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The Golden Horn

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                  Page Four

As Cap approached the engine, Alex's mother shot
to her feet, tearing out of the grasp of the fireman
sitting with her, monitoring her D tank's O2 delivery.
He started after her but Hank waved him still when
she rushed over into Cap's arms for reassurance.
"Did you find my baby? Is she all right?" she sobbed.
"Please tell me.."

Hank supported her and grasped her firmly by the
shoulders. "She's with my men and we're going
over to her right now.." He hefted up the woman's
oxygen tubing and the apparatus from 36's man
and he lifted it under an arm. "This way.. but first, we're
switching you to a mask so this smoke won't bother
you so much." He pulled down the mother's cannula around
her neck and he detached it. Stanley got her into a
nonrebreather mask. "Doing this cause the air's a bit dirty
over there." He ripped away the cannula's female end
off the regulator port and connected up her new mask's line.
"Ok. I've got it. Ready?"

The woman fiddled with the oxygen, getting used to it.
"What about you? There's only one mask here."

"You're forgetting this.." Hank said with a smile,
lifting his air mask dangling on its connection
from his air bottle. "I've got one right here."
And he moved his helmet long enough to put it
on. "Ok, I'm set. Let's go." he said through its face
piece, and he led the woman over to where he could
just barely make out the squad's outline in the smoke.
He led her to where they were going well away from
any swirling ember clouds to keep her flowing oxygen
from living up to its extreme fire risk tendency.

He was more than ready for the woman to try and
break out of his grip when they got within eye
contact of Kelly's scene.

"Alex!!" her mother shouted, almost darting forward.

Cap hung onto her. "Hold it.. It's ok.  It's ok..Easy there."
he encouraged in a stream. "Alex's just out like that
because some lightning landed near her."


Cap fought with keeping his grip on her again
firmly.."My men are taking good care of her.."

"Ohmyg*d. Isn't that fatal? Is she all right?
Alex! Can you hear me honey? What are
you doing? She needs to be in a hospital!"

"Easy, easy.. Maam?.. Just listen to me..all right?
Alex IS getting treated ..RIGHT NOW ..and there's a
doctor on the other end of that phone line you see
my paramedic holding. It's like already being in an
emergency room. There's nothing they can't do
now, that's normally done by a doctor, concerning
any definitive care your daughter might need. Think
of my men as extensions of that same ER, who just
happen to be already HERE."

Captain Stanley felt the woman in his grasp stop
trembling and she quieted into a levelheadedness
immediately as his words of reason finally sank in.
Roy, next to them, saw that he wasn't needed to
help Cap out with her and he crouched down next
to his partner to learn about the little girl's status
from him.

Hank let the woman sink down by Chet where he
was crouched inside his own air mask, keeping the
positive pressured one over the little girl's face.
Kelly was feeling happy with her respiration status so he
said. "Here, mama. Wanna help? Just keep this O2
over her face like I'm doing.." and he guided her hands
to the proper places on mask and jaw smoothly.
"That's right....Set your hands,"

Alex's mother began to burble. "But I don't kn--"

"You're doing fine, maam. Just watch me.
Keep holding this tight over her nose and mouth to
keep all this smoke away from your daughter.  
Johnny will show you how to punch a button on this
valve here if she needs a little more help later on, but
only when he tells you too, all right? She's getting
enough passively for right now by it just sitting here
like this. Got it ok?"

"Uh, y- yeah.." she muffled through her O2 mask.

Image of jtalktomomoutside.jpg Image of chetcloseinjacket.jpg

"Good. What you're doing is absolutely perfect."
Chet said tightening the straps on his own mask
to cut down the number of times he was coughing
from the building smoke. Then he dashed away to
get a stokes for the little girl's rush evac.

Alex's mother immediately calmed down, as Cap
knew she would. Chet usually never missed on
guessing what was up whenever Cap led a parent
close to the paramedic's work space. Kelly had
a gift for always inventing physical things for them
to do that didn't get in the way of a victim's
patient care.

