This is a production that was an interactive story between fans of Emergency.
by multiple authors from January 2008 to June 2010. (Reposted with permission)
Credit was left
to whom wrote what scenes.
*** Original posting order was.. Nita, Laura, Katy, Erin, Patti,
Debbie, Mary Ann and Sherry.***
The Gale Force Nightmare
As Johnny lay in his bunk at the station, unable to sleep that
remembered that it was an unusually cold and windy night only a few nights
ago, in Los
Angeles, the night that the Station had a run. What he saw on
that call made it virtually impossible
for him to get it out of his mind.
Several nights ago....
Johnny and Roy had just finished up the late dinner dishes, when another
heavy gust of wind rattled
the bay doors, sounding like some horrible
monster trying it's best to tear it's way into the station.
shuddered, the hair on the back of his neck rising slightly, out of fear or
cold, he did
not know. Roy noticed his partner's discomfort, and handed him
a hot cup of coffee.
go join the others in front of the tv. This could be a long night.
Might as well enjoy ourselves
while we can," Roy offered, while steering his
best friend toward the lounge area of the room.
"Yeah, I guess so. Thanks, Roy. I've just got a bad feeling about tonight,
is all," Johnny remarked,
his voice sounding much more steady than he felt.
He and Roy joined their teammates and settled
in for what they hoped to be a
quiet evening in front of the television.
But after sitting down for only five minutes, Johnny was up again.
Leaving his coffee cup on the
kitchen table, he walked over to the
back door and stood looking out the window.
picked up on Johnny's awkward body
language. "Roy...is Johnny okay? He seems...I don't know...nervous
Roy looked back at his partner, before softly answering his
boss. "I'm not sure,
Cap. I...I think this heavy wind has him
spooked for some reason."
Chet smirked. "It's probably
just Gage's imagination running wild.
He probably thinks somethin's comin' after him or something."
Johnny turned around after hearing Chet's comment. "Make fun of me,
Kelly...*I've* gone on rescues
when the wind is blowing like a son of
a gun...can't say I enjoy them much, especially when you're
Can you say the same thing?"
Seeing the serious look on Johnny's face, Chet decided
not to say
anything in response.
"I didn't think so, Chet...and unless you have...keep quiet, okay?"|
No one said anything for a
few moments, the only sounds were from the
TV set and the howling wind from outside. Hank was about
something to ease the tension, when the alarms went off...causing the
hair on the back of
Johnny's neck to once again stand up.
Roy saw the fear etched in the normally
smooth face. Johnny was used
to mountain climbing and rappelling from the high rises around town
look in his eyes this night was something different. The men all hurried to
as the loud speaker announced the situation ...
"Station 51 a car has gone off the fire road
in Topanga Canyon. Multiple injuries
possible. Time out 2135."
Cap responded from the cab
of the engine as they pulled out. "10-4, Station
51, KMG 365"
Johnny's heart raced in his
chest and he muttered, "Something's not right."
Roy looked at his partner, "What's not right,
"This is all wrong."
"It's alright we'll do our job and get home fine," Roy
tried his best to calm
the young man sitting beside him.
Johnny could feel the winds buffet
the squad and glanced at Roy who struggled
with the wheel. If he's fighting with the wheel then
... He looked in his side
mirror and watched in abject terror as the engine swerved crazily. "ROY!"
Johnny yelled ...
Roy struggled with the wheel as he yelled,
The wind started to pick up as Johnny looked back again. "Oh my
god. Roy we
gotta stop now the engine is in trouble!"
Roy yelled "Hang on this is gonna leave
Roy slammed the brakes on as the wind howled around them. He looked
the engine and gasped, "Oh my goodness..."
Engine 51 was listing,
teetering on the four wheels on her downwind
side, tipping over. Forward momentum arched the engine
into an out of control swerve that the two paramedics could
only see and not hear
over the din of their sirens. Then it happened.
Mike Stoker flinched and threw up his arms as
the front end of the Ward
plowed almost full force into the hillside just off the road, glass
horribly as the overbalanced pumper crashed heavily onto
Roy and Johnny back up the
squad, high speed, to get over there.
"L.A., Squad 51! Our engine's been involved in a single
crash. Injuries unknown! Send another response to our call. Squad
51 is no longer available!"
Gage shouted into the mic over the roar
of the storm wind as Roy flicked off their own siren for
##Squad 51, L.A. 10-4. Responding a second alarm to your incident.##
Roy and Johnny wove around startled, stopped traffic and then they got
out of the rescue squad
to throw on their turnouts. Gage ran ahead,
slipping in gravel, scared out of his mind, while Roy
hurried to grab
out most of their medical gear and their HTs.
"Cap! Chet? Mike! Hey!" Gage
said, running to side of the steaming, now
smoking engine. All of the glass in the windows was shattered
webbed. The interior wasn't visible. But there was no blood. ::Not yet.::
a dark side
of Johnny's mind thought. Fear made him concentrate. He began
pounding on the roof of the engine,
even as his eyes were looking for spilling
fuel that might catch on the burning brakes he could smell.
A fire broke
out underneath the chassis. "Roy! We need a hose off the back! Now! The rig's
"I-I got it.." he stumbled, hurrying almost faster than his large frame
could move. "What about
the gang? Anything?" DeSoto said as he reached for
the red reel line spilled like wet spaghetti off
its spool, near them. "Pressure's
good." he shouted, immediately gushing water over the underside
of the engine.
Every instinct in him wanted to help his partner search, but ending the extreme
risk danger, came first.
Johnny pulled off his gloves. Pounding even harder. "I'm still trying
to get in!
Hey, anybody! Can you hear me?!" He pulled out the halligan from his jacket
and smashed the fractured windshield's face, quickly, carefully.
A hole fell open to reveal Mike unconscious behind the wheel of the
The rise and fall of his chest revealed labored breathing.
Johnny briefly felt relief knowing his
friend and coworker was alive
but trepidation over the seriousness of Mike's injuries overshadowed
his relief. Johnny laid flush with the truck as he pushed his arm
through the hole, in an attempt
to reach Mike. Shards of glass cut
into his face as he pressed two fingers against Mike's neck. A
pulse was found. Unconsciously Johnny had been holding his breath,
slowly he exhaled, pulling
his arm from the small hole he yelled to
Roy, "Roy, Mike's alive but in bad shape from what I can
can't tell about the rest of the guys, I need the jaws to get this
windshield out of the
Roy continued to hose down the engine, "I'll get it, Johnny.
