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The Golden Horn

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                  Page Two

Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 05:10:46 +0100 (BST)
From: "Katherine Bird" <>  
Subject:  One of the Line...

It was about forty minutes later.

Johnny and Roy returned to base,
whistling cheerfully. They had been buoyed
by the good news that Marty, the delivery man,
had suffered no long term effects from his
heatstroke incident and Gage in particular, was
practically bouncing on his heels as he and Roy
made their way hungrily into the kitchen on a
quest for food and coffee.

What the two paramedics didn't expect was the
mortuary like atmosphere filling the warmly lit
room and the sluggish sounds of hunt and peck
typing coming from Stoker, Chet and Marco as
they struggled to carry out Hank's log
commandment from earlier.

Next to Kelly, was a pile of crumpled typewriter
paper wads mounded up around his place at
the kitchen table and the neat organized reams
of papers surrounding the others.

Johnny and Roy skidded to a halt at the sudden
reminder of their new job duty. "Oh, that's right.."
John groaned sarcastically. "And here I had almost
forgotten about this..."

"Wish I had your capacity for forgetting.." Roy quipped
dryly as he poured out a cup of java for himself. He
ignored Johnny's pro-offered mug that was nonverbally
asking for some, and he moved forward to see what Mike
was typing for his log form up close, pretending to not
even see Johnny's move at all.

Gage made a face at his partner and filled his cup with
a grimace, on his own, from the pot.

Roy threw out a finger. "Hey,... nice neat rows there

"Thanks.." Stoker grinned, without looking up. He had a
correcting pencil perched over one ear that hadn't even
been used.

Johnny likewise, snuck a peek over Chet's shoulder at his
work and started laughing. " You're having trouble spelling
your own name?" he asked incredulously. He snatched
up a random reject discard and unrolled it. "And this
one's got our call sign misspelled. How could ya have
screwed up typing "KMG 365", Chet?"

Stoker and Lopez chuckled from their seats, but didn't
look up from their work of index finger typing.

Kelly snatched the wrinkled paper out of John's hands
and he immediately began nesting the other rejected
paper balls protectively into his arms. "Hey! Quit being
nosy, geesh. What do I have to do to get a little privacy
around here? Build my own personal office?"

John didn't miss a beat. "You don't have to, Chet. Just
borrow Henry's doghouse if you wanna do that."

That won Gage an even louder mirthful reaction from the
guys. "Are you even gonna answer my question?" Johnny
went on, relentless and towering over Chet's chair.

"What question?" Kelly asked with an irritated edge.
Already his attention was bent on ignoring his worst
tormentor and concentrating on his newest hated chore.

Roy spoke up for Johnny. " The one about getting down
"KMG 365" wrong.."

"Oh." Chet said unenthusiastically. "I just get all these numbers
up here all confused." he said gingerly pointing at that row on
his manual typewriter. "They just don't feel right under the
fingers, know what I mean?"

"Yeah..I know what ya mean." Roy said with a mild empathy
and he took another sip of coffee.

Gage leaped up and sat butt perched on a kitchen chair's
back instead of on the seat where his shoes parked.
"So, whatcha gonna pay me to do your reports each
week, Chet..?"

That made Kelly blink more than twice at Gage.
"Believe me, Johnny, there isn't anything you do that's
worth me giving up a single solitary dime.." he gushed
with absolute conviction.

"Suit yourself.." Johnny said and he hopped off the
chair to plunk down into the vacant nearby one that still had
a brand new plastic wrapped typewriter sitting in front of
it.  He grandly indicated the neighboring seat and its
accompanying unwrapped typewriter to Roy, teasing
him into joining in the fun currently ongoing.

Roy just rolled his eyes and took up Johnny's offer
of a chair. "It's 'Misery loves company' I guess..." he sighed.
"I might as well join you all now while I still have the patience.
I've been dreading this new log recording assignment business
the whole way back here.."

"Oh? Why so angsty?" Gage grinned, cock-eyed and bright.

"I can't type much.." Roy growled.

Johnny cracked his knuckles loudly over his typewriter and he
pulled off its cellophane wrap. "Too bad. I feel for ya.."
Then he glanced around for the pile of logs in the middle of
the table, grabbed one sixth of the stack as his allotted portion,
and his eyes fell on the unused ream of typing paper quickly
dwindling in front of Chet as he failed yet again to type out
the basic information at the top of the form.