Johnny delivered his next data set to Dr. Brackett
on the phone, shouting so he could be heard
through his covering air supply faceplate. "Rampart.
She's responding on 15 liters of 02. She's got
perforated eardrums and positively ID'd dendritic burns
on the upper aspect of her left shoulder. I am getting
that pulse rate I gave ya only apically due to vasospasms."

He watched Roy bundle a plastic shock wrap around
Alex and tape her arm onto an IV board.

##10-4, 51. Those meds I ordered should calm
her down parasympathetically in a few more minutes.
Continue the IV and strap her in on a backboard with a
cervical collar. That active resuscitation's the best
thing for her now, until you get her in here. Monitor
her vital signs carefully and check her over again for any
sign of fractures. She may have incurred some due to
the force of the strike she took, even though it's clear
to me through your findings, that it wasn't a direct hit.##

"10-4, Rampart."

##And 51, I want you to send me a strip so I can see
how her cardiac functi---##

"Uh, doc. We can't right now. We're.." and Johnny lowered
his voice so the mother didn't overhear him. "..we're
in danger of getting pinned down by a brush fire. We
gotta evac her out first."

##By chopper, Johnny?##

Cap got Johnny's attention about his next plan of action
by nonverbally pointing to the squad.

"Uh, negative doc. Our chopper's just a water tanker."

##10-4 on that. Uh, what's your ambulance's ETA?##

"We don't h--"

##...have one for the same reason.##Brackett sighed
in frustration.. ##I see.. Radio in as soon as possible
on any LOC alteration en route when you HAVE a route
or any other detrimental change in her vitals signs.
Rampart base, signing out.##

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"Squad 51."  Gage replied by narrowing his eyes in
concentration and he flung down the phone and sealed
it up into its box swiftly along with the medical gear
he didn't need right away. These he handed off
to Cap to stow back into the squad that Marco was
now backing up towards them.

The little girl's mother looked up. "What's happening?
Why is that fireman pulling up that fire truck near us?"

Cap spoke with a big smile through his maskplate.
"That rescue squad's gonna be yours and Alex's
ticket outta here. See that stokes, er.. metal
bed that Roy is getting set up? Well we're going
to give your daughter a lift on top of there
while you ride along with them in that cab,
to Rampart Hospital."

"Alex is going to ride on the roof?"

Kelly chuckled. "Yes, maam, with either Johnny
or Roy sitting up there with her. You see, those
bars will keep the stokes from sliding around
once we get her loaded up. Here, take my radio
and you can talk to the paramedic once we're
ready. Know how to use a walkie talkie?"

"Y-Yes, I do.."

"Here you go.." Kelly said acting calm as a
camel. Inside his boots, though, his toes were
curling tighter than his hair.

Johnny's face erupted into a broad smile.
::I could just kiss Chet. That was ingenius!
She'll keep calm and cool the whole way now.::
"Ok.. " Gage said brightly, keeping a hidden hand
on Alex's chest under her yellow blanket
so he could feel her continued breathing and
heartbeat without pause. "Roy my partner here's
all done getting her into this collar of hers and onto
the board. Ready to lift Roy?"


"Ok, Alley Oop." and Gage and Kelly and Cap and
Roy lifted the small pediatric backboard and the unconscious
child and nestled her into the stokes. Again they picked up
Alex as a team with that. Two of 36's firemen followed with
the gear boxes and 51's defibrillator. Soon, Alex
was safely on board the squad's roof deck. Gage climbed
on board and sat with the biophone, butt perched on a
yellow air store bottle. He hefted his HT to show
the girl's mother that he had his for anything she
wanted to say to him in route. Then Cap gave her
a spare helmet Marco got from the engine for her
to wear and they piled on board.

"Kelly, go with Roy and his passenger, all right pal?"

"Right, Cap." Chet answered. He knew he was going
along in case the girl soured into V-Fib due to the jostling
she was going to have to take while in transport.
::At least the squad's going to be a lot less bumpier than
the engine would have been for this.:: Kelly sighed mentally.

