"Trust me. You're gonna beat me. I'm an expert blood sprayer. I'm a fireman paramedic." |
rolling his eyes at Rosalie. "But you know what? I'm gonna cheat a little first.
See this clear paste
on my finger? It's medicine. It's gonna numb up your skin a little so that
prick will be even less
than a paper cut for pain. Want some?"
Joshua shook his head. "That'd be cheating." he said confidently.
Gage blinked in surprise. "Wha-- uh, all right. Let me just swab you down then." he said
off the lidocaine gel onto his pants leg.
Arnold acted all surgical assistant in mock for Joshua's
entertainment. "Swab.." she said,
smacking an alcohol pad into Johnny's fingers. "Rubber binder."
she said of the tourniquet.
"Water poker.." she said about the needle guide over the catheter.
Joshua giggled nervously. Then he screwed his eyes shut bravely and tried not to flinch.
stuck a vein expertly and got a flashback.
"...ee..." peeped Joshua.
Rosalie shared, still holding Joshua's arm still in between firm hands.
The boy bravely shut up.
Then finally his eyes cracked wide open. "Is it time yet?"
"Yep." said Johnny, and he pulled out
the needle. The boy's blood went flying from the I.V.
catheter's exposed end onto the wall behind
"Wow!" said Joshua. "It went twenty feet up! I swear it did. Auntie, did you see that?!"
"I did, Joshua." said Bernie, holding his face hiding wife. "Nice job."
he said proudly. "That's
gotta be a record."
"Why did mine get so high up, Mr. Gage?"
"That's because your heart's beating so fast." he grinned, finishing his taping job. He followed
by wrapping the boy's arm onto a soft I.V. board to keep it protected from bumps.
"Okay, one flat
seven up, wide open." he promised, dialing up Joshua's new I.V. as high as
it could go.
held still expectantly. "Hey, how come I don't taste anything?"
Rosalie started chuckling. "That's
because your veins don't have taste buds. They're pretty
"Oh. Too bad." said Joshua,
slumping back into his aunt's arms to study Gage's wrap job and
the I.V. tubing in detail.
held up a finger. "No picking at it. Or germs'll get in and make you sick." he warned.
replied the boy. He immediately yawned and his head started doing a head
bob, fighting sleep.
"Okay, get some shut eye. When you wake up, that dry tongue of yours will be long gone."
pulling up a sheet over Joshua's shoulders. "Just like we promised."
"Thank you." Gertie mouthed
silently in gratitude.
Johnny sighed in satisfaction and flipped back onto his back. "No problem.
I'm a huge fan of
the Arm Water Club." he said loud enough for Joshua to hear.
The boy finally
relaxed in his aunt's arms and slumbered.
From: patti k (email@example.com)
Sent: Mon 11/22/10 2:26 AM
The last chink in the wall barrier inside Caisson Four
fell away, revealing a
tiny hole that opened into the pitch black space beyond. A USAR firefighter
wearing an air bottle inserted a chemical sniffer and operated a switch
on it while the others stood
well away for safety. Through his sweaty mask,
a smile suddenly broke out onto his face. "Slightly
elevated carbon dioxide
and ample oxygen. We've still got breathing people in there!" he announced,
motioning the heavy equipment team back into the crawl space they
had all excavated. "No poisonous
Roy kept his relief guarded. "What exactly does he mean by that?"
Brice answered, smiling softly. "Only carbon dioxide is made by living
things or by things that
used to be living being burned. The fact that he
picked up no traces of carbon monoxide means nothing's
on fire nor has
been anywhere near us. So that means there's guaranteed good life signs
least some of our victims."
"How high are the levels?" asked Robert Cooper, hanging onto his radio.
The hazmat firefighter replied, "They may be a little sleepy in there, but
it's nothing life
threatening. Won't be for a long time."
"Okay, shove in that hose and start flooding their space
with medical oxygen.
Make sure the percentage stays between 19.5 and 22 percent. Anything
or below those numbers means we abandon this site until we establish
new ventilation holes to fix
the imbalance from a safer location." Robert ordered.
The fireman nodded, working quickly to provide
their unseen victims breathing
Behind him, Brice nodded approval. "Nineteen point five
means black out risks
for unprotected rescuers or stalled motorized equipment and the high number
is the point where a spark started fire cannot be put out by any means."
"I remember my fire
physics, Craig." Roy said with annoyance.
"Sorry, I analyze out loud sometimes when I'm not in
charge of a rescue."
Robert was oblivious to the two paramedics behind him.
aside for a moment." he said to the digger who had broken through.
"I'm gonna try something new to
get their attention. We've got greater access
now." Cooper set a megaphone right up against the orange
sized hole that they
had spent nearly seven hours of careful work chipping open. "This is the Los
Angeles County Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue Team. If you
can hear me, come to the
sound of my voice!" he shouted. Then he motioned
for silence with a dusty glove. He aimed a hasty
flashlight inside to send in a
bright beam of light as another signal.