"**##&@**##!" Chet swore, and he used both hands to
angrily rip out the mistyped page from his typewriter.

Johnny used that moment to snag a blank sheet for his
own use from Kelly's pile.

"Hey... go get your own.. I don't have that much here
for myself as it is.." Chet complained.

"If you'd quit wasting it so fast maybe you'd be able
to make it last a little longer.. Here.." And Johnny
lifted the erasure pencil from Mike's ear in an easy grab
and handed it to Chet in appeasement. "Maybe you
oughta learn all about having one of these then.."

Mike felt the robbing but disregarded it, eyeing up his
own close work of careful hunt and pecking.

"What's this?" Kelly asked.

"What do you think it is?"

"A pencil.." Chet said, with "duh" written all over his tone.

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"A correction pencil.. It erases typing marks. Watch.."
And Johnny inserted his stolen fresh piece of paper into
his new typewriter and his fingers flew through his own
name on the letter keys, typing. He intentionally typed
a "Z" after the "e" in Gage. Then he showed Chet how
the pencil worked. "See? Look. There's no sign of ink where
the "z" was here anywhere. Problem solved.."  Gage
concluded, tossing the pencil down on top of the table.

Chet froze, blinking again. "Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
How'd you do that?"

"Do what? Use the pencil?" Johnny asked with a smirk.

"No, dummy. How'd ya type so fast?"

"Who? Me? I wasn't typing fast. I.....I.." he stuttered.

"Yes you were. I just watched you.." Chet fluttered
a few fingers in Johnny's direction. "You musta got
out your name in .....what, Roy, half a second?"

"At least..." Roy agreed with a yawn as he pulled off the
new wrapping on his typewriter and got it set for his use.

Cap sailed into the room, seeking coffee.. His face immediately
frowned when he hefted the pot.

"What's the matter, Cap?" Gage asked.

Cap glared at Kelly and turned the pot upside down to show
its empty state..

Chet shot up out of his chair to make a new one lickety split.

Cap rubbed his nose as he regarded all his men sitting with
the logs and the new machines. He seemed not to see any
of them, lost in thought. Then he asked. "How's our UPS man?"

"He's gonna make it." Roy grinned. "How's the delivery truck?
Were all those packages Stoker said he talked about delivered
on time..?"

"Have you ever known UPS to be late on any delivery?" Hank

All the gang shook their heads ruefully.

"I swear they had a new driver here faster than we usually
get our ambulances on scene, once I called them about his
sudden illness." Cap joked. He watched Chet pour piping
java into his empty mug absently. Then he sat down at a
typewriterless spot at the kitchen table.

This time Marco spoke up. "What's the matter, Cap?"

"Hmm? Oh, nothing. Nothing. It's just uh, my looking at all
these typewriters is bringing back some memories
for me, that's all."

"What kind of memories?" Johnny asked, limbering up his fingers
for the long task ahead working on the log forms.

Hank laced his fingers together around his coffee mug and
actually looked sheepish. "The forgettable kind."

Chet's moustache twitched in amusement as images
of McConike's burning hat came to mind. But he said.
"Wanna talk about them?"

"Not much to say, actually."

Gage caught on to Chet's angling. "Sure there is..
Don't you know that your junior-under-McConike days are
one of the great mysteries all your shifts have about ya?"

"Yeah, I know." He drew out an old insignia pin, a double
bugle from his shirt pocket and he studied its worn shape.

All the guys grew respectfully quiet and all the typing died
away as Cap's face furrowed in a memory that wasn't all
that mysterious or happy. In fact.. he looked stunned and
very very lost. "Do any of you fellas know what this is?" he
said, fiddling nervously with the pin on the table

"Yeah, Cap. That's your rank pin for captain off your dress
uniform." Gage said straight faced and alert.

Hank didn't speak for a time, and he just swallowed while
considering words. Then he practically whispered.
"That's right. I just found out I've got another time scheduled
to use this again, starting tomorrow morning. Actually, it's
gonna be time for all of us to ....get dressed up.. I ..I.. just
got a call.."

Roy's face blanched when he got what that meaning meant.
"Who is it, Cap?"

The others' hearts hit their throats.  

"Station 8's Captain Stone just got back from assisting at
a real bad county fire. He just told me that ..that.."  his voice
broke as he fought emotions... "Uh,..the first story fell on top of
the chief's battalion car as he radioed out orders to the crews.
McConike's just died at Rampart."


