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   Crossing The
    Red Line
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       Page Two

Marco grabbed for it, making sure the oxygen flow
was very high and passed it off to Mike.

Stoker snapped the bag's feeder end onto the tube and
gasped. "Ok.. Check both sides. Is it all right?" he asked
quickly, giving the paramedic rapid, full breaths to
get his blood back to normal.

Kelly listened with a stethoscope. "He sounds like a
seashell to me. Nice and even, too. Left is the same
as right."

"Stomach?"#Stomach?#" Stoker asked at the same time as

"Nothing.."  Kelly smiled, grinning as he pulled
off the earpieces.

##Nice work gentlemen.. Keep an eye on his pulse
and then slow your vent rate to 12 a minute in 30 seconds.
Tape it off to keep the tube from sliding out when you transport
him.## Dr. Brackett smiled verbally.

"I got that." Marco volunteered. He looked over his shoulder.
"Cap, he's pink and beautiful and both lungs are accepting." he
shouted. "There's no problems at all.."

Hank visibly relaxed and stopped double taking as he issued
orders to the security guards on where to tell people to go.

Kelly left the suction tube laying over Gage's chest and rose
from knees to his squatting toes. "Radio me if he changes. I'm
sure Cap'll want us by him if that happens." he said smacking
his own chest and waving a hand at an already distracted Marco

"Go.. I'm good now.." Stoker said, inwardly smiling at his
success. "Piece of cake." he said shakily.

Chet had to peel his fingers off Gage's throat cricoid cartilage
ring with his free glove. "Just call me a leech. Sorry, Gage."

"Worth the bruising. I'm sure Johnny won't mind when he
finds out what we all did together." Mike said.

"I don't want Gage or DeSoto's job anytime soon, thanks
anyways, Stoker."

"Yeah, but it's nice to know we're effective backup."
Stoker nodded, dropping a glove to Gage's carotid
to time its rate.

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Stoker watched Chet Kelly join Hank as he tried once
again to raise Roy's Mayfair, this time, using the ambulance
radio frequency and not the HT's.

A minute later, Squad 24's sirens grew in the distance and
two paramedics swiftly approached where Mike and Gage were
in the street. The older paramedic pointed down when he saw
that Gage was intubated so neatly. "Who did this?" he demanded
through his SCBA faceplate.

"I did.." Stoker grinned. "My first."

The graying maned man's eyebrows climbed into his hairline
but a knowing smile played at his lips as he and his
partner busied themselves with getting a full set of vitals.
"Ok, genius. Congratulations. Now go play fireman and leave US
something to do, ok, Slick?"

Mike Stoker floated back to Cap's side.


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From :  Cory Anda <>
Sent :  Saturday, July 24, 2004 12:58 AM
Subject :  The Lit Match Effect

"Is he doing good?" Captain Stanley asked his two men
who joined him to stand in a trio as the flood of people
poured out city hall exhibiting a rainbow of emotions.
None were tempted to ask the firemen the reason for
their sudden eviction from work.

"His pulse was regular, and full, Cap. I think so.
Won't know until the squad paramedics get done
checking him out." Mike Stoker admitted.

"Fine, fine. Go string two inch and three quarters with
a Y connector. Let's play this like Hazmat's gonna wanna
scrub everyone in sight." Hank ordered, clapping a glove
over his engineer's shoulder. "Nice job, pal." he said
seriously. "Sorry you were thrown into the deep end as
paramedic intermediate so soon.."

"I'm just glad I was there, Cap." Stoker said, rechecking
the dial on his air bottle to make sure his own supply wasn't
low because of the heightened stress level he had felt then.

"Go.." Hank said, waving Mike off. Kelly started to follow
Mike to help when Cap whistled, getting his attention. Chet whirled
and then spotted Cap waggling come here fingers with his
command HT still pressed tightly over his helmeted ear
around his mask straps. "Kelly. Front and center!"