The fire is nearly out." See
the last of the flames die, Roy ran to
the squad and retrieved the jaws of life. The dread Johnny
expressed earlier now was enveloping Roy. Somehow he felt time was
working against all of them.
Wind whipped and whirled around as it
slammed into him slowing his pace, eating away at the precious
needed to rescue his friends. Deep down he believed Johnny and he
were the only hope their
friends had of surviving and he knew neither
of them would stop until Cap, Mike, Chet and Marco were
"Mike! Can you hear me?" Johnny said loudly, over the
"Oh… jeez, what was that?" said a shaky voice.
Johnny's eyebrows shot up
when he realized those words weren't
spoken by Mike, who remained unconscious, but from very
"Cap? Cap! Where are you?" The spot where Hank Stanley
should have been sitting simply didn't exist
anymore. The captain's
seat wasn't visible and his side of the cab looked completely crushed
"Uh, John… that you?"
"Yeah, Cap! Are you hurt?" Johnny waited for a response. "Cap!"
"I don't… think so. Just stuck. Something's holding me down by my
right shoulder," Stanley said. He
groaned, trying to move. "It's no
use. My legs are tangled under the seat." He gasped suddenly,
his breath. "How are the guys? Everyone okay? Did you get
them out? Lopez? Kelly?"
still, Cap. We'll get you out. Roy's getting the jaws,
and we'll be inside in a minute. Mike's unconscious,
but I can't
make out his injuries yet. I haven't heard anything from Chet or
Marco, but we'll get
Roy stopped beside Johnny saying, "How's he doing?"
"Pulse is weak, breathing
is shallow, but I can't reach far enough to
feel for injuries. Cap's awake and sounds alert. He's
here somewhere." Johnny took a second to look in Roy's eyes hard for
a moment, "He says
he's okay and uninjured. Just stuck." He shook
his head briefly, letting Roy know he didn't believe
his Cap for a
second. Roy nodded his understanding.
Roy handed Johnny one of the blankets from
the squad, and Johnny
quickly placed it over as much of Stoker's head and shoulders as he
"Okay, Cap, we're going to start the jaws and get Mike out of here.|
"Just make sure
you get him out, then Lopez and Kelly. Understand
me, Gage?" Stanley's voice still managed to carry
a no-nonsense air
of authority, even from underneath the mangled mess.
"Yes sir!" Johnny started
the jaws, while Roy crouched down and
helped stabilize his partner's body against the fierce wind.
A minute passed as Johnny worked the jaws on the windshield. Finally
it stopped, having worked
to create an opening big enough for Johnny
to squeeze through. A hand on Roy's back startled him and
quickly to see Chet standing over him. "Chet! Are you hurt?"
"No, I don't think so.
Just banged up. But Marco's not looking too
Johnny jumped up, relieved to see Chet.
"Hang on, Chet, why don't you
just let us make sure you're not hurt."
"Gage, I said I'm not
and you don't have time to be messing with me.
I said Marco's hurt! Where's Cap? Let me help."
Roy and Johnny looked at each other for a quick moment, knowing Chet
was right. Time was not on their
side right now. "Okay, Chet," said
Johnny. "You help me out here. Get the biophone and O2 equipment
from the squad. Roy, you go ahead and check on Marco."
"Right." said Roy, quickly rushing
around the engine.
Johnny turned his attention to squeezing inside the window where he
Chet braced himself against the wind as he ran to the squad. He
the equipment from the storage compartments. Hearing a
noise behind him, he turned to see a semi truck
that had rounded the
corner, but turned wide to avoid a small Volkswagen Beetle that
in front of it, blown by the gusting wind. The hiss of
air brakes, and the squealing of tires on pavement,
was all the
warning Chet had to sprint away from the squad and throw himself and
down the sloping embankment, as the semi-truck collided
with the squad. The force caused the squad
to jerk and slam down onto
its side. Chet's head popped up from the where he was lying, taking
the new scene. He looked past the semi, seeing the little
Volkswagen sitting on its side, leaning
over the embankment. He
grabbed the equipment and climbed out, running for Johnny. As he set
equipment down, they heard the distant wail of a siren
approaching. "Oh, finally…" Johnny said, patting
Chet on the
back. "Go check on the drivers, Chet, then fill in the Engine
company when they get
Chet nodded and was off running.
The howling wind showed
no mercy to either the situation at hand or the
firefighter. Finally reaching Engine 16, Captain Pete
Hardy jumped down
from the cab to talk to Kelly.
"Kelly, what'cha got…what happened?"
above the wind, or at least trying to, Chet replied, "Cap, we were
responding to a call with the Squad
when Stoker lost control of the rig due
to the wind…Gage and DeSoto are fine, Captain Stanley is all
right but just
stuck…Marco and Mike are hurt bad…we need another Squad out here to help
and Roy and we need at least three ambulances!"
"Squad 12 is on the way and I'll have Tony call
for the ambulances!"
With the wind getting worse, Captain Hardy had to climb back into the cab
order to talk to his Engineer. As Engineer Tony Lacy got on the radio, Pete
climbed back down
to again speak with Chet.
"What can we do to help Kelly?"
Chet could respond to the Captain, an explosion ripped
through the overturned truck that had hit
51's squad. On top of
already dealing with the overturned engine and the seriously injured
firefighters...they now had this newest obstacle to contend
Quickly getting back on
the radio, Captain Hardy called in this
newest development to dispatch and requested more manpower
to be sent
to their location. He then instructed his crew on how he wanted them
to proceed in
the handling of the new fire.
Johnny and Roy stopped what they were doing and briefly looked at
each other, each one silently acknowleging the extreme severity of
the situation. It was at that
moment that they both heard the
scream...a terrifying blood-curdling scream. Once again looking at
one another, it quickly dawned on them whose scream it was. They
knew it came from somewhere
under the battered fire engine.
