From: patti keiper (email@example.com)
Subject: The Trail..
Sent: Sun 12/25/11 2:41 PM
It was ten minutes later, when the red maintenance
to Los Angeles County's fire service communications work, arrived
to Station's 51
location. It was fully after sundown.
Tony Manetti and Frank Williams pulled their county utility
through the rear drive entrance of the fire station and parked it in a free
"Flip you for it." said the driver, Frank, to his partner.
"I got heads." Tony
grinned as he took out a quarter and tossed it into the air.
Soon an overturned palm on a wrist revealed
the winner. "It's heads."
"Lucky stiff." grumbled Frank. "This fire crew shift makes really good
"Stay in the truck. I'll probably be only a minute. Looks like the wind was
enough earlier to knock over one of their garbage cans." Tony told
him as he righted the one that
looked like it had rolled around, dumping its
trash out, back to upright against the building.
"Yeah, and that means most likely that their roof antennae's probably bent over
out of whack, too."
sighed Frank, leaning back with his feet already propped
on the dashboard over the steering wheel.
"Should be a quick fix. See you in a bit." yawned Tony.
"All right." said Frank, his face
already buried inside of a handy, cab light lit
newspaper. "Have fun climbing their roof ladder.
It's a b*tch."
Tony sighed, shaking his head with amusement at the sight of five firefighter's
cars and the one lone land rover lined up neatly along the back wall. The newly
dew lay undisturbed on their windshields.
"Must be nice, sleeping in all day." Manetti chuckled
into the darkness as
he grabbed his tool box, a torch, and hand held walkie talkie from the passenger's
seat. He set their radio to private citizen's band with the L.A. County dispatcher
who had first
instigated their work order request for the fire station. He whistled
cheerfully as he pulled open
the back entrance next to the rear bay doors and
His whistling stopped two steps
The apparatus bay was dark. No lights were on at all except for the small
lit one dimly illuminating the large county map next to Cap's office.
Tony shouted when he saw
that the engine and squad were still in house. "Yo,
Station 51. Break times's over. Guess what? Your
radio repair guys are here!"
at Headquarters, Sam Lanier heard the fix-it man's shout over
the open HT radio's speaker. Grinning,
he toggled a switch. "Copy.
Truck 2 on scene at Station 51 at 1804."
##Sam? How did you
do that?## Tony spoke into his radio.
"I can read minds." Sam laughed.
##No really.## said
Manetti, mystified. ##How did you know we were here?##
Lanier finally let Tony off the hook. "Their
dog ran away with one of their HTs.
They're probably looking for it. It's stuck open. I can hear
you right now
through it. You're on live."
Tony scoffed and toggled a replyback on his work
radio. ##Sneaky b*st*rd. I'm
in the bay, so that radio's probably around here somewhere nearby. I'll
to tell em. Uh,...Nobody's immediately around right now but I'll get right on the
"I have an ear out." Sam replied back, already deep into his other work.
Tony's amused smile collapsed
into a frown when he saw that Squad 51's side
compartment bay doors had been flung wide open. He
aimed a flashlight towards
them and he noticed that all of the paramedic's medical gear was missing.
Where is everybody?"
A quiet whimper echoed through the blackness.
grinned, recognizing the dog's voice. "Come here, boy. You're
not in trouble for taking the radio,
I promise. Just bring it h--"
Tony broke off when his questing flashlight beam encountered a large
splash of blood on the floor with red smeared human hand and footprints
on top of bloody dog pawprints.
Nausea washed acid into his mouth. He was about to tip off Sam out
loud when a large hand gripped
his mouth from behind in a suffocating
grip. "Don't move mister. And you won't get stuck." said Ice
into his ear.
"Who were you looking for?"
"A dog. Just their d-dog." Tony said, not struggling
inside of the fierce hold,
his eyes still falling on the signs of violence on the floor in growing
"The dog? Well, you're not going to find him. He's dead. My cellmate shot
the sour smelling convict's harsh reply as he stripped Tony's
radio from his hand.
It was then
Tony realized that 51 was in a hostage situation. "Okay, okay.
I'll cooperate. Just don't kill me!"
he shouted louder, hoping he was near
enough to the lost HT to register on pickup. "I'm definitely
going to be your
hostage." he said again, finally feeling the knife pressing against his throat.
"Are you slow or something?" Ice hissed. "Stop talking now that you've
finally figured out what's
going on." And with that, Ice hauled Tony with
him, forcibly, to the kitchen to join the others.
