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   Devil's Due
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    Page Three

From: "Patti or Jeff or Cassidy" <>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 11:34:03 -0800 (PST)
Subject:  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Conference Scene Shots I - V...

Starsky and Hutch beat the responding fire departments to the Plaza
Tower. They pulled up well away from the police barricades surrounding
the one block radius around the skyscraper and both detectives
got out with the Malone ransom and the two evidence documents and
soon met up with the central police command trailer sprouting antennaes
and hastily wired telephone lines snaking up to the telephone pole next to it.

They flashed their badges to the uniformed cop guarding the command
post's door and went inside. Once there, they met the rotound, dark skinned
Captain Dobey, seated at a small cramped camper table, across from a
very familiar figure that they all knew very well. It was Huggy Bear.

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Without ceremony, Hutch threw the case down in front of the two
of them and flipped it open. The street wise African American informant's
eyes got real big at the sight of all the riches. "Whooo wee, Hutch! What
cat did you knock off to procure these shiny baubles and greenbacks?"

Starsky, out of impatience, grabbed the front of Huggy's threads.
"These came from the dead grandmother of one very frightened
young mother whose child's is now in very grave danger up in that skyscraper
right outside, Huggy. Now tell us what advance knowledge you know
about his kidnapping! You'd better have a very good reason why you
didn't tell us about it before Metford went on his little shotgun, joy riding
foray this afternoon or I'll--"

Captain Dobey reached out and yelled right back. "Starsky! Let go of
him! He knew nothing until he saw Metford dragging Toby by the arm past
his night club down the street, twenty minutes ago. His involvement in it this
time, is as a first hand witness only. Lay off!  Now! .....or I'lI LET him press
charges of illegal harrassment AGAINST you."

Starsky's face fell from crafted fake rage into one of grinning apology.
"Oh. Sorry, Hug. I'm a little worked up right now." And he let the street
toady go.

"That I can tell." Huggy Bear said, straightening up his stylish flashy
outfit. "No hard feelings, man. I'm just as mad at that dude as you are.
He's way uncool. Captain Dobey was kind enough to fill me in and I'm kind
enough to offer my services with the next stage of the game already scoped
out!" he said proudly.

"Services? Doing what?" Hutch asked, leaning back to let a uniformed
officer by him as a phone rang up in front of the command trailer.

"I'm your delivery man who'll go to Metford,.." soothed Huggy. " with these..."
and he slid over the briefcase full of riches closer to where he sat, licking
his lips in anticipation and reaching for its contents.

Starsky slammed down the lid of the case forcefully, making Huggy yelp
and yank both of his hands back in alarm. "Ok, I consider myself ordered to
go along with this entire, absolutely ridiculous charade, Captain. But you,..."
and he whipped up a finger in front of Huggy's nose, ".. don't haveta go
fondling the goods unnecessarily. It hasn't been counted yet." And he
cooly passed the case off to an FBI type whose job it was to do just that.

"Don't you trust me, Starsky? They all do.." Huggy gestured at the rest of
the fuzz milling about inside the trailer.

The panting and exhausted detective, said nothing. Then,..
"Cap, I assume you're gonna wire him." Starsky said, not breaking
off his angry eye contact with the naturally fidgety street informant.

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"Not a chance, Starsky. Metford'll be onto that angle in an instant. He's
not your average unintelligent city joe. I was thinking of using all those firemen
coming to pretend a precautionary fire evac to throw him off long enough for
you two to get a bead on him anyway you can. Both of you are gonna
be dressed up just like them, going along. And Huggy here can be the panicky
witness who spotted the smoky room in the building."

"What?!" Hutch said. "Cap, that's ludicrous! There's no way in h*ll Starsky
and I can pull off acting like real firemen!"

"And why the h*ll not?" snapped Dobey. "That fire captain of theirs said that
you four got along real chummy like while you cared for Mary, just like
you were the best of friends. Why won't it work? They can coach you
on what to do while you hike it on up there to the thirty fourth floor." he
roared, pointing to the ceiling.

