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"No, doc.. He's NKA on just about everything.
Well, everything except for an intolerance
for putting up with one of Chet Kelly's jokes."
Gage quipped.

"Oh very funny, Gage. Would that be like
ah, say your own marked intolerance
for any strikes aimed at you from the

Kel grinned. The banter meant the firehouse
gang was starting to relax again.
"I heard about that whole one upmanship going
on, from Dixie, a while ago. Who finally won?"

"I did."
"I did." said Johnny and Chet simultaneously.
They made sharp stares, glaring at each other
and then let they both ..let ...loose.

"I had the last word!" Chet insisted.

"No I did! Remember my very very slick
"Are we going to eat off the table?" delivery
line? Man, Chet. You fell for that completely,
hook line and sinker. And don't deny it. The
whole gang were my witnesses.. Isn't
that right Marco..?" and he patted Lopez's
shoulder despite the fireman still being

Mike Stoker piped up. "Chet was the last
one to "one up" there Johnny, if I recall."

"No, I thought he was er, I was.."
Gage cocked his jaw, thinking back. He
wasn't quite sure about that fact himself
and it showed in his eyes.

"Sorry, Gage. But the Phantom
match, I do believe, went to Kelly."
Cap said, with an amused smirk.
"I wasn't directly involved or targetted
with water bombs in that particular
week of shenanigans, but I did follow all
the action VERY closely, back then."

"You did?"
"You did?" John and Chet said as one.
They looked at each other once more
but this time, in complete and utter surprise.

Then Chet asked. "Hey Cap. How did you

"Well, usually, all the water in the station
is either in the Engine tanks or the sink
when I don't have someone stuck on mop
detail." he steepled his hands together over
his chest as he thought back "Annnddd  I ....
noticed the dry, hot Santa Ana air that month
suddenly got suspicious humid, only inside
the station."

Kelly and John both flushed red when they realized
they had been outfoxed by Cap the observer,
despite their efforts to hide the misadventure.

"Didn't take long to find out what you
two were up to.... at all.." Cap said, pleased
as punch.

Johnny complained after he picked
up his jaw off his chest. "Well why didn't
you stop him from doing all that from
the beginning?"he pointed at Chet. He
winced when that pointing hand was his
post surgical one. "I must have spent thirty
dollars in laundering bills and re-polishing
streetside shoeshines that week."

Chet sniggered but immediately stifled it.

"Well, Gage.. Let's just say I had money
riding on the outcome.." Hank trickled.

Chet and Gage's eyes both widened in
surprise at their captain.

Stoker couldn't wait to elaborate.
"He made out like a bandit, boys, while
you two were playing Phantom.
Called your every mutual moves play by play."

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"Oh- oh yeah?" Chet said, gaining back a
bit of timid bravado in the face of finding
out about his superiorly ranking boss's less
than honorable conduct. " Just how
much did you win off us, Cap? We do
have a right to know..  You know, for
the loss of face we suffered,  the butt
we must have been in every other
shifts' table jokes as you gave them
gritty details behind our backs.."
Kelly huffed low in his throat. "Pah..
I'll just bet C shift must have been
the ones who ran that betting pool
that Cap cleaned up in."

Cap grinned evilly around his O2 cannula
as he suddenly shook his head slowly
in the negative.. "Kelly,.." he tapped his ample
nose, twice at the curly haired fireman.
"...about the winnings.." he chuckled.
"And...hate to break it to ya fellas, but...."
and he took in a big satisfied breath,
"I was that all secret kingpin.."

Johnny and Chet fell utterly speechless.

Even Roy's eyes got larger and he blinked,
almost sticking himself with Marco's sedative
syringe that he was holding onto, to document
usage spent, before he caught on to what he
was doing, and reset it carefully back onto the

Captain Stanley smiled at his audience.
"You gotta remember, a captain's ALWAYS
on top of any situation.." Hank said
with aplomp. "At a fire, or.." he said
with mystery,...".. just waiting for one.."

With that, he turned over in his
stokes and went back to sleep.

