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A rock was inside blocking off his throat.
Roy hooked it free with a couple of
fingers.. "Johnny? Hey.... It's gone..
Come on spit it out." he said, slapping
his partner's face, lightly.

The sudden sting to the skin on his rock
rubbed raw face, drove Johnny to full
wakefulness and he flopped over
onto his side, coughing wetly.

He threw up a lot of dirt and mucous
until he gasped in; the first solid breath
of air he had taken since he'd been buried.  
"*Hack* Whaa? Roy?....*gasp* Oh man...
I thought.. I wasn't ever ........gonna make
it......out of t-there.. "

Roy dropped his head in relief..
"So did we... Just keep breathing
regular. You're still blue.."

Gage added more as his head cleared.
"Thanks for trying to shield me Chet. Almost worked."
and he sagged onto the ground in exhaustion,
grateful to be seeing daylight and moving air.
Then hypoxia nausea rose up
and he got sick again. ::Mud this time.
Better from my stomach than from a lung
or two..::

"Got it all out?" Roy asked, still hanging
onto him when he was through.

Johnny nodded, without opening his
eyes. "Yeah.. I think so."

"Believe it or not, you're completely pink
now after all that.."

"I feel green.."

"Just lie still for a sec. Hurt anywhere
else besides your hand?" Roy asked.

"My hand?" Johnny said, picking his head
up and peering down. A bent rod was
embedded through the bones in his
left palm and was sticking out the back of it.

"Aw Roy, why did you tell him about that?
Now he's gonna freak out.." Chet said.

"Oh, man.." Gage said, ignoring both of
them. He curled around himself as his
eyes seemed to reconnect his nerves
centers into a core of agony through
his impaled hand. "Royyyy?... this just
isn't my day...ah,  h*ll.." he grimaced.

Chet was still coming down from Johnny's
close call. "Not everyday a full moon earthquake
scores a direct bullseye on Johnny Gage..That's
for d*mned sure. " And he laughed. He stopped
immediately when Gage caught his breath,
around another spasm.."Oooo. Come on. It's time
to get up Gage. If we let you think about it too
long, you're going to have to be carried out of
here." he said gently.. "l'll tape that immobile
after we get ya over to the biophone."

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Gage let the three of them sit him up and
then with a groan, he let the burly Vince lift
him bodily to a very shaky pair of feet.
Bonnie nearly leaped somersaults when
she saw her favorite fireman finally
standing vertical.

She barked happily, frisking in the dust,
until she saw the huddle of frightened kids
by the old engine. She dashed off to
be with them in a cloud of dirt..

Very soon, the kids snapped out of
their dazed stares to timidly reach
out to pet her dirty back.

"Would you look at that.. Bonnie
works better than smelling salts."
Gage grinned, halting them all.

"You owe her a ton of bacon my friend.
She's the one who found you, Johnny.."
Kelly commented.

"Well I'll be.."

"Come on Captain Hook, let's get you
cleaned up. If we don't hurry, you just
might have to stay this way...." Roy
quipped, glancing down at Johnny's
speared hand.  

"Oh ha. Aren't you funny.."Gage replied
sarcastically. He shifted his weight as Roy
moved his good arm over a shoulder.
Then he paled, when he saw what was
dripping on his shoes. "What makes you
think I wanna work after this?"

DeSoto went on with his interrupted
sentence.. "We've got three injured
patients  to attend to, not counting
you. Don't worry, I'll let you black
out if I have to, just as soon as
another squad gets here to relieve
Roy nodded for Chet to start applying
pressure to Johnny's brachial artery
when the wound around the rod started
to spurt as Gage's blood pressure rallied with
his mental clarity.

"You're all heart.." Johnny grinned weakly.

As soon as they all got over to the others,
Johnny promptly forgot his hand.
"Chet, let go of me.. Just put a tourniquet
on this. If I have to work, I'll do it verbally,
You can at least get vitals sets..
Roy, what do we got?
Looks like Miss Thorne's the worst of them.."
he said, reaching over with his good hand to
get the band Chet needed to stop his
hemorrhaging. Gage grabbed it out of one of the
gear boxes Mike had flicked open for
him, between one of his positive pressure valve
ventilations he was delivering to the
stilled teacher.

Roy said, "Natural gas inhalation. On
her and Marco both. He's breathing
ok, but she's partially unresponsive.
Marco's also got an unexplained
elevated temp. Cap found it assessing
him. Cap's got a slight concussion
I think. He was out for a while. I haven't
gotten a look at his pupils yet.."

"Chet you go handle that while Roy calls us in."
Gage snapped. "Stop fussing with me."

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"Right. Almost got this secure.." Chet
said, giving one last yank on the tourniquet
around Johnny's upper arm.
"There.." he smiled, biting a lip. "Going numb?"

"Not fast enough..." Gage peeped in pain.

"Good. You're set. " His eyes flickered
downward.. "Give me that.." and
he pulled out Johnny's penlight from
his pocket to look at Cap.
"Walk me through the neural Johnny.
I've only seen you guys do this a few
times.." he said seriously, then he
beamed, full charm, smiling at Cap
as he knelt by him.  "Hiya Cap. Great to see
you winking those peepers at me.
Thought you were dead for a sec
in there. .." he leaned in with
his light.. "This won't hurt a bit.."

Johnny began instructing Chet by rote
what things to look for. Soon, he had the
info needed to share with Roy when he
was ready on his end.

DeSoto threw an eye on Miss Thorne
to count the actual times she tried to
breathe around Stoker's vents and he
shivered in utter weariness.
The initial adrenaline he always got in a crisis,
was leaving him, letting him feel every bump
and ache the earthquake had imparted to him.
::But.....It sure feels great knowing no
one died. It could have been worse...::

He coughed once to clear out the acrid
dust in his throat. Then he started writing
in his note pad the findings in prep for
a medical base station hail.

Trussed up and no longer bleeding like a stuck
pig, Johnny checked the psi on the regulator
of outgoing 02 on the apparatus
feeding Marco and the teacher's masks.
::Plenty of oxygen left here.:: he thought
with satisfaction.
He even nodded with approval when Chet
was simply perfect getting an accurate
BP off Marco where he lay in the stokes.
::94/60. Not too shocky..:: Gage thought
after Chet had told him what it was.

A minute later they all heard a chorus
of sirens as the first of the responding
stations rolled up to their scene. It looked
strange seeing firetrucks actually rolling
TO a firehouse, with all their reds flashing.

Cap got on his walkie talkie as soon
as he bird eyed the number on
the pumper's door. "Engine 51 to
Station Eight. We've got four victims
in the yard. B-- -uh,...Bring three s-stokes.."

The fast reply from Eight's Captain
Stone made it clear that they knew who
at least one of those stokes was for.
##Hank? Hang on. We're coming. Looks
clear along your south exposure. Man
what a mess. Hope you aren't bad

"I'm fair.." Cap replied. "Watch it
in there. Gas leak in the kitchen.
"And don't tell me any details about
the engine or the squad. I simply don't
wanna know..We just pulled one of
them back from the brink only this
morning..!" he wailed.

Nearby, Roy grinned and mentally
downgraded Cap's medical status a
few notches after overhearing his joking

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