The men, calmly loading the mom and girl, made it a point
not to look up the road where the fire was eating the
pavement into ruin inch by rapid inch, nearer and nearer,
ahead of them.

::Where's our water drop?:: Cap thought. He refrained
from asking L.A. for an ETA on it because Alex's mother now
had an HT. He contented himself with rounding up their remaining
trailing hose for their rapid getaway attempt and affirming Steve
Carter's confirmation that he also, was getting his men
and engine out of there in a strategic retreat.

Cap cut away the lifeline Chet had used, still tied to the engine's
bumper, and left it lying in the dust on the pavement.
Then he was the last man on an engine.

Truck 36 hit its airhorn to inform him that they, too
were ready to roll.

Hank eyed the wall of fire blocking their escape route and
wondered if they really could make it by charging through when
Steve came on the line. ##Engine 36 to Engine 51. I've got
an idea. I've got my engineer aloft in our water cannon. He's
going to provide a water curtain for your rescue squad.
Have it roll between, with us two situated at its front and
back. My man will keep a nozzle fog on your victim to
protect her and your man while we're moving through the

Cap thumbed his radio mike derisively. "Let's do it..
We can't wait. Are you set?"

##That's affirmative.. Just give the word and warn your
medic about what we're up to.##

"10-4.." Hank said, using his mirror to watch the bucket
on Engine 36's back rise just enough to clear its own
cab like a shovel on a snorkle. ::Oh, boy. Gage is going to
kill me for this.:: He picked up his HT.
"Engine 51 to Squad 51.." he hailed.

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##Go ahead, Engine 51.##

"Looks like it's going to rain in thirty seconds from the looks
of it.  Make your victim waterproof. We're breaking out!"
Hank yelled.

Gage didn't even hit his call back, "What?!" he said
immediately getting it and glancing over his shoulder
to the looming water bucket now set and locked
overhead from engine thirty six. It was hanging only
about eight feet above him. He got a salute from
the man on board, signing a non verbal countdown
from seven.. ::...when his hose's gonna fire. Who
thought of that?.. It's absolutely brilliant! And here
I was afraid that we were gonna haveta cook a little::
Johnny kept his grip on the little girl's body and wrapped
her up around the mask with her sheet. Then he hastily
created an umbrella with a row of crow bars, axes and
jimmies with a spare tarp over Alex's face and himself.
Then he gave the bucket man a thumbs up.

Hose water began to rain down on them, adjusting, until it
was just a dense coning mist and then Johnny felt a lurch
as Roy carefully matched Engine 51's speed and course
as they crept down the road towards the raging inferno
whose flames were now as high as the tops of wheel wells.

Roy gripped his steering wheel, peering around his moving
windshield wipers inside the driving artificial rain, as Stoker
paused the Ward right at the very edge of the burning road,
waiting for Cap's go ahead. He and Chet gave Alex's mother
smiles of encouragement around the fear they were really

The woman just blinked and talked on the radio.
"H-Hello.. Johnny?  How's Alex?"

Gage heard the mother from under his improvised umbrella
and he lifted his plastic wrapped HT to his lips.
"Not a drop on her, maam. The weather's fine." he quipped,
trying to keep his sense of humor. In the dark under the tarp,
his eyes were on Alex's lit up EKG screen he had going and
his stethoscope was in his ears as he monitored her inspiration
effectiveness by sound. He slipped in a nasal airway for extra
control as he spoke. "We're holed up solid and snug. Don't
you worry." ::I'm trying not to.:: a little voice whispered
unbidden in his head as he repositioned the demand valve
back over her face to keep out the smoke that was still
getting in. "Alex and I are ready to rock."

Kelly saw mama's eyes fill, in touched gratefulness, at
Gage's brave attempt at humor about their situation.

Ahead of them, in the cab, Cap bit his lip and looked
at Marco and Stoker. He lamely attempted the same
gallows humor as Gage. "What do ya say? Think Goodyear
tires can stand the temperature of molten asphalt and
fresh fire? We all got em on.."

Stoker's frowning doubt didn't warm his heart one bit.
And the fire before them was growing taller.