Looking down, Johnny saw that Stoker was still unconscious and
appeared to be hanging in there...the only other person unaccounted
for was Marco. He had
obviously regained consciousness and must have
been in some excruciating pain for him to scream like
Roy attempted to get Marco to calm down but was only met with more
After a minute of unsuccessfully trying to calm
his friend down, Roy looked up to see Squad 12 arriving.
In his mind
it had seemed to take forever for more help to arrive, but he knew
that wasn't the
case. With the severe wind, all emergency vehicles
had to be careful so they too weren't casualties.
All Roy could
think of was how relieved he was to know that there were more
paramedics on scene.
Getting out of their squad, the two paramedics took in the horrifying
scene. Matt Harmon, 12's
senior paramedic could only mutter, "Heaven
help us...all of us."
"Marco!" Roy yelled over the howl of the wind and the terrified
of the firefighter. "Marco, look at me."
He didn't dare shake the man's shoulders for fear of injuring
Marco's neck or back. "Marco!"
"Roy, I can't feel my arms and legs." Marco screamed back.
live like this, Roy."
Roy got down to Marco's ear and told him, "Don't panic.
temporary. The feeling should come back."
"Have I ever lied
to you before?"
"No," Marco responded.
"Trust me then," Roy straightened up and yelled,
anybody, I need a backboard, c-collar, and the biophone, stat!"
Johnny and Chet
had gotten Mike out of the cab of the truck. Johnny
contacted Rampart, started an IV, and gotten
him stabilized. Matt Harmon
and his partner Scotty Smith were loading Mike into an ambulance.
turned in time to hear Roy's yell for equipment, grabbed
what he could and joined his partner.
"He says he can't feel his arms and legs." Roy told Johnny as he put
on the c-collar. "We'll
get him on to the back board in a second.
Chet call Rampart for us, we'll get vitals and you can
"Okay." Chet picked up the receiver, "Rampart, this is Squad 51."
51." Brackett responded.
"We have a male firefighter approximately 28, hold for vitals."
"Hey, where's Cap?" Chet asked.
"I'm here, get Marco out first."
The three men looked at each other. "Where's here, Cap?" Johnny
"Get Marco stabilized
then deal with finding me!"
"But Cap ..."
"Don't argue, Gage, just do it!"
Johnny groaned but knew Cap was right. "All right, we'll get him
I want to hear from you every two minutes. Got it?"
Cap knew he'd have to cooperate to allow
his junior medic to focus.
"Good." Johnny and Roy shared a silent look of concern
but knew they
had to stay professional. They got Marco on the board with some help
Harmon who had come over.
Roy said, "All right, let's get him outta here." Looking down at Marco,
Roy asked, "Hey pal, can you breathe okay?"
"Somewhat." came the labored reply.
right, pal, easy. We'll get you squared away."
Johnny reached over and started the oxygen on
Marco. "That better?"
"Yeah." Suddenly Marco became scared. "Can somebody stay with me
our squad? It's not that I don't trust anybody else but..."
Johnny cut him off. "But you'd feel
better with one of us around?"
"Yeah one of us will go in with you."
Johnny stumbled to answer back in Spanish and keep his friend calm.
Johnny looked up at Chet as Roy started the IV that Rampart ordered.
"Chet, you're now glued
to his side. You holler the minute something is
up or you think something might be up."
Johnny turned back to Roy. "Now to find Cap."
Roy called out. "Cap,
Hank, where the heck are you?"
From a distance Roy heard, "Would you believe under the left side
lined up with the equipment. My legs are pinned but somehow I
ended up in an air pocket."
"All right, Cap. Hang in there."
Captain Hardy snapped out orders
to his crew
and Tony Lacy, the engineer, to step up his water
pressure supply they were using to
control the ruptured
gas tank fire left over from the blast torn semi truck.
He shouted, aloud.
"Kelly! Any survivors in the secondary
vehicles?!" he asked about the tipped over Volkswagen
Chet looked up and slowly gave a thumbs down.
"Three Code F, Cap!" he told Engine
"They burned." he said, being direct and succinct only
because it was necessary to
save critical time. "The truck's
cargo is only wallpaper rolls. No chemicals!" Chet reported,
to the tubes of plastic wrapped wood pulp littering the
freeway. "Our squad's not a risk. She's cold."
Traffic, had finally come to a halt at the behest of
five angry highway patrolman on motorbikes
began encircling the rescue scene, creating a safe buffer
Hardy sighed. Hard.
"I'll get the coroner in."
"I'm notifying air rescue. How many with trauma do you
guys have left?"
Hardy roared over the wind.
Chet held up two fingers. "Marco and Hank! The first's semi-conscious!
One with spinal symptoms, one as yet unknown! Put a rush
on them anyway, sir. Things aren't feeling
right by a mile!"
"I'll tell them." said a very sober Hardy. He looked at one of his
"Steve, go grab out additional oxygen bottles and a
resuscitator. Put it on standby. They've one
still trapped. I don't
want them running out of 02 in the middle of extrication. Then
there and help them pop the roof and side chassis
"Right, sir." said the junior
Hardy turned back to help his other four men push the burning gasoline
and far flung
flaming truck debris away from E-51's exposed position
with active hose streams from his engine's
two lines. He called for Battalion
One, the district's fire chief, and informed him of the deaths
even as he upped
his mass casualty status to top priority critical. L.A. toned out a third
Scotty Smith, the younger medic from Squad 12, set a flowing ambu bag
above Marco's head where
he couldn't see it, gesturing with his eyes to Roy
to let him know that it was ready for use if Lopez
started needing a little
inhalation help while awake.
Mark Harmon, his senior, stripped off Lopez's shoes and socks and tested|
for a Babinski's reflex on
both feet. "It's negative."
Lopez, panting under his oxygen mask, muttered. "What does that mean?"
DeSoto, gripped his shoulder where he could feel it. "That means no
nerve damage, Marco. Just
relax. Chet, stay by his head. Johnny,
Mark and I are going to see about Cap. Let us know when the
"I will." Kelly said, beginning to shiver, he winced when a bruise he was
becoming aware of, pinched his throat. He coughed, painfully.
Gage looked up sharply from
where he was patching Marco into the EKG
monitor. "Chet? What are you hiding? Level with us."
