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        En Route
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"No. Completely out of the question. This is a fragile broken bridge, mister, not a
mine collapse. Just...keep doing what you're doing." Robert snapped in frustration.

"Yes, sir." said the contract excavation man. The burly man slapped down his
visor again and immediately started in on the fissure with his powerful jack hammer,
his bare muscles bulging.


It was half an hour later.

Sweat was pouring off of the whole Station 51 crew.

And Henry.  

Chet shouted up the cliff towards Recuperation personnel. "Anybody! We need some
water for our dog!" he panted.

"We'll do that." said Roy DeSoto as two personnel armed with hydration packs
began to jog down to the bridge rubble.

Brice, Bellingham and Roy climbed down the cliff path and onto the caisson's
bed, loaded with equipment.

Chet grinned when he met them halfway, crouching by a staggering Henry
as he stroked him encouragingly. "Man, it's good to see you guys. Got a

"Not orally. He'll puke it up." said Roy, bending down to flip open the squad's
I.V. box. "I just spoke with Doc Coolidge, the vet. He says a ton of saline sub Q
will be best to rehydrate him."

"Under the skin?" Chet grimaced.

"Yeah. Dogs pant, remember?" prompted Brice. "Fast metabolisms." he clarified,
helping Roy set up a short fat needle.

"Okay." Kelly sighed, holding the scruff of Henry's neck. "Glad that's you and not
me, pal." he grunted to the dog, patting the bassett on his heaving sides affectionately.

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"Hold this." said Bellingham, handing Chet an already set up I.V. bag
and tubing.

Then the three paramedics held Henry down and soon had ample fluid flowing
into him through the loose skin scruff on top of his shoulders.

"How much are you allowed to give him?" Kelly asked.

"Doesn't matter. He'll start to pee out any excess. That'll be our cue to stop." said Bob,
gently petting Henry's foaming face. "We'll cool him off a little, too. We brought ice. And
one of USAR's men gave us a search dog vest we can put on him that we can stuff it into."

Chet, Roy, Bob and Brice looked up at where Marco, Ponch, Stoker and Jon were still
combing the rocks. And they were still calling Rosalie and Johnny's names.

"Anything new?" Roy asked tightly.

"Not yet. We have to wait for our star pupil here." Chet grimaced, patting Henry with his
gloves in just the way the dog liked it. Slowly Henry's energy levels began to pick up
again and his eagerness to get back to work began to grow with them.

"Any guesses on who's under there?" Brice asked the others, pointing to the road fissure.

Chet sighed, frustrated.
"We don't know for sure. But Henry pointed a scent there very strongly. So at the very least,
Gage used to be present in that place. Sometime quite recently, if he still isn't."
replied Kelly. "It's far down but there's still plenty of breathing room they're telling us."

"Good." mumbled Roy as he worked on automatic. Henry began to whine, wanting
to get up to search again. It set all the firefighters on edge.

"Boy, it's hot." Bob sighed, fitting the ice vest carefully on Henry around the I.V. catheter
that Roy was holding in the dog's pelt.

"It's just the opposite for them. The night chill probably won't leave. Ever. Not until
we get them out." Chet qualmed.

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From: patti k (
Sent: Sat 1/01/11 12:13 AM
Subject: Light and Dark...

"But not for much longer." said Brice.. "We will get them out. It's just a matter
of time, manpower and--"

"A lot of luck." Chet interjected. He suddenly exclaimed in disgust when something
hot and wet suddenly began dampening his trouser legs. "Uh, okay guys. He's done."

"That quick?" Bellingham said, looking down fast at Henry.

"That quick." Kelly said, pointing to his newly urine soaked legs and shoes. Then he
smiled in spite of it all making fake gagging noises to cheer everyone.

"You'll dry." Roy said seriously, pulling out the catheter of Henry's subcutaneous I.V.
"Okay, buddy. You're good to go. Find Johnny, Henry. Seek him out for us.
He needs you." DeSoto encouraged their dog, who was no longer panting.

Henry lumbered to his feet and swiftly loped back over to the pile that used to
be a bridge tower. He was moving so fast that Chet had to half run to keep up
with him. The motion caught Cap's attention and he finally noticed Brice,
Bob and Roy on the caisson. Gripping his HT, he quickly headed in their direction.

Hank noticed the spent I.V. that Roy was holding. "Was that for one of our men?"
he asked, jogging up to them as they put away their paramedic gear.

"No, Cap. It was for Henry. He was getting a little dry and overheated so Chet
flagged us down. We fixed the problem..." DeSoto replied, washing some dog
blood off of his fingers using a bottle of alcohol. "...with a little ice and a lot of
pushed in fluid."