A sharp piercing scream
of a child running to them shocked the whole
group. A scratched and bloody arm suddenly thrust through
hole to grab at Robert's shoulder frantically in a mindless, death like grip.
Brice!" Robert yelled for them, gently keeping the panicking
child from clutching his jacket.
"Hey! You in there!" Roy shouted, quickly rushing forward. He gripped the child's |
arm right back
to offer tangible comfort. "Don't panic. We see you. What's your
name?" He struggled for a moment
along with Brice, trying not to inflict
any harm to the existing injuries they could see on their
patient's arm. "Listen to
me. We're gonna get you out of there real soon. But you're gonna have to
calm down so you don't hurt yourself any worse. Do you understand me?"
The most base animalistic
cry was the only reply.
Brice shook his head. "Altered level. Pulse's racing. We're gonna need
a sedative." he said.
"I'll get your drug box." volunteered Robert. He quickly got it.
shifted around to snug the child's arm underneath his armpit in
a safe restraining hold with his back
to the wall.
"I've got a good grip. It won't break free." he grunted.
"How old would you say?
You have kids." Brice asked DeSoto.
"Five, maybe six." Roy strained. "Hurry, Brice."
am. Guessing sixty five pounds average weight. Going with short acting
Diazepam : 0.2 mg/kg." he gasped,
drawing up the medication swiftly
into a syringe from a vial.
The screams grew louder and
increasingly more frenzied when the child
behind the wall found no easy escape.
"Wait a minute, what about a possible allergic reaction? You
don't know anything about this kid."
"This panic attack is life threatening. Just look at all the lacerations! These
are self inflicted."
Roy said angrily. "Gonna have to chance it!"
"Okay. Okay." Cooper said, backing off. "You're the
expert. I'm not a
"Craiggg." Roy gasped with effort to not exert too much of his
onto the slippery arm.
"I got it. I got it. Going for a vein. Lock your muscles down."
He quickly dumped a hasty, liberal splash of alcohol over the child's
skin, all over.
Then he chose his spot to stab down with a fast plunge of
The child howled and
tried to jerk free from Roy's grip with inhuman
"Roy!" warned Brice.
"Not moving an inch." DeSoto strained. "Go ahead and push it!"
Brice took exactly three seconds
to inject everything.
"It's all in. Hold on now." Brice said, jerking out the needle and syringe.
He tossed it away into a crack in the ground.
A half minute later the loud screams behind the hole quickly fell away|
into rapid gasps that grew
deeper in a solid medicated effect. Roy felt
the child's muscles sag as the urge to fight was quickly
the circulating Valium to leave. "Guys, I'm not gonna let go to prevent a
Work around me." he gasped, his face wet with perspiration.
"We can do that." Robert said. "Pry
bars!" he snapped to his team.
"Protect that arm with swaddling. We've got to expose at least a head
as soon as we can!" he ordered.
Firemen rapidly maneuvered three halligans in a ring around the
lip of the
hole to break away even more chunks of crumbling concrete. A minute
later, a tawny
head finally tumbled through limply, half out.
"It's a girl!" said a USAR man as long muddy hair
noodled down the wall.
Brice braced the girl's head and neck so she had a good airway
"Get her some oxygen." Craig ordered.
A support man pointed a spare O2 tank's bare tubing on a
fast flow in
front of the mud coated girl's lolling nose and mouth. "Is she awake?" he
wiping thick slime away from around her lips and nostrils with
a few gloved fingers.
She's just been numbed. Breathing's gonna be fine." Brice replied.
"Get that hole bigger so we can
get her safely out and onto a board."
"Found an active bleeder." Roy said pulling a bright red
"Where?" asked Craig peeling back the girl's eyes in a pupil check
where she was
partially shoulder draped through the hole as USAR
carefully made it larger. "She is shocky."
"Top of her head. It's fresh." he said, replacing his work glove again directly
over the wound to
control the hemorrhage. "No soft spots or depressions.
Gotta be just a scalp tear." DeSoto said,
feeling around with his other hand
where he couldn't see because of close quarters with so many.
to hate the unrevealing size of the hole in the wall.
Finally, a large boulder of
pavement gave way in an avalanche of pulverized
powder, releasing their trapped victim. Brice shoved
his arms in further,
supporting the girl's back on top of his arms with her head resting level
one of his jacketted shoulders. Quickly other hands began stabilization
as they slowly maneuvered
her free and out of the broken wall.
As soon as she was gone, Cooper was back at the gap, with
The hole wasn't yet large enough for a full sized man to squeeze through.
is USAR Rescue! Anybody there?!"