"Nothing man. It's just a-- my throat's a little raspy, that's all." Chet said, turning
only pulled something throwing myself away from the other crash.
I'm feeling fine." he insisted.
Roy got no nonsense. "Sit down, before you fall down. And while you're taking
Marco's pulse and respirations
count. Take your own. I'll be right over to get
a BP on ya."
Marco got worried. "Chet? You
said you weren't that banged up. Are you okay
for real?" he panted as he watched the paramedics get
his stokes ready.
Kelly closed his eyes where he sagged on his butt, propping skinned elbows
on his knees. "I think so.. I..I'm just shook up or something."
Gage tossed Chet a spare blanket
an EMT had tossed to him before Mike was
wheeled away. "Use that right now. If Roy finds a BP lower
than a hundred, lie
down and put your feet up. We'll examine you after we quick assess Cap."
didn't argue. He had to force himself to focus his eyes at his watch long
enough to count the fast
beat actively thudding in Marco's neck. He began to
curse when his own proved to be faster. He began
to control his body's
stress rapid breathing by closing his mouth and breathing in only through his
nose. "His : 120, 18. ..Uh,...I got him beat, Johnny."
"What're you at?"
"Slow your breathing down. You'll only hyperventilate if you keep that up."
Gage snapped as he buried
his legs feet first into the twisted heart of
"I know. Working on it.." Chet panted.
"I'm not even tingly yet." He said
adjusting the blanket more snugly around himself.
eyes began to droop.
"Hey,..open up those peepers, Marco. If I can't take a cat nap, you can't
either." Chet ordered, eye lid tapping Marco awake again.
Marco sputtered, gasping. "Okay,
okay.. deal..I'll win that bet." he teased,
straining against another neck spasm.
Cap groaned. Scotty followed Gage inside, passing off a portapower.
"Cap?"Johnny shouted in the semi
darkness, fighting to be heard over
the howling wind blasting road dust into the hole they found themselves
"O--over here, pal. How are the others?" Cap asked quietly. Burgeoning fear
was just starting
to effect his voice.
"Holding." Gage told him. "Now where are you bleeding from?" he asked when
he saw Cap's bloody palms gripping the metal that was pinning him down.
"I am?" Cap startled,
suddenly looking at them. "I don't know. I.. I'm not in
any pain. None that I can feel right now."
He twisted his head, looking down.
"Oh,..it's my hip. My pant's are ripped down there. Left side."
Johnny cut away the material with his bandage shears, reaching as far
into the hole as he could.
"It feels superficial. Must be road burn."
"Huh.." Cap grunted, laying his helmeted head back
down on a side tilted tire.
"Guess I've been listening elsewhere a little too hard, eh?"
to be expected." Johnny grinned, taking Cap's pulse. "You're a Cap."
Gage eyeballed the fender sitting
on Hank's legs. "Can you feel your feet?"
Hank coughed, and grinned. "I'm wiggling my toes right
now. How's Marco?"
"Pinched nerve and probably whip lash. His neuros suggest pseudo paralysis
only. He's had no loss of lower body functions."
"That's good. And Mike?" Cap said, licking dry
"Unconscious, but with improving vital signs. He's probably already at Rampart."
Roy suddenly popped his head into another hole of the engine. "Chet's in
Matt's got him on O2."
Gage asked. "Is he flying with us?"
"No. Scott's taking him in right
now with an I.V. line and their biophone.
Marco's drifting out there, but his EKG's still looking
good." DeSoto remarked.
Roy looked back the way he had come. "Okay, Matt! We got the jack!"
he began setting up the portapower's lifting piston under the most
sturdy bar of the seat pinning
Cap's legs. He turned back to Johnny, who
was still running his hands carefully over Hank's body,
looking for problems.
"The chopper's here, Johnny, waiting for us. Marco's already being loaded up."
Then he grinned tightly. "Let's get this off of you, Cap. If you feel any new pain
at all, tell us."
he said. "Matt from 12's is gonna make sure none of that side
caves in on ya. I'm going back out to
Marco. We'll be waiting for you."
Matt nodded his readiness and so did Hank.
Gage began to hand pump the portapower's hydraulics and the
metal of the violated engine around them,
began to groan as it lifted,
centimeter by centimeter...
enough of the rig was lifted to careful untangle the Captain
from the wreckage. Johnny began accessing
his injury. Cap's legs
were bloody bruised and battered, neither were broken, which was a
Johnny relayed to Roy Cap's vitals and began preparing him
for a ride to the hospital.
ride for all was uneventful, which was a relief for Johnny
especially. He felt haunted enough by
the night's events to have
anything else to add to his stress level.
At the hospital, it
was determined all but Johnny and Roy would be
guests at Rampart. Cap had badly bruised legs that
stitches, Chet had whiplash and some cracked ribs he tried hiding from
the rescue, Marco, it was determined had pseudo paralysis
and with some rest, would completely recover,
but Mike was the hold out.
He was now in surgery due to a lacerated liver. Station 51 was out of
commission as there was neither her crew, squad or engine to function in
Roy left Treatment Room 3 where Cap was being prepped for his move to |
room 212. Exiting the room,
he headed for the doctor's lounge. On
arriving, he expected to see Johnny sitting in a chair drinking
prepared to rant about the earlier events, but what Roy found was an
empty lounge. Walking
to the coffee pot, he poured a cup and sat down
at the round table. Slowly he sipped the hot liquid
and began to
relax. He figured Johnny would be along any minute.
Time passed and there was
still no sign of Johnny. "Roy, I wanted to let you
know Mike is out of surgery." Dixie stated as
she walked towards him.
"How is he?" asked Roy, the concern evident in his voice.
critical, Roy, but Doctor Brackett believes he has a good
chance of making it. The surgery went well."
Dixie said, placing
her hand on Roy's shoulder.
The look in Dixie's eyes gave the reassurance
he needed to put this
night behind him. Now if he could only find his partner. It wasn't
Johnny to disappear when one of their own was missing.
"Dixie, have you seen Johnny?" Roy asked,
hoping Dixie could provide
a simple explanation for Johnny absence.
"No, Roy. I haven't seen
him. Not since he helped us with Chet."
Dixie added , unsure about what was going on, but knowing
Roy was concerned.
