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   The Fire Within
   Movie One
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               Page Seven

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Subject: Mop Up..
From:  patti k (  
Sent: Mon 4/13/09 12:05 AM

**(Portions of the 240 Robert characters' dialogue following is taken
from the 240 Robert Pilot, Apology. First Aired August 28, 1979
Writer : John Furia Jr. with Story by Rick Rosner)**

Johnny watched as the others loaded up the kayaker into 240
Robert Air. They had moved Gage to stand near by the landing area
so he could join the man for the trip into the park hospital.

Roy climbed up the rope and jogged his way over to Gage and Ted,
who was holding Johnny's arm to steady him.

Gage's I.V. was hanging around his neck like a trophy by a bungee cord.
DeSoto laughed. "Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes."

"I could say the same thing." Johnny said, not letting him take
his pulse at the wrist. "Just what the h*ll happened down there?"

"A wire broke off a pole and snagged the lift cable." Roy told


"Yeah." Roy said. "I had to cut it for them. Fast."

"But..but.. shouldn't that have crashed that chopper the second it got
fouled up?"

"That's what usually happens when a chopper gets trapped
by ground debris."

"But all that wind..."


"And all those trees.."

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"Yeah! I know." Roy agreed. "It's a miracle she stayed flying.."

"What a pilot.." Gage sighed, stars in his eyes as he saw Morgan
peek out the flight cabin to watch the others fuss over the kayaker's
stretcher bubble door until they had it locked up snug.

DeSoto teased him about the glazed look in his eye. "Are you
going out on me here?"

Ted, who was still busy with moving his gear, misinterpreted the
comment and grabbed the back of Gage's neck, thinking he was
fainting again. "Whaa--? I'll catch him!"

Both DeSoto and Gage started laughing and both shrugged Cassidy's
paramedic concerns off. Roy bailed him out. "I meant emotionally.
About a girl Johnny's fixating on over there. He's fine."

Ted let go of supporting Johnny's head a moment later. "Oh. I should've
figured. He did the same thing when he got sweet up on Julie Beck back
at home on your last visit to Sierra." Then he leaned into Johnny's
ear. "Sorry, chum. But that fiery little redhead's taken from what I've
been overhearing." he smirked.

"Taken?" Johnny gaped in dismay.

"Yeah, I overheard Thibideaux over there ribbing Applegate about a date
those two went on when she first joined the 240 Robert team." Cassidy said
as the three of them watched the kayaker being checked and rechecked
for flight travel safety.

"Oh, yeah?" Johnny grimaced in disappointment. "Well, how long ago was

"A bit." Ted told him. "But I'm just guessing. I haven't found out how long 240's
been in operation yet. It's only my first day shadowing them." he confessed.

"I might have a real chance, then." Johnny whispered, his boy like grin

Roy just shook his head ruefully. "Ah, Gage and his feminist fixation in full
swing. I think he's fully recovered, Ted. A libido's proof positive."

Cassidy's face blanked out in seriousness. His eyes sparkled, mock firm.
"Really? Well I wanna go on playing flight paramedic here. So keep him
acting sick until after I get us both into the air. I wanna see exactly what that
sweet little black and white bird can do." Tim said of the chopper.

"Me, too." Johnny smiled, eyeing up the pilot with admiration. "I promise I'll
groan for ya. But just a little." he said. "I wanna keep my eyes open so I
can watch her the whole trip in, so don't authorize a stokes for me. Please?"

"Deal. You'll sit." Ted said, with an eager nod. He wrapped up Gage's still
active trailing EKG wires and handed Johnny the small monitoring machine
to carry personally. "Got that? Exercise'll warm you up faster."

Johnny laughed. "Yeah." Then he faked a stagger as he took it. "Ooo, my arm.."
he kidded. "It's still cold numb."

Ted just ignored him as he kept on watching for the signal from Trap to load up
Johnny into 240 Robert Air, with impatient, folded arms.

Roy smirked. "So suck on this. That's what it's for." DeSoto said, re-fastening the
Res-Q-Air mask over Gage's face from the bag Ted had left by Johnny's feet.
Then he passed the whole unit off to Gage's free hand and shoulder. "There.
All snug?" he asked about all his tubes and wires.

