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                 By Susan Keenan
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                              Page Three

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In the station's office, Cap gaped, still surrounded by the rest of the gang grouped
around him. "That's really strange. I think we'd better have the police come down
there with you, since you're the only line of communication with them. I'll call from
here..... Right."  He hung up and then redialed L.A. for a direct line to active P.D.

Brackett and Early watched the EKG tape as it came in through the telemetry port.
Dixie hung up her phone and joined them.

Joe, was frowning. "Didn't DeSoto say his rate was twenty five?"

Kel blinked. "He did. And the EKG, shows a junctional rhythm of about forty."

Dixie's mouth opened. "He wouldn't make a mistake like that."

Brackett thought hard on it and could only come up with one conclusion. "Maybe
it's not a mistake." he decided.

McCall nodded. "The police are on their way down here now."


Gage finished suctioning around Les's esophageal airway. Then he reconnected
the end of their demand valve to it while Roy secured his I.V. line with tape.

Paul was hovering nearby. "How's he doing?"

Johnny was frank. "Not good. You have to let us take him to a hospital." he jabbed.

"No way." Paul replied. "Look, I want him well enough to travel. Even if it takes all
night!" he ordered loudly, trembling. Both paramedics could see that Paul needed
a fix of his drug himself and that waiting would only raise the possibility of violence
in him.

Roy told him the truth. "There's a good chance he won't last the night if you refuse
to let him go to a hospital."

Johnny's foot bumped DeSoto's as his eyes fastened on the screen of the
datascope. "He has dropped some!" he said urgently, providing an opportunity.

DeSoto picked up the biocom, not having to feign quick worry. "Rampart, his rate
is still twenty five. But he's getting weaker." he paused. "He's still ashen."

In the base station, Brackett, Early and Dixie were huddled tight over the transmitter.
Kel replied immediately. "Add two milligrams Isoproterenol to the I.V."

##10-4, Rampart.## Roy said quickly, almost on top of Kel's order. That raised more
red flags in all three of the staff. DeSoto wasn't acting normally at all. And that got
them thinking about it.

Brackett experimented. "Again, what is your position?"

DeSoto could almost feel the muzzle of the gun being held a foot away from
his face. "I'm sorry.."

Paul yelled. "That's enough with the radio!" and he kicked the biocom away.
"Now you're on your own." he snarled.

At Rampart, both doctors and the nurse were shocked at what they had heard.

Brackett blurted out. "They're in some kind of trouble.."

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Joe nodded, pulling the most recent EKG tracing nearer to all of them where it
was trailing around their feet. "Again, his rate was different.." he said, pointing.
"Thirty two. And DeSoto said twenty five."

Kel snapped his fingers when a brainstorm struck him. "Dix, get me a street map!"


Gage added the Isoproterenol to the I.V. and adjusted the drip while Roy studied
the EKG monitor intently. "A little more.." Roy told him. "More. Easy.. That's good."

Johnny immediately let go of the chamber dial.

Paul was nearby, his foot perched on a chair where he stood. "What's that for?"

Gage didn't look up. "To stabilize his heart rate."

Roy frowned, feeling the man's pulse weaken even further as his vascular system
began to shut down. "Look, if you care anything about this man. Then you'll let us--"

But Paul wasn't listening. His face was glistening with sweat. "I really don't need.. for
long. Just to find out where he hid his stash.. He owes me. After I get that,...he can go
to the hospital, or whatever,.. 'cause I'll be long gone." he mumbled, lost in an almost
haze as his addiction began to bite down, demanding surrease.

DeSoto replied. "He's in no condition to talk. Let alone travel.." he said, delivering pure
oxygen into the airway connector.

Paul whirled on him, his gun shaking. "Well, that's your job. You're going with us!" he


Joe, Dixie and Kel looked closely at a recent street map spread out onto the counter

Kel pointed. "It's got to be Twenty Fifth Street and something. He must've given another
clue somewhere."

Detective Sargeant McNally arrived and entered the room. "I'm Sgt. McNally. What's about
a couple of missing paramedics?"