Starsky quieted instantly, and blinked. "T-T-To the thirty fourth floor?!
On foot!? Whatever for?"

"Because we've been receiving threats from Metford from a phone line
coming from up there that's defying any closer trace and because during
a fire evacuation, elevators are never turned on for public use. You're
gonna haveta keep up the proper appearances!" roared Dobey.
"Man, I'm roasting in here. You there! Yes, you! Bring me a desk fan
A.S.A.P in five minutes or consider yourself demoted!" he shouted to
a very very young police cadet to instill a fear of compliance into him.

"Yes sir!" and the young cop fled clumsily for the supply truck outside.

"Cap..." said Hutch.


"You can't demote a cadet. They're already the lowest ranking
police officer you can have."

"It worked didn't it? Just shut up and let me finish getting you
up to speed here." and he mopped his overheated chubby face.
"Any questions before you guys go outside and meet Captain Stanley?
And I do mean questions! Not complaints!"

"Aww, Cap, we've been up for over forty six hours. Straight!" groaned
Starsky. "I'm never gonna survive climbing up that many flights of stairs
wearing an oxygen bottle."

"That's air bottle, Starsk. SCBA tanks are always full of just air."
Hutch whispered sotto voce.

"I don't care, Hutch. I'm gonna need oxygen if you two make me do
that.  I'm tired. I'm worse than tired. If I climb those stairs in
all that turnout gear I'm gonna hurl worse than your sickest smelliest
curbside wino! I'll die, sure as sh--" the curly haired partner protested.
But he was cut off by a move that made his vision swim.

Huggy had grabbed Starsky's leather jacket and he hauled the detective a
little closer to his taller, sweating face. "Think of that poor little kid, Starsk.
He needs ALL of us right now to guarantee his very survival. And very
badly, I might add. Now will you go along with us?"

Starsky froze defensively, resisting ripping the hands off of his
lapels. Then he smiled wanly. "How can I refuse, Huggy? You ask so
nicely. " he said sarcastically. "Ok, Hutch. Let's go." and he checked his
weapon to see if it was still fully loaded.

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Starsky squared his shoulders as he and his partner walked
bravely over to the fire engine numbered 51. "Which one is
the captain, Hutch? I feel ridiculous..." he said, shoving up his
helmet once again so that it didn't flop down into his eyes.

"The Batallion Chief said that Captain Stanley would have a
skunk stripe on his helmet." said Hutch, still trying to figure out
how to rig his gun holster underneath the tan fire turnout he
wore over his usual clothes.

"Skunk stripe? What the h*ll is a skunk stripe?" Starsky

Hutch pointed as a tall man in fire gear came striding over
along with Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto. "I believe that
would be it.." Hutch said with amusement.

"Oh. So that's a skunk stripe.." mumbled Starsky, eyeballing
the bright white crest on top of the black plastic of Stanley's
helmet. It was glowing under the street light. "You do all the
talking. I don't feel like chatting right now. Maybe later. I
gotta conserve my strength for the big climb." he snapped.

Hutch frowned at Starsky and rolled his eyes with a sigh.

"Captain Stanley?" introduced Hutch as four firemen left the side
of one fire truck and started moving in their direction. "I'm Ken
Hutchinson and this is David Starsky. We're the detectives Captain
Dobey spoke to you about concerning the storming operation
that we're gonna do into the Plaza building....."

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"Oh, yes. Hello." and Hank pulled his gloves off to shake both
detectives' hands warmly. "I hope that anything the Los Angeles
County Fire Department can do tonight will be good enough to
get that young woman's boy down safe. I believe you already
know paramedics Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto."

"We remember." said Hutch, smiling.

"How can we forget...?" whispered Starsky, complaining.

Hutch jabbed his partner in the ribs sharply.

"Your Captain Dobey has already briefed them on the
situation and what they're gonna to do up there during the ransom
delivery. They know to keep out of sight if and when bullets begin to fly."
said Hank. "We're good at duck and covering." he joked.

Neither detective caught the humor in it.

"Eh. Hmmm." Hank cleared his throat awkwardly.