Cap and everyone in all three vehicles, except Gage,
looked up into the spiralling columns of smoke for any sign
of Chopper Nine and its precious roadsaving load.

Seconds dragged by as they idled, revving up their nerves and
engines for what was being forced upon them.

Kelly broke the strained pause building in the squad.
"Say," he said turning to the girl's mother. "Did I tell you
yet how well transporting folks on truck roofs really works?
Well there was this one time where Johnny got himself bit
by a rattler...and..I just happen to be with him..And we
didn't even HAVE a squad.."

Roy rolled his eyes at the blooming tale.

Sometime in eternity, Cap lifted his microphone and he said.....

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Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 19:20:15 +0100 (BST)
From: "Katherine Bird" <>  
Subject:  Fire and Water..

Acknowledgments to Donald Lee, Retired LACoFD Captain about
Engine trivia on 51's truck abilities via a snail mail sent flyer
and for sending a replica of Johnny and Roy's paramedic patch
to the theater hosts to give all of us further encouragement
to keep on writing in the spirit of Emergency.  :)

   ......"Engine 51, to Engine 36 and Squad 51... Hold your
position.. " Cap said, yelling through his air bottle mask.
He ignored the heavy weight of his loose air bottle rattling on the
metal grate of the floor of the Ward beneath where he sat
from the rough idling of the engine due to the thinning air surrounding
them. "We're going to give the drop three more minutes to happen."

Stoker did what he could to keep the Ward running despite
the lean combustion conditions growing under her hood from the
proximity of the low fire surrounding them. His bottle was firmly
on a hook in the wall of the cab, leaving his feet and hands free
to coax the pumper's clutch away from killing the motor and his
facemask was hiding his emotions from view as he gripped the
large steering wheel in front of him tightly, waiting for the word

##S- Squad 51, 10-4.## came Roy's nervous voice.

##Affirmative..## came a stronger, more experienced reply
from Engine 36 behind Cap's. Carter immediately added more
to soothe all listening ears, including L.A.'s Sam Lanier, who
was now stuck in the waiting-for-resolution silence mode.
::He's undoubtedly chewing on a few pencil erasers right
about now over his inability to direct better air cover to us
before we fry.:: Carter realized. He hid his private thoughts
with a cheeriness he did not feel. ##No problems here, Hank.
My bottled man aloft in the bucket's fine and his nozzle line's fog
is still doing its job over your paramedic and victim. Looks like
things are still plenty cool enough for them out there##

Mike Stoker grumbled. "We've got an eighth of a mile of hose,
a thousand gpm pump with a five hundred gallon tank full of
water, just sitting here." he said in frustration, "And we can use
none of it..?" It wasn't a stab on Cap's decision to try to run
and save their rears at all. Hank knew it for what it was.
An outburst given inside feelings of utter helplessness, vented in
anger. He didn't even glance over at Mike, keeping his eyes
on the sky.

"You got that right. We're stuck staying mobile, Mike." Marco
shrugged nervously. "Can't be mobile if we've hoses strung
out behind us. Only the snorkel can move and use water that way
with her bucket.." Lopez said trying to sound calm. Stoker didn't
have the heart to tell Marco that he knew that fact better
than anyone. Marco tried some levity and he spoke over the
tandem HT. "Say gang, we could always roll down all our
windows and try to spit on the fire from here.."

Hank tried to grin, but felt numbness twist on his face instead
making him lift his radio. "A minute forty more seconds....
Stand by, gang.. Keep watching the sky..." he said through his
handy talkie.


Roy jolted in his seat when a burning tumble weed impacted
his closed driver's window.  He saw the bucket stream
immediately move to drown it out in his side mirror. He
took a deep breath through his mask and said, "Chet, the fire's
getting too close. Better turn off that O2 on her now. The
oxygen's building up too high in the cab for safety. Go to sharing
your air. If you run low, we'll use mine between the three of us."

"Right.." Chet said. He pulled off his helmet and calmly
began to share his mask with his passenger, holding his
breath whenever she took any of hers off it, before taking
it back for himself to use.