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From : "patti keiper" <>  
Subject :[EmergencyTheaterLive] The White Helmet  
Date :Mon, 31 Mar 2003 02:09:40 +0000  

Hank Stanley began to twitch under the following
silence coming from his men. He found he couldn't even
meet their eyes. ::If only they knew how this effects me.::
The gold double bugle pin seemed to burn his eyes in the
morning sunlight glinting off of it from the window.

Roy was the first one to speak. "I'm ....very sorry to
hear about this, Cap. Is there anything we can do?"

That finally broke Stanley's terrible burden of sharing the dark
news. Hank felt suddenly released from its heavy weight. "No,
no, no..I'm.. still waiting to hear back from the other companies
who are still on that fire cleanup as to details. You know how these
things go. Stone only knew what his paramedics told
him when they called from the hospital. He--he said it
happened only a few minutes ago. Something about
ah, his heart shutting down because of fluid building up
around it..?" Cap guessed helplessly inept at the right
elusive medical term.

"Sounds like it was cardiac tamponade.." Gage said softly,
abandoning his coffee mug. "The docs probably couldn't
tap it in time, especially if there were other problems
going on with the crushing inj..." Johnny trailed his voice off
suddenly thinking better of his choice of words and the
subject matter. "ugh,..yeahhhh.." he said lamely to end it.
He cleared his throat and studied his shoes to avoid Cap's
intense gaze following his answer as to a possible why.

Again, all the gang muffled into silence. That simple
happening suddenly grew intolerable for Hank.
Cap's eyes filled and he swung into immediate motion,
standing so fast that the chair behind him loudly impacted
against the wall.
"Oh, ..uh..nothing they could've done then to save him,
huh?" and he sucked in a controlling breath to quell his rising
grief. "That's.. that's too bad.. I...I'm really gonna miss..."
Cap couldn't complete his sentence.

Roy and John didn't dare to say anything.

This time, the silence cut like a knife and Cap.....moved.
He darted forward, suddenly snagging the stack of logs
that was their current headache and picked it up, leafing
through to the back section where they had their list of monthly
fire inspection addresses.. His finger eagerly traced down the
page as he read them quickly. "There.. there's one we can go
to...right there.." and he stabbed his finger down on the
page at one particular one at the very edge of their
jurisdiction. Roy couldn't help but notice that the address
was practically next to the fire that had killed McConike.

The slate clattered back onto the table. "Stoker,..note
number seven's location.. We're leaving.."

All the guys startled at the highly irregular decision.

Even Chet ejected. "Cap..we're bringing the engine to
do a hazardous property inspection?"

"And the squad....." Hank nodded curtly. "Move."

Everyone scrambled for the bay.

Kelly lingered. "Cap, HQ is gonna think this is weird. Are
you sure you wanna d--"

Hank whirled on the Irishman. "Are you questioning your
captain's judgement?!"

"No, Cap, I uh..."

"Fine. Go get your coat on and stuff a sock in it."

"Yes, sir.."

Cap's tight flurry of firm action jolted the men into obeying
the odd order even faster and then all piled into their
turnouts. Stoker put the big engine into drive and then
put both feet on the brake, waiting for Cap to board her
as the garage door opened.

Hank Stanley moved to the response mic. "L.A. This is
Station 51. We're 10-19ing to 1457 Addison on a citizen's report
about a fire hazard. Going to check it out.."

##10-4, Station 51. Updating your location's status. Time out,
9 : 34.##

In the rig, Chet murmured.. "Can he do that?"

Marco slapped him on the arm sharply to be quiet.

Roy and Johnny fidgetted in the squad for a moment
putting on their helmets and peering out at the wall map
for the address's cross street until they knew exactly
where to go. Then they headed out with their lights

Stoker soon followed in a likewise darkened Ward LaFrance.

As they turned left onto the avenue, Roy couldn't hold
it in. "You just had to open your big mouth, didn't you?
That was probably the worst thing you could have said
to him.."

Gage's face animated. "I didn't mean to say things the way
I did, Roy... It just sort of....slipped out.."

"Yeah? And now Cap's probably gonna be flipping out. Are
ya happy?" DeSoto countered. "He's probably outta his skull
right now imagining things.."

Johnny didn't say anything and clammed up.

Roy spoke again after a full minute of nothing.
"You know what he's up to, don't you?"

Gage pulled his face away from his hand and elbow
perched out the window. "I...I....well, not exactly.."