The listener on the probe near them suddenly gave a thumbs up.
"I got a reply. A male voice in a yell. But it's faint. Real faint."
"Start shoring up that ceiling
in there. Then we'll go in once it's safe."
Robert said to the USAR and Navy Seal teams surrounding
DeSoto and Brice had already tuned them out to focus their whole
attention on the girl
they had placed onto a flat surface out in the open.
Another man took over for Roy in controlling
the girl's head bleeding with
a large compress. Craig still angled the child's jaw forward for breathing
room while her ragged breaths continued reacting to the Diazepam. Roy
peeled off his soiled work
gloves for medical ones from a bag. He quickly
cut away the child's shredded clothes looking for
obvious injuries. He found
only bruises and nicks. A coordinated log roll found pretty much the same
story on her back and lower half. They quickly bundled her up in warm, dry
blankets after securing
her spine, legs and head with the straps inside of a
small Kendrick extrication device.
"Keep her on blow by. She's gonna snap out of it pretty quick here." Roy said|
to the fireman keeping
up her indirect oxygen flow. The little girl's unfocused
open eyes began to stop their aimless wandering
and started focusing on
shapes. The first one, was Roy's face. She moaned in the first signs of intelligent
fright as she began crying noiseless tears. "Shhh. It's okay, hon." DeSoto
soothed. "You're safe.
We're firemen who've come to rescue you. What's
your name? Can you talk?" DeSoto encouraged with
a warm smile.
She began to sob huge wracking silent cries, but she never looked away
eyes. Finally, her lips worked. "I'm Chl..Chloe.." she whispered.
"Chloe? Okay. That's a very
pretty name. I'm Roy and this is Craig and
we're gonna take really good care of you. But first, can
you tell us who
else was in that hole with you?"
Chloe swallowed on automatic, still a little
fuzzy from the sedative.
"I don't know. I didn't know any of them.."
d-- I can't remember.." she frowned in confusion.
"That's okay. Did you see men and women with
you?" asked Brice,
as he took the girl's first BP.
"Yeah." she said dully, shivering.
felt her carotid pulse for a count. "122, regular." he reported.
"Shall we try again, captain?" he
asked Cooper, looking up.
"No, that's all the information we need to go on." Robert said, looking
down at them. "She's just confirmed she was with at least some
of the others we saw on the imager."
he turned his head to the fireman
on the sound probe. "How far would you say?"
Depends on whether or not there's a bend or a wall or
two in the way of direct line of sight from
the microphone." he said.
Cooper ducked his head in frustration. "Mmm." he grunted. "Okay.
enough. Quit the probe and start setting up the girl's stokes for
a lift outta here topside. I'll
call in the Coast Guard chopper
when the paramedics say they're ready for one."
"Five minutes. She's stable. We just want to staunch this scalp
wound's flow a little
better." Brice told him. "Some of it's arterial."
"Standing by." Robert waved. Then he turned
back a sharp
focus on his men who were literally building supports to hold up
the top of the hole
and the passageway leading beyond it. He
could barely see five feet within it, the darkness was so
::No wonder she was screaming, what a nightmare.:: he thought.
Brice looked up at Roy.
"You disappointed that she didn't have
signs of first aid done on her, too?"
"Yeah. I was kind
of hoping that Johnny would have left his
mark, you know?"
"We're on a hot trail, DeSoto. That's
sure better than yesterday."
Roy nodded in agreement eagerly and bent down low to
Chloe's mental status once more.
From: patti k (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu 11/25/10 10:25 PM
Subject: Fresh Eyes...
The freeway was utterly devoid of evacuation traffic.
had all been redirected away from the sea a half day ago.
Frank Poncherello and Jon Baker
were travelling slowly along
a cliff top highway on their motorcycles, parallelling the coastline.
Every so often, they'd pull over onto the deserted margin and
peer down the drop off to the rocks
below to look for survivors
from wave destroyed boats or cars on the beach level highway
used to course below them.
There wasn't much of its pavement left. Only twisted guard rails
water scoured, mud filled craters.
Ponch took off his helmet as he set one foot on a rock to peer
over the edge. There was nothing left of the wide sand margin that
he knew used to be Roy Rogers State
Park off of the PCH. That
freeway, didn't exist any more. "One. Two. Three.. " he counted,
through his dry sea salted sunglasses. "Four bodies, Jon.
And a charter fishing boat, keeled. Its
sails are still up so I assume
it was manned when the tsunamis struck. Air pockets seem very
I can see surface water all the way to the top where the
exposed hull's been cracked open."
"Got it." he said, writing down notes onto their disaster
survey pad. "Anything or anyone hung up on the cliff rocks?"
Baker asked. "We're at mile marker 14."