"You chilled him down? But how--"
Stanley sighed in relief, tipping his head as he listened to the basset's eager baying.
It finally settled down into snuffling silence of intense scent trailing. "Ah, the vest."
he figured out. "Cubes in the pockets?"

"Yep." said Craig Brice. "USAR thought of it."

"Yeah well I wish USAR'd think a little harder about finding Gage and Arnold's
whereabouts." Stanley finally grumbled. "They seem to be stuck more on
reading all of those maps and coordinates than they are about any actual scouting

"Those two waves washed away all the old landmarks. Haven't they realized that
yet?" Bob Bellingham said with exasperation. "One search and sweep in a case
like that is never enough."

Cap tried to grin. "It's their training controlling their reactions. And all that high tech
stuff. That's probably why those two California Highway patrolmen decided to take
matters into their own hands by summoning us in order to get Henry. Now that's
what I call a good use of a noggin."

"Shh. Don't let anyone USAR hear you say that. They might have a complex." Roy sighed.

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Cap let out a long frustrated sigh. Then he looked Roy square in the eyes. "How
are you holding up there?"

DeSoto looked up, surprised. "I'm.. not, Cap. To tell you the truth. It's tearing me
up inside. All of this not knowing. And for days on end."

"Yeah, well, it's hitting all of us hard, too. But we're finally doing something about that.
With Henry. If anyone can sniff out a solution to this whole mess, it's gonna be him.
Even the chief says so." said Cap.

"He does?" Roy asked.

"Yep. I guess he remembers Boot and how he helped us out on all of those rescues
when he was with us. That kind of track record is something no chief ever overlooks.
Even if the one doing it has four legs and a tail." Hank replied, rubbing nervous
fingers over his lips. "I guess he's banking on it, that Henry is another hidden ace in
the deck."

Right then, Henry began howling and baying loudly. Just like he had before at the
fissure in the fractured road a few hundred yards away.

The gang went running along the marker tape USAR had laid down, indicating the
safe route out.

Captain Cooper met them at a visible hole in an exterior tower wall, ribbed with
bent rebar. "What do you got?"

"Another hit on Johnny." Chet told him. "Henry's acting like it's coming from in
there." he said pointing into the darkness.

Robert whistled aloud to get the gas sniffer sent in to check out the gap.
"It's got air flow. That's for sure."

"Maybe that's a way into the core." Ponch said, he and Baker standing near by.

Robert considered. "It could be, we're in the center of the caisson. Maybe this
slab came down on top of it." He pulled out a flashlight and hooked it up to
a retracting cable wheel and dropped it inside like a fishing line. They all
saw its tiny circle of light descend quite a distance down. "That's it! That's
the top of the shaft!" Robert cried out.

"That's what we've been looking for." Ponch said eagerly.

"How far down does it go to hit the bottom of the caisson's base?"
Hank asked.

"About two hundred fifty feet." replied Robert. "They had to dig way down
past the floor of the seabed to the bedrock beneath. After that, they
built a concrete space sideways to house a mechanical room to keep
pumping out seawater."

"This slab doesn't look very thick, Cap. I think all of us might be able
to budge it if we threw our shoulders into it." DeSoto suggested.

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"Let's do it." said Cooper. Soon the engine crew, Roy, Bob, and Brice
along with Ponch, Jon and Robert Cooper were grunting and straining
against the obstructing sheet of concrete crumbled over the hole.

An agonizing minute later and the massive weight of the slab gave way
to tip off of the rim of the jagged shaft hole.

Cooper zip lined his flashlight probe down to the end of its tether.
It disappeared with a liquid splash that echoed up to the firefighters.

"Oh.." Chet exclaimed. "It's filling up with water down there!"

Cooper held up a reassuring glove. "That's just the ballast chamber
at the very bottom. There's a wall protecting a ring of open spaces
leading to the mechanical room around it where the water can't go
according to our maps."

Roy began to shuck off his outer turncoat. "I'm rappelling down there."

"So am I." said Brice. "I'll be your anchor man."

"Wait a minute. We don't know if it's safe enough to use ropes. They
might get snagged on something, break, and cause a fall." Hank told them.

"That's a chance we have to take. Nothing's safe out here, Cap. And
it's not really a risk if we shine enough light down there to show us
the way." DeSoto said.

"Okay. But I'm calling in a chopper to lower you two down. Two hundred
fifty odd feet is too far to hand winch down without losing grip strength."
Cap decided.

