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                   Fire In The Sky
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      Page Seven

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Janeway tapped the EMH on the shoulder and he backed off to give her room.
"Roy?" she said, crouching at his side. "Do you remember how you got injured? It's
very important that we find this out together."

Oblivious, Barclay sat on the front bumper, continuing his guarded scans of the bubble's
boundaries.

"Wait just a g*d d*mn*d minute here." Roy snapped. "I keep hearing from you people
that I'm not real. Just what the h*ll is that supposed to mean? I feel like I'm still
me!"

"You are. In 2010." Boothby told him flat out. "Which is what time it is in here."

Roy's whole demeanor changed into one of shock. "No." he said in adamant refusal.
"It's 1976. I.. I know it is. I still have red white and blue paint under my fingernails from
the kids and I painting the sandbox in bicentennial colors. See?" he said, holding up
aged, shaking hands. The bright little flakes were there, cracked and broken.

Janeway gently took Roy's palms into her own. "I believe you. Outside, it still is
your 1976."

Roy was only partially placated. "I was working a shift with the guys. We were
working a house fire. A bad one. Johnny and I were sent in to rescue a victim."

"You were? What happened?" Kathryn encouraged.

Roy thought back. "I..." he broke off, shocked. "I felt a jolt. It burned me. Right
through my jacket."

"Electricity?" Janeway asked.

"I ...I don't know. I... everything just went black and then when I woke up I found
myself here." DeSoto explained. "Where's here?" he asked.

"The Los Angeles County Fire Museum." Janeway said ironically.

"That old place?! But this is the squad. And that's the engine!" DeSoto insisted.

"Yes." Tuvok said. The Vulcan tried to explain again."We are all in your future."

Roy's mouth framed a circle oh of stunning thought. "Am I dead?"

Janeway suddenly had an idea. "Tuvok. The defibrillator. If that was used
on Roy two weeks ago, when Chakotay and Tom's shuttle entered the Halley's
wormhole, could that have created this time bubble and the echo version of
time that brought all of us here, to be trapped?"

"It is possible." the Vulcan replied evenly. "It is also possible that others wounded
by electricity near the defibrillator machine, have also splintered off into the future."

Kathryn turned to DeSoto in horror. "Roy, have any others on your crew been
injured by electricity? Ever?" she asked softly.

"Yes, uh.. Marco at a gas station. Cap at a car wreck. I had to scope him to check
for a decent rhythm using the paddles." Roy thought back, shaking his head in
partial incomprehension.

"But did they black out like you did?" Janeway insisted.

"No. They didn't. They were both conscious and Johnny and I treated them." he
told her. "They were fine afterwards in a couple of days."

Boothby glanced up significantly. "Maybe sudden death's the only trigger."

"What?" Janeway startled.

"Cardiac arrest." the EMH followed easily. "That would explain the injuries I
found in Mr. DeSoto's heart. He also had some bruises consistent with CPR."

Roy felt his chest. "I died?"

"No, both of you lived." Boothby answered. "But you were splintered off from your younger
self when you were shocked back to life the same time our accident happened. Voyager was
destroyed. Then you were sent to 2010 by the wormhole when the Borg was destroyed
inside of it as a secondary effect."
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DeSoto rose swiftly and ran to the side of the squad. He opened the doors of the gear
compartments one by one until he had searched them all. "It's not here." he said,
whirling back to the away team. "The datascope. It didn't follow me forward."

The EMH got mad. "Even if it had been here, I'm not about to go killing anyone still
alive with a defibrillation."

The old Roy wrinkled his freckle withered lips. "Then how else am I going to get
back home? I can't keep going on living like this. I'll go mad. I'm all alone!"

Tuvok had a theory. "Captain, the augmented combadge Chakotay's wearing.
It is possible it might work in reverse. An echoed person might be able to
touch another echo. I designed it to be immune from temporal paradox."

Chakotay pulled it off and looked at the combadge pin in his hand. It began to
flash an amber light when he tapped it accidently.

"That one's a big one, Tuvok." Boothby argued. "Never shake hands
with yourself in the same time and place or it's mutual annihilation!"

"The end of everything..." Janeway whispered in horror.