"But what about my daughter and your *cough* partner?
She's still got pure 02 on!" Alex's mother gasped.

Roy smiled reassuringly at her. "He'll discontinue that for manual
air. Probably right about now. They'll manage just fine, maam."
he saw the mom's skin begin to pale in fear. "Hold that mask
completely against your face when you breathe in, all right?
Then this heavy smoke won't irritate you at all."
Kelly and Roy both saw her nod in frightened obedience.


Up on top, Johnny began to hear the angry crackling of open
flames reaching the road near the squad. "Whoa.. That's getting
a little too close for comfort.." he mumbled. He quickly shut off the
oxygen feed that was leading to Alex's resuscitator and threw
its face valve aside. Gage pulled off his helmet and unstrapped
his air mask from his face. He sucked in a good lungful from it.
He paused only long enough to seal the girl's mouth up with
a hand before offering his breath of clear air to her through her
nose carefully, timing what he gave her to when she attempted
an inhalation. He kept up the pattern, giving her air taken
from his mask through his mouth, keeping both his eyes
screwed protectively shut against the acrid smoke that was
now doing its best to make them water fiercely. Even the
unconscious girl's cheeks were wet with tears.  

In Johnny's lap, the wrapped HT crackled in crisp warning.
##Gage..?## asked Hank..

Johnny looked up from where he was curled around Alex's head
and he lifted his HT to his face, shouting from underneath the
heavy tarp that was still getting a welcome pounding of water from
36's elevated bucket line. "I know. I know. The fire's near.
I've already shut my O2 down! We're still fine..I've figured out a
way to keep the smoke from her." then he asked another question
changing tact. "How are you doing down there, Mama?" he said,
giving Alex yet another following breath of air just as her chest
rose with one of its own. "Alex is just napping up here." he
said, keeping his eyelids shut to spare himself eye irritation.
He used a finger to keep tabs on her carotid while he continued
being a clean air source for her. On a sudden idea, Johnny
taped the girl's mouth shut with an IV strip to free his
other hand to monitor her chest movements. ::I can always
tear this off if she gets sick on me.::

## I'm f-fine, Mr. Gage. You guys work like this often?## the
mother quipped, trying for humor. Johnny could hear Chet
cue-ing her to take another pull from his mask.

"All the time. No sweat. Er,...figuratively speaking." Gage
grinned into his radio, wiping the sweat dripping down his
face with a sleeve from the fire zone's heat. He gave
Alex another smoke free breath through her nose slowly
to keep her from getting any of his air into her stomach.

##Mr. Chet just told me about the wild ride you took a few
summers ago.##

"Oh, you mean when I got snake bit? Yeah, believe
me, I got deja vu visiting me something fierce right about
now. But listen, only the snake's got bad memories of that
day , I assure you. We ARE going to get outta here. It's
only a matter of when that will be. No big deal." he chuckled.  
Alex twitched, making Johnny open his eyes to squint through
stinging smoke at the EKG monitor. ::Tachycardia. D*mn.
She's getting shocky despite her IV.:: He turned up its flow
to wide open. Johnny began to breathe FOR her, as well as
with her after that, at an increased rate. He went on laying
down a calming transmission despite his change of treatment.
"Kinda comfortable up here. Lotsa room.." he quipped.
"And the view's.." he broke off, hearing a thrumming
vibration ripple the air and felt the same against the tarp lying
across his shoulders. "...great! Cap! Heads up.. It's the
chopper at last. I hear it!!"

Image of brushfire.jpg Image of ladderfire.jpg Image of johnnylookdownatvictim.jpg

Right then 36's bucket man thumbed through on the HT
frequency. ##HT 36 to the engines and the squad. The air crew's
here, arching in at our ten o'clock. I can just see them above the
smoke. They are starting their dumping run.##came the fireman's
shout, muffled thickly by radio technology and his bottled air mask.

##10-4, bucket HT.## both Caps and Roy acknowledged.