Robert Cooper accepted a megaphone that one of his men handed to him.
He hefted it up and shouted down into the shaft. "This is Fire Department
Search and Rescue! If anybody is down there, holler back or bang on

All the firemen and the two CHiP officers held their breaths. Kelly even
silenced Henry's soft whines with a grip on his muzzle.

Long seconds dragged by with just the sound of rippling water echoing
up the shaft. Then they heard it. An older woman's voice. Weak but legible.
"...we''re here! thank g*d..." shouted Aunt Gertie. *Bang Bang*

"How many?!" Robert shouted down again through the speaker.

There was a long pause.. "....three...."

"Who.. ask them who.." Roy prompted.

"What are your names?" Cooper shouted.

Again came the fatigue cracking, far away feminine voice. "...gertie, bernie
and joshua...*cough* ...and somebody else.... who died.." sobbed the voice.

A sick stab of fear plunged through the Station 51 gang like a shot.

"Who?" Robert yelled back down.

" army gal.. ..please.. get us out of here. ..we're so cold..."

Kelly sighed in relief but was also puzzled when Henry's ears remained
pricked with familiarity over the hole. He was making little noises of
recognition. "Cap, ask them about Johnny.." Chet urged quietly.

Hank took the megaphone. "Ma'am.. Two paramedic firefighters are gonna
come down there to get you. But now we need to know who else is down
there with you. We're missing two ambulance personnel, a..Johnny Gage
and Rosalie Arnold. Have you seen them?" he said, his voice amplifying
greatly in the dark yawning space between them.

"...yes... but they're gone....they went to look for another way out a few
hours ago..."

Hank tried to swallow disappointment and happiness. He glanced over
and saw that Roy was failing in fighting a flood of tears. "Hang tight,
Gertie.. We're definitely on the way down." Stanley shouted, letting go of
the talk button just in time to avoid broadcasting strong breaking of emotion
into his voice. He held a glove tightly to his lips, stifling sobs of relief and
half released anxiety.

Robert gripped Cap's shoulder briefly in support before he began barking
loud orders to get the second rescue operation of the day underway.

Chet buried his stress, his eyes sparkling brightly with unshed tears
as he hugged Henry. "Good boy, Henry. You did it! You found where
they are. Way to go, pal. Good job, boy." he said smacking the hound's
sides firmly. "Now we're on to something." he sniffed.

::But are we? Are we really?:: Roy's thoughts came unbidden.  Even five
minutes later when the Coast Guard helicopter hovered overhead, ready
to winch them down into the caisson shaft, DeSoto still felt numb and
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"Three victims." Dixie reported to Joe, Early and Morton in the Triage
Tent that was slowly being taken over by a new out of state team
of doctors and nurses.  "A geriatric husband and wife and their young

"Where?" Kel asked.

"Caisson One. And there are good signs that Johnny and Rosalie were
there." she said, holding up her radio. "Apparently Station 51's mascot,
Henry, rooted them out of the pile." she grinned.

"Clever." said Morton.

"Let's go." said Dr. Brackett to Joe and Mike.  "We can prioritize and treat
the first three right there in the field. Whoever's left of us after transporting the
found victims can hang around for when the last two are located and
finally freed." he said, snatching up a heavily laden medical bag.

"I've got a Mayfair already waiting outside.." said Dixie.

"You're coming, too. We need a nurse." Brackett barked.

"I wouldn't have it any other way." McCall said, running after them.

"Can you make it on only five hours of sleep?" Mike asked her, concerned,
pacing alongside of Dr. Early and Kel with his own medical gear.

"Watch me." she glared right back, thoroughly ending the conversation.


Roy DeSoto and Craig Brice's feet touched down to earth inside of the
damp caisson's floor with a wet slosh of bloody mud. They immediately
dismissed the smell of death coming from the dark to hasten over
to their live victims, sitting framed in sunlight.

The buzz of the hovering chopper sounded very far away, almost
ghost like, as it echoed in the silent dripping shaft of the broken caisson.

"How are you all doing?" Roy asked them as a group, quickly moving
over to the groggy boy lying on the ground.

"Any injuries?" Brice asked at the same time, making his way towards
Bernie who still had caked blood sticking to the back of his head and

"Me and Joshua. I was knocked out and he almost drown. That young
firefighter fellow saved all of our lives." said the old man.

"That's our job." said Craig, growing quickly analytical as he fell into
a trauma assessment mode. "How about Johnny and Rosalie's

"Same as ours." said Gertie. "They were both hungry, but not thirsty.
Not since Mr. Gage started these intravenous fluid treatments on us."
Bernie said, lifting up his arm to show the paramedics Johnny's taping job
on him. "He also did the same thing to himself and his young lady friend."