"What? Do I look like a pack mule here?" Johnny complained, blowing off
flowery billowing steam curls around the flowing oxygen mask.

"Yep." Roy scoffed good naturedly. "Ted can't carry all that stuff by himself."
Then he moved over to the cliff to help Chet get Cap and Marco out of the ravine
by using C.B.'s deployed jeep winch and cable.

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A few minutes later, the rescue crews were almost ready.
"Okay, easy now. One, Two Three.." said Trap as Thib and C.B. maneuvered
the kayaker's litter onto the flight rack locking pins.

Hank poked in his head into the bubble. "How's he doing?"

Thib gave him a thumbs up. Stanley matched it in relief, then went to go fetch
Johnny. Soon, Ted Cassidy and Gage were buckled in the caretaker seats with
Paramedic C.B. Harris monitoring the kayaker's condition continually.

A minute later, the others moved off to let Morgan launch with her four passengers.

"240 Robert Air to Appalchia Central." Wainwright radioed once she was in
the air and safely above the ground winds.

##Central, by.##

"With an ETA of five minutes, I have two medical emergencies, one with head
and back injuries, multiple fractures. The second with chills and hypotension. The
first patient is an epileptic." reported Morgan to the ranger base doctor and nurse
listening in. "We've got I.Vs on both."

By the rescue jeeps, Trap sighed as he re-packed up his med kit. "Have to admit
it, Morgan. You're one h*ll of a lady.." he said to the silhouette of the chopper
against the sky as he listened to her radioed out broadcast to the ranger base.

Next to him, wrapping up ropes, Thib smirked. "You know, I really would like to
hear about those two dates you two went on.."  

"Oh, you would, eh? Well, someday, I will write you a song about it." Applegate
promised him.

"Well something tells me that there's a little something more to it than that." Thib
jabbed, probing.

Trap didn't bristle. He finally admitted an observation. "You know, she's pretty
gutsy. For a girl, she's gutsy."  

"Trap, why don't you go tell her." Thib said simply.

Applegate sighed and then nodded, in appreciation of the truth.


Mike Stoker pulled up in Johnny's land rover. He parked it and got out, rejoining the
two 240 Robert sheriff paramedics and the rest of the gang who were talking in low
voices about the next plan of attack concerning Bluebird Five.
"Hey guys, how'd it go?" he asked.

"Fine. Got him out." Stanley said. "But Gage froze a little taking a swim. We
sent him in with the victim to get warmed back up."

"Boy, were we lucky. I packed up our campsite. Completely. Deer's on the roof."
Stoker told them.

Kelly eyed up the blue tarp tied to the top rack of the land rover. "Well, vacation's
over for us, that's for sure. No steaks tonight."

"Why? Did something else happen?" Mike wondered, spinning around in place to
check out their surroundings.

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Stanley answered, very somber. "The park's regular chopper dropped off the
radar on her way here. Chances are good that she crashed. There's a male pilot
and boy on board."

Mike's face filled with concern. "Where abouts?"

"We're working on that." Thib volunteered, spreading out a map that Trap had
placed onto the hood of one of the rescue jeeps. They weighed it down against
the building wind with some hasty rocks placed at the corners.

"Appalachia just told us they lost the signal at 46 24.526 -128 03.739 westerly.
But Bluebird Five's transponder ping only puts out a positional once a minute on
normal setting. If Baxter was going full out for speed, that makes our search radius
from those coordinates about eight miles in diameter." Trap told Stoker.

"What's the terrain like in that area?" Mike asked.

"Thick woods and hills. No roads. A few mountain ridges." Thib shrugged.
"Every available ranger's been mobilized on horseback."

"Can we help?" Hank offered. "We work mountains sometimes back at home.
Search and rescue."

Trap angled his head skeptically considering the long sleepless night they
had already suffered during the cougar's surprise visit.

Cap read his brain.
"My men and I won't get any sleep tonight either if we walk away from this one."

"Sure." Applegate relented.

"Let's go." Thib said. "I know a fast way to the center of that circle. This road
leads to within a half mile of it. Trap'll drive the other jeep. Everybody follow

"I'll drive the rover." said Chet, snatching up Cap's hand held radio.
"I'll go with you." said Marco, running after him.