Brackett told him. "They're in some kind of trouble. I think we may know how to locate
where they are. Dix, what are the streets that intersect with 25th from here to the station?"

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"There's Elm, Oak, Spruce.. Maple.. Ash.. Walnut.."

Kel's eyes widened in discovery. "Ash! He said, "ashen". He even repeated it! That's got to
be where they are."

McNally reached for the red phone. "This is McNally. Concentrate the search at the
intersection of 25th and Ash. Right. Quietly. And on foot. We have two firemen paramedics
in some kind of trouble."

Paul was pacing while Gage and DeSoto bent over Les. They had already begun assisted
ventilations on him when his own breathing had faltered a few minutes earlier.

"Why isn't he getting any better?" said Paul, slightly crazed. "He can't even talk." he said,
not comprehending the meaning of his friend's intubation.

Roy didn't move, but he spoke. "We've told you his condition is critical. He only has a chance
at a hospital."

Paul threw up his hands, getting agitated and fretful. His pacing quickened. "I know what
you've told me. But that hospital bit will not work. He's gotta get better here." he told them.
Pic by Trix.. Johnny's Shrine of Worship.

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Two black and white units pulled up near the intersection they had been sent to
and four officers got out.

The first officer began issuing orders. "You and Carl take this side and we'll go around
the street. Keep a look out for the fire truck, it's probably hidden nearby.."

The four officers moved into action.


The Rampart staff and McNally were waiting anxiously for word.

Early looked up from the EKG monitor that was still running on live display.
"His condition is getting worse."

Kel moved to the black phone. "I'll get an ambulance to go down near the intersection
and wait." He started to dial out.

McNally rubbed his chin. "I sure hope this 25th and Ash hunch is right." he muttered.

Dixie looked at him, her eyes filled with worry. "Don't we all.."


The first set of policemen searched quietly. One of them looked into a garage window.
"Look here.." he motioned to his partner.   The second cop rejoined him. Inside the dark
space, parked Squad 51. They drew back from the window and peered about at the
nearest house. "They're probably in that place somewhere." said the older one, pointing at
the Victorian two story next to the garage.

His partner frowned. "But where?"  The first officer motioned, coming up with a plan.
They started slowly toward the first floor doorway when one of the officers spotted the
hemostat that Gage had dropped. He picked it up. It was very close to the stairwell winding
up the side of the house. So the two officers followed that route cautiously, their pistols
ready.  They made it to the landing and soon spotted Johnny's clothes shears on the mat.
Now they knew they had the right door. They squared off on either side of the door frame
and began. "Police officers! Open the door!"

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Inside the apartment, Paul was stunned at the announcement, his eyes casting to Roy
and Johnny who were still caring silently for Les. He said the first thing that came to
his fevered mind. "Not on your life!"  he said, whirling to the front door.

Gage saw his chance and he took it. He dove at Paul, knocking him to the floor and
over an arm chair. The gun went off, discharging into the ceiling. The two alerted officers
kicked in the door and rushed over to assist Johnny and soon had Paul spread eagle and
face down, safely away from his weapon. They handcuffed him quickly and began
reading the confused druggie his rights. "All right, on your feet! You have the right to
remain silent. If you give up the right..." Their voices continued, but neither paramedic
heard them.

DeSoto restored their connection to the hospital as the commotion died down behind him.
"Rampart, this is Rescue 51. Situation is now under control. We can now transport patient."
He said, eyeing up Johnny, who was getting himself together physically and mentally

Kel celebrated and so did the others at the hospital. "There should be an ambulance at
your location any moment. Keep monitoring vitals and get him in here stat. By the way,
are you guys okay?"

The officers took Paul out roughly as the ambulance attendants came in with their
gurney. Roy sighed in relief when he saw Johnny begin to do the same thing. "We're
fine, Rampart. Thanks to Johnny. Ambulance is here..." DeSoto said, his voice cracking
with emotion.

The two paramedics helped load Les up for the trip into the E.R. and soon, they
were leaving the criminals' hideout den swiftly. The only casualty was their tattered
emotions in the end.