Roy nodded in satisfaction as he looked up from his young patient.
"Joshua's sleeping from what I can tell. He's stable."  Then he cast his
head around, searching. His eyes alighted upon the scoop stretcher full
of medical gear that Rosalie and Johnny had hauled between them
on their journey.  He immediately pulled out the biophone and began

"Wait a minute.. Is that a radio? You mean to tell me that we had that thing
here with us this whole time?" Bernie asked with dismay.

Roy set the phone receiver of the black biophone onto his dusty shoulder
and nodded reluctantly. "Yes, sir."

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"Well why didn't Johnny or Rosalie think to use it?" fumed the old man.

"I don't know the answer to that. He's the only one who can tell us the
reason why." Roy answered honestly.

Bernie was shocked into silence and Roy and Brice used that time to
get vitals sets and other medical information ready to transmit.


Johnny was lost in a nightmare world. His mind was racing a million miles
an hour. "Gotta get to the gear. Gotta poke out all that blood around
her heart or she's.."  He stopped mumbling in mid crawl when another
tremor began to shake the shards of debris jutting into his passageway.

He gave a shout, covered his head and just lay there, squirming
in panic, while all h*ll broke loose all around him.

He kept his safety goggled eyes locked tight on the way ahead so
he didn't loose his bearings on the rope which was leading back to the
caisson core a few hundred feet ahead.

A heavy avalanche of dust, rubble and wire rained down on him,
ripping a scream out of his throat. He swiped a hand to clear away
the film over his visored eyes when suddenly a bright stab of sunlight
lanced into them painfully.

Wincing with a cry at the first sight of daylight in nearly three days,
Johnny squinted, his eyes watering. It was a new way out.  Through
the new jagged hole about nine inches round, he could see USAR personnel
a few hundred yards away, working over a crack in the roadway with
a heavy bulldozer. ::That looks like they're near Rosalie!::

For one brief pause, Gage hesitated at the opening that led to tantilizing freedom.  
He glanced down at the rope in his hand, and then up again to the airy outside.  
With a small sob, he turned his back on the sun and returned into the deep depths
of his prison, following an even stronger emotional pull, feeling along the dust caked
guiding rope beneath him. ::I've got to care for her first.:: he murmured
mentally. ::She's dying. Then I'll worry about rescue.::

Slowly, Johnny's dragging feet left the pure circle of daylight and retreated back
into the blackness.


Roy was with Gertie, the one in the best condition who was now the
last being prepared to be stokes lifted out of the shaft by the Coast Guard.
DeSoto knelt by her basket stretcher and took her hand. "Can you tell me
which of these holes they went through?"

"That one. The big one by the fallen slab. But it's partially under water now.
I've been watching it." said the aunt, worried. "I think the tide is coming back."

"Brice and I will check it out. Don't worry. We'll find them. We're not
leaving until we do. Just close your eyes and soon, you'll be on your way to
the hospital." Roy smiled as he toe kicked dirt from off of Gage's played
out guide rope lying in the rubble.

"All right." trembled Gertie.

Brice and DeSoto manned the stabilization ropes as Gertie was vertically winched
up into the dot sized helicopter far above their heads.

As soon as the pilots signalled clear, Craig and Roy dove for the opening Gertie
had indicated with their flashlights.

Right then, a cave-in sprang into horrible existence,  rocking the small passageway
that held Gage's rope, forcing Brice and DeSoto back into the stable larger room
behind them. "AhhhhH!!" hollered Roy as they scrambled to safety.


Johnny thought he saw a glimmer of a flashlight just ahead. He began to crawl even
faster along the rope, hastening to get there.

He was just about to reach through the last opening when a huge rockfall crashed down
in front of him, making him retreat back the way he had come. "No! No! no no no no!"
he cried, tearing at the dirt with his gloves as the way back to the caisson's greater
space was buried. "Oh, G*d, no! Roy! Is that you?! I'm here! I'm-"

Crying, despairing, Johnny began choking in the raised dust cloud and that forced him to
retreat along the shifting, pitching narrow passageway back to the only source of clean
air available, the new sunlit hole he had passed up.

Once there, the further collapse of the bridge tower grew even stronger. Johnny saw
and heard USAR's hasty evacuation that was clearing the caisson of rescue personnel.

A tall green steel spire of the bridge perched at an angle over the roadside fissure where
they had been working suddenly splintered from its rivets and gave in to the force of gravity.  
The tons heavy beam plummeted straight down along its horizontally level length, to land
with a deep crash onto the freeway. The whole road beneath it...dropped, crushing
all the open spaces beneath it in an instant and the waters of the bay just as
quickly covered over the void it left behind.