Sam Lanier was
suddenly tense and focused. He waved over the other
dispatchers silently as he put 51's HT speaker
on the main overhead audio
monitor. He quickly played back the last seven seconds of recording so
of them could hear Tony's cry for help.
"D*mn! I had no clue this was going on." Lanier
Ice's last sentence came through. "I thought this open HT was just a dog's
Sam's supervisor leaned on the counter urgently, snapping an order. "A whole
of wax, Sam. Not your fault with the rest of this craziness going
on. Find a law enforcement unit
to handle 51. Top priority. Someone who is
actually freed up to take it for real, a.s.a.p. Make it
a S.W.A.T. if you have to."
"On it." said Lanier, worried for everybody at Station
51. "Okay, it sounded like
there were at least two assailants." he thought back, while looking up
statuses that he had written down in his crowded notes for the day.
"And six hostages."
Dane agreed, pulling up the station's roster information.
"Two paramedics, a captain, an engineer,
and two regular firefighters."
"Plus Tony." Sam added.
"What about Frank? Isn't he scheduled
to work with Tony tonight?" Ron asked.
Sam's eyes filled with concern. "I don't know his situation.
All I know is that Tony
for sure had their only radio inside of the station. We talked for a bit."
"Share what you know also with the FBI." Dane told him, hurrying to his office to
call the Battalion
Chief for District One. "Don't leave anything out! If the FEDs can
help end this, then they're welcome
to run all over my desk for as long as they
Dr. Quincy and Sam
Fujiyama pulled up to the side of the alleyway nearest
a dumpster that they had spotted as sitting
in a pool of blood. They hurried out
and quickly searched the bin with gloves, looking for the newborn
"It's not here." Quincy said after they had tipped it over with some effort
its cardboard and paper trash. "Just blood."
"And no afterbirth." realized Fujiyama.
You thought of that." Quincy told him. "Nah, only thing left to try is the
station itself. Looks
like the blood trail leads over that way anyway. Maybe they
found it, treated it, and ran it in to
another hospital." he said, tracing his flashlight
along drag marks and footprints stained in blood
that he could see. "In my head,
I can see them thinking along those lines."
"They'd have to.
They're trained to react to solve oddball situations." Sam scoffed as
the two of them walked up the
alleyway until they were even with the station. They
stopped after pacing along its whole length.
"Hmm. No gate. How are you over a bit of climbing?" asked the coroner.
"Pretty fair, Quince."
Sam said, neatly vaulting over the fire station's
back wall. "Need a hand?"
"Yeah, I'm not twenty something like you." he said, offering Sam his
Sam quickly helped
the older coroner into the back yard. "More blood here."
"I see it." said Quincy. "Looks like
there was a struggle. Something violent." he said,
his demeanor instantly turning overly cautious
A few seconds later, he ducked behind a parked truck quickly, at a noise.
the lab assistant and Quincy flicked off their flashlights and peeked over the hood
of the truck behind
which they had taken refuge. Quincy instantly whipped his hands away
from the hood. "Ouch. This engine
is still hot." he exclaimed, shaking his palms to cool
Sam peered at the door label
in the darkness. "Huh. Fire department maintenance.
Uh,.. Communications Repairs it looks like." he
whispered back. "Maybe they're here
Quincy stood back up, studying the activity they could hear in the shadows. "Then they're|
guys. Let's find out." He flicked on his flashlight and waved. "Hello? Are you
the fire department
Sam joined Quincy as the coroner met up with Frank, who was stiffly picking up the
spilled trash that Tony had ignored earlier. "Yeah. Who wants to know?" asked Williams.
showed him his official I.D. "I'm Doctor Quincy with the Los Angeles County
Coroner's Office. This
is Sam Fujiyama, my lab and field assistant. Do you realize that
you're tampering with a crime scene
"What?" Frank asked. "Who are you people?" he asked.
"We told you, sir, we're
from the county morgue." Fujiyama said kindly. "Didn't you notice
all of the blood on the ground
and all over that door frame over there?" he said, pointing
to Station 51's back door.
it's night time. I was reading the newspaper. And then I was picking up all of this
wind blown trash
without a flashlight. That's all I know." Frank said defensively. "My partner
and I were called here
to restore the firefighters' communications array. It's not working.
They missed a call."
had grown thoughtful as he kept casting his flashlight over the blood smears on the
there was a murder committed here or very near here. A young mother was
killed, her baby forcibly
taken from her womb. We came here from a triage station in
search of the infant."
here?" Frank asked horrified.
"It's got to be." Quincy told him no nonsense. "All the blood trail
says so. It goes
"Then where are the cops?" Frank wondered, eyeing up the two
county men. "Shouldn't
they be here trying to help?"