The arriving helicopter's rotor blades buzzed almost vengefully
over the firestorm raging its edge over the road in front of the
three red fire vehicles. It swept down low over the engines
with a brief greeting waggle. ##51 and 36, This is Chopper
Nine. Making the drop in ten, nine, eight,....##

"Go!. Go! Stoker! Move it!" Cap shouted as he hit the cab's
dashboard. "We gotta time it to get exactly where that falls
to spare our tires. Anything we get will only hold for a short bit.
The cross wind's too strong. More fire will move in instantly
after the chopper lifts away!" Hank shouted to his engineer

Mike Stoker pushed the pedal to the metal and Engine
51 lurched forward, spinning ash behind it.

Cap shouted into his radio. "Roy, go! We're in motion.
Gage, hang on!"

Gage heard Cap's urgent holler and grabbed onto
the squad's roof rail above him and a bottle bracket
as he continued to stay positioned over Alex's face to
aid her breathing. "Here we go, Alex. We're getting
outta here." he coughed before leaning over and
imparting to her another shared breath.

Time seemed to stand still for all of them.


The brush fire writhed like a furious beast under the
sudden chemical onslaught released by the helicopter
sweeping above it. A rain of retardants and lake water
bit deep into the block of flames on the road and
completed just before Engine 51, the Squad, and Engine
36 sped through the place that had been tricked chemically
into turning from raw plasma to just a hissing morass of
earth stained ground steam.

Walls of flame and rolling alighted tumble weeds shot around
them, as Chopper Nine's backwash and dump shoved the inferno
away from the vehicles. Then flames, newly pushed by the
high storm winds still roaring above the valley, rallied, and
suddenly, the three speeding trucks seemed trapped by the
raw heart of the wildfire's flames once again.

Their bid for the canyon's rim and safety was instantly
compromised when their surrounding smoke turned midnight
black, forcing the fleeing fire companies to slow in their escape.
Mike Stoker suddenly couldn't see the road as a
suffocating blanket of ebony ash covered them
in a thick pall as the wind stilled. He was forced to
hit his brakes and the engine's wheels began to bake
on the superheated earth and shattered bones of the fire.
::No, No.. Can't stop. The tires will melt down. But I can't
go fast enough either..:: Mike warred with himself silently.
::The smoke's blinding me.::

Image of stokerdrive.jpg Image of airdropandengine.jpg

A blast of dust and sand filled his windscreen right
at that moment. ##Engine 51, I am on your fender
as a guide. Follow our lifting wire.## Chopper Nine
notified them.

Just ahead, Mike Stoker could see a wedge cable
and bright orange basket buoy dragging along the
road right in front of his bumper through the inky
murk. It was tantilizingly close.

He glued his eyes to it and didn't look away, trusting
instinct and the helicopter's pilot to lead them out
of the growing fire.

Engine 36 screeched to a halt when they lost sight of
Squad 51's tail. The bucket man barely hung on
when his truck skidded to a halt in the ash and soot. He
yelled down to his captain. ##You're all right. Keep going
towards twelve o'clock! You're fifty feet from them.
Nowhere near colliding. Hurry.. Gage's out from under
my water.##


Ahead of engine 51, the chopper buoy on the ground
was eaten up by a wall of flame. Stoker gave out a cry
of alarm and warning as he flattened the gas to
the boards. "Going in!"

Engine 51 was consumed by fire..


The incessant boom and rush of 36's watering
mist ceased.

Johnny Gage threw the tarp aside inch by analyzing
inch as he lifted his masked head cautiously to see
why Engine 36 had fallen behind.

They were gone. All he could see were flames behind him..
and more black smoke. The sun was practically
nonexistent overhead and it dimmed more, ominously,
throwing Johnny into a surrealistic world of night and
glowing embers.

Johnny's mouth went dry when he looked over the
squad's hood towards his station's engine. They were
charging, full reds on, through a fire wall taller than the
engine. "Oh, d*mn..." he whispered and he rewrapped the
tarp back tight around himself and Alex, before he knotted
into a ball of protection, sealing off her nose with a grip,
just before Roy too, drove high speed, into what felt like pure
unadulterated living h*ll.