Gage's mind shattered when he realized that Rosalie's chamber was no more.

Something inside of his heart broke in two and he crawled deeper into what was
now his first true love's tomb and embraced a wall of debris rolling towards him
with open arms.

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From: patti k (
Sent: Sat 1/01/11 9:00 PM
Subject:  Finale'

Roy and Brice weathered the collapse of their perimeter wall structures on instinct.
Pulverized concrete fell noisily around them, and soon thick dust mushroomed up
from the floor, rendering visibility inside the core space to zero.

DeSoto gripped the biophone as he took in guarded breaths around an N95 filter
mask that Brice quickly handed to him. "What was that?" he asked when it was

"The rest of the bridge that was still standing." said Craig. "We're still safe enough
right where we are." he said empathetically.

"I'd better let them know." said Roy, coughing. He picked up the biophone receiver and
switched frequencies to the squad's unit that he knew Cap was still monitoring. "Mayfair
One to Engine 51. We're fine. *cough*. How bad is it out there?"

##The shell around the caisson just gave way. USAR thinks it's the rising tide that's crumbling
your infrastructure. You're gonna have to wait until the air clears enough for a chopper to
reel you both back up. There's a dust cloud now covering the whole bay.## said Hank on his
end. ##A no fly zone for a few minutes.##

"Anybody get hurt?"

There was a long pause on the line.

Then Cap's voice replied quietly. ##We lost the victim under the roadway. What was left
of it broke apart and sank underwater right after we abandoned the caisson.##

Roy felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. "Any idea ....which victim it was?" he
forced his mouth to ask.

##Not a clue. Henry's still shaken up a bit by all of the noise so it'll be a while to
see if he reacts any differently to the change. How's your air?##

"Foul, but breathable. The dust's suspended all the way up the shaft."

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##Hang tight. I'm gonna go pester a pilot to get that bird back to recover your *sses.##

"10-4, Engine 51." said Roy wearily, setting the phone receiver back into the black
case inside of the scoop stretcher. "We'll be standing by."

Brice looked at him. "Bad news?"

"Yeah, uh,.. Craig, one of them just died. Everybody watched it happen. There's
no doubt that it was a fatality."

Brice sat without moving, cleaning his glasses fruitlessly with a gauze pad.
"That's.. that's-- unfortunate." he swallowed dryly, unable to find other words.
"I'm sorry, DeSoto."

"Yeah, well, I'm not giving up on him yet until I see that second body, dead or
alive." Roy rasped.  

Brice stood up and stretched his muscles, testing for bruises where several
boulders had struck him.  He noticed a leak from the ballast tank in the dike in
front of them. "We'd better shore this up before we find ourselves swimming
in sea water." he finally said.

Roy rose and together, Brice and he jammed a fire department brace that
they had in one of their rescue packs to hold it.

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Henry was down. He was lying on his side and moaning horrifically.

"What's the matter with him? Did he get hurt escaping?" Ponch asked
Bellingham who was crouching over the dog protectively.

"I don't know. I don't see or feel anything wrong. And I know nothing
hit him. He was in my arms the whole time I was running away." replied

Jon Baker knelt close and took Henry's muzzle into his hands. "What's
the matter boy? It's okay. We're safe. We're off the bridge."

Henry tore himself out of the blond officer's hands and ran back out
onto the pile that had only just begun to dust settle..

"Hey! Hey!  Henry.. You can't go out there, you crazy dog!" Ponch
yelled. "Oh, now he's done it."

But then Henry got where he was going. He started digging frantically at a
slab that was tilted upright into the sun. There was a small hole next to
a maroon car that was in its shadow. And dust was pouring out of

Bark! Bark! Henry said, whirling back to the firefighters lined up on
the shoreline. Then he went right back to digging at the stone with his
short, blunt claws.

Bob Bellingham swore loudly. "OhmyG*d, somebody's in there."

He, Ponch and Jon Baker ran over, scrambling on the loose debris, to his side.

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"Hey! Is anybody in there?" Frank shouted through the hole. He and Bellingham
aimed a flashlight inside and waved away thick clouds of dust that was only just
beginning to clear. "There's a space in there! Jon, I think I can fit." he said,
peeling out of his utility belt.

"Be careful." said Baker. "Don't get too hasty. This whole thing's about
to come down on top of us. You're planning on crawling under a car."

"I know. I know. I just want to know if I can see anybody! Then I'll come
right back out. I promise." said Frank.

Bob finished radioing USAR about their new victim site. Soon, everybody was
coming with braces, shovels, stretchers and medical gear.

Bellingham handed him a pack of oral airways. "Use one if you need it."
he told Frank.

