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Craig Brice spelled Roy three hours later.
"How is he?"

"About the same. I've only had to suction out
his airway once. The EOA went in an hour ago.
But he's still breathing. Watch that.
He's in no need of atropine anytime soon. His
pressure's holding so far.. Eighty systolic.
But he's nearly unresponsive to the O2 now."

"But he's still fighting this fever.." Craig said,
trying to be encouraging. Then he noticed the
mast trousers Roy had inflated only around
Marco's legs. His jaw dropped open in surprise.
"You know that the suit's contraindicated with
pulmonary edema.."

"I know that. But his internal bleeding's begun
already from the virus. Only way I could
get his BP to even register.. Had no choice."

Brice bit his lip thinking, then he finally agreed
with Roy's choice. "Shouldn't harm him much
then as long as that abdomen compartment
is left uninflated."

"Glad you agree with me.." Roy said with some
anxiety and a slight hint of anger. His protestation
was mild at best.

Brice actually smiled ....kindly..
"Get some sleep DeSoto. I've got him now..
And I won't tell Brackett what you did. I'll take
the blame if he finds out.."

Roy's face registered amazement.
"You don't have to do that.."

"Yes I do. This is saving Lopez's life so the
least I can do is save you from an inquiry.
Brackett knows I'm already a stickler
for protocol. Breaking that image he has of
me on that for the first time will undoubtedly
keep him from having it out with me officially
until all this is over. Who knows, even then,
he may not even remember the mast suit

"Thanks Brice..."


Roy blinked. It was the first time Brice had
used his first name ever. And it actually felt
genuine. "See you after Gil's watch.."

"See you then.."

Roy took his time lying down and
for a long time, the rising sun and stress
kept him from fully relaxing..

But then, it was Bonnie and Johnny's snores that
finally gave him surrease into an exhausted

Hours past.


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From : "patti keiper" <>  
Subject : [EmergencyTheaterLive] Ripples....  
Date : Sun, 10 Nov 2002 06:41:44 +0000

There was a creaking. A calculated sound of
cotton socked feet hitting tiled floor.

Brice heard a hasty shush and a subdued whining
from Bonnie behind his back. But he didn't turn
around until Johnny Gage had tiptoed almost
to the desk to where Marco's chart lay.
He imagined the precise moment when
Gage's hand connected with the metal
of its surface..

Then he snaked out his own hand without
looking and let loose.


"Oww... " Johnny hastily whispered, angry.
"Whatdidya do that for?" He said rubbing his
reddening guilty hand.

Craig turned around on his stool and placed
his stethoscope around his neck from where
he sat next to a feverishly sleeping Marco.
"It seems to me that you don't listen very
well to your attending physician orders,

"Whatdiya mean I don't listen?.. I'm one of
the best paramedics Brackett's got. And unlike
some people I know around here, I've never
been written up.." and he pointed two sets
of index fingers at the deeply snoring Roy,
still lying under the brightening afternoon sun
peeking through the holes in the roof.
"I was just trying know.. get a better
feeling about Marco,.. you know..really put
a finger on the pulse so to speak.."  He tried
to do exactly that and was rewarded with
another stinging slap on his good hand
for even trying to get near Lopez tactilely.

Johnny sat on the second stool and tucked
his hand in between his knees to ease
its smarting. "Now cut that out ! Geez..
I'd wonder if your kids aren't deathly afraid of
you by now in any discipline situations of yours
and your old lady's at your house. You could break
some bones doing what you just did to me." He said
sucking on his now twice throbbing hand.

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"We never have discipline problems with our
children, Gage.." Brice said, still smiling
cooly and very self assured from where
he was checking out Marco's breath sounds
around the EOA tube. "Unlike you, they respect
authority..Everything is precisely orchestrated
and everyone knows what is expected of them
to do at any one given time."

"You know, Brice.. Of that I have NO doubts.."
Johnny threaded his own IV bag tubing
from around his legs and hooked it onto his badge
to keep it higher than his cath's entry site.  
He also loosen his uniform shirt a tad. It still had
dirt and blood all over it. He made his way into the
darkened locker room and rummaged around until
he found a clean one from his own quake opened
locker and replaced it, unbuttoning and buttoning
it one handed. He was stubborn enough to
not ask for help from Craig. Finally, he said.
"You know what your problem is Brice?"

"No..but I can count on you enlightening me
on the subject.." Brice grinned closed mouth.

"You're just too d*mned.......right all the time.
I DID have no business sneaking up and reading
Marco's status chart. But man, it's been eating
me up only knowing part of the story.."
he said indignantly throwing a hand at Marco's
fluctuating EKG strip. The PVC's were back.
"He could be throwing those because of
a fluid loss intravascularly. And look, even
his IV site and blood draw sites are beginning
to hemorrhage on their own. He's got to
be losing clotting factors by the pound.. "

"I noticed that, too, Gage. But Roy's taken steps
here with these Military Anti- Shock Trousers."

That took Gage back, "He whaa?"

"Went around authority again and used them
without the attending MD's order.." Brice said,
this time without  a grin.  "And I am going
to take responsibility for it when the time comes.."

Johnny was thoroughly taken aback.
"Wait a minute. Wait a minute.. Roy uses questionable
protocol and you're BACKing him UP?"

"Of course. The patient was going to perfuse less
than optimally without them so I saw no reason
to deny him the choice.."

Johnny had a hard time believing his ears.
"You mean you're going to stick out your
neck...for my partner?"

"That's what firemen do, Gage.."

"But we're not in a fire.." he said, a puzzled
look on his face. It was rankling him that
Brice was looking more and more altruistic
and less and less like a rule tyrant.

"That's correct." Brice said.

Johnny squinted his eyes in suspicion at
Brice and didn't say anything more while
he tried to wrap his brain around the concept
of Brice actually taking a fall for another.
::It just doesn't compute..:: he thought
as he walked over to the food cooler for
a sandwich. His appetite had returned, almost
as voracious as the pain in his stitched up
hand. He grimaced slightly when lowering it
below his waist made it throb.

Craig didn't miss the symptom.
"Dr. Brackett told me to awaken him
if there were any problems so I'll.."
and he shook Brackett's shoulder
before Johnny could stop him. "get
him to look at you.."

"Brice.. Wait a minute we have to
orchestrate the whole mast suit
thing fir--- Hi doc, uh,.. Marco's ok.
At least I think he is.. You see, Craig
here saw me bump my hand and..
uh, It's's nothing really, about
me, I mean.."

Dr. Brackett was already upright on
the cot and he grabbed Johnny's arm
and did a capillary refill check on
his effected fingers. At the same
time, he was studying Johnny's face.
"Uh huh..." he said skeptically. "So
that's why your pallor's matching
the color of your T-shirt eh? You know
better than to let shock promoting
conditions go untreated. And that
hand of yours has got to be putting
out some serious pain.." Dr. Brackett
said. "Time we medicated you.."

"No, doc.." Johnny started up.
"That's not necessary.. I'm fine..
I .. I ..I just got up to...." and he
hastily stopped himself from saying
he got up to visit Marco's medical
records. "Because I saw Brice had
put him into ma--" Again Gage cut himself
off.. "never mind.." he added quickly.

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