Kelly had on a new jacket that he got from the rear
compartment of the Ward. He jogged over to Hank
and rested, bending over with his hands on his knees
as he listened to what he had to say when Cap leaned
in close.

"I still can't raise Roy. We gotta get em back here pronto.
I'm not about to let possibly contaminated people into a
hospital setting."

"What about that man's care?" Chet said before he could
bite his tongue and retract it back again.

"We'll call the docs here, into the Rehab Area when it's set up.
Keep trying for me.. The other engines are arriving, I have to
go tell them and the chiefs what's going on here." Cap shouted.

"Ok." and he took out his handy talkie and turned it to the same
frequency that Cap showed him.

Hank ran to the middle of the street, orchestrating the arriving
engine companies parking formation. He sent them to the ends
of the block on both sides of his Ward, which was positioned
centrally.  Then he heard the tones from L.A. to change to
the situation commander's frequency for Battalion Ten and did

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Chet Kelly moved to set a foot on the step of the engine near
where Stoker and Lopez were tending the hydrant outside city hall
and he spoke. "Engine 51 to HT 51 on Mayfair Channel One. Over."

On the highway, speeding down the Ventura Expressway, the
driver of Roy's ambulance heard. He thumbed the mic on his
CB radio. "Mayfair Six with Squad 51."

Kelly glommed onto the connection. "Recall back to our scene
Mayfair Six, Code Three. Your victim and paramedic
may have been exposed to hazardous chemicals. Report for
immediate decontamination.  Hazmat is arranging a doctor to
cover your situation at our location. Over.."

"10-4. Recalling for Hazmat decon.." said the white coated driver
and he made a controlled U-ie off the next major exit.

Naturally, Roy DeSoto opened the patient compartment window
between them. "What's the problem?"

"It's one of your people, declaring a Hazmat condition on us.
I'm heading back right now." the driver told Roy.

DeSoto oggled for a second, then nodded and shut the partition to
sit back down in the cab seat at the man's head. His patient was quiet now,
Dr. Early's diazepam having done wonders for his convulsions. Having
been warned, Roy began to rinse his hands from a saline bag before
donning protective rubber gloves for himself. Sorely wanting information,
he switched his HT to the paramedic scanning frequency to listen in.

He was shocked to find Squad 24 talking about a Code I and when
Brackett called Johnny by name, Roy almost slipped out of his
seat belt. They weren't yet using the biophone channel which didn't
surprise him due to the new crisis situation preventing such a luxury.
He hung on every word. He began to curse the benefit of the
HT private band call, which handily allowed identities to be named
over the air.

##.. 24, is Gage showing signs of consciousness yet?##
Kel Brackett asked.

##Negative, Rampart, despite the hosedown. ## replied the
man Roy recognized as Brice's partner, Bob Belliveau.

## Has he started breathing adequately on his own yet?..##

##Negative, he's still on ET ambu. ##

"What?!!" Roy exclaimed aloud. The window into the driver's
compartment snapped open. "Nothin.." he snarled when
the attendant peered in at him.The driver shrugged and closed
the slot again.

Roy kept his eyes on the EKG monitor and his ear to the radio
when he heard the order given for Narcan and Atropine.
"Yeah,..yeah, that'll do it. Even if it's a pesticide or something just
as bad." he mumbled. "Johnny you better start breathing again
or I'll kill ya."

His self reassurance did nothing to make him feel better.
He could only will the Mayfair on to a faster speed.


Kelly shouted loudly to be heard over the crowd moving
away from them. "HO!" he yelled, getting Cap's attention.

Hank rubbernecked.  Chet drew a circling motion in the air
and saw Cap give him a thumbs up before he started speaking
with the CIS commander again about plans.