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Ponch barely squeezed inside the debris choked chamber. He slid down
a little deeper into the hole and got a shock. A pair of legs were sticking out
of a shallow pool of water. They wore EMT shoes. "Johnny!" the CHiP
officer called.

He sprang forward to roll Gage's head out from where he was lying face down
in a shallow pool of water. "Hey!  He's drowning. Get the gear!" he yelled back
out to the others.

Frank began reaching for Johnny's upper body but found that his clothes were
caught on a submersed snag beneath the surface of the water. He grabbed out
his pocket knife and began cutting Gage
free by feel.
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Captain Stanley was beside himself next to the engine. "Chet, grab absolutely
everything. And keep an eye on Henry. Marco, go grab a backboard. We
may need to slide him out of there in alignment. Stoker, get the defibrillator,
the resuscitator,.. Sh*t! How about all the paramedic gear we have." he ansed.

He watched his men hurry into action. He got on the HT. "Engine 51 to all
available hands in the area.  We have a Code I at Caisson One who needs
rapid extrication and immediate CPR. We need diggers a.s.a.p.!"

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Firefighters from all departments began to pour in and one of the first things they
did was to push the crushed automobile Ponch had to squeeze under well out of the
way with a powerful flip. It rolled down into the bay, ignored.
"How long has he been down?" asked one firefighter.

"I don't know." said Bellingham. "All I know is that he may not be breathing." said Bob.

"Okay, men. Dig softly, but haul your butt!" said the grizzled lieutenant from Burbank.

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Back at the core, the Coast Guard helicopter let Brice and Roy down by hoist
cable to an awaiting set of EMTs by a Mayfair ambulance. Brice and Roy
hollered at them as they ran by. "Get oxygen! Lots of it!" said Brice. "Go
to the clustering group over there!"

DeSoto ran with the black biophone. When it grew too heavy, he
abandoned it to gain a faster speed, following along a trail of USAR team members
heading for the same place. Brice noticed but didn't care. His eyes were all on
their future patient, a quarter of a mile away. CHiP officers soon
got the news and began to help out.
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Mike Stoker hurried with an axe and an air bottle, the only tools left to grab. "Cap,
what can I do?"

"You've got his head if Ponch is too tired getting him out." Hank told him.

Stoker was beyond frightened when he saw the sea of green steel that they had to
wade through to get there, but he nodded compliance.

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The radio set on the rocks near Robert Cooper's toy search dog and flag was a base
station radio in full notification mode. Hank Stanley listened to the broadcasts over
the emergency channel being organized by L.A. Headquarters. Sam was swiftly meeting
the needs CA-2 was sending him, to the only rescue currently in progress for the whole
city of Torrance.

"My G*d is everybody dead out there?" Dixie realized when she heard dispatchers
only assigning body details on the frequency. They were in their Mayfair, heading for the

Kel Brackett didn't want to upset her, but he knew that she'd find out eventually about
the high casualties. He waved their EMT driver to a stop to get directions from a barricaded
traffic stop. "Which way to Caisson One? Fast as you can. This is an emergency!"

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Ponch was back at Squad 51, soaked to the skin. "He's breathing! He probably
just fell in. I need more equipment!"

"What do you need?" asked Jon Baker, helping him as Frank emptied Squad 51's
rear cargo hold compartment of power tools and a stretcher.

"He's got trauma. Dressings! And a couple of paramedics or a doctor to take over!"
Ponch told him.

"One's on the way. Dr. Brackett." Baker told him.

"I hope he hurries. He's bad." puffed Ponch as he ran back to the hole. In the short
time that he had been gone, the opening reaching inside had been widened by a
great many hands in a coordinated effort.
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Robert Cooper was organizing a gargantuan effort. "Braces, people! That's right.
The tide's rising fast, but we have plenty of time. Team Two, set up a relay for
a stokes stretcher to the cliff top in case we need it. We've lost our chopper to
another rescue next town over."

"Yes, sir." said the team.

CA-2 got on HT. ##Battalion 9 to USAR One. Progress report.##

"Our victim is alive. We're still extricating him from the rubble. A doctor is on the way
and so are two paramedics." Robert shared.

##10-4. Keep me posted. Battalion out.##

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Cap was hoofing it with the red biophone from the Squad and a fresh drug box with
an intact seal. ::Has all the cardiac drugs.:: he thought eagerly. He looked up to
see the secondary USAR team getting Gage's stokes set for a cliff ascend once he
was stabilized.

He glanced to his left and saw Brice and Roy hurrying as fast as they could through
the mountains of new debris between them. "He's breathing!" he shouted, to slow
them down for safety. "But still trapped!" he reported.

