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   I.V. Push
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Page Three

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Gage went pale and he hurried over to the door when a tree branch began thumping
loudly on the roof over their heads. He leaned against the door as if their lives
depended on it. A growing expression of worry filled his face.

Roy eyeballed him, surprised at his reaction. "What's wrong?"

"We've got to leave."

"What?" Now it was Roy's turn to disbelieve. "Well, why? How come?"

"I didn't tell Station 110 that the four of us were up here a night early." Johnny
sighed, annoyed at himself. "I forgot to do it. And I told Bonnie to skip that step,
too, saying that I'd take care of it before we.. even...came." he trailed off,
swallowing dryly.

"Oh, Johnny." DeSoto moaned in irritation. 'How could you do something so

"Geez, Roy. I apologize. I apologize wholeheartedly. So if you want to blame
somebody. Go ahead and blame me. It seems I have to apologize to the whole
world anyway for not becoming Joy's adopted brother, too, when I said I would."

Johnny tried to take back the words he had just spoken, but it was too late.
Raw hurt stung him openly and he crumpled into a chair, his elbow knocking over
a salt shaker that had been sitting near Bonnie's plate. Neither firefighter even
noticed it. Carefully, Gage covered the police woman's meal with the serving
pot's lid, to keep it warm.

Roy didn't move and even the growing storm fell quiet in those seconds.

Suddenly, Gage's eyes filled with unshed tears. "So now you know." he
whispered, tortured. "I guess I'm to blame for almost killing her, too."

"No, Johnny." DeSoto said instantly. "That's not true."

Gage visciously held up a hand. "Just..just hear me out, Roy. Just shut up, and listen.
I'm.. at...fault. For ALL of it. If I had just done what I promised to do when I turned
eighteen, she never would have tried to find me like she tried to do today." he
said, frightened. "What kind of friend just turns their back like that? Huh? I've never
done that to anyone else." he cried. "When did I change, Roy? Was it when my
parents died together, too, like Joy's did?" and he turned away, thoroughly grieved.
His shoulders began to rock with a silent sobbing at the painful remembrance of their
passing. "All Joy reminded me of afterwards...was death and loneliness. She's
why I left the reservation so young. I had to get away from that." he cried.

Roy's stunned look disappeared completely and he went over to his partner and
he knelt, gripping Gage's shoulder in soft support, not saying anything at all at first.
But then he got practical. "Shhh, it's out. It can't hurt you any more. And in the
morning, you can talk to Joy and explain why you left in the same way you've just told
me. With honesty. Joy's old enough to understand just about anything. She's almost
an adult okay?"

Gage studied his hands, still not looking at Roy, but he didn't shrug off his touch either.

DeSoto started analyzing their other situation. "We're about seven miles from the
fire station, right?"

Johnny nodded again, staring at Joy's closed bedroom door. "There abouts." he
agreed, wiping his face on a sleeve quickly.

"No problem then. We'll get to the lodge and make a quick phone call from the
candy and bait counter."

The branches thumped again, making Johnny jump as each thud made him
remember the sight of Joy's nearly dead face lying in the grass that he kept
living and reliving over and over again in his head.

Roy made sure he met his eyes. "Hey, it's only a thunderstorm. This cabin's been
here for years and storms never hurt it before. I highly doubt that one's gonna hurt
us now. Those redwoods out there have been standing for thousands of years."
he quipped, eyeballing the sputtering fire in the fireplace that Johnny had started.

The walls started shifting violently under the rafters as the wind picked up. Air borne
water threatened to get into the cracks around the tiny wooden paned windows.

The power suddenly cut off when the generator quickly failed next door in the lodge
at another sudden deafening crack of thunder and accompanying lightning.

DeSoto spoke. "But I agree with you. I don't like this one at all. That bolt probably
just took out the telephone and power poles." he said, reaching into the wood
box to pile more wood onto the rug to dry for later fuel use.

Bonnie struggled through the door again, her hair wild and dripping.
"The whole camp's power's completely gone. And lightning must have shorted
out my squad car's power/tran, because it won't even turn over. Same goes for
the radio. But I still remember the tour from the last time I was here. There's a
CB radio in the bedroom closet."

Their potential crisis broke Gage out of his raw state and he got to his feet,
starting to check for safety gear. "I used to build those. Count me as the
communications man."

"Does it work?" Roy asked Clark.

"Sure, I tested it then by putting in the nine volt from the lantern that's under
the sink." she replied cheekily, still thinking like the police officer she was.

"Is there anything else useful around here?" Roy asked her.

"In the medicine cabinet in the john there's some wire and electrical tape.
The counselors probably use that hooked up to the lightning rod for
better reception as an antennae for the TV set. We could do the same thing
to boost a radio signal if things get any worse up here." she decided.