Suddenly, Roy DeSoto unfroze from his place next to the EMH. He snatched
the gold and silver combadge device from Chakotay and dove into the squad.
He slammed the door shut and then locked both of them from the inside with two
hand slaps. Then he looked away from them with determination and turned
the ignition key deliberately.

"No, don't!" Janeway shouted. "You don't know what you're doing!"

"Yes, I do." shouted Roy. Then he gunned the accelerator.

Reg Barclay was struck mid-waist. The hologram disappeared in a shudder
of sparkles as his projecting device was destroyed by Squad 51 as it hit it.

Then the old crazy Roy DeSoto, in an equally old but fully restored Squad 51, started
speeding towards the shimmering wall of the museum and its confining time bubble
boundary. Automatic reflexes had caused the old paramedic to turn on the squad's
red lights without thinking and flashes bounced around the rest of the dark museum
eerily.

The Voyager away team snatched out their phasers and began running after him.
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**************************************************
Subject: Convergence.. (Final Scene.. Fire In The Sky... Special Episode C..)
From:  patti k (pattik1@hotmail.com)
Sent: Wed 5/05/10 1:37 PM

Tuvok easily paced beside Chakotay, Janeway and the EMH as they
ran. "Captain, I don't believe we need to hurry. With that temporal buffer,
Mr. DeSoto still has thirty four years of time to cycle through before he
reaches the other side of the time boundary. It has to pace him."

"Then let's meet him out there, before he re-emerges. We'll phaser the tires
off that squad only if we have to." Janeway said to her crew mates, keep
her phaser carefully muzzle up while she ran full tilt ahead. "It'll take
time to set up our shots and make sure we won't be seen."

"Why are we stopping him?" the holodoc asked. "Isn't he protected now
with Tuvok's device?" he shouted as he matched his crewmate's speed.

Janeway shook her head in supreme doubt.
"Not really, doctor. In his frame of mind, do you really think Roy will
remember to hang onto that once he sees that he's actually free again?"

Chakotay just got mad. "Doctor, you know what will happen if he were to
meet himself face to face without it! The captain said it inside."
he yelled, pushing his feet even harder to speed up.

The EMH made a face as he ran even faster. "I missed that."

"You'll cease to be." Boothby clarified again. "And so will everything
and everybody in existence." he panted, running hard after Voyager's
captain. "No life. No hope. There'll be absolutely nothing, in its place."
he wheezed.

Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay leaped over a plastic chain barrier
they found in their way, but the EMH just phased right through it.
"No wonder I was versed with medicine instead of quantum mechanics."
the holodoc grumbled. "It's too depressing a subject."

Up ahead, they heard a crash as DeSoto finally hit the outer boundary.
But instead of breaking, the wall bent like a soap bubble and held
the front end of Squad 51 like thick molasses. Its velocity slowed to
a crawl as it oozed its way bit by bit through the event horizon. Whereever
its physicality touched the margin between years, a burst of all colors
shot out vividly and blindingly in brightness. It was followed by a blossom
of orange physical fire and black smoke which caught in the real time
combustible materials nearby, on the plaster board walls, in the ancient
oil patches staining the concrete floor and the wooden pillars holding up
the roof.

"She's burning!" Janeway warned about the physical building around them.

One by one, the away team leaped through the wavering wall of
the museum's time bubble. They no longer needed to use a door. For its
maker was fleeing, and everything temporal was made permeable to any
mind wanting an out.

Just before Chakotay and the EMH jumped for the outside, a static spark
of contact tore raggedly from the polished chrome bumper of Squad 51's rear
end as it ran over a display shelf flanking a turn of the century fire pumper.

The natural electricity did the unthinkable. Flames of orange fire at that point
began transmuting into green plasma. It soon grew terrifying, expanding rapidly
everywhere along the boundary, ceiling to wall to floor, beginning to billow inwards,
on its way to entirely filling the interior space of the museum.

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"AhHH!" Chakotay screamed as he leaped through orange. He got through.

But deadly green plasma rushed in like a fast filling sink covering a drain and neatly
blocked the doctor's only escape route. The holodoc leaped to free himself, but his
program, locked inside the holoemitter, did not make it to the outside.
It bounced off the new lurid green, writhing wall of raw plasma, and landed on
the concrete floor, its casing singed and smoking a dirty black.

Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay were thrown to the asphalt outside the building
with force as they each diverolled to expend their forward mometum. It knocked the
wind out of Chakotay. Janeway grabbed his arm. "Where's the doctor?" she
coughed, struggling to her feet. The commander shook his head, fighting
for breath.

Tuvok made a graceful recovery, his tricorder already out into his hand. He aimed
it at the shimmering area surrounding the museum. "He's still inside."
Then his face grew even more dead pan than normal. "And he is offline."

"D*mn!" Janeway said, watching the lightning fast progress of orange flames
as they fully engulfed their side of the building.

"Where is he exactly?" Chakotay asked.

"The holoemitter is lying 8.4 meters away from the nearest outer wall."
Tuvok replied.

"We can't go back in to get it from here. The fire's too big."
she said, aiming her phaser at the ominous bulge beginning to distort the
side of the time boundary where Roy was driving Squad 51 back into the
past towards them.

"No we cannot. Did you see that eruption of plasma, Commander?" the
Vulcan asked Chakotay.

"Yes. It's started off the squad. I think I saw a rear tire hit something."
Chakotay said, flipping over onto his stomach behind a parked car to
get a bead on their target.

"What?! A chain reaction started?" Janeway panicked, her eyes going
wide. She almost dropped her phaser.

"There is no cause for alarm. That time bubble boundary will act as a net.
It will cause the plasma fire to burn inwards onto itself until it extinguishes."
Boothby said. "Just the opposite of what one can do out here."

"We still can't let DeSoto get out. Not while he has a two ton truck under
his control! It's too chancy!" Janeway said, keeping aim with her phaser.
"Fire full spectrum on my order. Now!"
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Tuvok, Chakotay and Janeway all shot beams of pure energy at the
kaleidoscoping distortion fast taking the shape of Squad 51 as it
continued straining through the time membrane.

"Keep on it! Concentrate!" Janeway screamed over the din.

"I think it's working!" Chakotay shouted back as the protrusion
started receding.

Then they heard the sounds; fire sirens, many of them, growing louder,
in the distance.

"Oh, no no no. Not now.. Break off! Break off!" Kathryn yelled in counter.
"Get yourselves across the street. Hide your phasers. Act like witnesses!"
she said to the others.

Chakotay met her by the opposite curb just as she pulled out a tricorder
to monitor DeSoto's progress through the time bubble. "Captain." he said.
"Let Tuvok and I go back. We can rescue the doctor's holoemitter."

"No." Kathryn spat out instantly, angry at the suggestion.

Chakotay ignored her sharp retort.
"What chances do you think we'll have in the Delta Quadrant, trying to
travel home, without a doctor?" he asked, just as swift.

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Tuvok was remorseless. "The odds would be against us. Overwhelmingly
so. Early deaths would come most definitely from lack of adequate medical
preventions and treatments. It would not be long before Voyager's crew
complement would be too few to fly her."

Janeway pursed her lips, and threw her head to the side, not wanting
to listen. "What makes you think you can still get inside? That green
plasma fire might be waiting for you underneath the real fire!"

"Think of the others we left behind. You're their captain!" he snapped.

Remembered nightmares reared up ugly inside of Kathryn's head, unbidden.
"Okay. Fine." she blinked, stiff and rigid. She held out a finger. "You better
make it back out here. Alive." she hissed at both of them, in a scathing
furious voice.

Chakotay grabbed her arm in a firm squeeze of promise and grinned back,
and it was just as sharp as Janeway's glass edged grimace.

Then he and Tuvok were gone into the bank of fast growing smoke.

Beside her, Boothby's eyes became strangely malleable. They reflected
Kathryn perfectly in their blue depths. They seemed to urge Kathryn
to say something else.

"Aren't they in enough danger already, Boothby?" she said to him.

"Perhaps a little too much." the caretaker whispered into her ear.
"Think outside the bubble, Kathryn. There's more that you can do.
Isn't there?" he challenged. "I know you're good at this."