Roy looked up. "Cap, why don't you pair up with Thib. I'll go with Trap. That
way, we'll all have a radio. Stoker can you handle that map?"

"Yeah. Easily. This is just like the one I was looking at when we first registered
in at Park Headquarters." Mike answered.

"Then come with us." DeSoto said. "We'll need a navigator after a while."

Applegate nodded in agreement.

"Everyone, excellent plan. See you there." Stanley replied.

Quickly, the three vehicles convoyed down the road with the first two of them
suddenly reactivating urgent lights and sirens.
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Subject: Tears And A Little Hot Water :)
From:  patti k (  
Sent: Tue 4/21/09 12:24 AM

Terri Baxter had to get away. Even before Sarah Collins saddled up on Jodi the
mule and joined the search party. So the nurse turned rookie ranger escaped
into the forest on her usual horse and wandered onto one of the numerous trails
winding around Mirror Lake, to sort things out.

She had really screwed things up royally. ::First, I argued with Joanne about
the stupid mistake I made during the avalanche mishap. I should have
shut up. And now, there's this.:: she thought morosely. Terri looked down at
the opened envelope in her hands. It was a disciplinary action that she had
gotten from Paul Carnes concerning her risky behavior at the avalanche
exercise. She was grounded from all snow release outings until further notice.

Strangely, she didn't feel the horrid consternation she thought she would feel
at receiving her first demerital letter. And it was all because of the latest
emergency crisis to strike the park : Bluebird Five's missing status.
::I sure hope that Ken Baxter and little Joey are still okay.:: she hoped.

She still remembered how the charming child and she had first met, earlier in the
week. Her mind reflected back into a daydream of the moment...

Something fell and hit her on the shoulder. Terri jumped. It was a toy battleship.

"Could you gimme that?" a small voice answered from the pine tree immediately
next to park headquarter's main entrance. Blake smiled, peering into the branches.
"Here you are." And she tossed up the ship into invisible hands. "What's your name?
Are you stuck?"

"It's Joey and no. But I wanna get down before Grandma sees me."

"Fair enough. I'm coming up to help you." Terri smirked, pulled off her uniform
belt to use as a climbing strap. Soon, she lifted his tiny body off of his branch
and settled him to the ground in a fireman's carry. He regained his feet neatly.
With some spunk, he dusted off his clothes briskly, then extended his hand
in greeting. "And yours?"

"Mine what?" Blake blinked, still holding the boy's tin of plastic battleships that
had fallen out of his pocket on the way down. She shook his hand right back.

"Your name." he said, taking the tin back respectfully. "I can see that you're a
ranger by your green and tan clothes."

"Oh, oh, oh. I'm Terri. Terri Blake. It's nice to meet you, Joey."

"It is." he nodded enthusiastically. "I guess anybody that gets me out of a bind is
a friend. Wanna play?" he said, shaking his tin. "I'm good at board games."

"Sure." Terri agreed.

The next few days went by pleasantly, and more and more Terri felt a strange
bond growing between them. Each morning, boy and ranger would talk in the heliport
while Terri cleaned equipment and horse tack. Then they'd go horseback riding or
swimming in the lake, depending on the last of the Indian Summer weather.

And almost always, they'd tell stories to each other by the river after lunch.
Soon, Terri began teaching Joey basic woods know how. Fire building, and sunlight
navigation and food foraging. They had already covered reading disturbed
moss signs for deer and how to build emergency shelters when a twig snapped
nearby. Blake looked up into the sunlight.

It was Sarah Collins.
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"Oh, Mrs. Collins." Terri said. "I hope you don't mind me watching your grandson
like this. He's actually a lot of fun to be with compared to most of my coworkers."

"Miss Blake, I brought him here to... stretch a little." the old woman said,
skirting specifics. "Keep at it. Joey doesn't seem to mind so why should I? He's
already told me so much about you. So I just had to come out and meet you for

Terri grinned, handing Joey another pine bough to add to a practice shelter they
had built next to the parking lot. "He's a charming little boy."

Sarah watched her only grandson sadly. "But a troubled one." she shared.

Blake frowned. "If you don't mind my asking. How so? I mean, he's so happy
and carefree." Terri commented as she watched Joey steer his toy ships around
the landscaped garden's gravel.