Soon, the out of service Squad 51 was moved to a side street
and Captain Stanley motioned his men into a huddle so they
could hear each other. "Thank god for the public's tendency
to overreact. Fortune's in our favor, gang. The yokles in
city hall security not only cleared out the effected floor but the
whole place. You three sweep in and see if you can locate
the source of the problem in lifelines."  Kelly, Lopez and Stoker
started away but Cap snagged their shoulders.
"With FRESH air bottles, understood?"

Three masked nods greeted him.

"This is an internal search until we know more. Do this hoseless.
Stringing them'll only eat up too much time. Pull out at the
slightest sign of trouble, got that?"

More nods and furlative glances swept toward the now empty
tan brick building.

Cap said, "We're the only station in the middle of the block.
The others have squared off on all points north, south,
and east of us for the primary attack set up. Only Squad 24 is still
with us until Johnny's stabilized. Everyone else is on a block end.

Lopez, Stoker and Kelly strung out rappelling ropes from the Engine's
store and tied them on. All three entered the building and began a
search pattern, starting with the second floor office where they had
first encountered the man. Nothing seemed amiss. Then Lopez got
everyone's focus with a whistle when he spotted a stairwell door
ajar that led into a no exit basement, incongruent with the possibility
that any evacuees could have used it. "That's open guys. Don't you
think that's a little odd?" he yelled over the hissing of his air bottle.

The other two agreed. And followed him down the brightly lit stairs
which led into the sub basement.

They searched the boiler room. It was clear. Then the electrical room.
It, too, was fine. Then they tried a storage room labelled Spare Mail
Store and found it barricaded shut despite the open lock turning
door knob. Kelly shouldered it wide open and staggered into a room
full of homemade chemical laboratory equipment. Excessive trash
including large amounts of antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans,
red chemically stained coffee filters, drain cleaners and duct tape
littered the floor and the stench of acetone was almost overwhelming,
even through their faceplates. The tables were a collection of chemical
bottles, glassware, hoses, and pressurized cylinders, including modified
propane tanks, and stolen city hall fire extinguishers.

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Chet took one look at the blacked out basement windows before he said.
"It's a g*d d*mned crank lab in here."

"Should we go air it out?" Lopez asked him.

Stoker snatched them both back into the doorway. "No! There's
cooking going on. Look! I'll just bet that stuff over there's red phosphorus
and iodine! Let's get out of here.." and he pointed out the ominous
glow of an active open flame bunsen burner.

The three firefighters suddenly knew that their lives were in
great danger. Kelly almost thumbed his radio to give a report when
Marco slammed his arm down. "Don't! A spark from your HT might set
it all off! Let's go!"

Chet went.

The firemen pummelled out of city hall at breakneck speed and down
the front steps a minute later shouting the bad news. Their panic spread
through the fire station ranks and they looked up at the motion and
sudden voices.

Cap was charting his slate by the engine.

Stoker shouted. "Get back! Get back! Meth lab and it's still cooking!"

Hank startled and ducked behind the engine as his men joined him.
"What?! "

"It's huge, Cap.." Marco gasped, leaning down. "We guess over
a half a ton of ingredients and white gas."

"We'd better get out of here. Stoker. Drop our hoses from the bed.
We'll motor out to the other units on Big Red." Hank said calmly.
He whistled through his teeth. "Man, who'd've figured? In the middle
of sweet little old downtown city of Carson?"  He raised the engine's
mic to call out their discovery to the HazMat units yet to come
and the fire stations already there.


Roy began to recognize the neighborhood. He tapped the window
door and it opened. "Let's head to the west side. That's where my
station was. Most likely they've been picked to be the decontam wash
truck, being nearest. Head down that way.."

The driver turned down a sidestreet and turned off his siren, finally
spotting the familiar side of the stately building.

Squad 51 and Squad 24 were still angled at the foot of the city hall
steps. And a body was on the ground on a yellow tarp with a cluster
of air bottled firemen over him ::Johnny!:: Roy thought. Then he
ordered. "Stop here. They're in masks. We don't wanna take in any
fumes if there are any.." he cautioned, and the brakes of the
Mayfair squeaked metallically as it halted in the center of the road
perpendicular to the road the fire trucks were on.