Roy looked straight ahead, concentrating on the driving.
"He's going to the fire scene. Where it happened."

Johnny's head whipped around in surprise and his
mouth gaped open.


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Benjamin Stone wearily stood on the crumbling brick
crackling under his shoes as he finished directing the
engine companies to those areas of the hotel that
were still stubbornly smoking over his HT now set
to command frequency.

He was surprised to see Station 51 weaving in between
the working units and to his command area that he
had assumed when McConike went down. He
barely remembered finishing his radioed order as they
pulled up. He didn't have to ask the reason why they
were there. One other station company from L.A. County
suddenly had invented excuses to be in the barrio
neighborhood right then, too.

Ben stepped forward as the 51 gang bailed out.
He didn't say anything as Hank's eyes suddenly fell on
what was left of the dusty red battalion car still partially
buried in debris. He briefly turned down his radio volume.
Captain Stone saw Hank freeze into place in shock as
the whole situation suddenly slammed into ugly reality
for him. Benjamin just stood quietly next to his colleague
and waited. So did Chet, Marco, Mike, Johnny and Roy.

Then Cap spoke without looking at Ben. "You're in command

Ben nodded.

"You should be wearing the white now. Departmental policy.."
Cap said waving an absent hand towards Ben's captain
helmeted head.

Ben flinched, but again, Ben nodded numbly.

"I'll go get it.." Hank mumbled tightly, his voice full of
powerful emotion.

Gage immediately stepped forward.. "No. Wait.. Cap. Let us
go for it.. You don't have to be the one to go over there."

Hank shrugged off Gage's gripping glove mutely and ordered.
"Stay here."

The others watched Cap slowly pick his way to the spot where
IV papers and EKG patches and spent syringes marked the place
where Station Eight's medics had treated McConike on the ground.

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Privately, Hank was very glad the car's paint job and interior upholstery
were both red as he dug bricks and smouldering boards out of the
way until he could reach into the nearly flattened car's passenger
seat for the white battalion chief's helmet he knew one of
the treating medics would have thrown there. He found it under
McConike's unused gloves and situation slate.

A sob escaped when Hank finally lifted it out into the light and smoke.
There was no red coloring here to hide the copious fresh blood, still
staining it.

Backing out of the chief's car, Captain Stanley searched for and
found a hose puddle nearby to wash it off. He bent down, peeling
off his own gloves to do the task.

Benjamin Stone immediately hurried over to help him with it.
"Hank.. let me help.."

Stanley stiffened at first, but then he nodded, meeting Ben's
smoke red eyes.

He was in the presence of an equal at last so Hank let his
pain out into the open, and he began to cry, his face streaming
in rich tears.

Benjamin Stone made sure his back was hiding Cap's face
from the view of the rest of 51's men. "It's ok.. We're
here together. And I just heard over the comm that
Station 127 is on the way, too."

"Good man, Captain Gorman. Glad he found a way to
make it over here." Hank sniffed.

"Yeah.." Stone sighed, holding both of their HT radios in
his lap while they crouched and washed.

Soon, the blood stains were gone and the two captains had
dried the white chief's helmet off with their sleeves.
"Here..." Hank said when they were done. "You take this until
we find out who is getting it permanently. Might be you.."

Ben met Hank's gaze and set a glove on Cap's shoulder.
"Might be you, too, Hank. You've got the most seniority even
over me."

Stanley's mouth twitched painfully but he didn't make a noise
beyond a terse. "Yeah, maybe."

"You know HQ won't tell us who's got the chief's job until
after the funeral."

"Yeah, I know.. But you're still at this fire scene and it's still today.
And we both know the highest on scene officer from the initial set
of called out stations has to take over. "

Now it was Ben's time to lose it and his face twisted.

Hank spoke quietly,  "Put this on, Ben."
he said, polishing the white helmet once more to be sure it
was clear of any sign of soiling. "He would have wanted it that
way. Procedure, you know?" Captain Stanley sighed, wiping away the
tears blinding him before any of the other firemen with the
nearby hoses from County could see any of his weakness.

"McConike was all that.." And then Ben smiled as he pulled off
his white crested cap's helmet for the white chief's one. He sighed
as he tightened the helmet's damp chin strap.

"He sure was."

Together, the two captains returned to Stone's engine while
Ben completed coordinating the fire's final cleanup as temporary
battalion chief.