Collins chided a dismissing huff. "He's TOO positive. Haven't you noticed how
protective he is of his navy cap?"

"Uh, huh." Terri answered honestly. "I've asked him about it more than once
but he always changes the subject every time."

Sarah took Terri's arm and turned her away from where Joey was playing inside
the pine bough lean to. "His father was killed on assignment while aboard the U.S.S.
Intrepid, nine months ago. It happened a few days before Joey's seventh birthday."

"Oh, I'm so sorry." Blake murmured, taking Sarah's hand.

Collins patted Terri's grip reassuringly. "A gasline ruptured and started a fire. Ben
was overcome by flames while trying to save his captain."

Terri hated death and she found herself glancing away to hide unbidden tears as
she studied the sun's rays shimmering on the lazy current in the creek near them.

"They buried my son with the highest of naval honors." Collins concluded.

Blake met her eyes. "And his mother?"

"Carol died when Joey was three and a half, of cancer. Ben and he became very close
during that time. And beyond. Then Ben died and left us both behind." Collins
whispered sadly.

Terri said the first thing that came to mind. "Your son must have been an admirable man."

Sarah's face furrowed at a memory. "Problem is. Even at the funeral, Joey never cried
a tear. Not even when the sergeant at arms presented him with the flag." Sarah broke off,
hiding her reactions so Joey wouldn't notice. "He should feel something. Anything." she
insisted to Terri, who was listening very close. "Not grieving isn't natural. Therapy hasn't
helped at all. So I figured bringing Joey back to where he and his father spent their happiest
times couldn't hurt." she grinned. But then she let go of Terri's hand. "Oh, I shouldn't be
dumping all my problems onto you. You probably have enough to worry about already."

"Boy do I." Terri said, wiping away sympathetic tears as she laughed.

The two women talked until the sun peeked through the lower most beech branches
hanging low over the water. Then Collins noticed her watch.

"Oh, my gosh." Sarah exclaimed. "Time to be heading back. Come along Joey dear.
Let's go. We've got to get our beauty sleep if we're departing on that mountain expedition
tomorrow morning."

"Oh, that's right." Terri realized. "I did see your names on the registration form. Funny I
forgot that when it was I who planned out the course."

"Not a problem, Miss Blake. Joey and I like to live simple. Takes a lot for us to be noticed
in most cases. But we'll be ready for you being our guide. We have our tents and horses
already assigned to us. And our camp rations. But I think I forgot to bring one thing from
home. A pillow to sit on afterwards."

Terri giggled. Joey ran up suddenly then and sat down on Terri's lap.

"Hi, kiddo." Sarah, said, ruffling Joey's hair. "Did you have fun out there?"

"Yeah." answered the boy. "I found some deer tracks and I saw a really big
porcupine over by the birch meadow!"

Sarah's eyes twinkled at Terri. "Oh, really?"

"Uh, huh. And a blue jay, too. He scolded me for getting too close to his nest.
Let's go, Grandma."

"All right. I'm coming." Sarah said. The three of them got up seconds later
and headed for the warm lodge.

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Terri Blake broke out of her reverie and concentrated on the trail in front of her
as her mount placed one careful foot in front of the other in the half frozen mud.
::Oh, Joey. Ken. Be safe. I can't stand it that you're not." she sobbed suddenly.

Her face wet, Terri realized she was getting impatient for operations to begin.
Blake coughed loudly as she turned her horse around briskly. She thundered back
to the main lodge's stables and heliport to meet up with Sarah and the rest of the
park rangers in her search party as fast as she could.

Ten minutes later, Terri and her group, along with Mrs. Collins on Jodi the mule,
all left headquarters, bound for the deep woods where Bluebird Five lay lost
and buried.


Joanne Almsted glanced Johnny's way from where she was quickly
stabilizing the second kayaker for another chopper flight to a larger
trauma center that could handle all of his extensive injuries that she knew
would require surgical intervention to repair. The skull fracture and expanding
epidural hematoma and the broken spinal vertebrae films were glaring at her from
the illuminated xray shadow box and their chilling abnormalities made her move
even faster to drill the rest of a set of emergency bore holes into her patient's
head to relieve his slowly building intracranial pressure.