Then Roy spotted something strange. Engine 51 was speeding backwards,
and away from the squads whose personnel suddenly kicked into high
gear in a desperate escape with their firefighter paramedic patient in a
stokes, some running with him, the others piling into the two rescue

DeSoto was about to turn his radio back over to the main CIS channel to find
out why, when city hall suddenly disintegrated into fragments of raw fire and
a plume of glowing vapored debris.

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A tremendous explosion ripped across two whole city blocks, rupturing subterranean gas mains and causing side explosions to crater the street curbs into long flaming fissured trenches deep into the earth.

A pregnant fiery orange and black mushroom loomed a hellish head
over the Mayfair, Engine 51's vehicles and Squad 24, before Roy's vision was
knocked out from a massive concussion wall of displaced atmosphere and heat
that roared through the open ambulance door.

The kick slammed the rear Mayfair hatch closed and the ambulance jolted,
throwing around the two ambulance attendants,  Roy and the man
on the gurney.

Then a heavy blanket of debris, dust and roaring fire snuffed out their view
to the outside as it covered them, until they were locked into a tomb that
was completely lightless and airless.


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From :  patti keiper <>
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Cooler..
Sent :  Thursday, July 29, 2004 7:49 AM

Mike Stoker managed to swing the front end of the Ward away
from the concussive wave of the methamphetamine lab explosion
that destroyed Carson City Hall.  His gloved hands cranked on
the wheel hard to the left as the swollen belly of the building sized
fire ball swept low over the top of Engine 51.  

The engineer couldn't help it. He flinched. So did Chet, Marco,
and Cap.

"Hang on!" Hank's voice cut loudly, as a rock on rock, hollow like sucking
roar overtook their immediate vicinity. All he saw was fire out the
windows. Then a ball of heat lifted the hair around his helmet and
ruffled it and fogged out his air mask as the dew point was met,
exceeded, then water dessicated. ::Mother of--  I hope to h*ll the
others got under some cover in time.::  

Marco Lopez instinctively pulled the four of them around Stoker's
driver's seat in a body hugging huddle that protected their exposed
faces as the massive blast blossomed, expanded and annihilated
itself over them. "Madre Dios! Too close. Too close! We've got
to get out of here!"

"Working on it.." came Mike's gasping voice through his SCBA.
The firetruck's engine was laboring over the thin air, sputtering as
the motor dug for atmosphere to burn in. Stoker kicked it into
the lowest gear. "The air's a different color over there. Heading
over to it!"

"Ahh! Keep your masks on!" Kelly said. "An empty water bottle by my
feet just blew up!"

"Vacuum effect! Open your mouths up as wide as you can!" Hank
shouted to his crew, clutching the handy talkie he couldn't see
in the lava glow darkness. Captain Stanley no sooner said that
when a second explosion rocked the accelerating Ward from
the left and pressure stabbed spears of agony through their

Then the way ahead was clear. A center calm in a ring of fire
at an intersection. Mike Stoker took the richer air route and
plunged them all into a parking lot, bouncing over a curb with
both axles. Equipment inside the cab jostled, and fell from
their storage hooks. Others did the same, clanging loudly
from inside their rear engine holding compartments.

"There! There! A loading dock is open!" Kelly shouted.

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"Can we clear it?" Hank yelled, gripping the dark red seat back
in a fierce hold.


"Then in we go!  Watch for Squads 24 and 51. They were
riding in our wake."

"I see em!" Chet shouted. Two sets of flashing lights cut
through the orange cloudy murk before a roof of black
shut out the sun.

A sign flashed by that was tacked onto the building and Hank
gave a nod of satisfaction as they shot inside the loading area.
"Of all the dumb luck.."

Mike Stoker screeched Engine 51's brakes inside the low ceiling
garage and he canted her at a forty five, so that the two squads
could get by into the interior.