She started to shake her head, but was unable to look away. Then the
unbidden icy idea came to call. ::...no...:: said a little voice inside of her.
::But you have to. You've got no choice!:: a second one reasoned.
Oddly, the second mental voice sounded a lot like her sister, Phoebe.
Feeling nauseated, Captain Janeway slapped her combadge, weakly.
"Janeway to Escape Pod One."

##Working.## replied the monitoring computer.

"Rendevous to my coordinates. Full stealth mode: Atmospheric. Make
sure you're not detected. Not by any thing. Nor anyone!"

##Assignment?## the module asked her.

".....Emergency temporal plasma fire containment." the words tumbled out,
sour and rank. "N-No countermand."

##Orders accepted and locked. E.T.A. Fifty six seconds. Sublight.##

"Acknowledged." Janeway trembled, growing very pale.

"Atta girl..." Boothby encouraged. "Now you're cookin.." he grinned,
holding her arms in a comforting, sideways hug, overexaggerating by far,
the role of a human disaster witness.

The look Janeway gave the caretaker, was of the purest rage.
She tapped her combadge. "Janeway to Chakotay and Tuvok. I'm buying
you more time. Watch for the pod!  She'll soon be inside with you!" she
warned.

Then she started crying full force with sudden sorrow and loss. Tears
flooded out unbidden, hot and jagged.

Boothby simply held her in a deep hug and started stroking her hair softly.
"Shhh, I'm proud of you, Little Bird. It's all right. It's okay. You had to do it."

She had just signed all their death warrants.

Yes. They'd probably regain the EMH's portable housing. But
there'd be no returning back to orbit to return themselves home
through Halley's wormhole anytime soon. The escape pod's final orders
were to use its deflector shields to snuff out the plasma fire, at the cost
of itself.
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Engine 51 was already in full deployment mode when Squad 51
pulled up at the curb next to the park.

Tom Paris immediately abandoned Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage
as they geared up into jackets and bottles when he spied Janeway
standing on the street nearby with Boothby.

He tried to act nonchalant around all of the rushing firefighters
surrounding and flowing around them as they hustled to move
coiled hose and equipment to where they most needed to go.
"Captain.. wh--?"

"I chose the doctor over the pod, Mr. Paris." Janeway said quietly,
her eyes already starting to dry. "They went in to get him."

Tom's mouth flopped open and he set his hands on his hips
in denial and just stood there, frozen. A full minute later, he
managed to choke something out. "You mean we're gonna be
stuck here? Forever?" he asked, holding loose fingers over his
lips, in shock.

Janeway looked at the ground, seeing ants there. She nodded without
saying anything, then she moved her foot to keep from harming them.
"And Voyager and our whole crew are going to stay dead." she said
evenly, blank eyed. Then her face broke up into sudden silent grief,
dripping new tears.

Paris took in several deep unsuccessful breaths. And then he
said something, a little bit later. "You know what? I think I can
eventually... be... okay with that. Yeah." he said in a small voice.

"How can you even think that?" Kathryn asked, folding her arms over
her chest self consciously as she wiped her eyes and nose dry with
a few knuckles.

"They have vintage cars here." he shrugged, in a lame attempt to protect
her feelings. "B'Elanna would have liked to have seen me tool around in
them." And then he smiled.

In spite of herself, Janeway cracked a tiny, tear glittering grin.

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Near them, a furry head poked up from the back of the hose bed
on Engine 51. It was Boot. He had hitched a ride. Whining, he
caught wind of something and jumped down fast.

He began to race towards the burning museum.

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Janeway felt the pod's vibration, even though she couldn't see it
through the plume of smoke rising above the burning fire museum.
::It's here. Now that plasma fire will never get out.:: she thought.
::That subliminal buzz is its deflector shields holding in all the energy.::
"We're safe." she told Tom. "The pod got through."

Paris sighed with relief. "Good. I didn't want this town to BBQ.
I'm beginning to really like it here."

Janeway looked at her tricorder. "He's almost through. Another
few seconds."

Time fractured as fire and force erupted.

In an instant, Old Roy got his wish for freedom.  Restored Squad 51
fully disintegrated on contact with the outside, flowing back into the future,
where it belonged.

In doing so, it left the ancient DeSoto fully airborne, inside of a ball
of orange normal fire in the heart of an explosion and escaping debris.