"Yeah, but there's been a prison break
and now there's gang riots in progress all over
the neighborhood. There aren't any police available.
I'm surprised you were even sent
out here without some kind of backup." Sam replied.
the dispatchers' hands were too full to spread the word." Frank said, shocked at
eyes stayed on the doorframe and the circle of light illuminating a bloody
palm print. "Uh, oh."
he mumbled, flicking his flashlight off again. He ducked back down
behind the maintenance truck.
The other two joined him quickly, Quincy's sudden fear infecting them.
"Now what?" Sam
asked next to him, keeping his voice low.
"Whoever came in contact with that blood is or was inside
of that fire station." Quincy
"How can you tell?" Frank whispered, cowed.
blood. It was smeared on just the frame and didn't carry over to the surface of the
That meant that door was open at the time it was made. And the hand that
made that print is very
large. Far too large to be an injured woman's."
Sam's eyes got very big in the darkness. "One
of the firefighters?"
"Or the murderer's." Quincy shared.
"Tony?!" Frank gasped.
"My partner. He's in there right now!" Frank replied, trying to rise to his feet.
Quincy grabbed his shoulders. "Now listen. Somebody has to go for help if this whole
turns out to be some kind of bad. It's gonna be you, Frank."
"But why? My partner's in there!"
"That's why." Sam said firmly. "Quincy and I are used to thinking calmly in crime
situations. Especially if there are dead bodies lying around." he said, playing a little
ball to protect the man's life.
Frank turned green. "But.. ...i want to help.." he said in a tiny
"You can and you will. Go find a police station and call for help." Quincy told him.
Frank rose with a set of keys in his hand and started to open the truck's door.
Quincy and Sam
snatched him back down. "Not the truck! You'll give us both away."
said Fujiyama. "Walk. No... Run
for help. We'll be okay."
Frank's emotional shock finally made him obey and he tore off clumsily
alleyway towards the main boulevard to flag down a passing motorist for assistance.
Once he was gone, Sam rejoined Quincy in his crouch behind the repair truck. "What
makes you think
it's the murderer running amuck idea, Quince? I know you too well."
"When was the last time you've
ever driven by a fire station at night and all of its
exterior lights were turned off while the station
crew was still on duty?" he replied,
blinking into the pitch blackness surrounding them, pointing
back at the midnight
silhouette of Station 51.
From: patti keiper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Mon 1/02/12 2:55 AM
Sam eyed up the even blacker on dark outline
of the building. "Okaayy,"
he said, worried and cautious. "I accept that as very plausible, but I
still don't like the fact that it's us snooping around what's almost
guaranteed to be very dangerous!"
he hissed in a tense whisper.
"Who else is there?!" the older coroner shot back. "I had no idea
run into this situation until it kissed the old eyeballs! Come on.."
Quincy said, motioning,
very frustrated and angry. He began to backtrack
along their earlier steps silently, heading for
the bloody dumpster site.
"Why are we going back there?" Sam asked.
"I've got an idea."
grumbled Quincy. A minute later, they were there. The dark
gray haired coroner stiffly crouched until
he was leaning over a largish wet
spot. "Fact... I'm old. You're young." he said, thoughtfully peeling
protective rubber gloves and throwing them away conscientiously into the
"What's that got to do with anything?" Sam complained. "I don't follow you."
"Who'd make a less
tempting target to a criminal?" he said, balancing on
his crouched toes and lacing his fingers together
in front of his knees.
The Japanese man's eyes flashed bright even in under the moonless sky
over the alleyway. "Oh, no... You're not going into that seized fire station.."
Sam admonished, throwing
up a warning finger. "It's not our job to stop
the bad guys in person! Even if the baby is involved."
Quincy just threw him an oh really look and dipped five fingers of a hand
into the pool of blood
he had been studying. A moment later, he began
smearing it onto the front of his jacket with calculation.
"What th?--- Quincy!" said Sam, grossed out enough to squint.
The coroner harrumphed matter
of factly as he peered down at his
handiwork. "I'm a victim who stumbled into the alleyway after getting
attacked during a riot. Doesn't it look like it?" he asked, continuing to
paint away daintly.
Finally, Sam unhappily cocked his head. "Grab your collar and grip
it a few times. A mugger would
most likely use a choke hold."
"Thatta boy." he said, doing just that. "I AM doing the right thing."
said gently, finishing his make up job afterwards with a few swipes of
blood onto his
forehead and cheek.
"But it's not the best thing!" Sam spat wholeheartedly.
holding his sticky fingers away from himself. "We may
be running out of time and I've made up my mind.