The last bumper no sooner cleared the edge of the door when
the retracting door descended in a bang as an emergency cord
was pulled on the door's automatic opener.  The ebony smoke
and deafening noise roiling in behind them was choked off.  

A new voice and figure in medical blue came running towards
them. "Are you guys all right? Oh my G*d. We saw City Hall go
through our windows. It was only by chance that I spotted you."
said the very fit white haired man before their bumpers.

Cap peeled off a sweaty mask as they piled out of the engine,
catching their breaths. "Appreciate the shelter, doc. Help us?
"We've got a wounded firefighter here..." he said, pointing to
the paramedic on the roof of Squad 24, checking over Gage's
airway patency and carotid status as he bagged him.

Doctor Scribbs hastened to help the Station 51 four unload
him to the ground.

Chet was peeling off his mask, too, staring dumbly at
the mattressless steel gurneys lined up on the wall and
the sparkling black hearse parked under the flourescent
lights. "Aw, Cap.. Didja have to pick the morgue for us
to hide in?"

Hank erupted, "I didn't think of in here! Stoker did.."

"Guilty.." said the engineer, coughing lightly.

"And a smart thing, too. " Hank grinned.  "The ME office has its
own internal air and ventilation system, at least in the morgue
areas. That's where we'll be heading next. In there will
be the perfect decontam station for Gage. Scrubbing drains,
solid thick walls, a refrigeration unit so we won't cook. We
couldn't have found a better haven than this. We'll even
have our own power generator. This place needs one to
keep the chiller running at all times for obvious reasons."

Chet's face fell into a barely veiled blend of disgust and
apprehension. But he bit his tongue from issuing any rejoiners.

Station 24's Bob Belliveau nodded at Gil Sheppard, his partner.
"Did he take any detriment, Gil?" he asked about Gage.

"Nah.. it was hot only for a few seconds." said the short stocky
paramedic. "His vents never quit althought I had to snuff the oxygen
off. The two assigned with us from our engine are fine, too." he said,  jerking
a gloved thumb over his shoulder at the men gathered around Captain
Stanley. He yelled over to the tall man from 51's, issuing information into
his radio. "That's everyone who was with us, Cap!" he related. Then
he stooped to reassess John Gage in a closer survey, reapplying his own
air bottle's faceplate before he did so, maintaining a barrier distance.

"Nine for a head count and all here.Thanks." Cap proceeded to report
out to outer fringe fire stations that had most likely seen them horrifically
disappear under the fire ball.  "L.A., Engine 51. We're ok. Squad
51 and Squad 24 are with us inside the Medical Examiner's Office
Garage. All hands are accounted for. One victim and eight men.
We're sitting tight to wait it out. Note we're in a very safe place.
Make our break out priority a bit less."

##10-4, Engine 51. The Incident Commander on Foster Ave has
been notified. Battalion asks if you are attack capable. ##

"Not known at this time. My engineer's doing a walk around. Stand by."

##Standing by, Engine 51. Your frequency is being relayed to
the CIC. Transmit at need after the open channel prompt.##

"Copy, L.A." Hank said, leaning heavily on his knees as
he swept his eyes over the firemen spreading out through
the garage bay to make sure the raging fire outside wasn't
coming in.  Soon, the triple treble of an on air signal sounded
from all their HT's. "Sounds like they're linked with us out there.
Now let's see how we're doing in here. Stoker? Is she intact?"
he asked as he carefully felt the chassis of the Ward for heat
and blistering. He kicked a tire.

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Mike's hands flew over the chrome controls.
"Yes, the hoses weren't melted and the panel's showing
green on all dials. Neither of our tanks are reading as
compromised. Fuel or water."

"Then hook her up to the water main over there." he said pointing
to the emergency stairwell leading up to second level of
the county building. Stoker could just see a fire hose accordianed
on hooks in the landing behind glass. "Use their lines for now."
Cap ordered.