"Nothing." Ponch said grimly. "There's just those dead beach goers
floating out along the
kelp line. It's a sheer face. No one would have
been able to climb that at all to get away. Not without
And who packs any mountain gear for a picnic lunch at the beach?"
"We'll find somebody, Ponch. We always do. All we have to do is
cover enough ground." Jon said softly,
resting a glove on Frank's
"I know that, partner. It's just so frustrating.
Here we have all of this
special EMS training and we haven't been able to use any of it yet for
whole entire day." said Frank. "I'm getting sick of tallying corpses."
"Come on. One more mile. Then we'll break for dinner back at USAR|
Base Camp, all right?" Baker suggested.
"Okay." said Ponch, suddenly emotionally tired. "One more go."
On the next stop, their elevated
highway had taken them around a
corner that led to a wide view of the bay where the Vincent Thomas
Toll Bridge used to be. They could see a flurry of activity by some rescue
boats and soon, a
Coast Guard helicopter began hovering over a caisson
remnant practically in the middle of it.
"Where is that exactly?" Frank asked, pointing.
"That's.." Jon held up a gloved hand with fingers
along the horizon, measuring eyeballed horizontal handspans, one
by one. "Caisson
number four, I think. Looks like USAR, Baywatch,
and the L.A. County firefighters have found somebody.
our two missing ambulance folk." he hoped.
Ponch didn't take his eyes away from
the stokes stretcher slowly
being hoisted up to the receiving hatch of the chopper. "Nah, uh.
don't buy that. That just doesn't wash."
"Are you trying to be funny?" Baker asked, faintly disgusted.
"No, G*d no. Just think about it, Jon. That dead EMT Mel Turner bailed
Mayfair Three immediately
after he spotted the wave coming according
to Captain Cooper. And both he and that rig were found
swept up, still
fairly intact, on the beach. The physics in my head about of all that moving
at the speed in which it came says, there's no way in H*ll that rig was
ever out as far as caisson
four to ride that wave back the same distance
without being thoroughly disintegrated first. There's
got to be at least three
quarters of a mile separating us and where those rescuers are working right
Jon considered. "I'll buy that." He bit his lip. "So... What's the closest point
think it was then in actuality? I don't trust my own guesses. You've always
beaten me hands down when
it comes to thinking out any accident reconstruction
"Caisson One." Ponch said with
"You're sure about that?"
"I'll bet my badge on it." Frank said seriously.
Jon just nodded and hurried back to his bike. He jammed his helmet back
onto his head and pulled
on his leather gloves again. "Could they have
missed a pocket or two out there? I remember earlier
radio traffic this morning
which said that they checked Caisson One with dogs and didn't find any
"Again, seawater's powerful. I can see scents being disintegrated just
as easily as
I can boats, cars and ambulances." Ponch said. "Maybe
all the traces that search dogs can line up
on are gone. Maybe what clues
are left can be found with human brain power. Remember, they were in
a hurry. And when they were on Caisson One, it was hardly dawn yet. The
light levels weren't that
good then to see much of anything. Remember that
Ponch's infectious probability
dabbling won Baker over. Jon finally nodded.
"Okay. After lunch, let's head back there and take a
look at USAR's painted
markers. That part's still motorcycle accessible off the peninsul--." He broke
off at Ponch's suddenly doubting look about his level of actual commitment.
"Ponch, I'm agreeing with
you. It doesn't hurt going over the area a second
time in my book."
Frank pegged him with
another eager stare.
"The fire department doesn't control us, remember? They can't order us
even if they wanted to." Ponch grinned toothily.
"No, but they can call in the regular police
if they think what we're doing
risks life and limb without a reasonable just cause."
be careful. I still wanna go play Sherlock. Just don't fall into a
crack and die, Jon." Ponch said,
shaking a finger at his partner in jest.
Baker smiled. "Same goes for you, too, partner." he
said, grinning right
back. "Okay, you win. Let's go see if we can try to find our friends using
CHiP tactics and analyses."
"I'm with you all the way. What's a tsunami when you think about it?
just another accident, right? A really big, wet one."
"Yeah, and no tire marks." Baker
Soon, both CHiP officers were screaming back along the lonely highway
for USAR Base
Camp, stationed on the high hill next to bridge entry point one.
From: patti k (email@example.com)
11/30/10 10:58 AM
Subject: Initial Findings...
Bellingham was hoisted up into the Coast Guard
chopper to attend
the little girl who had been found inside of caisson four. He took the
that Roy and Brice had taken on her condition from the frogman
who had retrieved her. "Still conscious?"
he shouted, slipping on a
"Yeah. Her name is Chloe." replied the wet
"Breathing got a little fast on the way up. I.V.'s TKO."
"Bump it up to
full flow now that we're done jostling her around."
"Yes, sir. By the way, Rampart's full. We're
heading for Sinai."