Now go get me
some alcohol to wash the rest of this blood off of my hand to shorten
the risk of
Sam ran to their coroner's wagon to snatch up the bottle they always
kept in the glove compartment. "You're crazy."
"Yep. I've been told that before.." Quincy admitted,
rising to his feet and
joining him by the car. "By Lt. Monahan and Dr. Asten both. Many times."
"And by me.."
Expertly, Sam cleaned off Quincy's hand with a poured stream of
isopropol. "If you
don't touch your face, you should be fine. Even if that
mother was sick with something before she
"I won't. Don't worry." Quincy said, taking in a deep nervous breath. Then
he met his
coworker's gaze with warm affection. "Thanks, Sam."
Fujiyama just scowled as he stood back and
admired Quincy's handiwork
with their flashlight. "Don't thank me. I'm totally against you." he said
defensively. "And I thoroughly hate your plan." Then he stepped forward
quickly and grabbed
Quincy by the arm. He swiftly tore the fabric off his
shoulder visciously in a long solid rip. "There.
Now that looks like you've
been in a fight." he said chidingly.
Quincy never changed his lost
puppy dog expression. "That was my favorite
Khaki jacket, I'll have you know." he said, partially
"Beggers can't be choosers. Now get the h*ll in there before I change
my mind. I'm
gonna stay where we were and monitor things from the
outside if I can until help arrives." Fujiyama
Without hesitation, Quincy shot him a smile, turned, and was quickly gone
alleyway, hurrying ahead of Sam, who followed.
"I'm the crazy one, too, for going along with this
whole scheme." Sam
grumbled as he resumed their previous spot behind the radio maintenance
He began studying the windows he could see in the gloom to figure
out where was best to try and peek
From: patti keiper (email@example.com)
Tue 1/24/12 12:16 PM
Subject: When The Cat's Away...
"That's it." said the security officer
to Dr. Brackett in the outdoor cafeteria.
"Any others we get into triage will come through the front
door." The burly
man in black nodded as he checked his list again for accuracy. "Yep. All
here by the services or civilian drive-ins, have been processed."
"Thanks, Brad. Go take a break."
said Kel, letting go of the foot of the last
admitting patient's gurney whom he had treated under
the palm trees. He smiled
encouragingly to the woman. "You're going to be fine. Your asthma came
today, only because some nutcase broke into your house and frightened you
half to death.
Like the police, we've got it under control."
The exhausted oxygen masked young brunette just
nodded tiredly as she was
wheeled away to a nurse's station for monitoring.
Dr. Early and
Dr. Morton joined Dr. Brackett and the three of them finally sat
down at a shoved aside fiberglass
cafeteria table in shared relief and fatigue.
"Wow, that was rough." sighed Mike.
said it." Kel mumbled, rubbing his face.
Nurse Terri Stonelake dropped off a steel pot of hot
coffee and a trio of
styrofoam cups to the doctors from the dietary services cart she had been
ahead of her along with a stack of plastic wrapped sandwiches.
"Any pastrami in these?" asked
"Sorry, doctor. Those were all claimed two hours ago." she shrugged.
who got fed before us doctors!" he snapped in full bluster.
"Green tagged patients." she with
firm emphasis, and a few daggers, very
used to his mannerisms.
Brackett just grinned. "She's
got you there, Mike. Victims do outrank doctors
in emergency situations in-house."
"Welllll...., okay.." Morton simpered down.|
"Hey, I'll take one." said a voice eagerly from nearby.
The four of them looked up to see Dr. Bob Asten from the coroner's office
yourself. Guest doctors first, too, I suppose." sulked Morton, burying his
chin into two palms on
top of elbows.
Courteously, Bob let Morton choose before him. "I've been snacking from
vending machine between patients. Please.." he said, waving a nimble
hand at the tray. "You're hungrier
than any of us."
"Must have been all that fresh sea air." Morton smiled finally, nabbing two
beef sandwiches. "Sailing build's up quite an appetite."
"Yeah? Well, mine's gone after I heard
that we were losing people in triage."
lied Asten, wiping off some mayonnaise from his moustache as
he ate quickly
from his chicken sandwich. "Uh, not that it was any fault of yours." he quickly
his impasse. "Things were tight to the wall." He looked to Terri
Stonelake, the nurse. "How many
She replied wearily. "Eleven total. Not counting a woman brought in by
from an alley in Carson. Dr. Quincy'd probably be able to give
you a better history on how they died,
than I. He's in the morgue tent doing
prelim autopsies with his assistant."