Gage nodded quickly, keeping an eye on the sky around them.
"I'll go get that. Uh, Roy, could you go get that radio? I don't want to disturb
Joy at all. Not yet anyway." Johnny said.

"Okay." said DeSoto. "I'll be right back. I won't wake her."

"It's dark, so let's meet at the kitchen table." Bonnie decided. "Let's plan our
getting out over there near the fire."

Both firefighters agreed. They split up to make preparations while Bonnie
put all of their still uneaten food away into an insulated cooler to keep it fresh.

Outside, the trees began to groan under the fury of the storm.


Roy and Johnny were towelling off the dishes Bonnie was washing and
handing to them while they discussed how the C.B. radio could be boosted
into a greater range so it could reach L.A.'s repeater tower using the odds
and ends laying around the cabin.

"And that's all there is to it?" Roy asked Johnny.

"Yep. It's as simple as that. I'm all done here." he said, indicating the empty
sink and rack. "So I'll get started with it while you finish up." Gage dried his
hands. He started whistling a haunting native tune softly while he gathered
the tools they needed from the hallway closet.

"All right. Bonnie and I are going out to try the squad car's radio again. We'll
be right back." said DeSoto.

There was a brief howl of wind as the two of them left the cabin in their
raincoats, but then it was over.

A quiet cough and blanket rustling behind a closed door reassured Johnny
on Joy's continued resting state. She wasn't worrying about the elements and
so neither would he.

All of a sudden, there was a loud sustained cracking sound coming from
somewhere outside. The sound was different from the ones Johnny
and the others had gotten themselves used to hearing that were being
caused by the storm and he looked up reflexively.

Gage slowed his rummaging around in closet boxes as he paused and
listened to it, only half paying attention to what he was doing. In the kitchen,
a sharp movement from the far window caught Johnny's eye. It was something
mottled, and roughly reddish brown, moving in the storm's intermittent light.
He froze in cold terror when he realized what it must be. One of the tall sequoias
immediately next to the cabin had snapped like a toothpick in the gale and
was falling directly over the roof. Gage was paralyzed for several agonizing
seconds before..

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"Joy! Look out in there! A tree's fall-----"

CRASSHHH. The roof bowed grotesquely under the massive trunk, swaying
as rain and debris broke through a hole tearing open above him. Johnny
dimly prayed in those seconds it would somehow hold as he ran for the
bedroom door desperately. Showers of roofing tiles and wood splinters
spilled through a growing rend in the ceiling as tons of weight bore inexorably
down. Dust and rain, blinded him. Then the main support rafters gave way and
all he knew, was blackness.


There were whirling sensations; random flashes of color soon after, then
sounds. Johnny stirred. What were those sounds? Cool, liquidy echoes,
were filling a small room that he didn't immediately recognize. ::Water?::
Gage thought. He opened his eyes to a semi-lit world.

Pain made him shiver. Johnny looked down muzzily at his legs to see a waist
sized pine branch lying on top of them. He shifted his weight a trifle, still
coming to consciousness. ::No, I'm not trapped too badly.:: some part of him
thought. He was sitting, scraped and upright, in about two inches of rain water.
Johnny dug the mud away from his knees and freed himself easily. A fire
flashed in his head as full recollection returned. ::The others!:: "Joy?! Can you
hear me?!" he cried out. ::She's nearby. This is the bedroom, isn't it?::

In the jumble of what was left of the cabin, Johnny couldn't find clear landmarks.
There was no reply. In intense pain from a broken leg and wrenched pelvis, Johnny
dragged himself through the debris, towards where he could see a bed. "Joy!
Answer me!"  Loose pine branches and shattered rafters blocked the only way
past a collapsed wall between him and twisted blankets. Nausea made him ill
right then and he lost a stomach battle. He cried out in frustration and tore through
the twigs and boards, ignoring the heightened pain in his leg. He could feel
two bone ends grate sickeningly on a simple fracture there, deep inside. Johnny
crossed the last of them and saw Joy lying face down in the water, motionless.

::Not again. Please..:: Johnny begged mentally. Dreading the worst, he gently
turned her over. A quick check proved she still had a carotid but the breaths
being drawn in were very irregular and shallow. Putting an ear to Joy's chest,
Gage heard thick rasping, bubbling sounds where there should have been none.
::She must have breathed a lot of water into her lungs after being knocked
unconscious.:: he realized. ::Her color's turning.::  Stiffening against pain, he
pulled the girl to a sitting position in front of him and wrapped his arms around
Joy's waist in a snug bearhug. He applied pressure, gradually increasing the
strength of his clearing attempts when her breathing suddenly began to weaken
and stop. "Come on." he pleaded, keeping each careful modified heimlich
thrust effective.