"Shall we get the show on the road?" smiled Hutch for both himself
and his mute partner. "First, did we get these SCBA bottles things
on right? Could you check em out? Can't say my partner and I have
ever had the pleasure of wearing anything like these in the past."

"Oh, that's easy. Here." said Chet Kelly, moving on around Starsky
and jerking on the straps animatedly to test their attachments.
He goosed Starsky with the two leg straps, accidently.

"Hey! Careful.." said Starsky, grabbing his crotch.

"Now those two are in the wrong place, Mr. Starsky." said Kelly to
his curly haired companion, shaking his head. "Want me to redo

" I'll handle it. I got em.. Just me how you did
yours on you, Mr..."

"...Kelly.  But call me, Chet. Please." said the fireman cheerfully. He
was the same height as Starsky. "Glad we're gonna be working
together. Don't worry about a thing. You're always gonna be safe
with a crew of firefighters workin with ya. Here, this is how I did mine."

"Ok,..Chet.. I think I got it." said Starsky tightly, making the corrections.

Eventually, the two detectives were geared up properly with a few
adjustments to their outer coats so that they'd be able to reach their guns
easily in an instant's notice.

Mike Stoker showed them a fast run down on how to hold coiled hose
on a shoulder for stairclimbing, with one side of the loop bunches
slung over the air bottle tank's top, above their helmets.

Captain Stanley handed the two detectives a couple of fire HTs. "Use these
to contact any of my men. They're set to the frequency our engine operates on
and I'll be listening, too. Your captain says he'll be tapped in as well,
monitoring, from the FBI trailer."

Gage noticed Starsky's tired condition. He leaned over to Roy while testing
his air mask for show for Metford in case he was watching from far above.
"You know, I think we're gonna haveta shoulder carry the short guy the rest of
the way up before we get to the tenth floor, Roy."

Roy watched the smaller detective shake his head to rid it of mental cobwebs.
"We can always give him a couple of shots of O2 so he can make it to the top.
We will be carrying our medical gear with us for when we find the boy."

"That's gonna slow us down some." Johnny sighed.

"Not by much. There's a lot to be said about honor between departments.
Looks like the boys in blue are gonna have to muscle up to the men in brown.
He'll last, all right, probably without us even interfering."

"I hope you're right, pal. You trail behind Starsky. I'll keep an eye on Hutch. He
looks the stronger of the two and seems like he'll be easier to manage." Johnny
said. "Oh, by the way, ya got those fake smoke canisters handy for when we get
up there?"

"Yeah. I showed Huggy Bear how to light one off, too. In case we're still
separated when he flushes out Metford with the briefcase." said Roy. "He's
the one over there dressed like a business executive holding the ransom

Soon, Johnny, Chet, Roy, Starsky and Hutch along with Huggy Bear, were
climbing up the stairs of the west side of the Tower Plaza Building following
a loud, bold announcement that Batallion Fourteen gave over the megaphone,
as he would've done to any evacuating sky scraper population. It was their cue
to go.

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By floor twenty two, Detective Starsky was weaving, and Roy DeSoto
had both hands fully against his back, pushing him up stair by stair.

Gage was losing patience. "Detective Starsky. We can always rest ya know.
It's only twenty til." he told the dark haired policeman. "A minute either way isn't
gonna kill us."

Starsky could only puff. ".....* pant * ..I'm..  * pant*... fine... *gasp* In fact, .....I even
think I'm ...* cough* ..waking up a little.." he said, pausing at the top of a landing.

Chet just grinned, "Ok.. but keep in mind that we firemen do snort oxygen
from time to time in real life for a stair climb. There's no shame in doing it. Here.
Gimme your hose. Just hand it on over. I'll carry it up the last twelve stories for ya."

"No. *gasp*" said Starsky.

Hutch grabbed Starsky's other glove and he started hauling. "Sorry he's so
stubborn. It's what makes him a better than average cop."

"Please, don't apologize. My partner Johnny here tells Captain Stanley exactly
the same thing all the time about being a paramedic." chuckled Roy.

