. "Let's go.."

The hallway was thick with smoke and ash, and firesign. The blue orange liquid
quality of the burning plasma on the wood attached to the ceiling seemed
fascinatingly hypnotic to all of them as they moved carefully past it. It seemed
almost alive.

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Click the fire for a music soundtrack change

Bates sighed, ignoring his leg at last as he checked his air bottle's regulator one
more time. ::This fire's breathing. I can see where its oxygen's coming from.
It's right over there.:: the young cadet thought. He pointed a gloved
finger up and to the right in the direction from which the upside down fire was
crawling. His hoseman capitulated and aimed light water at that spot. A sharp
hissing and a flare of yellow rewarded them both.

"That's good. Yep. That's a main streamer foot coming from the fire. See if you can
smother it, boys. This hot spot'll suffocate a bit if you bisect that. " encouraged
Hank as he helped another cadet into the stairwell that led to the roof. "Hit it for
a minute and then hold off and see what happens. You'll be surprised how fast
it'll cool off in here after doing that." Hank told them, looking at his watch.
He noticed that they all had about four minutes of air left in their tanks. ::That's
plenty left for making good an escape. This situation's no problem at all anymore.::
Stanley sighed.

The last cadet was crawling past Hank for the dark sanctuary of the solid stairway
when the sizzling wired up boards on the ceiling gave way and tumbled down on top
of them.


Roy and Johnny entered the Tower.

On orders, they went south with their backing hose team, anticipating Cap's
need to reach an uneffected section of the Tower with his raw, frightened cadets
before all of their air bottles ran out of breathing room.

Gage followed behind Roy through a tight spot that had been recently watered
down. It was still steaming violently in its black sooty grave of puddled grime.
"They've been here. We're on the right track.." shouted Johnny.

"He's gotta be ok, looks like he's been giving out lessons." Roy said as he
plowed through the drowned fire spot on the floor.

"I can almost see the arrows pointing the way.." joked Johnny with a grin.
"See? It says.. Gone fishing."  he gestured at one particular charcoal splash.

"I think Chet's rubbing off on Cap at least, a little, if what you said's true." smiled

"I'll take a picture of it for you later to prove it when all this is over."

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"Ok, it'll sure be a nice souvenir for the bulletin board by the payphone." DeSoto
quipped. "Guess we can slow down a bit then. Looks like nobody's dying
this time."

"Amen to that.." said Gage, dropping to his stomach in a more leisurely crawl.

The two paramedics were swallowed in darkness that no longer seemed
threatening to them as they completed their chief ordered sweep for more
runaway stragglers.


Kelly began shouting when his team made east eight.  "Cap! Can you hear me?"

A scuffling through the thick smoke to his right made him turn his head. It was
Captain Stone, heading the recon crew with the imaging camera. "Kelly, you
say he's lost his radio?"

"Yeah, man. It flew out of that window just ahead and nearly clobbered us."
Kelly told him through the murk.

"Ok, we'll start our sweeps here. Everybody, look under every debris fall blocking
your scans. This wood's not heavy but it could pin someone long enough for an
air bottle to run out." said Stone.

"Yes, sir.." said the cadet currently handling the infrared camera.
He aimed it at a random spot along the wall. "There's one! Man down.."
he reported. "Just around the bend about five meters."

"Is he moving?" Chet asked him.

"Yeah. I think so. I can see a head and shoulders. Air's only 62 F in there."
And he showed Kelly the black and white footage of the thermal activity he was
monitoring. "Wait a minute. Looks like some others have found him and are digging
him out."

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"I see it." said Kelly. Then he looked back at Marco. "Let's get there, going to
the right. It's shorter, I think."

"I agree." said Captain Stone. "Men, let's move. Have those spare air bottles
ready. Be prepared to hand one out to anyone in trouble, ok.? Help the cadets
forcefully into the new ones if necessary if you have to."

"Ok, Cap.." they said.

Soon, they were there.

Bate's trapped feet were holding the stairwell door open and that fed the starving
firestorm and gave it new energy. It took a minute or two of attack from the cadets'
hoses and Marco's to suppress it away from the door's frame.

Chet leaned over Bates. "Are you hurt?" he shouted as he freed the man.

"Not badly. Get me out of here." Bates complained.

"Cap? How about you?" Chet asked, grabbing Hank by the faceplate.

"I'm fine. Just worry about him after getting this woodpile off of us. After
we get up there, I'm turning on that new faucet! I've had enough playing
for one day." Stanley chuckled.

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Once on the roof, he and Stoker had a gay old time opening the emergency
drenching valve that drown the whole Tower in a shower of ice cold water.
"There goes somebody's bathtime down in the city." Stanley joked,
remembering the watering ban stipulation in effect for their part of town.

"Glad we flushed, Cap. There's something satisfyingly visceral about
killing fire of this scale all at once like that." Stoker said.

"Ain't it though.." sighed Cap as he left the valve open to rain on down through
the sprinkler systems below their feet. "Come on, let's go check to see
who needs a bucket ride outta here first. I know of at least one cadet who
got charred by an ember or two."

"Ok." said Stoker, rubbing a sunburned nose. He lifted his walkie talkie
to his mouth. "All personnel are safe and accounted for. Repeat, Tower
is empty! And the sprinklers are now active.." he reported to the waiting
chiefs on the ground.