A few seconds later, Joy choked and a flood of frothy rain water welled up
out of her nose and mouth. She gasped through her unconsciousness and
started sharply drawing in huge lungfuls of air as he laid her head lay back across
his shoulder. "That's more like it." he grunted triumphantly. Soon after she had
pinked up again, he moved to lay her back down onto the tree boughs, gently
supporting her head and neck. Joy continued to breathe strongly.

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Gage rested his head against the large tree trunk that had destroyed the
cabin bedroom and leaned on his elbows, giving in to gratitude as Joy
started to cough up more water easily. He gathered strength for a minute
or two. Then he turned her onto her side to allow for the rest of the water
to drain out. Finding himself suddenly shaking, he blew on his hands to
warm them and then he started to search for the medical kit he had seen
in the closet before the tree fell. He found it intact a few feet away under
some wooden planks. He began calling. "Roy!  Bonnie!  We're in the
bedroom!" he gasped. "Hey! We're in--" he broke off as a spasm from
his leg silenced him. The passing storm was still loud. No one would hear
shouting at all, Johnny realized. Joy and himself would have to wait for
rescue when it finally came. He hoped that his partner and Bonnie had the
foresight to take his Rover with them down to the beach to summon help
from the firestation.

He pulled one of Joy's limp hands into his own. "Okay, we'll get things started
on my end, then." he told her and he went to work patching up cuts and
lacerations. Joy was clear of any obvious injuries past very minor ones beyond
her P.E. and somehow Johnny managed to get her onto a dry surface on top of
a tipped over dresser. He got her warmed up with fresh blankets and he splinted
his fractured lower leg as best he could. Shock had taken its toll from
the both of them.  But Joy was in the worst condition. Johnny pulled out the kit's
penlight and looked at her eyes. They were sluggish, but equal, due to her
clear concussion, but they continued to remain reactive, refuting the hypoxic
brain damage he thought she might have suffered from near drowning.

A deep cut marked the place of concussion and blood flowly freely. This
Johnny wiped away and stopped with some butterfly strips. And he did a
makeshift job on taping up the few cracked ribs he could feel on her right side.
Gage wasn't worried about those at all. There was no blood in her mouth. He was
worried about his own condition. Fever was already setting in and his leg had
swelled up like a balloon in spite of his elevating it up high onto the tree trunk.
It was a simple, but bad break most likely, that had inflamed a lot of nerves.
The pain was intolerable when he moved just inches.

But Gage knew that he had to get his radio going as a firm back up to whatever
his partner and Bonnie were doing in going for additional help.

A half an hour later, he checked on Joy's condition one more time before making
a decision. Her breathing and pulse had stabilized enough to be trusted alone so
Johnny got painfully to his feet, using a nearby fallen wall. He became woozy and
almost passed out before he tightened his stomach muscles to fight it off.

A few minutes later, Gage was hobbling around, gathering up the equipment he
sought for the CB radio and slowly he got to work using the lantern Bonnie had
told him about. He located the grounding rod and found that it was still standing
along the chimney it had been bolted to. A few screws turned here and wires
twisted there and the task was finally complete. Johnny held his breath and turned
the power on. High pitched whistles and active static greeted him, then it suddenly
threatened to go dead. Deftly he adjusted the selection dial to Channel Nine and
the open signal quieted and steadied itself. He changed the fine tune to maximum
and waited before he attempted to key up the microphone.

Voices from emergency vehicles and DeSoto's own voice, hailing him from
Station 110's rescue squad, made him smile. ::So they got there okay. That's
cool. Real cool, man.:: he thought as he exhaled loudly as he stared at the glowing
radio, smiling. He had done it. Quickly, he offered them an update on himself,
the cabin, and Joy. He was still sitting there at the kitchen table, in a fog, long after
Roy said that they were on their way, when the sound of weak coughing issuing
from the other room, brought him wide awake. Favoring his leg tremendously,
Johnny got into the bedroom as fast as possible.

Joy was beginning to come to. Johnny sat on the edge of the dresser's side
where she lay under thick blankets and he felt her pulse as her eyes fluttered
open. He grinned at her, while he held her muddy face gratefully with
his other hand. "Chehuntamo, Lakni-Paci. I'm here, Little Sister. It's me,
Kaulope. You're going to be okay." he smiled. "Don't be scared. I promise,
I'm not going to run away from you any more."

Joy began to cry as her broken heart finally felt the warm healing touch of
Johnny's fierce caretaker spirit on her skin, at last. She weakly reached for
his monitoring fingers on her wrist and then she didn't let go. "I heard you
scream; the storm.." she sobbed.

"Both over, it's morning, see?" Johnny pulled the curtain aside that was near

A brilliant sun rose from behind the tall pine trees. Joy squinted against the glare.
Then she noticed the chaos lying all around them. "What's that tree doing in here?"