"Ok, well I'd better go find him and let him know Mike's out of
Roy said as he rinsed his coffee mug and set it on the
counter by the sink.
"Take care, Roy."
Dixie thought to say more but something told her
Roy had already left the room.
a quick nod, Roy left the lounge and headed towards down
the hall. A small group of young nurses
gathered at Dixie's desk.
Their chatter and soft giggles briefly made Roy think Johnny was
with some young nurse on staff. Quickly he dismissed the
thought, ashamed he'd even garnished the
notion. As juvenile as his
partner could be at times, Johnny was never shallow where his friends
were concerned. Roy continued to comb the hallway, alcoves and any
other place in the hospital
he felt Johnny may have been. Twenty minutes
later, frustrated and worried, Roy headed to the recovery
Mike was taken after surgery. Reaching the room he looked through a
small window of
the double doors in hopes of seeing Mike, and there was
Johnny, seated on a small stool next to Mike's
bed. Roy placed the
palm of his hand against one door but stop short from opening it.
no one else in the room that Roy could see and he observed
as Johnny caressed a small bag between
his nimble fingers. He held
as though it was a priceless treasure. Roy never viewed Johnny as a
religious man, yet it appeared as though he was praying. As close as
the two were to each other,
there were things about Johnny, Roy was
not privileged to. Johnny's past being one of them.
witnessed as Johnny looked around, got up and quickly placed the
small bag into his pocket. Johnny's
face looked haunted by events of
the evening. Roy couldn't dismissed a nagging feeling that more
going on with his partner than the accident that had hospitalized
their crew members.
Roy pushed open the door quietly. "Hey."
Johnny looked up
with tired eyes. "Hey. Doc says he's critical."
Both men looked at the still figure of their engineer.
His face was
pale where it wasn't bruised.
Roy stepped closer. "I know Johnny, but Dix said
he has a good
chance. He'll make it." He placed a hand on the slumped shoulder
of his partner.
Johnny rubbed his tired face. "I hope so. It's all so senseless. I
still can't believe it happened."
"Me either. When I saw the engine tip over…" Roy closed his eyes
for a moment.
Roy? Mike's driven that rig in worse conditions. I'm tellin'
ya', I had a bad feeling before we even
went out. Nothing felt right
about it." Johnny was silent for a moment. "Did you know that Mike's
never been in a hospital before?"
"What do you mean?"
"We were talking once and he
said he'd never had to be hospitalized
for anything. Never been sick or hurt his whole life! And
what he has to go through."
Roy knew that no amount of reassurance would work on
right now. Sometimes Johnny just had to worry and fret at his own
pace. Truth be
told, even Roy felt too shaken by the evening's event
to offer reassurance that would just feel hollow.
"You want to grab some coffee?" asked Roy.
"Nah, you go ahead Roy. I'm going to check on Cap."
"I'll go with you."
As the paramedics approached the door to the room they knew their |
captain was in, they heard yelling.
"Well if you won't find out for me
then I'll have to do it myself!"
John and Roy looked at
each other, instantly knowing that Captain
Stanley had his dander up. As they opened the door, a
holding Stanley's arm as he swung his bruised and bandaged legs
over the edge of the
bed, attempting to stand. "Sir, you need to stay
in bed! You'll pull your stitches if you get up!"
But Hank Stanley would be patient no longer. He pulled his arm
from her grasp and pushed himself
He winced, but took a few stiff, tentative steps forward, forgetting his
IV, the tubing
straining from the movement.
The paramedics rushed in as both yelled, "Cap!" They were at his
side in an instant steadying their swaying boss.
"Guys, don't you dare stop me! I've waited
long enough and no one's
telling me a damn thing!" He pulled his arms from their grasp.
on, Cap. Lay down. What do you want to know?" Roy tried
calming his superior.
"I'm not laying
down until someone tells me about Mike. I've used this
stupid call button, but anyone who comes in,"
he glared at the wide-eyed
nurse, "can't tell me anything. All I'm hearing is 'calm down'! Well I'll
be calm if someone would give me a little information!!" His voice
reverberated in the room.
"I'll take it from here, Sheila," came the calm, assertive voice of Kelly
Brackett, who was standing
in the doorway, chart in hand. The nurse
scurried around the doctor and exited the room.
was silence as all three men froze, looking as if they had been
caught misbehaving, particularly
the tall one in the middle wearing the
gown. The doctor continued to stare at the men. The captain
hands down the front of his gown, as if he were straightening his
uniform shirt. He pointed
his finger at the doctor. "Doctor Brackett,
I hope you've got some news about Mike Stoker, otherwise
better get out of my way."
Kel Brackett's mouth twitched. "Yes I do Hank. Mike is out
He's critical. I won't lie to you - he's not out of the woods yet. His liver
lacerated but we stopped the bleeding. He also has some serious
bruising on his chest - trauma from
the steering wheel we suspect. We
found he has a fractured sternum, so we're monitoring his cardiac
function. We're worried about bruising to his heart. So far, his vitals are
good. I think that
barring any further complications, he should recover."
"I was gonna tell ya' that Cap, if you'd
have given me a second," Johnny
Captain Stanley stared at the doctor for
a moment, somewhat unwilling
to give in just yet. He was mulling over what the doctor had told him
when Kelly Brackett spoke again. "Now, unless you have any more
questions, I'd like to see you
lay down. You're bleeding on the floor."
All three firemen instantly looked down to see that,
indeed, there were
spots of blood on the floor. One of the larger lacerations had started
"oh, okay…" the captain swayed again, allowing Johnny and Roy
to help him back into bed.
Brackett approached the bed as the paramedics stepped away.
"Roy, get me some vitals, please."
Roy hurried to obey, waiting for the lecture he knew would surely be
brewing, based on the deep frown
and furrowed brows of the ER doctor.
He watched his captain's face closely as he counted respirations,
that perspiration had broken out on his forehead.
Johnny quickly checked the IV placement,
making sure it had not been
Hank Stanley was suddenly very tired. He relaxed
as Roy wrapped the BP
cuff around his arm. He no longer had the strength to resist the ministrations
but he hated the attention. The stitches and road burn that covered
both his legs began to sting
and throb. He gasped as Doctor Brackett
pulled off one blood-soaked bandage and prodded the painful
"Well, Captain, that stunt has earned you more sutures." The doctor
Hank Stanley just nodded. His eyes were closed tightly as he fought to slow his
He hated his men seeing him like this.