Bellingham nodded at the news. Then the blond haired moustached
looked down at his young patient. "Hi." he said to Chloe, who
was still gripping the edges of the
stokes so hard that her knuckles were
white. He was heartened to see that she could focus on him
she didn't say anything. A pulse check confirmed for him what he thought
her. "You watched, huh?"
She blinked very fast, still terrified. "Y-You firemen do this every
she peeped, not really calming down after her aerial cable lift experience.
"We're so high
"Piece of cake." he said, flashing his warm teeth at her. He began to fuss
another BP. "I'll be with you all the way to the hospital. How's
"What head?" the
girl panted numbly. She didn't even seem to register that
she was strapped down onto a spine board
inside of a solidly secured head
block and cervical collar. Her breaths were fast and short.
Bellingham glanced up at the Guardsman in puzzlement. "Did she faint?"
The diver shook his head.
"They had to use Diazepam. She panicked through a hole." he reported.
Bob nodded, looking down.
"Never mind, Chloe." he said kindly, patting her
shoulder. "Can you tell me who you were with before
you found yourself with
those other drivers behind that wall?"
"I was with.. my school group
from... Hickory Elementary on a field trip."
she said quickly. Her voice was jerky, but strong, fogging
up her oxygen
mask in spite of the fast flow inside of it.
"Do you know where your classmates
are now?" Bellingham encouraged,
thinking ahead about possible new trapped victims.
mouth worked, twitching spastically. Almost a full minute
passed by before she spoke again. "I got
scared after we hit the car in front
of us. I think I jumped out the side door. I remember running
road as fast as I could to get away from the big wave. When I looked back
to see if
anybody else had followed me,.." she broke off, her eyes unblinking
and dull from the sedative Roy
had given her. "..they were gone. There was
nothing behind me any more. Then the road under me fell
and I fell with it."
Bellingham reconnected the leads from her EKG cables back to a portable
"Believe it or not. That was two days ago."
"It was?" shivered Chloe, still tightly finger locked
on the handle bars of her
"Uh, huh." he smiled. "It's Saturday." he said, covering
her up snugly with a
wool blanket over the shock sheet.
"Wow. I'm not... even hungry." she
panted, still bugged eyed and gape
"You probably won't be. You've been through quite
an adventure." Bob told
her. "Just try to relax a little more." he said, finally finding the dose
been given on Roy's paramedic notes. "Chloe, are you in any pain right now?"
she answered, still staring dully around the chopper without seeing
"Okay." he smiled,
trying to get her to make eye contact by leaning over
her face. "Think you can make your fingers let
Her eyes closed. Chloe panted brokenly a few more times under
her oxygen mask. Then
she held her breath and slowly uncurled them with
a concerted effort, sobbing.
"There you go.
You're all right. You're still okay." Bob told her, gripping
them in comfort as he helped her fold
them onto her stomach.
"Why do they feel funny?! They're all stiff!" she said, her voice rising,
her eyes flew back open.
"That's because you were clenching them so hard. Chloe, you're
but fine. Nothing bad is going to happen to you any more. I'm keeping you safe.
my job. Now your job right now is to settle down before you start
panicking again, all right? I
don't want to have to give you any more of that
medicine that is making you feel so weird right now."
Chloe shook with the fear she was feeling that only now was beginning to
show on her sedation
slack face. "What?"
Bellingham kept the smile on his face.
"Try and slow your breathing here.
That's why you're dizzy. It's too fast for lying
down, okay?" Bellingham told her, holding her shoulders.
"That's most of the
weird going on right now inside of you."
"Okay.." she gasped. "I'll try."|
"Take a deep breath, and then hold it as long as you can. That'll
help. I'll be right
here. I'm not going anywhere." he encouraged, glancing up at the racing heartbeat
on her monitor casually, thoroughly unconcerned.
Chloe fought her emotions and won as her
hyperventilation was slowly self
controlled. "Mom tells me to do that, too." she said when it was
over. "It's one
of my exercises."
"Your mom? It's good advice. What's her name?"
"What's her last name?" he said, peering at her eyes with a pen light, one by
one. They were sluggish
from the sedative, but normal.
"And you both live in Torrance?" he said pocketting
"Yes. On Opal Street."
"Okay, Chloe Johnson from Opal Street. Nice to meet you."
shaking her hand. "I'm Bob Bellingham from Fern Avenue. And I went
to the same school
as you when I was little so I guess that makes us
"Really?" she asked, wide eyed,
grasping for any shred of normalcy.
Bob narrowed his eyes at her appraisingly in a challenge.
"In the playground,
there is a tree next to the yellow swing set by the flag pole. If you squeeze
between the fence and the tree there is a secret niche next to it that all the
kids go to in
order to carve their initials into the bark, sight unseen, with a
pair of scissors borrowed from
"You did go to Hickory!" she smiled for the first time, hugely. "You won't tell
one about the tree?" she asked, her face immediately waxing into worry.
