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      Page Three

A herd of elephants couldn't keep Roy away and Johnny
grinned when Roy lifted the heavy piece of roofing between
him and Chris as if it were so much styrofoam.
"He's fine, Roy.. Just shaky. It's just that leg. Constricting
band went on two minutes five ago.."

Roy watched as Chris's eyes opened at the slightest
touch of his fingers on his son's carotid pulse. "Chris?"

"Ummm?,....ugh....." then his full awareness returned.
"Dad.. How is she?"

"How's who? Mom? She doesn't know yet."

"No, Carrie."

"Oh, the little girl you found. Thanks to your help,
we got her back, she's even protesting getting
moved a little." Roy said as Carrie made a fuss
over being lifted into the scoop stokes for her
evac out of the overturned school bus. "How are
you doing?"

"Fair, I guess. I'm awake, aren't I?"

"Yep." Roy said. "You hang tight. " Roy said, covering
his son up with a snug blanket. He set a cannula
over his face and into place strictly for
precautionary measures. "I got this on ya just.."

"..Just to prevent shock.. I know.." Chris said.

Roy ruffled his hair and kissed his forehead.
"Johnny and I will be nearby until we get
that seat cut away from your leg.
Nothing's broken. Just.."

"..cut... I know.. I felt it earlier before I started
worrying about Carrie.."



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"You can leave me now. I'm not bad off. You're
suppose to help the ones worse off first."


"Dad.. Go. I'm not a triage priority..."

"Better listen to him Roy." Johnny smiled cockeyed
as he finished his sweep of the seats around them.
"Honorary Paramedic Christopher DeSoto knows
what he's talking about.."

That cracked a muddy smile onto Chris's face.

His father matched it with a smirk of his own.
"All right. Chris, hang onto this and HT me if you need
anything. I got Uncle Johnny's HT with me.."

"Deal.." Chris sighed. He set the heavy firefighter's
walkie talkie by his own head and tossed his head
at his father to hustle off. "I'll let the other firemen
know where ya are."

Gage grinned as he helped the other rescue team
move Carrie out for further treatment. He had heard
every word Roy and Chris said to one another.
::Well, looks like this scary run's got a softer side
after all..:: he thought.


Outside, the rain resurged and only a minute
later the hillside gave up the ghost and fifteen tons
of rain slicked slurry bore down on the bus and
firemen working frantically to free the children
still trapped inside of it.

Cap's voice cracked out over Chris's and Roy's
HT. "Look out! Mudslide!"

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From:  Sam Iam <>
Date:  Fri Dec 27, 2002  9:23 pm
Subject:  The Mud Wrestling Angel

Johnny and Chet looked up at the dripping windows
towards the roaring hill in terror. "Everybody, brace
yourselves!" came Cap's shout.

The four from Station 51 and the one from station ten
flung themselves into the open areas of the bus
away from the gaping rend in its side. Chet barely
hauled Marco behind a seat when a huge, shuddering
force slammed into the bus and shoved it many
meters out onto the road as mud and stone
cascaded wetly in the rain from the canyon's wall.

Cap and those outside the bus were running.

"Back! Get back!"  He grabbed edges of the two stokes
holding Carrie and the bus driver without stopping as
police and firemen alike also snatched them up with
all the medical gear they could save.

Captain Stanley and the two crews of Station Ten
and Station One Fourteen gasped as the rest of the hill
swallowed up the school bus as if it had never been
from where they ducked behind engines and heavy
dredging equipment.

The mudslide stopped at the freeway divider
and quieted and ironically, the rain stopped, leaving
pallid warm fog behind.

Cap's HT immediately went to his mouth. "Engine 51 to
Triage Ten and Squad 51. Do you read me?"

There was no reply.

He repeated his hail.

Still he received only static.

"Stoker! Tell Excavation Five to get over here! It'll take
at least three bulldozers to get in there. Move!"

Cap saw Mike Stoker's helmeted form skid in
the muck on the road on his side of the slide towards
the construction flatbed semi trucks just pulling up in
response to the landslide call which had come in
earlier from L.A. headquarters.

Cap nodded in satisfaction when he saw those city
men hustle faster when Stoker told them a bus with
trapped kids and firemen lay beneath the pile of hillside.

He again hit his call button. "Engine 51 to Triage Ten
and Squad 51. Come in......"


There were sounds of dripping in the blackness.
Roy felt a small gush of warmth brush his cheek.  
::That's breathing.:: "Chris?!"   Roy winced when he found
he couldn't move due to mud pinning him up to the waist
and his head lay on something hard near Chris's

His voice echoed down the hollow, still bus and into pitch
inky blackness and total silence.  Roy's heard the hiss of
the 02 over his son's face and felt his reassuring pulse  
under his fingers. "Chris.. Can you hear me?"