Gage met her stare from where he lay on his side on a nearby gurney. "Don't waste
a single second on me. You already know how well I'm doing here. He's first
for you and I really mean it this time." Johnny told her, pointing to his very normal
EKG reading blipping away on his attached monitor. "I'm just V-tachy from hunger
which that I.V., is fixing." he told her pointing to the rapid drip in his I.V.'s chamber.
"No longer shivering..." he said in challenging mock singsong, holding out a level
hand. "I'm warm enough to wait more than just a little while for treatment."

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Joanne ignored his "order", chin gesturing for a nurse to give him a second Dex50
boost into his intravenous line and another set of heated blankets. "You forget
I have staff that are extensions of me. I can do both. Marilyn, grab another BP and
rectal temp on our favorite river swimmer over there will you? I'm almost done
here." she said, lining up the power drill for another go, a little mischieviousness
not beyond her. She fought down a very unprofessional grin.

"Hey wait just a doggone minute here.  You don't need to get a core temp on me
that way!" Gage complained loudly.

"My E.R. mister. And things are always done my way, medic man." she said levelly.
"I'm sure Marilyn will draw the curtains to protect your sudden sense of modesty. See
you in a few minutes.." she said, waggling her blood stained gloved fingers clownishly.
"..for our appointed date." she said, snapping off one of her gloves dramatically to throw
it neatly into a biohazard waste bin. Half the sparkle of anger in her eyes wasn't feigned.

Gage sighed and dropped his tired head back onto the pillow in frustration as the nurse
drew the cubicle divider shut around them. "I can refuse any treatment I like, Ms. Doctor.
I think I'm an expert on my own rights as a conscious patient after six years working
as a para-- WhoOOO!" he ansed, feeling a deft petroleum slicked probe as it found
its mark.

"Hold still." Marilyn warned sternly as she took Gage's temperature.

Just then a crack in the curtain appeared. It was Morgan Wainright with a question
for Dr. Almstedt. "Say doc, where are you? The nurses out front said you were just
about ready for me to relaunch with..  oh myYY.. Too much information.." Morgan
quailed, wincing, and covering her eyes after she beheld Johnny's bare tush.

"Ever heard of knocking first?" Johnny said, throwing a blanket over both nurse
and his rear end. He flushed nine shades of red in all four cheeks.

Marilyn just rolled her eyes and unburied her head with a look of long suffering.
"I take it you really like these two women?" she guessed.

"Do you mind?" Johnny glared at his caretaker.

Wainwright regarded him with a serious, curious, tilted but still self blinded
expression. "Really? Me and Joanne? That's funny because Terri Blake told
me she thought you were hitting on just her a few days ago something really
fierce." Morgan said. "Is he decent?" she asked, her leather covered hands
still shielding her eyes.

Nurse Marilyn answered acidly. "Don't know. The vote's still out on that one."

"Hey! I'm actually a really nice guy. Just ask my other friends when they get here."
Gage said defensively, snubbed on the barely veiled nurse's insult. "Yes, I'm
covered." he finally groused.

Wainwright pulled her gloves away from her eyes.
"Tell you what, Mr. Gage. I like what I've seen already." winked Morgan. Then
she disappeared behind the fabric, leaving Johnny behind, gaping like a fish out
of water.

"She.. she uh- w-.." the stunned paramedic patient sputtered.

"Breathe, fireman. I'm finally done." announced Marilyn at last, eyeballing the
thermometer she had just retrieved from its blanket covered target area.
"Hmmm. 96. Still a little cool."

"No, she's hot. And she's interested!" Johnny celebrated, grinning lopsidedly.
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Subject: Message from the Sky
From:  patti k (  
Sent: Fri 5/22/09 2:12 AM

Birds were the first thing that entered Ken Baxter's awareness. Then
came the pain.

"Ahhh!!" he grimaced, folding up his limbs from where he lay on his
side on dusty bare ground matted thickly with fall rotting pine needles.

A branch was cutting into his throat, where it had been pinned awkwardly
from the way the pilot had landed after slicing himself free of his seatbelt

Desperately, Ken tore it away, and gasped when a strong odor choked him.
::Fuel. The chopper's leaking.:: he thought dimly. ::Got... to get aw--:: Then
another horrid thought came to light. ::Joey! Did he make it out, too?:: he
wondered frantically.