Gage smirked, wincing a little. "It fell on us."

Joy attempted to sit up. "You're hurt." she said, but a stab of pain caused her
to stop and catch her breath. He caught her and helped her back onto the
tree boughs.

"Don't move. You've banged a few ribs, among other things." he said, wrapping
a BP cuff around Joy's arm.

Joy's eyes studied his face in great detail. "I'm no longer in pain." she told him, and she
didn't mean the kind afflicting her body. "So you are a healer. Grandmother
says you were gifted that way, even when you were a little boy." she said.

"I'm a paramedic, not a doctor. At best, I'm a remote control healer, listening
to the real one." he grinned sheepishly, jerking a thumb at the murmuring radio
still chattering away on the kitchen table within their line of sight.

"Is that a radio I'm hearing?" she said, watching the blood pressure cuff puff up
as Johnny began his reading.

"Yep. Rescue crews are on the way." he replied without looking up from the dial.
"They should be here really soon. I just heard from my partner a couple of minutes
ago." he said, releasing the pressure in the cuff with a hiss. "How's your head?"

"Figuratively or physically?"

Gage pegged her with a wry look. "Both."

"I'm all better now. Thanks for coming back to me."

"I should be saying the same thing. You're one up on me, girlie girl.
You've come back to me twice already on the same day."

"I wasn't about to die." she said seriously. "We aren't finished yet with
each other. Kaulope, do I have a new brother to get to know in the future
in you?" Her face broke up into tears. "I really really need one." she sobbed,
holding her sore side.  Gage quickly wiped her tears away, slowly shushing
her into silence as she timidly reached out for his face.

Johnny didn't look away, nor did he get nervous this time. "Yes." he told
her with conviction ...and love.

Joy Yellowbird closed her eyes and fell asleep with a smile on her tired face.
She was finally home.

Gage left her resting a few minutes later, convinced that her vitals signs were
as good as they were going to get without an I.V. and oxygen and he
painfully returned to his place at the kitchen table, hovering over the glowing
CB radio.

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A sharp shouting jolted him awake. It was Roy, yelling at him through
a crack in the debris pile that was all that remained of the smashed cabin.
"Johnny?! I see you over there. Are you hurt?"

Gage groaned as he fought his way out of light shock. "Broken leg. Get
Joy on some O2. She almost drown on me a while ago."

"What are her vitals?"

"Normal to low. Cracked ribs, concussion. She aspirated quite a bit but
kept on breathing. She should be sleeping now." he gasped, still blinking
dizzily. "You guys sure took your sweet time getting back here."

"The flash flooding stream got in the way. Where is she?"

"In the bedroom, on a dresser above the water. She's dry and warm."

"Okay. Captain Raider's got the engine crew cutting in to get her right now
along with Squad 110. How are you feeling?" Roy asked ironically.

Gage didn't open his eyes. "Happy."

"Oh? And why's that?" Roy asked worriedly, seeing the pale shade on his
partner's face as he began to grow slack in his expressions as he
began to slump at an angle over the radio sitting on the table top.

"I've doubled the size of my f-family. Did it at dawn. Figured it was ap-
appropriate. She needs me. And I..I think I need her.." Gage mumbled.

"Johnny? Don't try to talk. You're going into shock. If you're going to faint,
try to do it face down. I can't reach your face to fix your airway from here."

"...yeah... I know. I think I'm ...lying down that way. Don't fret. I'm still happy..."
he coughed painfully. "Roy?"

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"What? I'm almost through to you." he yelled over the powerful buzz of a K-12.

"Don't tell Chet about this, only Dixie and those three CHiP'ers, or I'll..I'll kill you
when.. when I wake..up." Johnny said groggily.

DeSoto had to grin when he watched Johnny's head fall forward over the angle
of his elbows. "I promise. It'll be our own little secret, just between the six of
us. All right?"

Johnny didn't answer as his forehead fell right onto an empty plate, as he
blacked out in slow motion. His arms were still hugging the CB radio he had

Feeling amused and relieved, Roy jerked a finger at his partner through
the hole as another firefighter peeked in with him for a status check. "Dinner
anyone?" Roy quipped to reassure the fireman about their first victim's
condition and his current safe situation. It was actually quite a peaceful
scene with Johnny snoring away under the new dappling sunlight. The
other fireman fought back a chortle as he finally hurried on to go help the
others with Joy Yellowbird.

Somewhere, a bird began to sing. DeSoto's smile got bigger when he
recognized it as a female American Goldfinch. ::Yellow bird indeed. Yeah,
they're both gonna be just fine here. For now, and in the future..:: he


Episode Forty Seven,  I.V. Push
Emergency Theater Live,   Season Six  

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   I.V. Push
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