Old Roy's body impacted the ground like a lead weight and fractured
his face into unrecognizable features as he bounced once.

When he landed, Hank Stanley had already noticed. "One eject! DeSoto,
over there! Marco get him all the gear! Chet, Gage, get inside and
make a fast sweep on a lifeline with a charged hose to see if anybody
else is in there. This may not be the only arsonist." he said, pointing to
their new victim.

Janeway whirled about, frightened. ::DeSoto?:: She had heard the orders.
Then she spotted the telltale glimmer of combadge gold pinned
on old Roy's charred shirt. ::He's wearing it. Oh, thank G*d.::
she sighed. ::He can be touched safely by his counterpart.::
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"That's him, isn't it?" Tom asked, watching the younger Roy scramble
with Lopez over to the still figure's side.

"Yes." Janeway replied, sadly. "All he wanted to do was to go home."

"He's still alive!" the younger Roy said, after carefully rolling the older
face mangled man over to check for breathing and a carotid pulse.
"Unconscious, facial injuries, burns. I'll need a long board, Cap!"

Roy shrugged off the odd sensation he got when he first touched the
man's skin, but then his full paramedic training kicked in. He inserted an
oral airway and asked Marco to start ventilating full breaths right away
using an ambu bag. "Keep him still. We'll worry about securing c-spine
once Johnny gets back out here.." DeSoto said. "I need a firefighter with
some suction!" he called to the scene aloud. Another company man
rushed in with a unit off Truck 127. It was already turned on.
"Marco, use a jaw thrust. He didn't break that."

"Sure thing, Roy." Lopez replied, beginning to work with oxygen
around the suction flange wand that was getting rid of all
the loose blood and bone they were finding in the man's mouth.

Station 51's blond paramedic bared his patient's chest.  And
exposed massive burns over most of the skin. "Cap! Looks
like bad thermal burns. Tell them to be real careful in there!"

Hank nodded, and then called for an ambulance.

Roy DeSoto did not even recognize the wedding ring on the man's left
hand because it had melted almost entirely away in the fire it had
been exposed to.

"Is he going to make it?" Marco asked, barely able to get air
into old Roy's lungs. One of his fingers were detecting a very
rapid and weak pulse.

"I don't know." Roy replied. "He's in a really bad way. I'll set
up the EKG monitor."
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Inside the museum, the green plasma fire was beyond an inferno.

Chakotay and Tuvok stood in the margin of clear air the escape
pod's deflector shields were providing them. The computer was
still fighting aggressively to keep the plasma fire off of the Voyager
crewman it recognized as moving beneath it.  

"Think it'll hold?" Chakotay asked Tuvok.

"I cannot determine an outcome with any great degree of certainty."
the Vulcan said.

"I'll take that as a positive." said the Commander. "Come on.
The emitter's only thirteen meters in that direction." he reported,
studying his tricorder.

Tuvok stopped him. "I can hold my breath against super heated
air, for much longer." he suggested. "You cannot make it that
far unassisted."

"Okay. I'll hang back while y---"

A muffled voice rang out. "Is anybody in here? Fire Deparment!"
It was Johnny Gage.

Whirling, Chakotay saw the dark haired paramedic and Chet Kelly
wearing air bottles, slowly making their way deeper into the building
on search. "Tuvok. He can't see me! He knows me!"

"Nor can they be allowed to see the plasma fire." the Vulcan agreed.
"I shall deal with it." he shared, then he waved at the pod to hide itself
a little higher in the layer of smoke at the ceiling.

Chet Kelly shouted through his faceplate. "Hey, Johnny. Do you
really think the museum was targetted by a couple of torches like
Cap thinks?"

Gage paused in his rescuer-to-victim shouts. "Good a theory as any.
The museum was still closed and dispatch told us that no one was
even scheduled to work here today at all."

Kelly suddenly stared straight ahead. "Hey, did you see that?"

"What?" replied the airbottled Gage.

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"I thought I saw something green over th---" Kelly broke off and
suddenly slumped over when a vice like clamp gripped the junction
of his neck and shoulder, right through his fire jacket.