"Doc, pulse 120, respirations 22, BP 120 over 90."
Brackett pushed the call light and said gently, "Hank, I'm going to get you
something for the pain
you're feeling in those legs, and then we'll take care
of these pulled stitches. I want you to calm
down. You're not doing Mike any
good right now. If you want to be released tomorrow, I expect you
to stay in
bed all night and rest. You won't be walking on those legs for a couple more
so you better start getting used to that fact."
Sheila hesitantly poked her head into the room.
"Sheila, please get Captain
Stanley 10 milligrams of MS. He won't be giving you any more trouble
tonight, will you, captain?" asked Kel.
Hank Stanley opened his eyes briefly, looked at the doctor,
then over to the
nurse and shook his head. He closed his eyes again, clenching his jaw in
The nurse left to get the medication and Doctor Brackett patted Stanley's
"I'll be back in a few minutes after that starts to take effect. Then
I'll do the sutures."
He gestured for both paramedics to follow.|
"Cap, we'll stop by tomorrow and check on you." Roy
gave his captain's
arm a quick pat.
"If you need anything, Cap, just let us know." Johnny
saw Hank nod, as he
stepped away from the bed and followed Roy and Brackett out.
by with a syringe and pushed the door open after peeking
in to make sure her charge was still in
Johnny and Roy leaned heavily against the wall facing Doctor Brackett.
Johnny ran his
hand through his tangled hair and exhaled, "Wow, I haven't
seen Cap that riled in a long time."
"Me either," agreed Roy.
"He's something else, that's for sure," Brackett said shaking his head.
"He sure got worked up over Mike."
Johnny leaned forward, placing his hands on his hips. "Well
"That's right," Roy said defensively.
Brackett looked at
the two bedraggled men in front of him, realizing that
both felt the explanation Johnny gave summed
up and justified the injured
captain's reaction. He was sure if he pushed for more of an explanation,
he would probably just get more confused, so he let it drop.
"It's time for both of you to
get some rest. This has been a pretty traumatic
evening for both of you. Heck of a job, guys, really."
Brackett smiled. "Why
don't you take off for now?"
The paramedics shook their heads in perfect
unison. "No," they both
Johnny continued, "We'll be staying with Mike and Cap."
Roy nodded his agreement and they both quickly started down the hall
before the doctor could begin
Slowly, the two weary paramedics make their way to the
await further word on their crewmates. Entering quietly, they were
both grateful the
room was empty.
Roy made his way over to the coffee pot, while Johnny collapsed onto
Without picking up his head, he answered softly. "No thanks."
Roy sat down next to his partner, he could sense the
overwhelming emotion that he knew Johnny was
struggling with. The
only other time he remembered Johnny being that upset was when his
Drew was seriously injured and subsequently died.
"Johnny...they' re all gonna be okay, you know."
"I know...it's just..."
Roy looked at his best friend in understanding. He felt the same way
as Johnny currently did,it was just that he didn't wear his heart on
his sleeve as readily as
his partner did.
After a few moments of silence, the door opened and both paramedics
"Chief McConnikee," they both said in unison.
"DeSoto...Gage. How are you both holding
Tired and upset, Johnny answers first. "Better than the rest of our
okay, Chief...thanks for asking. Everyone's stable, but Mike
Stoker is in critical condition."
The Chief let out a sigh. "I've seen some of the preliminary
reports. You boys did a hell of a job
out there...under some pretty
devastating circumstances, too."
"I suppose. Chief...what' s
going to happen now? Our squad and
engine are both totaled."
"I don't want you boys to worry
about a thing...take some time off.
Your station will probably be closed for a few weeks and the
assigned...temporarily, of course."
Johnny was momentarily jolted by the news. "Re-assigned?
Roy shot Johnny a look that told him to relax...and to keep breathing.
"Well, I better
get going. I just wanted to check in with the two of
you. Please keep me posted on things...and if
there's anything I can
do for you fellas."
"Thanks, Chief...it means a lot."
shaking hands with the two paramedics, McConnikee left the room.
get upset, Johnny...you heard the man...it's only temporary."
"But what if they split us up?"
"You know what, Johnny...I'm not going to worry about that right now,
and besides, it's out of
our hands. We don't know *what's* going to
happen. Let's just get through tonight, alright partner?"
Johnny looked at Roy and nodded his head. "You're right,
Pally...let' s just get through tonight."
'Easier said than done.'
The feeling of 'it's not over yet, wait
for it ...' rolled through Johnny's
head. He jerked awake on the couch of the lounge when the door
"Sorry, Johnny," Dixie said, "I need some coffee."
Johnny stretched and then
rubbed his eyes. "Where's Roy?" He leaned
forward and put his elbows on his knees, clasping his
hands in front of him
as if in prayer.
"He was walking Joanne out to the car last I saw.
You must have fallen
asleep before she showed up." Dixie sipped on her mug as she sat
at the table. "I think she's as upset over the accident as you guys
"Yea," Johnny stared
vacantly at the floor. This night had been horrible.
He couldn't believe their luck. At this moment
in time, he was torn.
Torn between being relieved it wasn't them and sorry it was his station
How do you deal with feelings like that? The lounge door swung
open and Roy entered. "Joanne okay?"
"Yea, she's headed back home." He pulled a mug off the shelf and
poured himself a coffee. "I
really don't want this ..." he said as he took
it over to the table to sit beside Dixie. "Just something
to keep my
hands busy I guess."
A nurse poked her head in the door. "Miss McCall?"
"Doctor Brackett needs you in trauma room 3 right away."
"Right behind you," Dixie
replied standing. She put her hand on
Roy's shoulder. They shared a look and then she hurried out
The room was silent. Neither man wanted to break that silence, they
to enjoy it. Johnny sat back on the couch pulling his folded
hands onto his stomach. He leaned
his head back and stared at the
"Why am I waiting for
the other shoe to drop?" He whispered.
He rolled his head to look at his partner, "is this all my
Johnny's whispered words fell on his partner's ears. Roy immediately
became more concerned, "Johnny,
why do you think this all your fault?