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Inside the hole, an L.A. Firefighter felt Johnny's neck for a carotid pulse. "It's still
there!" he shared with his crewmates as they continued to dig to get more room
for a stokes stretcher. "Breathing's fast. His lungs are full of water."

The man startled when seawater started upwelling and oozing mud into the chamber.
"It's the tide! Come on! Hurry it up back there!"

Outside, Roy reached the final slope and headed down towards the distant crowd of
people. In his hands was a splints kit an EMT thought to hand to him.

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"Roy!" Came a familiar voice charged with real fear. "I'm right behind you! Dr. Brackett
is on his way. He's bringing the defibrillator!" she hollered, using the EMT driver
as a way to keep her balance on the slippery hill of debris.

"Keep going! He's alive!" DeSoto encouraged but he didn't slack his pace. Dixie arrived
at the maroon car landmark on the beach and stepped onto the caisson after a brief
look at Henry who was being held back in Chet's arms.

The sound of gurgling hastened all the firefighters as the tide around them continued
to flow in.

"Will this cover us up?" Robert asked a support crew. "What's our elevation?"

"We're below sea level, sir." said the firefighter. Cooper's face grew firm
and he bent over double time, coordinating the digging efforts around Gage's hole.

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"Go in and check it out! That CHiP officer said part of the tunnel curved downward.
I don't want anyone getting trapped along with the victim!"

Two firefighters from USAR quickly entered the ground and aimed their
flashlights at the bottom. There was a new skin of water forming around
Johnny's ears and the first firefighter was still digging as fast as he
could at widening the hole.

Suddenly there was another cave-in just outside the pile, at the edges. A crushed
car began to float away and the isthmus connecting the beach to the caisson
disappeared under the tide's flow.  Brice and Bellingham accepted a rope thrown
to them as a safety line and waded across.

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Inside of the hole sudden shouts immediately began.. "Out now! Out now! We're
getting flooded! Everybody grab an arm and a leg!"  said Cooper as he
saw what was happening down the hole. "He's coming out right now!" he said
as he watched the water level surge up quickly. He helped his three
crew members slip out and then he manned the rope that the others had
managed to tie around the unconscious Gage.

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Water began to well up and out of the hole as the sea rush up from below.

"Come on! Pull! Pull!" Robert encouraged as they strained hard against
obstructions and snags that were trying to tangle with the rope in the current.
"He's under water!"

And then Johnny was out, lying limp beneath Cap's arms, bleeding from myriads
of tiny scratches and abrasions. Mike Stoker moved quickly to Johnny's head
as Hank bent low to check for signs of breathing after he drained free water
out of Johnny's nose and mouth.

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"Johnny!" screamed Dixie as she saw what was happening. She ran down the slope
heedless of the water starting to dampen her with spray. The firefighter who had
helped her across the new sea channel let her go.

Hank felt for a pulse. "It's gone. Who's fresh?" Cap panted, exhausted.

"We are." said Jon and Ponch, slipping through the others. "Get the doctor here, Dixie."
Frank said. "This isn't going to be good enough to last for long."

Kneeling on the pavement, the two CHiPs officers began CPR manually while the
firefighters located where their gear had been moved away from the ocean tide.

Stoker and Kelly watched while Dixie made sure they were getting a pulse with compressions.

"Good. Keep it up. Kel's almost here. What caused this?" she asked about the cardiac arrest.

"Drowning, ma'am." said Robert.

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A few seconds later, well rested firemen took over for Ponch and Jon with a
hastily found resuscitator and pure oxygen. Johnny's CPR was switched out
without missing a beat.

Nearby, Chet was hugging Henry who was crying fiercely in his arms.
"Shhh, easy boy. We're helping him. We haven't lost yet. Please,
Henry. Don't cry." he sobbed, sniffling.

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Hank got mad. He got on the biophone and began hailing. "Engine 51 to
Triage Mayfair. We need that doctor a.s.a.p. Our victim has gone into
cardiac arrest. Do you copy?"

Chet handed over Henry's leash to a support crew when he saw something.
He leaned over the edge of the caisson. "Someone's coming. There's
a whole crowd of firefighters helping someone across in a boat. They've
just passed him up onto the pile. It's Dr. Brackett!"
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Kel was barking orders. "Get everybody out of the way. I have the defibrillator!"
He was wearing green scrubs over his wet clothes. He waved at the Mayfair
on shore to wait and then he literally ran to the others' sides. "How long has
it been?"

Brice and Bellingham caught up about the same time as Roy and Kel and
quickly, the four of them began the steps of advanced life support.