"Chet?" Gage asked, turning around. "Are you okay?!" he panicked,
seeing Kelly lying on the smoky concrete, not moving. "Answer m--"

Another grip came from out of the dark smoke. And Johnny, too,
became a victim of the Vulcan neck pinch.

Then a nimble hand set off their P.A.S.S. devices.  Instantly, two sets
of audible alarms began to fill the air.

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Tuvok crawled back over to Chakotay's side. "You are safe, Commander.
I rendered them unconscious."

"Did they see you?"

"No."

"We'd better move them back outside. This plasma fire's spreading fast.
I don't think those other firemen will be able to rescue them in time."
Chakotay said.

Soon, Chakotay and Tuvok had shoulder carried Gage and Kelly
to a safe place outside, hidden under the fire smoke.

"How long will they be out?" Chakotay said, repositioning Johnny
so he could still breathe without problems from the air bottle still
strapped to his back.

"Only for another minute or so."

"Okay, let's go back." Chakotay said urgently.

"Wait a moment, Commander." said Tuvok. Then he spread his fingers
over the unconscious Chet's face briefly in a quick mind meld around
the straps of his face plate.

"What are you doing?"

"Removing a memory of the plasma fire and inserting a suggestion that
will save this time echo until we resolve it." Tuvok replied.

A firefighter's shout, from very near, came through the thick smoke.
"Station 127 to Battalion Nine! I think I hear belt alarms. Over here
east side somewhere!" they heard being yelled into a hand held radio
through a faceplate.

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##Standard search pattern. I want a team of two on hose and air
on each side of the building until you find them!## ordered Battalion Nine
over the radio.

Chakotay startled. "We need to hide, Tuvok. Our time to try and rescue
the doctor has just run out. There are too many firefighters."

"I have finished." he said, letting go of Kelly where he lay sprawled next
to Johnny. "The captain is not going to be happy that we failed to
save the doctor."

"The Prime Directive sucks. Okay, I said it."
Chakotay just gave him a look and wiped soot off of his hands. "Let's get
out of here."  The two Voyager crewman hugged the burning building under
the concealing smoke and found a way to return to the street by the park.

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Inside the museum, the escape pod sensed that it was now totally alone with
the fire, so it completely deployed its deflector shields around the green
plasma fire, containing all of it, and itself, inside of a globe of white sparkling
energy.

Then it began an autodestruct sequence, one that would destroy the small
ship down to the subatomic level, but would also snuff out the green plasma,
leaving the real orange fire burning museum around it, still standing.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chet Kelly started moaning even as Johnny Gage awoke beside him.
Johnny was faster to consciousness. The first thing he did was check
his air supply. Then he hollered. "Chet?! What happened to us?" he
asked crawling over to Kelly to help him sit up. "We're outside!"
he said. As he moved, the P.A.S.S. alarm's howler, ceased. So
did Kelly's.

"I..I dunno. An explosion maybe?" Chet mumbled.

"How's your air doing?" Johnny asked, sweeping his gloves over
Chet's air bottle's connectors and hoses. "You still getting it?"

"Uh,,"

"Chet!"

"It's fine. It's fine. Just a little dizzy." he said as Gage hauled him to his
feet and started to lead him away.

"We're gonna get ourselves checked asap. I don't know why we blacked
out. Could be some bad fumes we don't know about or--." Johnny
said as they started a stumbling walk away from the museum.

Chet paused a few feet later.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute, Johnny, I gotta do this." And he stopped in
his tracks. He lifted his HT to his mouth. "HT 51 to Engine 51. Emergency!"

##Go ahead, HT 51.## came Cap's fast reply.

"Tell the power company to shut off the electricity city wide. There's some
real hot sh*t in there that's getting through our air masks. Johnny and I
just woke up from a blackout. We're on the east side, under the smoke."

There was a brief pause, then. ##10-4, HT 51 relaying your message to
Battalion Nine. I'll call in Hazmat...... Evacuate! All crews! Evacuate the area!
Hang in there, pal. Sending in a rescue team to get you two out to some care.##

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              Click the Rampart status board
               to go to page eight
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                   Fire In The Sky
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<BGSOUND src="11_sea_of_darkness.mp3" LOOP=INFINITE>