Asten peered about eagerly, not finding it in the hub bub of
triage clean up activity by an army of
"I'll take you there." offered Joe, rising as he crumpled up empty suran wrap
that had been around his now fully eaten tuna sandwich. "It's around the
Joe." said Asten, scooping up one of the doctors' untouched full
coffee cups for himself. "He's not
answering any of my pages." he said as
he followed in Joe's footsteps around used first aid debris.
Morton stole Brackett's coffee craftily once the two had disappeared from sight.
up his hands only once before he guiltily took Joe's.
The black flap of
the concealing tent flipped up into its lamp lit interior from a
clear plastic skylight. The shaft
of electric light revealed just a black body bag
with its bloody cardboard note carefully lain over
the top of its torso.
"Huh, that's funny. They're not here."
Asten snatched it up and read
it while Dr. Early checked out the dead woman's
autopsy notes out of curiosity.
grunted in sympathy.
"Hmm?" asked Asten, still looking around for any message from his coroner.
"Things all look in place. Nobody unauthorized has been in here."
"Oh, it's not that. It's this.
Quincy's ruled her dead by live vivisection. While
eight months pregnant." Early said, tapping the
notes Quincy had left behind.
"What?!" gaped Bob. "Give me that." he snapped angrily as he took
from Joe's hands as he began to put two and two together about a nasty
he found it after casting his eyes around the tent a bit. "Oh,
great." he said sarcastically, dropping
the chart back onto a portable table.
"I'm afraid I don't follow you." Joe said amicably.
"Do you see another body bag in here? One maybe a foot long at the most?"
Early wasn't slow. "For
the woman's baby... No, I don't."
Asten began pacing in irritation. "Well, let me let you in on
a little dirty secret about
my fellow colleague, Dr. Early. He has an overprotective instinct when
to any child or infant fatality cases that are even the slightest bit out of whack."
"Oh, don't tell me."
"Yes, I'm afraid my man's gone hunting for the missing fetus. This is so
embarrassing. I assure you, he'll be disciplined to the fullest extent of my
department for abandoning
your triage area." Bob stated.
Dr. Early held up an understanding hand. "No need. I think I may
your coroner may have been thinking about that."
"What was that?" It was Bob's turn
to shrug in incomprehension.
"Whether or not that missing baby was still alive."
face turned a particular shade of pasty mortification. "Oh. That does
put this infraction thing into
a whole new light, now doesn't it?" Then he suddenly
remembered what was in his hands. "And I think
I may know where he might
have gone to go look."
"In the alleyway behind a...."
he squinted myopically at the stained cardboard.
"Fire Station 51." he replied, showing Dr. Early
"It's no problem at all, Dr. Asten." said Joe graciously as the two approached Dixie's
the E.R. "Miss McCall here knows the number to that firehouse in question.
If your man, Quincy, was
there, I'm sure Station 51'll know about it. Now, if you'll
excuse me. I'm going to go grab that
evening snack I abandoned outside.."
"Sure sure.." Asten nodded. "Thanks for your help."
can I do for you, Doctor?" Dixie smiled, quickly angling in on the hints
Joe had thrown at her. "Just
call these fire boys?"
"Yeah, for now." the doctor sighed. "It's a good start."
Dixie charmed, picking up a phone receiver with a hand full of still
elegant fingernails. She dialed
out. Then she frowned. "Huh. I'm getting a busy
"That's odd. What's the number? I'll
try them on the emergency phone." he
said, pointing to the red one on the wall.
him. "310-830-3170. I'll try again on mine, too." she said, redialing.
Soon, both doctor and
nurse hung up their receivers reluctantly.
"Nope. No connection. Their phones are definitely out."
"I'll try the county fire department dispatcher. Maybe he knows something
some fresh riot damage to that neighborhood." Dixie said, picking
up her desk phone once more.
A minute later, Dr. Asten had his information from the caller Dixie had
gotten a hold of for him.
"A Mr. Lanier said that Lieutenant Monahan's
at L.A. Headquarters right now for a police incident
involving a possible
hostage situation at the station. And my instinct is that if Quincy was anywhere
near that, his nose is probably well into it. Thanks, Dix. I owe you one. Do you
know if any of the
extra medical staff can leave Rampart yet?"
"Yes, they can. The Code Orange was declared over
twenty minutes ago."
"Great. If Quincy calls, tell him I'm at L.A.Co.F.D.H.Q. wanting to ream
"I'll do that." Dixie said quickly, cutting off Bob Asten's ire neatly.