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From : "Cassidy Meyers" <>  
Subject : For Every Action....  
Date :Fri, 04 Apr 2003 15:50:47 +0400  

The rest of the gang dared not approach Hank and Ben
where they were quietly discussing the progress
of the containment on the still smouldering hotel fire.

"Are you going to go over there?" Marco elbowed Chet.
"I'm not going to go over there. It's none of my

"Oh? really? It WILL be our business if headquarters
finds out we're not reporting to the location we said we
were going to go to. And it won't just be Cap's butt in a
sling, it'll be all of our rears, too." Kelly complained

Gage, who was leaning on the squad's hood with his
helmeted chin propped on a hand, shot an irritated
look at Chet, but thought better about saying anything.
::Deep down inside, I know he's right..:: Gage
thought privately. ::But d*mn it. Last thing I need is
a formal reprimand on my station record
for deriliction of duty.::

It was as if Roy was clairvoyant. He spoke aloud as
if answering Johnny's private thoughts. "You know, we
might get off the hook here since it was all Cap's idea.."
he murmured, matching his partner's nervous, feigned
looking-bored pose on the fender. Only difference was
that Roy had his own helmet off in respect for the tragedy
which he knew was only just beginning to tear Hank apart
despite his tall friend outwardly beginning to look calm,
cool and collected once more.

"Now that's a little callous don't you think?" Gage rounded
on Roy.

"No,'s not callous at all. I'm just being practical.
That IS how it'll rule one way or another if we're caught
being off the beaten track like this." DeSoto said, nonplussed.
"Besides, you know I'm right because I know positively about
what you're thinking. It's a gift I've picked up after serving
with you for half a dozen years." his voice cracked.

Johnny's face fell into annoyed denial as Roy's point
stung home once more. "Ok, Allright. So you know what
I'm thinking. So let's just clarify a few points on that then. All
right.. This is exactly what I'm thinking..
I can't HELP thinking the worst, Roy, at this point .
And I'm sure the rest of the guys are doing it, too." he insisted
passionately. "And let me add another thing while you're
digging around in my head. It's sheer craziness to think it's only
us and Kelly who are noticing that Cap's just a little bit off his rocker."
he said waggling his fingers in a so-so gesture in the air. "Just look
how those county guys are whispering behind Cap's back like
that. It's getting me mad.."

Roy sighed and leaned against the squad, hanging his head down
in fatigue, "Nothing like a cold impersonal phone call to be
the bearer of bad tidings. That must have been difficult for Stone
to have even called Cap on this whole messy nightmare so soon."

"I know. I know." Johnny insisted. "And I know Stone really well,
too. I mean he was MY captain before CAP was my captain and
Ben was also my paramedic partner even before you got your
claws sunk into me for the duration." Gage snorted. "Ben's handling
it real good. And so are we,.." he glared at Chet.." for the most part."
he angled at the curly haired fireman taking a drink at a leaky
hydrant close to the engine. "Only what do we do about Cap in
the meantime?"

"What do you mean what do we do in the meantime?" Roy
fired back.

Chet spit out his water in between Roy and Johnny to shut
up their squabbling. "Ok, here it is in a nutshell since your
higher educated minds seem to be having trouble grasping what
the problem is. Let me reiterate for ya in one sentence!" he
shouted.  "We can't let Cap keep us on a hotspot after hauling us
off like this on a whim. It's bad for business." Chet insisted.

"Would you pipe down..?!" Gage hissed. "They'll hear you."

"Fine, Johnny. Just as soon as you do. I came over here
to tell you exactly the same thing.." Kelly said with finality,
and he immediately walked away, with his hands jammed
into his pants pockets around his turnout coat and he angrily
yanked at his helmet strap until it was dangling loose.

Gage caught his breath into an aggravated sigh and ran
both sets of fingers through his hair just to have something
to do. He shook his head at Kelly's back and retreated from
all of them by putting on his helmet and sitting down dejectedly
in his seat inside the squad. He punctuated his unhappiness
by slamming shut the door on its hinges.

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Roy glanced up and saw that Hank seemed to be drawing
strength from the close presence of Stone and mentally,
he began amending his concern about Cap bending protocol
to be at a fatality scene. ::Maybe it's a start on his accepting the
fact that his old captain's truly gone. I know how I would
feel if I had been the one digging out Hank's helmet from that
car. I don't even want to imagine what Cap's going through
right now..:: he reasoned privately.