"On playground honor,
I won't tell a soul." he chuckled, holding up boy scout
pledging fingers. "Never have, until now."
"When I get better, mom and I are going to go back to look for yours on the
tree." she yawned,
finally relaxing her entire body as she let go of her will.
"Look for B.B.. It's there." he told
"I will." she said, fighting to keep her eyes open as sheer exhaustion set in.
you, Mr. Bellingham."
"See? Nothing wrong with your memory. You're going to be just fine, C.J."
"Yep, that's me. And I got my initials higher up than anyone's." The little girl
as she fell quickly asleep. "I dare you to go look if you don't b---"
She fell silent, snoring peacefully.
Bob corrected her airway by readjusting a chin strap and smiled right back at her
of his own daughter the same age who was safely evacuated
away from the coastline.
a signal on his biophone and got a doctor to respond to his call for
a patient condition report. "Sinai
Base, this is Squad 51. How do you read?"
##This is Dr. Benobi, go ahead.## came a voice.
"Sinai, we've a female aged ten years, victim of a bridge collapse, initially
suffering from an acute
anxiety attack. She has numerous self inflicted cuts
and abrasions about her face, arms and hands
with a larger one on the back
of the head. Bleeding has been controlled. We've established an I.V.
and had to use emergency Valium. Anxiety effects have been neutralized.
Vital signs are: B.P.
post sedation is 74 over 50, pulse 110 and regular,
pupils are equal and reactive. Respirations have
settled from hyperventilations
to... eighteen and shallow, without distress. Patient has been C-Spine
immobilized for precautionary measures and is on 100% O2. Stand by for
a strip. This will be
Lead II." he reported.
##Standing by, 51.##
Roy DeSoto and
Craig Brice were crawling deep inside the crack leading
away from the hole in which they had rescued
the little girl. They were
following behind four USAR firefighters, armed with headlamps and
"Carbon dioxide's building. They're around here somewhere. Look sharp."
said one of
them, studying the air sniffer's small screen.
The crevasse between concrete slabs suddenly widened
into a small
maintance room through a hole in a wall and inside they all heard a familiar
It was the male victim they had heard when Captain Cooper had called
out using his megaphone ten
"Split up!" said the team's lieutenant. "Keep down until you find some head room."
"Blood over here." said Brice, seeing some by his glove as he slowly stood
up in the larger space.
"And here." said another fireman.
"I'm coming over there." said DeSoto in the darkness to
Brice and the others.
Their tiny pools of battery light finally converged onto a pair of feet.
victim. "Here's one!" said Roy working his way headward.
"I found one, too. A female.
Looks like she's been impaled through the abdomen."
reported Brice. "She's alive." he said after a
quick pulse check. "Bleeding's minimal.
It's being dammed up." Brice said. "I want nobody jostling
that rod until we've
got a pair of I.V.s going in wide open."
The USAR team members finished
their searching sweep of the space. "I've got
another older female over here." said another. "Pulse's
"Is she conscious?"
"No." replied the firefighter. "Breathing's adequate."
"I'll be right there." said Brice. "Check her for anything life threatening." he said,
to the first woman's side to take a look at her impalement injury. "Floor
to ceiling, huh?" he muttered,
checking out the angling of the rod piercing her body.
"A torch will handle this better than a saws-all."
he suggested to the USAR team
"I agree." said the USAR man with him who was monitoring the woman's vital signs.|
over his shoulder. "Roy, how's your man?"
"Awake, but confused. I can't find anything wrong with
him." DeSoto replied about
the first man they had found. "The blood around him's not his."
might be the little girl's. Pre-existing condition?" Brice asked.
"Most likely. Pulse's weak."
Then he thought of something. He leaned down and
checked the smell of the man's breath. "Craig, his
breath is sweet."
"Yep. I'll get an insulin drip going. Then I'll check
out that other woman."
A crackle came over their HTs. ##USAR One to USAR Two. Progress report?##
Cooper's voice. He was still back at the entrance to the hole leading to the way
"Three victims in a breached room at one hundred twelve feet on the rope." replied
firefighter to Robert. "Two females and a male, one is trapped by impalement.
We're going to need
cutting gear and mast trousers along with their stokes."
Brice nodded in affirmation, flashing
a thumbs up at the idea.
##10-4, I'll get things prepped. Two of you work your way back along
for the gear. I'll have it ready in three.##
Brice looked up from the
BP he was getting on the abomen stabbed woman.
"Roy, you don't look happy."
"We can't ask them
about Rosalie and Johnny. They're in no condition to talk."
"So let's wake
up the man and then ask him. It shouldn't take long to get his
blood sugar back down to normal levels.