From: patti keiper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Sat 2/25/12 10:16 PM
A sudden loud banging on the kitchen's outside
door made Ice, Stu,
Tony the repair man, and all six firefighters jump.
The half dozing Chet
moaned as lung pain jolted through him as a result.
Gage steadied him as his gaze went quickly to
all of the windows in the room.
The newborn baby girl in the oven didn't react to the noise openly.
Roy put a hand inside to check her consciousness level with sudden worry.
The knocking came
again and everybody froze, eyeing up Ice and Stu with
"If that's another service
guy..." Ice warned, still actively guarding Tony
with his knife while the man visibly worked through
the shock of being taken
Cap held up a hand. "None that I know about. This could
be a walk up."
he said, still sitting in the kitchen chair nearest Chet's head.
"A walk up?"
Stu parroted, his voice grumbling warning.
"We handle emergencies by going out on calls usually.
folks come to us here at the station for help..." Hank explained.
an intercom panel outside so they can talk to us."
"Use it. And make whoever it is go away without
tipping them off." Stu
Hank gestured questioningly around the room.
with impatience and finally pointed to Mike Stoker. "Okay.
You, Hot Shot. Make it work. But don't
crack those blinds open one inch."
Stoker got up out of his chair and went to the door's speaker.
Stu nodded, he pressed the button. "L.A. County Fire Station 51. This
is Fireman Stoker."
A clumsy hand fumbled the reply toggle. ## *Spap*. You've gotta help
me, please.. I... I've been
attacked by a mob. I'm... bleeding and I
can't stop it. *gasp* *cough* ## said a male voice through
Quincy continued to knock and plead desperately, not having to feign
showing in his voice.
Mike glanced at the two convicts and tossed his head in a question.
had concern etched all over his face for the mystery man still begging
for aid very vocally outside.
"Can I open the door?" he asked.
Stu threw up his hands, including the one clutching the gun.
not? Let's make it an even bigger party.." he said sarcastically. "If he's a cop,
"...he dies..." Ice finished eagerly.
Stu was suddenly surprised at his partner in crime.
corrected quietly, "What's the matter with you?" he finally said angrily."I think
you've done enough killing for one day! Just chill out. We'll think it through like
all the rest."
Gage used the distraction to talk to Roy while glancing at Kelly's racing
monitor. "Is the baby...?"
"She's okay. Just exhausted." DeSoto replied with another sigh of stress.
"Stable enough. His breathing's still equal both sides. But his meperidine's
no longer working. He needs another--"
"Hush!" Stu commanded, turning his pointed gun at the
"One thing at a time." Then he raised his eyebrows at Stoker. "Okay, fire boy.
Mike opened the door and literally caught a fifty something year old man who
a bloody, torn tan jacket as he tumbled to his knees. "Sir, easy.
I got you. Go ahead and lay down
right here on the floor." he said, instinctively
reaching for the pulse point in the bend of the
Gage and Roy watched their visitor intently, but neither one dared move from |
where they were seated.
"Now kick the door shut.." Stu commanded Mike. The engineer did so, with
a free foot, right from
where he kneeled by the new man's head. "Atta boy. All
right, mister. What's your name? We're all
friends here." Stu grinned.
Ice remained tense and suspicious, nervously shifting his knife from
palm as he watched all of the others in the room.
Quincy didn't open his eyes from
where he lay panting. "I... I don't know." he said,
his face tight and pinched in apparent heavy pain
and weakness. "Oh, my
Mike spoke about the grip he had on the coroner's brachial artery
the jacket's sleeve to Johnny and Roy. "120, strong and regular. Not an
M.I.. And most
of this blood's well clotted up."
Johnny finally piped up. "Can we please get over there with
the gear?" he
prompted the two convicts.
Stu was making a face at the sour smell of rotting
blood wafting off of Quincy's
clothes. He covered his nose, waving them on ahead with disgust. "No
Roy and Johnny grabbed for the trauma and drug gear boxes. And almost, for
one, the biophone. They left it where it sat, latched tight, on the table.
"How long ago did this
happen?" Roy asked, beginning to slice off Quincy's
blood soaked jacket with his shears as he crouched
"I ...I don't know. I guess I must have.... blacked out.." said their gray haired
Johnny Gage began a quick head to toe sweep with his hands."You got any kind
on you? Any kind of..." One hand stopped at a lump in a side
pocket. "Is this your wallet?"
gripped his wrist quickly and met his eyes directly with both of his
suddenly clear wide open ones.
"Yes.." he said with vague implication. Then they
closed again in a grimace as he turned his head
away to gag a bit.
"What's the matter?" Ice prompted Johnny, his caution streak on hyper drive.