Keeping as still as he could for the moment, Baxter moved just his head,
palms and elbows as he craned about, searching for the boy who had been
his passenger. "Joey?!" he yelled, his voice echoing through the tiny, deeply
shadowed valley gorge into which they had fallen.

There was no reply. Grunting, and breathing hard, Ken located the most
concentrated pile of crash debris that had fallen from Bluebird Five still
suspended eight feet up the ancient pine tree. It had saved them from
a full ground impact. He rolled over and began to crawl, belly and elbows,
back to the patch of wet dirt that lay directly under line-of-sight with the
upside down suspended helicopter cockpit.

Pure agony in his abdomen and upper leg stopped him a foot short of his goal.
Glancing down, Ken saw a dark red wetness staining his jeans and something
white. ::I don't want to know what the h*ll I've done to myself now.:: he panted,
resting his forehead on trembling, pine needle gouged hands. But inwardly, he knew
that sickening pale glint, might possibly be bone showing through torn skin. ::Oh,
lordy. That'd better be metal or something and not a snapped-in-two thigh. Don't
want to... bleed to death out here like a stuck pig in front of the boy.:: he fervently
wished.  "Joey! Answer me!" he shouted again, peering up into the remnants of
the chopper hanging overhead.

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Nothing answered him but the wind and birds, trickling down to Ken in the feeble
sunlight under the pine trees.

Moaning and stifling a cry of pain, Ken peeled off his pants belt and tightened it
anew around his injured leg above the hideous wound he didn't want to see. Immediately,
the thick and sluggish hemorrhaging slowed and the numbness and tingling increased.
"Joey, I need you to make some noise, real loud. I can't find ya!" Baxter gasped, reeling
from a growing shock that was seeping inexorably into his awareness. "You're gonna
haveta lead me to--" he broke off, recognizing a bright bit of blue and pink stripes lying
underneath a shattered rotor blade, mostly covered in chewed up pine needles.
"Joey?!" Ken yelled.

Having tended the worst on himself as best he could, Baxter dragged himself cautiously
around pools of still drip accumulating aviation fuel over to the half buried shirt he had
spotted. "I've found you, boy! Move for me!"

Ken saw a caked hand poke itself out of the leaf litter feebly followed by a small
cough. ::He's breathing!:: Baxter celebrated mentally.

Baxter got to Joey's side and uncovered his face and neck where he lay on his
stomach. The Collins boy was only half awake and straining to draw breaths in
occasionally. "Easy now, son. I think you just got the wind knocked out of ya after
we both bailed out of our seats."

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Joey struggled, beginning to panic. Baxter sat up painfully, curled over his swollen
leg. He tipped back Joey's head after rolling him over onto his back. "Relax, just relax.
That band around your middle gut will go away mighty quick now that you're fully awake. All
right? Just look at me right in the eyes and concentrate on loosening up that gut cramp.
You're fine. Okay? Just breathe as it comes." Joey's bright, frightened eyes took in Ken's
bruised ones and finally Joey didn't look away as the boy gripped both of Ken's wrists in a
tight grip of fear.

A thin, full inhalation rewarded both boy and pilot as Collins ceased to panic under Ken's
warm hands that were cushioned around his face. "Oh, G*d.." Joey sobbed, as first words
of speech finally escaped his lips. "That really sucked r-*gag*" he coughed.

"Yeah? But we're alive and not smeared all over the mountainside. Good job unbuckling
your harness. But we're not done yet. We're still in danger. The fuel tank's compromised."

"And we might be barbeque if we don't.. Hey, you're bleeding.." Joey worried, sitting up
stiff and sore, with Ken's help against a piece of chopper hull.

"Not anymore. At least not much." Ken gasped. "Banged up my leg among other things.
You hurt at all?"

Joey patted himself. "My ribs, a little."

"Where? Right there?" Ken asked, probing the boy's left side under his shirt.

"Umph.. yeah. I heard something crack when I hit the ground."

"No holes." Ken pronounced, looking at the large bruise he had found there.

"Nope, I don't think so. Dad used to say, last thing I'd want, is to be making
noise through a new mouth in the rib cage after any fall."