He's the best candidate for that."
"You're right." Roy nodded.
"No, I'm just guessing.
As soon as we evacuate these three, we can go on
searching the area. Bound to be some clues turning
up soon." Brice said.
"I sure hope so." Roy muttered, quickly swabbing a place down on the man's
arm in which to start his I.V. "Nobody's looking for them harder than we are."
From: patti k (firstname.lastname@example.org)
12/02/10 1:05 PM
Subject: A Breather...
Dr. Brackett found Dixie by the Logistics table in
was reading a message from CA-2. She saw Kel as she was
sitting down onto a chair
wearily, clutching the note with dubious
"Another change?" he asked, giving her
a hug along with a fresh
cup of coffee.
She gratefully accepted both. "Oh, bless you. I think
half coffee by now, but oh, well." she said toasting him with it
before downing the
whole cup in a few expert swallows. McCall let
out a long satisfied sigh afterwards. "Oh, that's good."
in pleasure with a huge smile. Then she frowned. "To answer your
question, yeah, another
one. Only this time, I'm not so sure it's a good
"Oh? What did the chief say?" Kel asked.
"He's standing down all of Mayfair Company for the rest of the night. Including
me. Seems a backup
company from Nevada's here and can cover our routes
Dr. Brackett didn't look away from
her. "Go. No.. Run. While you still can. Joe,
Mike and I can handle it here easily until morning.
Things have hit a lull strangely
enough. The coroner's services are now busier than we are."
She smacked him a good one, lightly, across the shoulder."Tell me that isn't due|
to a failing on our
"It's not. From the EMS perspective, that's a plus. It means that we've kept up
the demand and excelled at it. The body count now is just a reflection of
the size and scope of this
disaster. It's running the length of the state, Dix.
It's anywhere there's a coastline or elevation
less than twenty five feet above
sea level and up to a quarter of a mile inland. I give it another
first responder injuries and illnesses start cropping up due to errors in judgment
of fatigue. Battalion's trying to offset that effect before it happens.
That curve will only rise
when victim numbers among the general public.."
"...start outstripping our rescue services, causing
higher personnel casualties.
Mainly, for not keeping safe enough while working." she said dryly.
Kel smirked. "I see you've attended the same disaster management classes
I have." he sighed.
for the course, Kel. A head of a department is a head of a department,
nursing or doctoring. We're
both in white." she shrugged matter of factly.
"Hmmmm." he agreed, stretching out sore muscles
as he got way too
comfortable in the chair next to hers. He closed his eyes, briefly giving in
the weariness that was sagging even his skin. "Trade you places." he
sighed. "You can have it." he
said spreading his arms wide from where he
"Nah Uhh. No way. That lab coat is allll
yours, including the job that matches
the size of what we nurses call your paycheck." she chuckled.
"It's big." he nodded in grudging surrender about their disaster assignments
and an honest opinion
about his salary.
"Yep. So enjoy. I guess I'm out of here." she capitulated, rising gingerly out
of her chair to her very tender feet. "But I'll be d*mn*ed if I'm gonna sleep
through any of this."
She turned back to him. "You already know where I'm heading. Want me to
around a little once I get there to see how things are going?"
"Yeah, could you do that? Seems
like our usual busy hospital stomping grounds
are suddenly a very small place compared to what we've
the last forty eight hours." said Dr. Brackett. "It would be nice to hear of news
home." he said seriously. "Give my regards to Sharon when you see her?"
Dixie nodded and blew
him a kiss as she ambled tiredly away. "I will. Watch your
rear, Kel, or I'm gonna kick it up to your
teeth if I find out you're overdoing it."
He made a shooting shotgun in acknowledgement to extend
the same threat
right back at her, but lightly.
"Annoying having a boyfriend. I think I might
try going single for a while."
"You already have for eight years. I can wait a little longer."
She swiped an arm in his direction for him to pipe it down as she giggled.
for the lift, Vince." Dixie said as she opened up the black and white
squad car's passenger door.
"No problem. I'm on my way to pick up a parent for a child Squad 51's flying
to Sinai." he
She waved and started heading for Rampart's emergency doors.
"Oh, and Dixie?"
"Flash your badge and they'll let you in. They're still in lock down." Howard
"Oh, you mean like this?" she asked, posing, suggestively coquettish,
showing him some
fully trousered nursing uniformed leg from around the
fire jacket that Brice had given her to use
for warmth from the night before.
Vince blushed crimson and tire squealed out of the drop off
lane before he
had to reply back.
Dixie smirked. "Even half dead from lack of sleep, I still
got it." she grinned,
trudging up to the doors to ring the night bell. *Rinnnng.*
intercom snicked into life. ##This is Rampart Emergency, what's
yours?## said a very familiar voice.