"I'll leave them uncharged until we know what side of the building
we're going to attack from."

"How about from the roof?" Hank suggested. "That's where
the spot fires will be and that's well above the street gas line
ruptures. I'll just bet the CIC has a vertical attack already
planned out. I'll radio out in a few minutes to see if our building's in
the Hot Zone, not counting whatever space Gage will end up in."

Five minutes later, the task was done. A long, inch and three quarters
soon noodled neatly on the concrete floor.

Right then, the garage door sucked out in a convex bow with
a loud smack of aluminum as the air inside the coroner's
building evacuated violently out to the fire outside. The door
groaned at the stresses being applied to it. But it held admirably.

"Everybody inside! We're out of time in our current spot.." Cap.
"That's probably a backflash encroaching. Grab what you can.
We'll come back to fight the fire only when we're able."

"What about the spare air bottles, Cap?" Kelly asked.

"Grab just the 02 tanks for Gage." he replied. "And anything
else that's critical for triage. Later we may become a disaster
station. Doc, right now, consider us all contaminated.
Gage got into an unknown chemical exposure from a meth
lab. It was in the spare mail room in the basement of city hall."

Scribbs face opened in shock, then anger. "A crank lab
was operating five hundred feet away from here? That's

"That's what I thought when Lopez and Kelly and Stoker here
found it." he smiled sadly.

The fire fighters gathered both squads' medical equipment in
a rapid assembly line into the stairwell as the two still masked
medics carried Gage into the morgue rooms one level up.

Chet Kelly wasn't one with Johnny's litter and he needed a strong shove
from Marco before he entered the suite, his eyes huge. "T--T-There's
bodies in here.."

"No kidding, Chet. Out of the way. Or better yet, take this biophone
over to where Belliveau and Sheppard are setting up. They're
gonna need it."

Hank grabbed the medical examiner's arm after he was certain
that the doctor was the last one to enter the suite of rooms.
"Listen, doc. Is your staff upstairs, safe?"

"Oh yes.." said Scribbs. "I shooed them out the front doors
the moment it happened. They're all past the perimeter. It's just
me my clients left now." and he shot meaningful eyes over
to several sheet shrouded forms lying on tables at the far
end of the room.

Cap worked a miracle keeping his expression from changing.

Doc Scribbs chuckled at the curly haired fireman's reactions.
"I only lagged behind to make sure the fire didn't get to them.
That's why I was about to close the bay door when you and your
singed bunch showed up. Welcome to my parlor, boys. Let's get
down to business now, shall we?" he said as he swung the morgue's
protective heavy metal door shut with an echoey bang. "I've showers
for everyone."

All the firefighters shuddered.

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"We can set your young injured fireman here on the main table.
We can do him first." said the energetic medical examiner.

Kelly peeped. "But, there's somebody already on that table.."

"That's all right. " Scribbs trickled. "I'm sure you two strong
fellas can manage carrying her back to the cooler. I  finished
her autopsy this morning. I'll just neaten up after a bit
before you transfer your friend out of the stokes. Oh, here.
Let me open the cooler door for you."

Kelly and Lopez gulped.

Cap's face was about as pale as his mens'. "You heard
the man. Move.."

They went, shifting the grisly burden in their arms, ready to
lift her weight.

"Doc, we don't have to worry about anything.. uh, any
bits tumbling out, do we?"

"Oh, no. I sewed her back up again. I used just a lazy S
incision for a standard weighing."

"Oh,... thanks.." said Lopez in a small voice as they hefted
her up and disappeared with her into the dark chiller.

"Boys.. " shouted Scribbs after them. "Don't forget to put
one of the wooden blocks from the shelf under her head so she'll
hard-- uh, present on a pillow in her coffin properly later on."

There was no reply to that.

The doc began cheerfully whistling at the novelty of having guests
who could talk back for once.