DeSoto gave a short wave at Mike Stoker to tell him to tell the
others that he would be the one to go over where Hank
and Ben were, to....gently.. tell him the company consensus
about being tardy for the fire hazard call, however bogus
it really was.

He waited respectfully, his helmet still off, a short distance
away from the two higher ranked men, quietly.
But then his HT came to life sounding a tones out for another
squad. The loud squelching reply of the responding team caught
him unawares and he jumped. Soon, DeSoto found himself
on the receiving end of two curious glances from Stone
and Stanley. "Sorry, Cap... Captain Stone....Uh, I suppose
you're wondering why I'm over here against a direct order..
Umm.. so I'll just out with it.. Cap, how are you doing?" Roy

Hank had his control back on his emotions, at least the ones
Roy could visibly see and any possible reprimand he normally
would have dished out, died before aborning.
"I'm ok, I guess. We're just.... I... am just.. uh.. Well, you see
Ben and his men are still cleaning up." he said lamely, trying to smile.

Roy nodded quietly. "Is there anything you fellas want us to
do back there while we...hang out?"

It was as if Cap suddenly remembered where he was. He
seemed to drag himself back as if he had been some great
distance away and he started murmuring apologies fluidly.
"Oh, oh, oh.. Sorry, Ben. ohmyg*d. Sorry, Roy. I guess I - I
wasn't thinking straight when I dragged us all out here. I..."

"Don't worry about it, Cap." Roy said, setting a hand on Cap's
arm. "You had to come."

Hank's face mellowed into a tortured acceptance and then
he met Roy's eyes very like a child's for an instant,  before his
command ability took over once more. "Yeah, well, thanks
for letting me stay. In letting US, ....stay.." he corrected, offering
Ben an ungloved handshake of profound gratitude.

Being in front of one of Hank's regular men, Ben didn't
do anything different but grasp that handshake back, with
both palms warmly. "No problem. Uh,...I guess I'll see
you both at the services  tomorrow morning, Hank." and
then Ben walked away, still feeling very uncomfortable
under the nods of respect coming from all the firefighters
from the city for assuming the chief's post as he had done.
"Oh, yeah." Captain Stone said, turning back towards Hank.
"I forgot to tell you this earlier, Hank. Gail wants to see
you before the funeral."

Cap's mouth opened but he didn't have to say anything out
loud. He just nodded that he understood.

"Call me if you need anything, Hank. I know how much
the chief meant to you for I...know ...just how terribly
much he meant to me, even if.. I'm realizing that
..only now."

"That same thought is hitting all of us Ben. I'm just
the first to feel it, I guess. And about Gail. I won't forget.
Same goes for the phone call offer. In reverse right
back at ya.." Hank said striding away at last.

Ben gave a short salute that whispered a painful reminder
to Hank of McConike, but then Ben disappeared into
the veil of smoke, around the corner of his engine.

Roy flanked Cap and he and Stanley started their
way across the street back to where the rest of the gang
and the vehicles were idling. "So, what next? Going to call in
to renege that false citizen's report."

"I'm doing nothing of the sort. I'll just tell it like
it is.. Look.." and he pointed down the block towards
the Addison address that he had so bogusly given dispatch
on the way out.

Roy started smiling and shook his head. "Truck 127
beat us to it with the same idea, eh?"

"Yep. Looks like they're covering for Gorman so he
can get in his own time with Ben and this ....awful
fire. Can I help it if our two calls got crossed over the
airwaves again?" he said throwing his arms up in mock

"Guess not.." Roy grinned, folding his arms in front
of himself in relief at Cap's sudden sense of humor.

Captain Stanley pulled his HT out of his pocket.
"L.A. This is Station 51."

##Go ahead, 51.##

"L.A., Truck 127 has doubled our response to
the hazard call. We're returning to base."

##10-4, 51.## Spap.

Cap guided Roy on ahead of him with an affectionate
grip on the shoulder as they started walking again.
"So, you drew the short stick to come fetch me?"

"More like my having the longer backbone to do it,

"Being practical as always, eh? I've always liked that
about you, Roy. It's a strong beginning sign of a good
departmental candidate..." and he strode on ahead
of him as he gestured to Stoker to put the rig in driving
gear for a return trip.

Roy stopped in his tracks at Cap's use of the past tense
and the hints about a possible other future for himself.
::Now just what in HECK did that mean?::

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The Golden Horn

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