"Guys?" Dix prompted as she began to cut away the sleeves on
Gage's soaked Mayfair uniform to get to his arms for an I.V. start.

Hank replied. "Four minutes, twelve seconds, doc. CPR was started
about a minute after he lost a pulse."

"Then we've got a chance."
Brackett wasted no time. "Dry him off. I'm shocking first." he ordered as he watched
Ponch and Jon trade off again with the firefighters to keep Johnny's circulation strong.

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"Okay, everybody clear!" McCall warned. All hands lifted away from
Johnny's face and chest. "One hundred, two hundred, three hundred..."

"Clear!" Kel called out, delivering the first conversion attempt. Johnny's
cold body arched upward under the jolt, then he lay still.

Nearby, EMT Kate Brown, was weeping. "I didn't mean for this to happen.."
she sobbed. "He's such a nice guy."

Hank moved over to the young girl and offered her a supporting arm around her shoulder.

Dr. Brackett's eye fell on the monitor as he held his paddles in place
on Johnny's chest to get a reading. "Nothing. Just artifact from the CPR.
Somebody find an E.T. He's a French 7.0. We'll tube him once we hit
the ambulance. Dixie, I'm going in I.C. If that doesn't work after a
second shock, we'll be continuing CPR while we warm him up. He might
be having hypothermia issues. I don't want to fly him with congested lungs."
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"Here it is, Kel. Five milligrams epinephrine I.C. push. It's capped."
said Dixie.

Kel shucked it off and then waited for Roy to swab Johnny's ribs down in
the proper place. "Okay, going in. Stop ventilations." he told Jon Baker.

Carefully, the long needle was plunged deep into Johnny's left ventricle.

Dr. Brackett injected the stimulant and then pulled out the syringe. He checked
it for signs that it had broken off on a rib. It hadn't. "Continue CPR, boys."
he encouraged the CHiP officers. "We've got a minute to circulate the medication."

Soon, it was time to defibrillate again. A sweaty Cap and Brice watched with
tense anxiety as Dr. Brackett delivered another cardioversion attempt. Gage
jerked again as the electricity reached his now sun warming muscles.

*Beep! Beep! Beep...*

"Confirm that!" Kel barked.

Brice gripped Johnny's neck. "I've got a pulse."

"Dixie?" Kel asked.

McCall pumped up the blood pressure cuff she had waiting and got a reading.
"We've got a pressure. 50 systolic." she sighed, rocking back onto her muddy heels.
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Dr. Brackett began to smile when a pulse soon returned as far down as Johnny's
wrist. "He's back. But we're not out of the woods yet. Keep him on light bag
vents. We've got to keep that salt water edema from dropping his perfusion levels.."

"That's it. Nice and easy." she encouraged Baker. "This your first ambu?"

"Yeah, actually." Jon replied.

"Not so bad, eh?" she smiled.

"I don't know if I can say that. His life's literally in my hands here." Baker grinned
in awe.

"Oxygen makes it real easy. Just don't squeeze too hard or he'll aspirate."

Baker froze.

"Just kidding. His stomach's clear. I listened. Nothing in it." Dixie said to put him
at ease.

Roy sighed and loosen his filthy collar open a few buttons. "Bantering at last.
That's gotta be the sweetest sound I've ever heard in my entire life."

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Jon Baker startled. "Ohh. I think he's fighting this." he said of the ventilations.

"That's cramps. His chemistry's off. Dr. Brackett, the paramedics and I are
going to correct that with a little lidocaine and sodium bicarb. Don't worry.
You can't hurt him and he's out for the count. I just sedated him so he
won't go into a seizure from low blood sugar." Dixie shared.

"Roy? Want to get another vitals set?" Kel invited.

"I thought you'd never ask." he said as he grabbed a stethoscope.

Mike Stoker checked the oxygen tank they had going on Gage. "I'll
get another tank for the stokes. They're just about ready." he said.
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"Brice, start an I.V. of Normal Saline and follow up with the standard glucagon
and thiamine. He's probably weak from hunger by now." Dr. Brackett said.

"Yes, sir." said Craig.

Soon the firefighters loaded Johnny up after wrapping warm blankets around
his bloodied and shredded ambulance uniform. Jon and Ponch stayed with him
like glue, reluctant to leave their patient.

"Ride along." Roy invited. "Chet, you too. You're in the best condition if Johnny
needs CPR again."

"Can I bring Henry?" Kelly asked.

"No." Hank grinned. "Maybe you can sneak him into Rampart later when nobody's

"I heard that." said Dr. Brackett.

"Deaf ears, Kel. This dog saved Johnny's life from what I've heard." said Dixie.
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