None of us had control over what happened."
eyes were full of pain as he sat up and faced Roy, "But I had
a feeling something bad was going to
happen. If only I could have
convinced Cap to call us down none of this would have happened.
is fighting for his life because I wouldn't listen to my feelings. What
else am I supposed to think?"
Johnny's heartfelt explanation left Roy speechless.
At the same time out in the hall Dixie asked, "Is it Mike Stoker?"
The nurse who had come
to get her shook her head sadly, "Yes. He
seems to be fighting with everybody. We can't even tell
if he's actually
seeing us or what is going on."
"As if they needed anything else to deal
with tonight. Alright see if Hank
Stanley is up to being semi-mobile. As close knit as this group
going to need outside help with this one."
"Then send someone
to retrieve John Gage and Roy DeSoto. If Mike
is fighting us maybe the voices of his crew will help
The nurse hurried away as Dixie opened the trauma room door. Her
jaw dropped at the scene that greeted her.
Stoker had long since been extubated following his surgery. That had
done when he had hit the recovery room. The only reason he
was in a trauma room now was because all
the available beds in CCU
were full, with worse cardiac patients. And Mike wasn't a heart case.
::Yet.:: thought Dixie, setting her lips in a firm line. Already, she could
hear sounds of weak physical
struggle and an irregular audible on
Mike's monitoring twelve lead EKG. Kel had just finished tying
restraints on Mike's ankles and wrists to the bed frame with a couple
of orderlies. All the
while, he was talking to him. "Mike... Mike.. calm
down. You're almost awake. Can you hear me? What's
you tell me that?" he shouted firmly into the engineer's ear as he
set a fast stethoscope
against Stoker's sweating chest.
He got only groans with no eye tracking and a fluttery beat
around 150. Crackling rales were present and clearly mediastinal.
The lower half of
his abdomen was still stained betadine yellow from
where the surgical team had gone in to repair
the tear in Mike's liver and
other exploratory steps searching for hidden injuries. They had found
none past the one. So Dr. Brackett concentrated his exam on Mike's
chest, trying to locate the problem.
"Dix." he said. "Put him on C.P.A.P.
assisting. He might be building up pulmonary contusions underneath
the area of his sprung sternum. Breath sounds are diminished but still equal.
Just the mask, he's
still got a gag. The last thing we want is for him to go into
full respiratory distress syndrome.
If he doesn't calm down in a minute or
so, get us set for a rapid sequence intubation. I'll tube him
only as a last
resort so we can get our new pictures to figure out what's happening
"Right away, Kel. The gang's on their way. Just like you requested." she
said, looking at
the wall where a white light had just gone on. That was the
nurse's signal that Hank and the others
had been informed to hurry on in
despite the after visiting hours.
"Good. Joe's not the only
one who thinks there's something to be said
for close and direct familiarity and contact with friends.
I'm a firm advocate."
"Especially since Mike may not know he's even here in a hospital." Dixie
nodded, making sure the straps over the breathing mask were secure
and set at light positive pressure
to further support Stoker's blood oxygen
levels. "PSO2's still 98%"
"May not know?" Brackett
retorted, still surveying Mike's running EKG strip.
"I saw no notes on his chart about mental aberration
or head injury."
"There ARE none." McCall clarified. "I meant that he's never been a hospital
patient before. Ever. Never in his whole life."
"Never? Dix, he's a firefighter."
out a tense hand at his chart. "Just look there. Past his initial fire
department exam and blood
type testing forms, you've got just a birth
certificate." she said dryly, a smile quirking the corner
of her mouth.
Kel blinked. "No firefighter's that perfect."
Dixie's light defense grew.
"Did you see any scars on him? At all?"
"Well, no. Not specifically.." Brackett said, looking
down at Mike's uncovered
"That's because he doesn't have any." Dixie said, keeping
her hand on Mike's
forehead. On a whim, she began singing, softly.
And Stoker calmed down
instantly, his eyes still rolling slowly in their sockets.
"Okay. He's responsive now to verbal."
he sighed. "Somewhat."
Kel kept his eyes on the monitor. "Keep him still. Just like you're doing.
thirty seconds of clear tape." he ordered. The irregular arrythmia died away
making Brackett relax. "He's not tamponading or developing
aortic problems. I'm not hearing any definite
pericardial friction rubs with
Kussmaul's or any Ewart's sign with developing aortic regurgitation."
said firmly as he checked and double checked Mike's heart and lung
sounds. "He's got an area
of dullness to percussion at the tip of the
left scapula..." he said, log rolling Mike over on the
bed as far as the fleece
restraints would allow. "..and no clear rise in JVP on inspiration forming.
he said as he pointed to the flat veins in Mike's neck that weren't ballooning
the CPAP helped him breathe in on inspirations.
"When the paramedics get here, have one of them
draw bloods and
have the lab run a creatine kinase and isoenzyme levels series, a CBC
a PT, a PTT, an antinuclear antibody assay, and an
erythrocyte sedimentation rate. I want to make
sure this is lung bruising
and not A.V. nodal effectation."
"Yes, doctor." Dix sang quietly.
Roy and Johnny entered the room, quickly, pushing in Hank in
a wheel chair.
asked quickly, concerned.
All three of them relaxed just a little when they saw the crash cart
still in its covered place against the wall.
"He's fine, guys. Just waking up in a half
state. Feel like relieving
Dixie of that serenade so I can get my nurse back?" he quipped.
Roy and Johnny and Cap gripped Mike's arms,
and gripped his face with hands as they launched into
that also, got through the engineer's anesthetic haze.
DeSoto was ever practical.
"None serious. I'm suspecting deepening pulmonary contusion at
in the game, easily off set by that breathing help we've placed."
"Want a vitals set?" Gage asked,
reaching for the cuff lying on Kel's
post surgical tray.
"Yes. Also take that B.P. in both
arms. Look for a differential. There's
still a slight chance of aortic involvement."
doc." he whispered, letting Hank's and Roy's voices be
the louder ones to talk.
even further, finally ending his mild fighting as he listened.
His eyes closed behind tired lids and
Cap kept on gripping Mike's forehead. "That's it, Mike. You sleep now.
he broke off at Dixie's glare. "I mean Roy and Johnny
aren't going anywhere. Chet's fine. He's already
out of hypothermia.