At the next flat landing, Starsky eyeballed Huggy Bear, still bounding stairs
easily ahead of him. "How come you're not dragging your ever lovin rear like I

"I dance. A lot. How else can a night club owner impress all the ladies?"

Hutch and the three firemen laughed.


A sharp burst of static from the handy talkies in all their gloves,
arrested them. It was Hank Stanley. ##Engine 51 to Squad 51.
Condition Red! A bomb threat's just been made by Metford! And
the FBI says that he has the know how necessary in order to make
and set one. Use the utmost caution and your elevator keys if and
when you have to get out of there in a hurry. Whatever you do, don't
make a descent. Go up towards the roof! Metford claims it'll go
off if you're late even five minutes. The call came from the same
general area as the others.##

"Oh boy.." sighed Chet Kelly. "Where is it?" he asked fearfully.

"Isn't it obvious?" Johnny said to him. "Somewhere between the
ground floor and Metford's hideaway on the 34th floor. You sorry
you decided to come with us, Chet?"

"I wouldn't miss out on all this for the world." he interjected
sarcastically. But he was grinning.

Starsky at once pulled himself together. "34, let's see....
That's one floor above us. Ok, Huggy. Go out here and get into an
elevator. Use your fire key to reactivate it. Take it up one to floor 34.
And for Pete's sake, keep your hands out in the open. Keep talking
until Metford hears you. See if you can find out where the boy is.  
Remember Metford likes to bully more than he likes to kill. He's usually
all bluff."

"That's small comfort. Psychopaths are always crazy." Huggy said.

"Go." said Hutch. "Send the elevator back down to our floor if you
spot him or back down to the ground floor if you don't. We'll wait
here for your signal after we set off the smoke canisters. Make mention
that you smell smoke clearly."

"Got it."

"Time?" said Starsky. "Set your watch, Huggy."

All three firemen looked at their watches and said. "7:52 pm."

"Ok, go!" said Hutch.

Chet Kelly and Johnny Gage started setting up their hoses and attaching
them to the one coiled near a water valve behind glass in the stairwell. They
did everything but prime it.

The firemen gathered behind Hutch and Starsky as the two detectives drew
out their weapons and entered the darkened floor on 33. "Ok, it's clear."
said Hutch, waving everyone else on in.

Chet launched a smoke canister right under an air vent, putting on his mask
and motioning for the others to do the same. Then the five of them moved
into clear air, watching the indicator on the elevator to see where it stopped.

The doors opened on their floor. Getting a ladder from a closet, Gage set it up
near another ceiling vent where loud conversation could be heard through it from
Huggy and unmistakably, another man who was growing desperate. The talking
went on for several tense seconds.

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"Now I delivered the money and jewels in good faith. I owe it to Mary to get
her son back. She's my dearest friend, Metford. Where's the boy?!" said

"Stay right there, company man." snarled Metford. "I have the controls to
the bomb right here so no funny business!"

"I'm unarmed. See? I just want to see the boy."

"The boy's safe. He's only a few rooms from here. Go
get him and bring him back here."

"Where? There must be at least two dozen doors in this hallway alone."

"Then you're gonna haveta search for him in a hurry. You've only got six minutes
until we both go out in a blaze of glory, money man. Make the best of it."  

"I'm telling you, I smell smoke. I was wondering why the fire department was
here." Huggy said. "We don't have time for this. Look." and he pointed to
where smoke was billowing out of a floor vent at their feet. "The fire's
all around us now. We have to find the firemen coming our way
to get out of here safely."

"To each his own destiny...." said Metford. He set down the bomb's control box,
after activating a peculiar set of switches on its face, onto the carpetting at
their feet. And then he fled into a stairwell that wasn't the one the others
were hiding in. Huggy couldn't tell if the criminal had gone up or down. He didn't
really care at that point. It was the farthest thing from his mind.

The thin black man snatched out an HT from his suit pocket and he started
yelling. "Starsky! Hutch! We've got trouble! Metford's gone, but the bomb box
isn't. He says the boy's on my floor!"

