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"Ben, you don't know the half of it. I heard
Dr. Taylor mention some lean odds about getting
enough serum to turn Lopez around and they
weren't in the double digits. Two of the three
bats we managed to salvage from Manney's
vehicle are dead or nearly so. "  Cap caught
himself when he caught Ben's calming supportive
nod and gaze. "Wait a minute. We should be
talking about our jobs here Ben. Not conmiserating
in things that we can't change ourselves."

Stone smiled. "Exactly right. So why worry?"
and his teeth glowed under his dark skin.
"Here, put this back on.." and Stone gave
Hank's captaining helmet back from where
he had recovered it from the driveway.
"You left it behind going into that tower collapse,
while running to save one of MY men. What were
you trying to do? Break our tie of equal numbers
of commendation medals? " and he chuckled.
"No really, McConike asked me to reinstate you
to active duty. Said something along the lines of
it being good medicine for the ranks. All of them."

There was a weighed silence as both captains
realized just how much the quake had claimed
of their energy. And both, just shrugged it off
by saying the first thing to come to mind.

"I'd better be getting ..." Cap began.

"...back to work.." Stone completed.

They both laughed, a little more easily after
that.  Cap raised his HT in salute as Stone made
his way across the boulevard back to the triage
station and got a returning, "All's clear." gesture

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Stanley took a deep breath and then went
back into the station.


It was quiet in the bunk room for the
second night. ::Deja Vu all over again..::
Johnny thought. ::Only this time, Marco's
on borrowed time.::

His good hand ached from squeezing Marco's
bag valved O2. Everyone's did. But no one
complained. Gage looked up at Dr. Brackett
only briefly from watching Gil's ventilations on
Marco. Johnny was in his usual place of the
last few hours, acting as sentry vigilant for
signs of gastric distension.
"Doc, any word yet on the chopper with
that respirator yet?"

Kel shook his head. "I'm afraid not, Johnny. sidetracked moving out
critical patients." he said reluctantly, knowing
that his senior medic would react.

"Yeah?!" Johnny complained bitterly. "Oh,
really? Since when does saving lives come
down to a decision based on numbers??"
He immediately apologized. "Sorry, Dr.
Brackett. I'm always edgy when things
get outta hand. Especially when one of
those hands, is mine.."

"I'm no stranger to red tape either, Johnny.
But with that modified airway I've got in
place, the problems we've been having
with keeping his trachea patent will be
much less. If his varices hemorrhaging
gets worse, I can always do a tracheotomy
around any necrotic swelling."

"And what good will that do?" Johnny spat.
"Marco's got no way of clotting a surgical
incision. He'll just bleed to death afterwards
at an even faster rate!!"

"Johnny....." Gil admonished. "He can hear
you.." he said through clenched lips angrily,
casting pointing eyes down on Lopez from
where he sat, while still keeping the
ambu's rhythm of breaths regular.

"I know.." he said shortly. "Sorry."
Gage left their sides and headed quickly into
the kitchen improvised lab and there he sat
into one of the chairs, seething with

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