Turn's out he was too cold on top of that shoulder he didn't know
"He what?" Gage and Roy both asked at the same time.|
Johnny's mouth set into a thin line. "I knew
he was hiding som--"
Brackett interrupted him. "Dix, let's stave off more volume depletion,
now. Confirm type and cross him off the I.V. line then set up a
piggy back TKO blood transfusion.
Then I want you to begin another
NS with dobutamine at 0.5-1 mcg/kg/min IV and titrate until you
better heart against lung compliance in his pericardium by auscultation.
That med will definitely
get his heart, stroke volume and cardiac output
increasing without dilating the blood vessels in
the rest of his body where
any internal lung bleeding we don't know about yet, might take hold."
McCall nodded. "Yes, Dr. Brackett. Right away."
Johnny tried to smile around his I'm gonna
kill Chet expression.
"You have a medication that acts like a chemical mast suit? I didn't
you guys had stuff like that in your drugbox arsenal.."
Kel smiled. "It's new. And I'm the first
doctor using it so far. Mike's
my third patient this month to fit the profile for its use."
it work?" Johnny gaped, not disrespectfully.
"Does water put out a fire?" he replied evenly, with
a sharp look.
That ended discussion and the immediate used to be emergency in the
The five fell to quiet discussion over Stoker's sleeping form lying
under the blankets
and sheets while the xray machine was wheeled
back in for new chest films.
"Well, he seems to resting better now. That's a relief." Roy
Hank's wheelchair as everyone stepped out of the room to
let X-ray get the films Brackett had ordered.
Hank Stanley sighed heavily. "I just don't like seeing him lying there in
a hospital bed. I still
can't believe it happened."
Roy moved in front of his captain, "It was just an accident Cap, and
Mike will be alright."
Stanley nodded, but still looked troubled and unconvinced that his
and friend was on the mend. He shifted uncomfortably in the wheelchair,
anxious to get
back into the room with Mike.
Kelly Brackett and Dixie exchanged glances, with Kel giving her
Dixie leaned into Cap's view. "Captain Stanley, I'm going to take you
back to your room."
"What? I just got here. Uh -uh." He shifted and sat up in the wheelchair.
Roy and Johnny exchanged
glances, but both silently agreed this was a
fight better left to Dixie and Brackett. They saw the
battle of wills was just
about to start.
"Captain, you need to rest now. Mike's just going
to sleep," Dixie stated
Stanley's shoulders straightened and he leaned forward, "I
don't care. I
want to be here."
"Hank", Dixie said tartly, "you might be the captain at Station
51, but here,
I'm in charge."
Cap glared at her for a moment then turned to his two paramedics
hoping for words of support. Instead both nodded silently at Dixie's
statement. He gave a disgusted
grunt and turned to Brackett, who was
nodding along with the paramedics. "Look, Doc, I'll be real
a little longer?"
Kelly Brackett's mouth twitched. "Sorry Hank. You haven't even
any real uninterrupted rest yourself. I want you back in bed, with your legs up."
legs feel fine!" Stanley retorted.
"That's the MS talking! I just stitched you up again, or don't
remember that?" Brackett stared down at the captain.
Now seemed to be the perfect time
for Johnny to jump in. "Cap, I think
they win this round." He looked at Brackett and Dixie. "I'll
take him and
get him settled. Roy and I will be here if anything changes, Cap."
defeated, as Johnny started pushing the
wheelchair. "What kind of hospital is this anyway…" he continued
to complain as they moved down the hall, with Johnny giving the
group an apologetic shrug.
Roy felt the need to explain. "He's just worried. He knows Mike's
never been hurt or in a hospital
Dixie smiled. "It's okay, Roy. I'd be worried if Hank Stanley didn't
Brackett chuckled and said,
"I guess Hank
doesn't know you as well as the rest of us Dix, *we*
all know you can't win goin' up against you."
"And don't you forget it." Dixie said, smiling.
"Doc, is it okay if me and Roy go sit with
Mike for a little bit, after the
x-rays are taken? You saw how worried Cap was, maybe if we can
convince him that Stoke's gonna be alright, maybe he won't give you
guys any more trouble."
"*If* we can convince him. Can you let us know about the x-rays so
we can tell 'im?" Roy asked.
Nodding his head, Kel replied, "Sure guys, I'll have them put a rush
on it and I'll get back
to you as soon as I can. And yeah, you guys
can stay with Mike until I get the results back."
"Thanks Doc." Johnny said.
With that, Doctor Brackett walked away from the paramedics, leaving
them to wait till the x-ray tech left the room.
Roy stood quietly
observing Johnny for a few moments. His partner
was leaning slumped against the wall.
you look lousy. Are you sure you're okay?"
The dark-haired paramedic looked up at his partner
and answered in a
rather irritated tone. "I'm just dandy, Roy. Four of my good
friends almost died
tonight...forgive me if I don't look so chipper.
And let me be the first one to tell you that you
don't look so good
"Johnny, that's not what I mean. I'm talking about how you look
you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. From what you
said to me before...and
how you're acting...it seems like you
honestly believe that this whole thing was your fault...and
could have somehow prevented it."
Johnny responded to his partner this time in a calmer,
tone. "Roy, you know how Chet's always teasing me about my
instincts...well, this time I
shoulda listened to my instincts...I
woulda been right."
The door to Mike's treatment room
opened and the X-ray tech came
out. Both paramedics looked up anxiously at the man.
spoke first. "How's he doing?"
"Well, he seems to be stable. Hopefully, these pictures will help
Brackett and Early figure out what's going on with your friend. See
you guys later."
X-ray tech was walking away, Brackett approached him.
"All done, Doc. I should have them for you
in about 15 minutes."
"Thanks, Tony." The doctor walks over to the exhausted
I think that's enough for the night...go home.
Captain Stanley is stable,and so are Chet and Marco.
Mike seems to
be holding his own."
Johnny looked like he was about to lose it. Sensing his
volatile state, Roy interceded.
"Doc, we have no way back to the station...our squad
was totaled in
Brackett looked at the two paramedics and realized just how close
two of them must have come to being 51's fifth and sixth victims in
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