The paramedics busied themselves with stripping Johnny down
when the doc was ready, for a thorough warm, soap and water
head to toe scouring. Afterwards, they bundled him up in the only
thing available for insulation.  They put him inside a clean canvas
cloth body bag.

Cap excused himself from the proceedings once he felt Gage's
medical and hazmat care were well underhand and he drew Stoker
aside a few minutes later after hearing about a frightening development.
"Mike, go to the window and see if you can spot Roy's ambulance."

"What?!" Stoker startled, remember the h*ll they had just escaped.

Cap imposed an immediate clamp down.
"Now, don't alarm the others. Everyone's jumpy enough as it is
with us being cooped up in here for the duration with all the cadavers.
Just do a reconnaissance from what you see. If you do spot him.
We'll be going out there so prepare yourself. We'll do the engine later.
No doubt we'll be testing the limits of the Ward's design specs when
and if it comes time for us to go back out there. No one asked how a
Ward engine would work from INSIDE a flaming holocaust."

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Mike nodded and quietly went over to the small port and sat down
with a pair of binoculars from the brush fire apparatus case
and got right down to an intense search.

Belliveau noticed him, for another reason. "How's the view?"
he said, looking up from Gage's EKG monitor.

Stoker said, "Busy. But it looks like the perimeter's been
determined. All the fires I see are roof points only, a few
cars involved. The subterranean gas mains are off. I don't see
any more explosions from the street curbs. Ah,, there's
an aerial now. Looks like they've been assigned to protect
us."  On cue, the window splattered with a few drops of
cool water, hissing as it fell. "And that means, that few
bystanders or motorists got nailed when the lab blew."

"That's a relief.."

Stoker returned a glance at the two paramedics. "How's
Gage doing?"

"Better. Vitals are improving. His pressure's coming up.
Whatever it was that was suppressing them is gone now.
Though I'd wish to heck that I knew what it was that we're
dealing with."

"I'll try to find out." Stoker said, raising his HT.

The older medic turned away.

Mike went back to fretting about finding the missing Mayfair.

A handful of minutes later, he spotted an incongruent patch of
white and orange with a broken antennae sticking lopsidedly
above it. "Cap.." he motioned, pointing.

Hank moved to the engineer's side and took up the binoculars.
"That's him. Go shower up and meet us in the stairwell, in
full SCBA. You're the last to get one. I'll have the others
check out the garage to see if it's still safe down there."

Stoker nodded.


Dripping and clean, the six non medic firefighters made their
way back to street level. There, Hank broke the news of the
discovery of Roy's buried ambulance on the street between them
and where city hall used to be.

"Is he still alive?" Chet asked. "There was no air out there for a while!"
he panicked.

Cap raised appeasing hands. "We don't know. Stoker saw their
radio antennae but it was split."

"What about the biophone?" Marco asked, more calmly than

"Out for the same reason." Cap answered. "Now check your air masks.
Switch out for fresh ones once we get down there. Stoker, charge
the stairwell water hose into the engine as a supply line. We'll take the
one you strung earlier with us when we go."

"Well, what are you waiting for?!" Kelly said. "Roy and everybody will
fry if we move any slower. Come on..."

Hank told Battalion the new situation and their plan of action.
He was told that the aerial on the other side of the building had no way
to move in as backup.

They were on their own, working off E-51, solo.

A quick survey showed that a down draft between the sky scrapers
was creating a clear circle of air that pushed the ring of fire inside the
crater where city hall used to be away from the coroner's office parking

Mike Stoker shared the good news, "The way's open and workable."
he said through the crack of the warp bulged garage door.

The fully SCBA'd firefighters set to with tools and axes to knock down
the only barrier between them and the debris covered Mayfair under
Stoker's cooling hose fan. He made them halt at the opening while he
shot a stream into a pile of debris in a test. No hissing or discolored
gases reacted to the water raining down on it. "Whatever was in
that lab, Cap. It's not volatile to water out this far."

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   Crossing The
    Red Line
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