Johnny was perplexed and his face mirrored it as he peeled off gripping fingers.
"Nothing so far...
uh, I just found out how we can find out who he is.." Gage
replied honestly, only partially tipped
off. He dug out Quincy's wallet. He had
cracked it only long enough to read the name when the metal
of the coroner's
shield badge almost winked betrayingly in the bright light surrounding them. "His
name's Quincy. H--He's 55 years old from Pasadena. No medical alert or
medical insurance card, Roy."
Ice started laughing. "No insurance? That means he can't pay? No wonder
the muggers left him
alive. He had no cash on him."
Stu capitulated with a like grin. "Poor bastard. Beaten to within
an inch of
his life... Boy, do I know how that feels."
Gage flashed a fast glance at Roy and
cleared his throat. "Yeah, we might have
been working with a 'dead' guy." he mumbled, tossing the
wallet onto the coroner's
stomach for safe keeping.
"A what?" DeSoto asked, distracted by the
blood pressure he was starting
to take. "He doesn't seem that serious to me."
"A death guy..
I mean almost,...a real one.." Gage coughed, he hinted vaguely,
continuing his sweep down both of
Quincy's twitching legs.
Roy paused in pumping up the mercury dial on the blood pressure cuff.
Johnny picked up Quincy's folded wallet and held it up. "I mean this was
really important thing and the gang who attacked him completely missed it."
Then he smiled, artificially.
"How stupid can they get?"
Right then the newborn baby girl in the oven started crying.
And on the floor between the three firefighters, Quincy started smiling.
He sat up.
face fell wide open, "Whoa,, wait a minute.." he muttered when he
realized what Quincy was about
to do, very concerned for his safety once
their captors learned what he was.
But Quincy just
shrugged, still seated, as his captors quickly figured
out that he was faking. "That's better. I
knew the baby had to be here
Stu got angry. "Just what do you think you were going
to do, old man?" he
said, aiming his gun right at Quincy's head. "Tackle the two of us?"
Johnny and Mike scrambled out of range, pressed protectively
against the cabinets with their backs
as they remained silent.
Quincy eyed up the fire fighters. "It's okay. I had to do this. I had
to know if
that poor mother's baby was still alive." he said, staying seated on the floor
his hands carefully placed out in the open, palms down on top of the
linoleum. He ignored the BP
cuff dangling from his arm as he calmly looked
at Stu. "At my age, mister? Ridiculous! I acted purely
on my own. Do you
see any police car lights flashing away out there?"
Ice's eyes shifted back
and forth, suddenly calculating. "He's not a cop then.
Cops wouldn't do this kind of stunt. They'd
storm through the windows, shooting
in tear gas grenades and other stuff. Maybe he's family or a neighbor
of the chick I wasted who lives nearby or something."
"Who exactly are you?" Stu demanded, setting
a foot onto one of the empty chairs
surrounding Chet. For added emphasis, he shifted his gun hand
to rest on top
of Kelly, its muzzle aimed casually up at the bottom of Chet's jawline.
injured firefighter's breathing began to pick up in his effort to inhale with
the added weight of
Stu's hand on his chest. "Ughh.." Chet groaned, half out.
Roy called out a warning. "Chet, stay
Stu just grinned. "I'm waiting. Nicely. Answer the question."
Quincy licked his
lips, his earlier bravado forgotten.
"All right. I'm a medical examiner with the county. We found
the mother a few
hours ago in the alleyway and once we discovered her baby was missing, I
back to search for it where they last found her. You weren't hard to find.
The blood trail led me
straight up to the back door."
"In the middle of a prison riot that was flooding the whole neighborhood?"
wondered, tilting his head with exasperation.
"I....can get a little impulsive when it
comes to lost children." Quincy admitted.
"Not one of my finer points, I'm told. It usually gets me
Stu smiled again. "Like now."
Ice's ire wasn't finished yet.
be off your rocker, old man! Covering yourself up in a day old corpse's
blood just to get inside
a fire station that had major trouble brewing? That's... that's
just plain disgusting!" Ice said,
waving away the stench on Quincy's clothes with a
"What can I say? I am a little
nuts. Why do you think I work with dead bodies
and not live people most of the time? And your behavior
now is showing me that
you no longer know how to act around innocent people who've done you no harm
at all." Quincy told him. "Like around that tiny baby screaming her frightened little
Quincy's accusation caught Ice a little off guard. His rage wilted and immediately|
turned soft and
uncertain. He headed towards the infant squawling behind him,
reaching a pair of blood caked fingers
out to her. "No... I...She's mine. Even if it's
only for a little while. I won't hurt her." he whispered.