The stairwell door burst open and Huggy barely shoved Hutch out of the way
before his fire booted foot stepped on the bomb controller. Chet Kelly stood by
while Starsky and Hutch pulled off their air masks and knelt down by the red
glowing device. "It's count down says twenty minutes to zero." said Hutch.

"No problem. We'll get the boy and clear out using one of these highspeed
elevators." smiled Starsky. "Piece of cake." Then he dashed off after Johnny
and Roy to go kick down a few doors to locate Toby.

Hutch whipped up his talkie. "Captains Stanley and Dobey. We found the
bomb's controller. It shows T- minus nineteen minutes. It's a touch trigger.
Metford's gone with the money to somewhere else in the building..."
his voice trailed off when the power suddenly went off.

##We copy you. Have you found the boy yet?## replied Stanley.

"Oh, brother.." said Chet in the pitch blackness. "Now we know where
he went. The generator room." He strode over to the wall map, carefully
overstepping the countdown device, and read its index by handlight. "He's
two floors below us."

Hutch got right back on the radio."Negative, 51 and Command. We've
a problem. We've just lost all our electrical power. And we can't tell how
many floors this effects."

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##All of them, detective. The entire building's just gone dark.## said
an unfamiliar voice from the FBI's end of the frequency.

There was a pause and then came a tight shout from Captain Stanley.
##Tell my men up there to get out their elevator brakes! They know how
to raise an elevator car up manually. You all can get to the roof an--##

##Belay that Hutch! It'll take too long.## came Dobey's equally concerned
voice. ##When you find the boy, run! To a window! We've got a police
chopper on the way that you can jump into using ropes..##

The banging doors kept on moving down the pitch black hallway.
Then a shout. "I found him!" said Roy. "He's alive!"

The others saw the paramedic's wavering flashlight as he and
Johnny and Starsky ran back to the elevator lobby area. Roy was carefully
carrying the boy in his arms. "He's pretty dehydrated. We found him on an
overturned mattress under a blanket in an office." he said.

Johnny snatched out a pen and checked his eyes.
"This's just a faint. He'll maintain ok without an oral."

"Ok, let's get going then.." said the two detectives. They went in
one direction and the firemen went into an elevator.

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute! What are we doing here?!" asked
Starsky. "We can't split up."

All of their flashlights lit up the lobby in eerie black and white

"Detectives. I strongly urge you to come with us. In fact, I'll tie you
up if I have to." said Johnny Gage seriously. "The elevator car will
give us some protection if that bomb goes off.  Being near that window
at the end of the hall's sheer craziness. A chopper pilot won't be
able to carry away all of us."

"You're right." said the dark haired detective and he bent over
offering up his laced fingers for a boost so someone could
reach the car's roof access panel above their heads.

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Hutch set his watch to match the timer on the bomb control and
then he and Chet manually shoved the elevator doors shut with
their hands.

Roy crouched on the floor and monitored the boy.

Gage got to the top and reached down to pull up Starsky
and then Hutch into the elevator's shaft to the pulley jimmey
there. "Here. This halligan fits here. We'll take turns."

"Up or down?" asked Starsky, pulling his fire helmet a little tighter
over his head.

"Up. Because explosion debris always falls." decided Johnny."My
captain was right about trying for the roof. Put your air masks on.
And detective keep giving us a countdown! If it gets too close we'll
leap back in and cover up with the rest of ya." he told Roy and Chet.
"How's he doing?" he asked about Toby.

"He's breathing fine." said DeSoto, holding an oxygen mask over
the boy's pale face. "There's no signs of bleeding or trauma. I'll wait
on getting vitals for obvious reasons."

"Kinda figured that." said Gage with a grunt as he and the two
detectives worked to raise the car, foot by foot with their jimmeying.

"T-minus fifteen and seven seconds." said Hutch with a glance
at his watch in the torchlight coming from inside the elevator.

They were nearing the fifty first floor and passing it,
when their time ran out.

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A muffled BOOM shook the shaft around them.

"Here it comes!" shouted Gage, "I sure hope that brake
holds! Everybody, hang on!"