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It was several hours later at Rampart and it was night. There was a nurse on duty in
Fireman Demick's hospital room. Roy and Johnny had been visiting with Roger and
his wife sharing a few tales along the way. But it was getting late. So both of them stood
respectfully, mindful of Roger's still tender condition.

Roy said. "Don't worry. You just rest. We'll visit you again."

Gage and DeSoto started to leave.

Roger whispered, looking up at them from within his bandages. "One more thing. I know
my firefighting days are over. But I've got it all planned. I'm going back to school on my
G.I. bill. Heck, with that, and my disability, we'll do fine.." he promised.

Molly fussed over her husband, smiling. "Honey, you'd better rest."

Demick sprung his surprise goal on them. "All right, but in about five and a half years,
you'll know who to come to, to get your teeth fixed." he joked.

Gage and DeSoto smiled. "A dentist.. How about that." Johnny celebrated.

Roy lifted up his hand in farewell. "Hang in there, Rog."

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Johnny did they same as they opened the door. "Catch you later."

They left the room and the door closed shut on the sight of Roger and Molly
embracing each other in support. And love.


The squad backed into the station deftly in the darkness. The squad stopped in its usual
place and Gage and DeSoto got out wearily to head for the kitchen. It had been a long
day, and neither one of them hid how beat they were.

As they entered the brightly lit room, the firemen all started getting up.  

Chet grinned cheekily when they had finished. "Let's hear it for the returning heroes!" he
crowed. And he led them all into a hearty round of applause.

Gage grinned, bemoaning happily. "That's enough, guys. We're starved!"

Kelly beamed. "Well, Marco and I made you guys something very special. You two just
have a seat." he said eagerly, putting on some oven mitts and an apron.

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The two paramedics sat down as Chet moved to the oven and opened it. He brought out
a steaming dish that smelled heavenly and very rich with cheese. "It's Chili Rellenos a la
Lopez and Irish Stew a la Kelly." he said as Marco retrieved a second huge pot.

Johnny closed his eyes, leaning back with his hands folded behind his aching neck.
"Sounds terrific. Bring it on." he said, cracking open a cloth napkin and tying it around
his throat.

Marco and Chet brought over a pair of plates while the others poured out hot cups of coffee
and pushed forward the salt and pepper shakers to within easy reach.

Roy thought of something as he dug in to the hot food. "Yeah, hey, Chet. How come you've
been doing all the talking. The last time we saw you, we--"

Kelly scoffed good naturedly, continuing where he left off. "...thought I was screwy. I did, too."
he admitted. "However, I've found out differently now." he said.

Gage blinked in surprise, doing his best to chew, fully chipmunk cheeked. "You mean you're
off this psychic kick?"

The other firemen looked at each other knowingly, amused.

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Chet drew up to his full modest height. "On the contrary. I'm convinced I have the power!"
he declared mysteriously.

Johnny threw up a hand, doubtfully. "Come on."

Kelly said, "Is that all the thanks I get for saving you guys?" he said, perching his butt on the
back of Roy's chair.

Roy stopped his eager chewing. "Saving us?" he asked.

Chet nodded eagerly. "Yes, while you were being held hostage, I just put my powerful
thoughts to work, and hoped you'd get out of it." he shrugged happily.

Gage's mouth dropped open and he mocked. "And that convinced you that you're a psychic?"

Kelly angled his head in challenge, not at all offended. "Why you're here. Safe and sound.
Aren't you?"

Johnny sputtered. "Yes, but..."

He was drowned out by the full laughter erupting from the rest of the gang as Kelly failed
keep a straight face any longer as the gem of the week long joke on Johnny sparkled into
being. It took a while for Johnny to forgive them all, but he finally managed a chuckle or two
good naturedly before the last bite of supper disappeared into his gut.

Then Roy and he shared a look of gratitude at cheating fate once again that day for long
moments in deep contentment, at peace, at last.


Episode Forty Eight, Season Six.
Hostage©, by Susan Keenan©.
Emergency Theater Live

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                 By Susan Keenan
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