Image of enginesquadrollonarun.jpg Image of nightbrushfire.jpg

Superheated air flooded around Johnny and he could hear
some of his hair sizzling where a lock of it stuck through a hole
in the old tarp. He slapped out the fire started there
with his free hand, pressing his air mask as hard as he could
over his nose and mouth to keep out the burning atmosphere.
He looked down. Alex's involuntary chest muscles rippled under
his arm. She was fighting to breathe around her blocked off
air passages. ::Not yet. You're gonna fry your lungs big time
if I let go. And I will too if I take this mask off right now.::

John subconsciously started counting the seconds Alex was
going without air. That number had reached about fifty five when
Gage felt the resumption of 36's cannon hose water against them
through their tarp. Johnny threw aside the smoking, partially melted
wrap and he let the rain of water drench him and Alex both in
a desperate attempt to cool off their skins and the scorching
metal that was almost searingly hot to the touch, around them.
Johnny opened his eyes. They were in blessedly open air and
daylight and the horrible unchecked fire was now faltering
behind them along the road, wind carried, away from their

Gage coughed and choked, bending over Alex to reassess her
status, using his body as an umbrella to keep the pouring
water from reaching Alex's ghostly white face as he let go
of her nose to let her breathe.  Right then, the water
cascading around them was shut off and the fireman, manning
it, shouted in triumph.


"Look out!"
Roy stopped the squad on a dime when he realized that both
the squad's tires had melted in front and that he was riding
on their bare rims. The force of his emergency stop
threw all three of them into the windshield. "Sorry. We've
no tires left.."

"It's ok.." Alex's mother and Chet both gasped.

Chet, the girl's mother, and Roy all exclaimed in puzzlement,
when the dust cleared and they saw Chopper Nine circling in
the air just up ahead, but then they saw it hovering above the road.
"Why are they landing?" Kelly asked.

"I don't know..  Let's go find out." Roy said without looking
at either one of them, and his voice began rising in alarm.. "Ma'am
wait here. Kelly I think you'd better come with me.."

"Right.." Kelly said also, without taking his eyes off where the
exiting pilot was just starting to urgently point. The two of them
slid out of their seats shedding air bottles and opened the
squad doors, getting out in confusion. As they watched,
the chopper pilot finally gave up on communicating something
to them and he started instead, a sudden, frantic beelining
run to his left.

Roy finally saw Engine 51 in the thick underbrush slightly off the
road. He saw her cab was impacted right up against the hillside
and that all of her tires were melted off and shredded.
The top row of the hose bed was still subtly smouldering.

"Ohmyg*d! Cap! Stoker!?! Marco?" Roy lifted his radio to
his lips as Chet and he bailed the squad's cab and together,
they ran towards the horrific sight. "Squad 51 to Engine 36.
E51's off the road! Notify L.A and all our responding units!"

He dropped the HT, pushing Kelly on ahead of him urgently.
"Chet go check em out! I'll be right there!
I'm going back for Johnny and the girl.." he whispered.  

Kelly ran towards the engine like a shot with a door
pry he had snatched from the squad's side compartment.

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"Johnny!?" DeSoto cried out, hurtling himself up onto
the back roof of the squad. "You all right?"

He saw Gage ventilating Alex on the demand valve
to ease some blistering cyanosis. "We're ok. She didn't
take in any superheated air. But her cardiac rhythm's-"

"Johnny. Listen to me.."
The tone in Roy's voice shut Johnny up immediately.
"Stoker crashed. I'm going over there! Stay with her!"
he shouted, leaping back down again.

"What?!"  Gage dropped the demand valve and climbed
up on his knees to peer over the squad's chrome
top bars and cab's roof. He immediately cursed
himself for his reaction and got right back on Alex,
snatching up the ventilator again to resume her 02.
He snatched up his HT. "Cap! Stoker?! Marco? This is
Squad 51. Respond!"

          To go to Page Five, Click the Biophone

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The Golden Horn

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