##10-4, Bucket 501. First aid personnel are standing by to give final
cadet evaluations. We'll wrap up this exercise after lunch.## answered

"Freeman? They brought out the big guns for our little cadet accident? I feel
so special.." crooned Chet, bringing up the rear.

"All in a day's work, Cap?" said a voice from behind them.

Hank Stanley turned to greet Johnny and Roy as they walked onto
the roof from the North stairwell. "You know that for a fact, Johnny."
he reassured his paramedic.

Roy squinted at a scratch on Cap's cheek. "You got pegged in there
by some falling wood." he teased.

"Yeah. First time that's happened in ten years. I feel a little stupid for
not watching out for that particular cave-in close enough. I forgot
that one was there."

"We'll forgive ya." said Johnny, picking at the wound. "Bates told us
you were holding the door open for him when it happened. Can't do
two things at once you know."

"A captain's gotta be able to do three, Gage. Never forget that."
Stanley mock growled.

"I won't." Johnny sniggered. "Anyone here potentially respiratory hurt?"
he said, growing serious again.

"Nah. Only hair singed. And there's a burned leg on Bates. Very
minor. I sent him down first so he can get to some numbing ointment."

"Good enough." nodded Johnny with satisfaction. "I'll use him
to train Marco and Chet on hooking up EKGs as soon as we get
down ourselves."

A soggy scuffle of dripping turnout and clattering scba gear greeted
them. "Cap, can we get outta cleaning up all the Tower messes this year?
I'm seriously bushed." complained Chet as he and Marco shed their
overjackets and bottles to cool off a bit in the sunny breezes blowing
around where they were, ten stories up.

Hank grinned. "I'll see what I can do."

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The training day was almost over when Chet Kelly received a priority medical
call to the chief's podium platform. ::Oh, no.. did someone drop with a cardiac?::

Kelly hoofed it over there with Johnny's defibrillator pack, full tilt.

What he saw when he got to the first row in front of the whole complement
of fully gathered cadets who were seated in their chairs while they waited
for the day's debrief, was a pair of cadets doing CPR on an apparently
downed female victim. ::One of the lieutenant nurses?:: thought Chet with
a shock.

But something was remiss. The lady's head was separated from her
body by six whole feet.

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It was a resusci-Annie, dismembered temporarily to be entirely the butt
of Chief Page's avenging practical joke against Chet. "Way to go, Kelly.
That's the way to get the lead out of it." crowed Chief Michael Freeman over
the podium's microphone at Chet. He had thoroughly enjoyed watching his
colleague in crime, Jim Page organize and fire off his little piece of
payback dirt. "How's your heart doing? Ours are doing just fine, Dr.
Phantom. Thanks for running for nothing, though. We appreciate it."

Chet set the defib down in front of the two cadets who had tricked him with
their bogus CPR and shot off a mock salute to both chiefs still standing
on the stage without blushing too badly. He swallowed around his pounding
adrenalin rushed pulse rate and tried not to tremble on the surface
where everyone could see it.

He eventually made it back to Engine 51 with some honor intact amid all
the friendly jeering from all the cadets and the regular firefighters, too.  
"Ah, well, it was fun while it lasted." he remarked about his two years long
stylish history as the infamous Phantom.


Ed Marlowe was packing up his bag in Station 51's vehicle bay when Johnny
Gage and Chet Kelly saundered up to offer him a mutual pair of goodbyes.

Chet held out his hand to Ed warmly. "Congratulations on making engineer,
Mr. Marlowe. I'm sure you'll do the mountain fire department proud."

"Thanks, Kelly. That means a whole lot to me." he replied.

Johnny held back a little by the engine, mulling over something. Finally,
when Chet had departed for the kitchen to watch Roy feed Henry some
more sandwiches, he made his peace.  "Ed, ah, can I ask you something?
Uh, it's not of a personal nature or anything. I just want to indulge a little
curiosity if you don't mind."

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Ed finished zipping up his duffle bag and he straightened up, adjusting
his ivory felt cowboy hat a little higher on his head. "Ok, shoot. The two of
us are friends now, I hope." he said as he ducked the rim of his hat down
in Johnny's direction with a guarded smile.

Gage cleared his throat. "Yeah, we sure are. Where'd uh, where'd
you learn to do that bungee jump getup using a hundred footer. I've
never seen that particular kind of trick before."

Ed smiled and surprisingly, opened up his bag again. "Same place
you did, partner. I learned it from the Big Manual." and he tossed Gage
a staple paged packet emblazoned with a bold official fire department
title that was very familiar to Johnny from his early days as a rescueman.
"See you later, man. We'll probably run into each other again
at the next big brush fire up at 110's in a month or two.
Goodbye, Gage. Stay gold."  

And with that, Fireman Marlowe left boldy out the front side
garage door after hitting the commit button. He caught a cab in two
seconds by flashing his new engineer's badge in the sunlight.

And then, he was gone.

Looking down, Johnny spoke the name of the dogged eared soft
cover he still held in his hands.

"Ropes and Knots. I should've figured." he chuckled, watching Ed's
cab disappear into the crunch of other autos streaming back
and forth along the busy boulevard in front of the station. "I wonder
which page that bungee harness diagram is on. I think I got some
serious studying to do."


Emergency Theater Live
Episode Thirty Six, Tower Drill

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