Starsky, Hutch, Chet, Roy and Johnny all huddled on the
floor of the elevator car cradling the boy and watched as the
ceiling panel above them puffed in with displacing air as
the fire created by the bomb, roared up the elevator shaft
to meet them.


On the street, onlookers startled as the thirty fourth floor of
the Plaza Tower disintegrated in a ringing nimbus of fire. All the
windows of that story blew out in an explosive rain of glass and
debris. The police helicopter, still waiting by a window, hastily
banked away to safety.

"Holy, mother of---!" shouted Batallion Fourteen. "Get back!
Everybody, get back!"

Fire crews had already been prepared and had taken cover.

Captain Stanley immediately got on the walkie talkie.
"Engine 51 to Squad 51, what's your status?" he said into
the live channel. Static met his transmission. He waited
agonizing seconds, before hailing again. Still, nothing came.

Looking up, the firefighters heard a muffled hissing begin
from every shattered window over the flames.

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The building's internal water sprinklers kicked in, quickly snuffing
out the flames as they were designed to do and kept on pouring water
by the hundreds of gallons per second. They would keep on showering
until the floor's internal heat sensors, registering points in the red for
high internal temperatures, gave out an all clear and cease order.

Metford lost the race to get the master generator restarted on
the thirty second floor. His plan to ride an elevator down using
Huggy Bear's fire access key, wasn't even a faintly possible option.

He went running, passing by some exterior windows, when a rush of air
and fire coming down the stairwell he had used, simply expelled him out
of the building in a ball of fire. He was dead before he hit the ground by
the lush courtyard fountain.

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The ransom briefcase fared better, it bounced on the carpetting as it
was dropped and it rolled to a stop under a desk as the fire suppression
system activated around it, putting out the flames in the room. It remained
dry and sealed tight.

"Engine 51 to Squad 51, do you read?" came Cap's quiet, urgent voice.

Dobey and the agents in the trailer remained silent on their end, letting
the fire department take a lead over the air waves, trying to reach the
group in the elevator car.


The elevator car shuddered, throwing the three firemen and two detectives
and Huggy back down onto their hands and knees. The brake above them
squealed and sharp, frightening metallic pings and snaps echoed above them
as the ascension cable unfrayed and gave way. It parted in two, tangling
around the pulley block they had been using to rise. The car dropped ten
feet in free fall, then caught against the passive wall brakes on either side
of the elevator shaft's track grooves.

"What was that?!" shouted Starsky through his air mask.

"One of the cables gave way! I think it was the lifter! Stay down!" shouted
Roy through his.

The elevator car groaned in tortured metal and started a slipping, jerky
descent as its mass surrendered to gravity. It dropped, plummeting a few
feet, and then it would catch again on the brakes long enough to lose
some dangerous momentum. Sitting up proved to be impossible without
everyone getting jarred.

Hutch managed to lift an HT to his faceplate. "Engine 51, we're falling!
The emergency brakes aren't catching smoothly. We're in elevator number

Johnny saw an orange glow through the cracks of the jilted metal doors.
"Here comes the 34th again. Cover Toby against the heat!" he shouted
in painful whistling gasps around his air regulator.

Sparks flew through the top of the roof access panel as the tangle
of steel from the parted cabling melted with friction and grew brittle.
Pieces of it flew apart and their fall speed suddenly increased, carrying
them safely by the burning, hissing floor and beyond it.

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Roy let out the breath he was holding. He had been afraid that
the elevator shaft would be warped on that floor, trapping the car
in the middle of fire. He reported in over his radio. "We're still sliding.
Below the thirty fourth! Still somewhat controlled by the braking system
we set manually! Our fall speed's about a quarter floor a second!"

## 10-4! We're on our way to the basement to get you out!## yelled
a relieved Captain Stanley. ##Injuries?!##

"None so far.." shouted Johnny into his own HT. "A little rough going.
We'll see you at the bottom..." he joked tightly.

"We're dead.. we're dead!" Huggy gasped, in a whisper, through
his air bottle's faceplate.

"Not yet we aren't." said Hutch, trying to smile through his.