"I made her a promise." he
"Good for her. Where do WE stand in your line of thought?"
Quincy asked. "Are we
going to end up being just a pile of shredded, rotten meat, too, like that
mother, when all of this is over?"
Stu eyebrows rose in surprise. Then he let the coroner
talk, half amused at the effect
the man was having on his cellmate.
"No.. no.. uh, I don't
know." Ice said defensively, uncomfortable. "That depends."
"Depends on what?" Quincy pressed,
slowly moving backwards until his back rested
against the cabinet doors, too. Calmly, he laced his
fingers together over a knee
after he kicked away the cut remnants of his stinking coat with a shoe.
"On whether or not any of you rat on us that we're here." Ice replied sarcastically.
Tony the repair man's nervousness suddenly flared. His eyes shot to
the truck's radio that Ice had
tucked into a sleeve.
Startling, Ice snatched it out and made sure it was turned off. Just to
be sure, he
pulled out the Nicad battery from its back and threw it across the room.
communications man flinched at the clatter and Roy held up a hand in front of
him to calm him down.
"It's okay. That was never on. That's not your fault." he said
with strong emphasis to Ice so that
fact finally registered on the crazed young convict.
But even at Roy's words, Tony remained trembling
"Why is he still acting so nervous?" Ice demanded.
Tony jerked and finally
blurted out. "I got A.D.D. man... I... I can't handle stress...
I'm sorry.." and he began to sob
quietly. "I just really wish people knew we
were here, you know. Can you blame me?" He glanced up
once, at Cap, before
lowering his eyes again. His hands motioned turning a dial subtlely behind a
Cap tilted his jaw as his mind processed that. He parroted the same back at
Tony bobbed his head twice, with another confirming glance at Hank, before
again into a very real tearful submission.
Hank leaned into Marco next to him and whispered.
"Chet's HT is on the air in the bay."
"Here's hoping." Lopez said, equally sotto voce.
went on out loud. "We've been thinking the same thing ourselves for hours now.
It's only natural
to want an out."
"Just like you, when you acted on it." Quincy said, too, looking at Ice and
"Why should we have to pay the price for your illegal freedom? She sure did."
indicating the baby.
Ice's face was struck with a sudden horror and he dropped his knife onto
Kelly coughed weakly, coming further out of sedation. Sighing deeply, Stu blinked
if he had just become aware of the discomfort he was causing Chet. He picked
up his gun hand with
a shrug and returned to his usual place, seated in Cap's recliner.
To Roy and Johnny's relief,
Chet breathing began to even out from its hard laboring,
that had been caused by Stu's added weight,
into a normal quality.
Stu began spinning his bullets in their magazine casing as he waved the
paramedics to go care for their friend. "Today was Russian roulette, old pal." He said
Ice, who was falling to pieces in front of him. "Just like I've been trying to tell ya.
we're evil through and through. There is always a price paid in the end,
for being that, Ice. And
I'm afraid that price comes now. I know it, and I think you've
finally learned it, too. At last.
What have you got to say for yourself?"
Ice was left standing alone and unsupported. The task
of addressing the others
clearly had been passed on to him. Ice's confidence was shaken enough that
picked up the crying baby and her heated towel into his arms for comfort. He tried
hush her, but nothing worked. He was entirely unaware that the knife had
slipped from his fingers.
"You do as we say, all of you!" he said, raging, but his eyes
were finally filling with tears of
sudden guilt and remorse as he stared at and finally
understood the unhappy, falling tears of the
baby. Tears that he, and he alone, had
In the leather chair, Stu nodded with satisfaction
that his lesson about life to Ice was
being heeded. He stopped spinning his gun's bullet chamber
and began to empty them
out, one by one into his lap until he was completely disarmed.
didn't resist when the firemen rushed him and Ice both and tied them up with
long pieces of torn phone
"Chet! .... Chet! Can you hear me?" Gage shouted as he reassessed Kelly's
awareness with a sternal
Kelly barely felt it, but he spit out the noisy suction tube Roy was using on him
a large amount of bloody saliva out of his mouth. "Stop.. It's gone.
I'm awake. How's...*gasp*...
"Pink and healthy. Just the way I like them." Quincy said, showing her off
Marco wanted to know something. "How did you know your barging in here
was going to
work out?" he asked the coroner.
"I didn't. I just got lucky. I mean, what DO convicts do when
storm the riot as planned?" Quincy shrugged. Then he eyed up the biophone
on the table
between them. "Want me to set up the comm line?"
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