"Your dad was a smart cookie, son. A collapsing lung is nothing to shake a stick at."

Joey sighed, freezing in place, remembering something emotionally painful.  
But then he began gingerly picking at the pants material around Ken's hidden injury.
"We've got to tend this." he warned.

The pilot stopped him when agony erupted. "I don't want to know."


"Call it a mental thing." Ken said more firmly.

The Collins boy studied Ken's gray and sweaty face, analyzing.
"All right. At least it's covered." Joey told him, drawing his hands away. "So let's get out
of here. I think I saw some of the cargo bay stuff land over there. Might be blankets
and our packed food close by."

"Most likely. We'll grab them and a container for water. There's a creek down at the very
bottom fifty yards that way. Saw it shining earlier." Ken told him.

Joey looked up fearfully at the wind shivering, mangled chopper still hanging in
their very lucky lone giant of a pine tree. "Any chance she'll explode?"

"Nah, I turned all her power systems off. Let's just not play boy scouts with any matches
until we're well away from her." Ken joked, trying to grin for Joey through his pain. "We'll
make a signal fire for smoke later that doesn't risk her spilled Jet A-1. Only thing that'll set
her off is static from friction."

"You mean from all this wind and rubbing branches on her hull?"

"It's possible. Something we can't overlook. Pine sap's highly conductive. So let's hurry."

Slowly, Joey helped Ken drag himself out of flammable ground cover a long distance
away from the chopper's tree. He found a smooth, sunheated rock table in between
two bus sized boulders to use as a shelter out of the afternoon's cooling winds.

"Here." Collins told the dazed pilot. "This place's warm. I'll head back for our stuff."

Ken gasped. "Look sharp for a hand held radio. We had two stowed
in the back on a rack. They may have been tossed out with us." he murmured weakly,
sagging mentally against his will. "And be c-careful."

"I will." Joey said, heading back cautiously, exactly the way they had come.

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The searchers had gathered their horses into a circle in the parking lot in
front of the park's headquarters. They all had radios and rescue packs with
them, along with an emergency shelter, and heavy terrain tools.

They all watched 240 Robert Air land, freshly back from her return trip delivering
the second kayaker to a surgical hospital further down the coast on Long Island.
Morgan Wainwright leaped from the chopper and met the group to learn what
channel through which they were going to operate.

"Here. We'll be on Channel Two!" Ranger Ted Cassidy said, reaching down
from his borrowed horse to hand Morgan her own handy talkie. "It's a fresh battery."

"Thanks. I got here as fast as I could." said Morgan, taking it from his glove.
"Where am I going to start my search grid?"

C.B. Harris told her. "Dispatch says Bluebird's transponder signal was last received
at 46 24.526 -128 03.739 westerly."

"I'll set those coordinates on my GPS." Wainwright said, waving quickly as she
dashed back to her helicopter to take flight. "Don't worry. I'll find them. Just
keep looking for anything abnormal that can't get above the treeline. Chopper
debris, the smell of fuel on the wind, black fire smoke. There's a possibility
I won't be able to spot them from the air."

"Will do!" Cassidy shouted back, watching her jog away.

240 Robert Air took off in a flurry of dust and noise as she angled nimbly towards
the sun and the vast expanse of unbroken orange tinted forest and pine groves
flanking the slopes of the Appalachians surrounding Park Headquarters.

When she had gone, Blake swept up her arm urgently.
"Okay, fan out everybody!"  said Terri to the others. "We already lost enough
time ironing out our plans. Both of 240 Robert Ground's rescue jeeps and
a team of off duty firefighters from California are already almost to the center
of the search area. Our job is to cover the perimeter and work our way in to them
from as many points around the outer circle as we can."

Next to her, on Jodi the mule, Sarah Collins sucked in her breath. "Are they so sure
Joey's helicopter crashed?"

"It's more than likely, Sarah. I'm sorry." Terri told her. "There's been no response
on radio from Ken Baxter, our pilot, nor has there been any sign of Bluebird Five's
signature. That means she's dropped off radar--"

"..below the trees.." Collins quailed. "Oh, Joey." she whispered fearfully as Terri
took the reins of her mule to begin a leading gallop from her horse after the other
searchers already moving full speed into the forest.
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   The Fire Within
   Movie One
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