Dr. Brackett chuckled as he snugged
up Marco's blankets to his neck when
he was convinced the ill fireman had
good control over his breathing and
airway on his own. "Glad I work in
a hospital.."

"Oh? You mean, Morton, Dix and
Joe, don't get you with zingers like
this one every so often doc?"
Gage asked, lacing his fingers behind
his head. He grunted when he knocked
his injured hand against the wall.
He had forgotten about it.

"No. Doesn't happen. Everyone's
always too busy to do that sort of
thing being always up to their eyeballs
in emergency cases, Johnny." and he

Dr. Brackett got up from Marco's
side to make a note on his runsheet
about the new rash spreading on Lopez's
body. He made it a point to keep it
the first thing to mention to the CDC
team, when they arrived.

And soon, the long awaited for chartered
helicopter.. zoomed over the gaping hole
in the roof of the shattered fire station
to land on the boulevard.

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From : "Roxy Dee" <>  
Subject :  [emergencytheaterlive]The Grade Four~~  
Date : Sat, 02 Nov 2002 08:41:36 +0000  

  In a wash of dust and debris, the
foot rungs touched earth and five
people got out, loaded to the hilt with
sophisticated supplies and from the back,  
a mobile pallet of lab equipment from the
chopper's cargo hatch. Police got them
all through the clamoring press surrounding
the station and allowed them to go into
the barricaded off back yard.

Once there, two of the five member team
suited up in biohazard gear for entering the
station, while the others stayed back to set
up support tents and a rudimentary
decontamination station out of the sight
of public eyes.

Captain Stone looked up from his place
in the center of triage command and his
thoughts turned once more to his fellow
firemen held hostage not by smoke
or fire, but by a germ.::Just how the h*ll
are we gonna fight this ?:: Troubled deeply,
he turned back to his organizational
operations and tried not to feel helpless.
He mentally hoped Captain Stanley would
keep him updated on any news as it

The advance team's leader, a smallish,
petite woman, picked her way through
the fallen rafters and bricks in the garage
to the bunk room. She went without
preamble, to Dr. Brackett's side hefting
a field autopsy kit, and a heavily sealed
liquid nitrogenated container labelled
extreme biohazard.  This she set safely
down in the middle of a tabletop.

Kel looked up seeing them. "About time
you got here, doctors. Marco's
symptomology's advanced beyond your

"Sorry. Didn't count on breaking through a
military line at the airport. The Guard
was called out to maintain order
because of your recent developing
environmental setback. " the woman
replied, grinning through her plastic
face piece.

Kel grinned. "Is that what you
microbiologists call an earthquake?"

The ginger haired, french braided woman
looked up, setting the rest of analysis
gear onto an empty bed. "It can be, to
us in the CDC, that can also mean the
fact that this contagion might have
succeeded in jumping an international

Roy and Gil and Craig had looked up with
alacrity from their medical monitoring just
a minute before and were still stunned
at the sight of the fully suited doctor.

::My god. This is more serious than I realized.::
Roy thought, eyeing up the woman's white
bio-tunic, clearly air sealed. She had on
a SCBA tank but her mask was not in place
beneath her transparent hood.

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Then, the second member of the CDC's
First In team joined her, having come
from where he had placed microlab
instruments in the lamp lit kitchen.
"Jamie, the kitchen area looks intact,
I'll have our team give it a wash down
and have it covered. I've already told them
to place our mobile lab in there.."

"Understood, Steven.." she replied,
her very blue eyes, glancing up at

Then Roy overheard something else
which made him glad Marco was still

The woman scientist eyed up her study
subject with the skill of an analyst, noting
the rash, the abnormal EKG and the fluids
hung over Marco's head, and what
percentage O2 he was on while she spoke.
"First thing, we're going to confirm or
refute the theory of Mr. Lopez truly being our
Patient X in the U.S. as the boy was
for his country in Mexico City.
We've brought pathological tissue
samples from the Lopez child to verify
any infection commonality in both him
and Marco.
So far, you'll be pleased to know, Dr.
Brackett, that we've learned the disease
most likely isn't transmitted by airborne
vectors.." she said looking up. "Three
of the victims down with the illness have
no sign of insect bites."

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