"We're good at elevator ditching. We aren't going to die."
promised Gage, patting the soaked street informant on a shoulder.
"Just keep your helmet on."

The firemen were caught unprepared by the amount of water pouring in
from the bombed floor's level. It gushed on top of the car and into it
rapidly. It also made the emergency brakes clenched in the car's tracks,
steam angrily.

Hutch coughed, even though his face was protected from the deluge.
"Where'd all this come from?"

"Be glad its there.." said Roy as he clung to the boy's head, shielding
it from the wet raining water cascading around them. "That water
kept us from frying on the 34th."

"It's the sprinklers, They've kicked in.  We're getting inundated
because they're designed to drain their discharged water into all the
elevator shafts to minimize water damage." Johnny told him.

"Isn't this a very large amount coming in?" Starsky asked them.

Neither firemen answered right away. Then Roy said, "A little bit.."
he shrugged, trying to calm the detective.

"What happens if we don't stop on the street level?" asked

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"We'll fall into the sub basement and into the impact cushions there."
Gage answered.

"That doesn't sound very comforting, does it Hutch? I guess
we'll get to find out what the preverbial sudden stop feels like
after a freefall." joked Starsky morbidly.

"What if all that's underwater, my man?" Huggy Bear asked quickly, still
hanging one hand onto the grip bar above his head and the other
over his air mask.

"Then we swim." Gage replied. "Don't worry. We're good
at that, too."


Bubbles. And a deep penetrating cold, with a bitter taste of crude oil.
That's all Starsky felt and knew after a numbing jolt slammed him to the
floor of the elevator car. He flailed and swam about blindly as he tried
to hold his breath far past the point of consciousness.

But then he blacked out.


"Did ya find him?" shouted Roy from where he clung to
the side of the flooded elevator shaft. Toby was awake
and floated easily in his arms. Huggy Bear was holding
a dazed and wounded Hutch in his grip, keeping his face
above water as the blond haired man tried to come to.

"Not yet..." said Chet Kelly and then he dove once more
under the surface of the water. Johnny Gage did one better
and entered the flooded car going all the way to the carpetted
floor, sweeping around with his arms. But he found just their abandoned
air bottle tanks which knocked painfully against his fingers. His head hit
the squad's medical gear boxes floating near the roof, more than once.

Gage exited the submersed car, breaking the water's surface
in a gasp.

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"My turn again." said Chet Kelly. "I'll check inside the track grooves
next. Gimme your flashlight! Mine shorted out."

Johnny handed it off as he swam to a shaft wall where they all
floated, almost at ground level. He could hear banging as
fire crews started to force open the elevator doors above them
and a deep part of him wished that they could do more than
just bang on a pipe back at them for a current status report.

Chet took in a huge breath and went under.  Seconds later, he found
Starsky's blue striped Adidas shoes sticking out of a dead end service
door that had opened for him into a tiny room that had unfortunately
been flooded completely with sprinkler runoff. He grabbed the unconscious
detective's waist and shoved him up into the air as high as he could
over his head, so the others would see him. Then he kicked for the

"There!" shouted Huggy. "Right there!"

"Where? I don't see anything.." Gage coughed and shivered.

"Right there. In the very middle!" said Huggy Bear.

"To your nine o'clock, Johnny!" shouted Roy.

Johnny spun around in a circle, treading water until he saw Starsky's
head breaking the top of the water where Chet had pushed
it. Starsky flopped face down into the water for only a moment as
Kelly swam himself up to the air. His pair of hands righted the detective's
slack face and lifted it onto a firm shoulder and at the same time, he
tipped Starsky's head back.

Johnny swam over to help. "Is he alive?"

Chet spat out water in a half nod. "But obstructed! I got nothing in
down there."

"Want me to--"


"Watch him!" Johnny ordered. Gage reached around and began modified
heimlich abdominal thrusts, with his arms wrapped around Starsky's waist,
pushing up in sharp forceful movements.

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Kelly continued to hold the detective's head backwards over Gage's
shoulder until a gush of water spurted out of his mouth. Then he
attempted a breath, mouth to nose. It went in with an abundant
chest rise.