It was Betty. Dixie glanced up to see that
the outer security camera light was on the air and realized
the beef was up.
"It's me." Dixie replied, rolling her eyes at the depressed talk button under
##Who?## challenged a second warm voice. This time recognizable as Carol.
cocked her jaw, hearing the jest fully in her coworker's voice and didn't
lose her exterior cool,
but her smile leadened just a bit."Little pig, little pig,
let me in!" she stage whispered, more
bite than purr.
##Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin..## replied Betty, tittering.
"Well you've sure got enough of them." McCall groused, trying to hurry the joke|
came a chorus from the clustering staff at the security desk
Dixie planted her
feet and plied the Voice. "Then I'll huff and I'll puff,..
##Wait a minute, guys.
Hurry up and buzz the door or she'll actually do it.##
said Sharon Walters urgently, naively worried.
Dixie just shook her head, beaming from ear to ear as she traipsed past
the secondary door electronically
unlocked for her.
"Sorry, Dixie." Walters demurred once they were face to face.
passed off her fire jacket to her counterpart with a shrug.
"It's all right. We all get the same sense
of lame humor during times
like these. I know. I've been doing it long enough myself." she smiled.
"How's it going?" she asked, casting an appraising eye all around
the crowded, but quiet, hallway
they had entered.
Sharon took in a deep breath, ready with an answer. "Everyone's
prodded, x-rayed, categorized, and interviewed,.. but
some haven't been treated past rehydration or
basic life threat
management. We've about a hundred or so, still lining the hallways on
Dixie merely nodded, not reaching for Sharon's incident sheets on her
clip board. McCall
crossed her arms in every semblance of close listening.
Walters finally caved in. "I feel like
I'm moving from one staff-to-patient
conundrum to the next." Sharon moaned, letting off her stress
McCall just smiled. "That tight roped, teeth clenching, gut reaction you've
described is absolutely normal. Happens to everyone suffering middle
management as a job." Dixie replied,
hitching a hip onto a counter top.
Sharon just slumped on the stool behind the main emergency
tossing Dixie's fire turnout carelessly over her shoulder and onto the floor.
reaction just made Dixie's grin deepen even further.
"Oh, yeah?" Walters asked sullenly. "So
what's the antidote?"
"That's easy. It's handling one--"
"...one thing at a time." Sharon
parroted eagerly, wide eyed. "Oh, I figured
that out. It's sort of forced on you all the stronger,
the more physically
crowded you get with visitor and patient numbers." Walters sucked in
analyzing. "But it's far from easy. I feel like a student again."
"All true." said Dixie, holding
out her hand warmly. "Congratulations. You're
officially a head nurse in my book. Now all you have
to do is turn gray. Then
people will actually start trying to listen to what you have to say to them."
"Only then? Dixie, I'm still young." she countered. She immediately backtracked
at the look on
Dixie's face. "I didn't mean it that way. I.. oh, you know what I
meant." she said, crossing her
arms over each other self consciously.
McCall immediately pulled them down."Appearance is everything.
oodles, I've found, if you don't give them any choices to haggle over. Just
say it like
it is. Then jump straight into what the consequences are going to
be if they don't follow your angle."
"I'm not a toughie. You are." Sharon sighed.
Dixie pegged Sharon on the nose to cheer her.
"The secret is to never break
eye contact. Ever. Not until you've said every word on your mind about
"Mmm Hmm. You see, management doesn't require any physical strength.
like firefighting or police work. All it takes is a little moxy, finessing, and a whole
up front in-your-face, disguised with some class. Act like you know what
you're doing. And that'll
take you miles."
Sharon looked skeptical.
Dixie just waved a dismissive hand. "Oh, just
give it a while. You'll figure it out.
Watch me corral both Roy and Johnny some time with my lion
eyes move. I
can make them do anything I want business wise.." McCall yawned hugely.
saying a single solitary word."
Walters studied Dixie thoughtfully for a few moments. Then she
rose from her seat
to go fetch a fresh pot of coffee that had finished brewing. She offered it to
who shook her head vigorously in the negative.
"I'm way beyond the caffeine cure." she
sniffed. "The only thing that'll save this girl
is a hot shower in the resident's locker room and
warm bed. Here." she said,
pulling her Mayfair HT out of her pocket. "I'll sleep better if this isn't
in range of
my highly skilled nursing ears."
"For what do you want me to wake you?" Walters
"Don't." she shrugged. "It can't get any worse than it already is."
a point there. Happy dreams, Nurse McCall." Sharon beamed as Dixie
abandoned her down the hallway
to the tune of the prospect of a long, hot shower
and comfy sheets.
"I'm not here. Shhh...."
McCall pantomimed, as she danced quietly away.
Walters immediately felt better, just having her
around, however invisibly.
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