Chris stayed quiet and didn't move. Then Roy remembered where he was, "Johnny? Chet?! Marco? "  

He heard a movement and a strange fireman's voice
came near. "Easy man. I'm looking for your friends.
Don't move. You were out for a while and it
looks like the whole d*mned hill came down on top of us.
I made sure your boy was fine when I realized you were

It was so dark, Roy's retinas were flashing unreal afterimages, making him blink. "You're from ten's..?"

"Yeah.." came the big man's chuckle. "I'm Detello, seven year engine crew lieutenant. I covered your butt when you went against your captain's orders and climbed in here. I said you were needed to stabilize the driver."

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"I WAS needed to stabilize him. Marco and I barely got him
out of there before the front end was buried."

"I know that. Listen, DeSoto. See if that HT is still near your
boy's head. They're probably worried sick out there about us."

Roy felt as far as he could reach in the dripping ooze while
the intense blackness made his eyes bug out uselessly
in an attempt to see anything visually.
"It's gone.."

"Ah, well, I'll just keep crawling around over here where I saw
your buddies last..." came the calm quiet voice.. "Say,
gimme your penlight from your pocket, Roy.."

Roy felt it and handed it out until he felt the other man's
glove grope around to intercept it. "Why didn't I think of that?"
he said, setting his head down into the mud and back onto
the helmet Detello had placed there while he had been out

"You're excused, DeSoto, being you're still
locked in Dad's nightmare numero uno, first class.
If I were in your shoes, I don't think I'd react as well
as you are knowing my kid was in here.
My hat's off to you.."

"I can feel that..Thanks for the pillow." he quipped.
Roy winced as he saw a slimy form suddenly appear in
a nimbus of light surrounded by shadows which lurched
eerily in contrast, against equally slimy walls. Roy saw
six inches of mud on the floor and it was slowly rising.
He lifted Chris's unconscious head onto his shoulder.
"Any sign of em?"

"Not yet.." came Detello's calm reply. "We could
have been separated from your partner, Lopez
and Kelly easily. The cave in has collapsed the "roof" here."
Detello rapped a piece of metal on a barrier
in front of him. Three taps.

Immediately, Roy heard muffled shouts and struggles.
"H..u..r..r..y  i..t.. u..p,...m....a...n. It's g..e..t..t..i..n..g
s..t..u..f..f..y  i..n  h..e..r..e.." came Gage's voice.

"Hang on.. Let me put a shoulder into it.." Detello
shouted. Roy saw his penlight go into Detello's mouth
and saw it being held switched on with his tongue
while the big man muscled the metal to one side. Johnny's
muddy face, lacking a helmet, met nose to nose, with Detello.
He, too, had a penlight in his mouth that was lit.

"Roy? You ok?" Johnny said, glancing over, and gasping.

"Yeah. Any sign of Kelly or Lopez?"

"Chet's moaning over by my feet.
Don't know where Marco is.." Gage said.
"Man, it's getting even deeper in here.." he
exclaimed, keeping his head and chin out of the
rising chilling mud.

"I know.." Detello said. "If there's any more kids
in here we missed..." He didn't finish his sentence.
"Listen, Gage, you trapped too?"

"Nah, I'm just wedged in here. I can usually get outta
any nook and cranny. Just...uummgghhh..gimme a sec .."
and he grunted. "On second thought. Gimme some leverage.."
and he let Detello pull him out of the crevice he had taken
refuge within.

Johnny immediately removed his overcoat in the
more open space above Roy and Chris and turned
right around and entered head first into the hole
he had just left. "Chet! I'm free. Gimme
your hands.."

"...w....h....a....t..?" came Kelly's muffled reply.

"Gimme your hands. I'm getting you outta there!
We gotta go find Marco.. And if you see my talkie
in there on your way, grab it!"

"R...o..y....o.k...?  A...n..d.. h...i..s  k...i..d..?"

"Yeah, they're fine. But they aren't gonna be
if we dawdle. We're getting buried in mud out here.
Come on.." Johnny said crankily.
"These penlight batteries aren't gonna last long."

"N..o...p..r.o..b..l..e..m...G..a..g..e.   I   g..o..t....a...

Johnny mumbled to Detello and Roy.
"Lucky ain't he? He's got a fl.." and he grunted
when Chet grasped his hand and as Detello pulled
Johnny by the waist in the opposite direction
for Kelly's leverage.

Kelly popped out of the slimy hole without his
helmet. "Whoo, man.. the air was running out
in there."

"Yeah well just try and conserve some of it.
We're sealed off in here."

"Got that covered too. " Kelly said sitting up
in a pool of mud, wiping off the flashlight on a dry
spot on his pants. He switched it on to search
for Marco. And then reached back into the hole
and pulled out a second portable O2 he had found
in the wreckage. "Thanks for bringing this in with ya,
man.." he nodded to Station Ten's man.

"It's Detello, Kelly. Glad I could oblige."

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