"Keep going!" Johnny told him as he swam both of them to
a wall where a narrow beam made a ledged surface. They
heaved the rag dolled Starsky up onto it as fast as they could
onto his back. They began freeing up his chest out of the fire turnout
and shirt, when Johnny thought of something important.
"Hold it! Hold it. Not so fast. Let me get rid of this."
And Gage drew out and tossed away Starsky's 9mm.
It sank with a splash.

"How is he?" shouted Huggy from the other side of the shaft.

They didn't answer him.

Roy did. "He's drowning. But they're clearing him out and he's
got a pulse."

Chet had given Starsky another two breaths more, when water poured
out of his mouth. It was followed by a weak bout of coughing. Together the
two firemen rolled the shuddering policeman onto his side to drain
and they let him vomit up all the water he had swallowed. The effort woke
the chilled detective up the rest of the way.  

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"Easy, man. You're gonna be fine.." mumbled Chet. "Are you hurt
anywhere?" he asked as Starsky tried to struggle up into a sitting
position. He couldn't control his muscles. Gage and Kelly helped him
up the rest of the way and held him against the wall firmly,
so he could breathe more effectively.

"* cough* *groan* ..Hutch?"

"He's waking up with just a few scratches." answered Kelly.

Starsky leaned over and started coughing violently. "I don't
feel so good. What was it Charlie the Tuna said on all those
TV commercials?...Chicken of th--- *choke*.. That's me, ..
oooh..hh. I hate.. the water. Now I know why Mama told me
to take a land job."

"Just relax. Breathe deeper breaths and that shortness you're feeling
will go away faster. We'll be outta here in a few minutes. A stokes crew's
right above us." said Johnny. "Huggy, why don't you swim Hutch
over here. " the paramedic said, glancing back over his shoulder.

"Sure thing, bro." said the street man.

"....then I can check them both out a little better. Kelly, keep the
detective upright even if he passes out again. He can't sit up on
his own, he's too cold now."

"I got him." said Chet, hauling himself out of the water next
to Starsky where he could keep monitoring his pulse at the wrist.
He wrapped an arm around the policeman's shoulders and he set the
groggy man's head onto his shoulder. "It's all right. Sleep if you
have to, man. I promise you'll wake up in a nice warm..--"

Starsky drifted, feeling supported and off danger's hook.

The last thing he saw was Hutch's scuffed face staring back at him.


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"I believe this, is yours, little lady.." smiled Detective Starsky
at Mary Malone from where she lay on the hospital bed.

Her son Toby sat curled up in her lap and his eyes got real big when he
saw all the money and jewels that were piled inside the smoke stinking
briefcase.  "What's that, mommy?" he asked curiously.

"Oh, where did you find it?" Mary sighed, running loving hands over
a particularly old but lovely brooch.

"I didn't find your grandmother's heirlooms. The coworkers of these
three fine gentlemen to my left, found it." said the curly haired policeman
from his outpatient wheelchair. "I just thought I'd do another good deed on my
way out. I'm just the messenger. Captain Dobey ran your briefcase here
from Headquarters in a squad car as soon as he could swing the paperwork."

"Oh, how can I ever thank you?" Mary said, hugging Toby and smiling up
at the plain clothed firefighters. "Now I'll have enough to pay for our
medical bills."

Hutch, from the next hospital bed, cleared his throat. "What
medical bills, Mary? The guys on the force...."

"...and at all the stations...." added Johnny Gage..

"....gathered up some donations after they'd heard your story
and we kind of sorta ...paid for everything.." finished Starsky,
grinning from ear to ear.

Mary started sobbing, holding her bandaged head.

"Ooo, sorry..." said Johnny, almost reaching out
to steady her. "I know that still hurts."

"I'm not in pain. I'm h-happy.." she said tearfully.

Johnny, Roy, Chet, Starsky, and Hutch, took to blushing in
abject humility under the power of her beautiful smile.

END   Episode Sixteen, Devil's Due..

FIN     TV Series Crossover Special One


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