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        Green Pen Of Johnny's
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        Page  Six

"The fourth fl-- Oh my G*d.. 415.  Kel, I was
up there trying to find John Gage and Megan
Miller. Their room's facing the fire. I found
their door blocked shut by fallen scaffolding!"

Dr. Brackett and Dr. Morton both grabbed her
shoulders to keep her from rising. "They got
out. An orderly who helped us with you told us
so. Most likely they're outside in the lobby
somewhere just hanging around, waiting for
a check up."

"No they aren't.. Because I ..." Just as fast,
memory eluded her. Dixie sighed, giving up
trying to sit as she sank back onto the bed.
"Because I'm certain that we---"

"Dixie, just hold on and think about the whole
thing for a moment. Do you really have cause to
worry about those two? Or is this moderate
shock kicking in? The nurses at that desk say
everything's 10-2 on that floor. Has been for
at least twenty minutes."

"Well,, I still can't shake this feeling, not exactly..  
It's just that...something's not ...right." she frowned
in confusion.

"Dix, you just had minor surgery to repair
that brachial artery. You lost over 1000cc's
of blood. You're bound to feel a little off kilter."
Mike Morton said with a grin and more than
a little insistence.

"Mike, I know what I'm feeling now. Do me
a favor. Just go up and check on them, ok?
It'll only take a few minutes.."

Kel shook his head. "Wish I could spare the time,
Dix. But the E.R.'s packed, and we're still deep
in triage mode. I'm sure Johnny can take care of
things by himself for a while. You know how fireman
are. They're really really good at keeping on their
feet. Now no protests, Mike and I have to get right
back at it a.s.a.p. You were something of a priority
case for us and that's the only reason
why the both of us are here."

"Kel, Mike.. I.."

Mike looked up and said, "Are we gonna trust
her to stay parked?"

"H*ll, no. So let's encourage her strongly,
shall we?" And both doctors, to Dixie's chagrin,
strapped the bed belts around her legs, waist and
shoulders to guarantee compliance.

"Guys, you can trust me. How about if I promise
to be a good patient and not go any---"

"Rest, Dix. And that's an order..." Brackett said,
tempered by a smile. "At least until your IV bag finishes
up. Then you can start to think about hobbling
around to bark orders at the other nurses all you like.
We're gonna need your bed space. Until then we're
keeping you strapped in until that arm decides it's going
to stay clotted up. When the chaos clears up a bit, we'll
come back and do a neater job on those artery sutures."

The two doctors stripped off their gloves they had donned
for Dixie's repair job and hastened from the room into
the triage filled bustle of the outer wards.

Dixie sighed, eyeing her arm splint and wrap
job critically.  "That's just great, you two." She took
a deep breath from her oxygen and the elusive
memory that had haunted her came flooding back.
"Oh no.. Guys! Come back!  I know what I saw in
that back corridor now!  Children's drawing pens
don't lie around littering the floor for no good reason..!"
she shouted.

Feeling weak, Dixie whispered to herself in defeat.
"How can they when regular patients can't find a way
into that restricted part of the hospital without help?"

A few minutes later, she set in again for someone
to search the fourth floor loudly, but Dixie's words never
reached any ears that really wanted to hear her out.


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"Mr. Gage! Now I know you can hear me. I've been
telling you all my best riddles. And I'm getting tired of
doing that to a quiet audience.. I--I  DARE you to open
your eyes and laugh at them. You have to remember
them so you can tell Chet your friend when you
get home,..ok..?

Mr. Gage..? Come on, wake up. My
hands are getting tired holding this oxygen mask. It's
so heavy and it's too big for you."

"Uh....hhhh." Johnny groaned and he coughed once
when Megan accidently bumped a painful cut
on his cheek with her elbow.

"That's it. That's it. I knew you could do it. Tell me.
Tell me what I can do to get you better faster. I
need you, Mr. Gage. I need you to get us out of
here, now.." Megan pleaded, shaking his shoulder
with both hands.

Gage pushed away the oxygen mask and rolled over
onto his side, getting ill all over the floor.

Bravely, Megan didn't back away from the sounds.
She just held his head on her lap. "It's ok, everybody
gets upset stomach now and then. Mommy says
that a little 7up always makes it better. I'll get you
some when we get out of here."

Johnny's breathing rasped, frightening her,
when he didn't speak again.

"Hey,.. are you ok?" Megan asked.

Huge wracking coughs kept Gage from talking
right away.. Then he said softly.. "No,.. I... I'm not,
Megan.  I...must have gotten ....more toxins from
the smoke ...than I had.....originally....planned on.
Chest's...*choke*..filling up fast.."

"What can I do, Mr. Gage? Come on, tell me. There
must be something I can do..." the little girl sobbed.

"I....I.. can't.....think.."

Megan's voice took on a quiet tone and she
started talking, keeping the mask tightly over
Johnny's face as he tried to pull himself together.
"That's ok... I'm nine years old. I'll do the thinking for
both of us.. I'm used to taking care of my younger
brothers and you're only just a bigger kind of brother
to me.... Only,...only.." Megan's face screwed up under
her bandages and tears began to soak through, making
them damp and pink.
"..I don't know what to do now, Mr. Gage. I - I just keep
right on hearing that awful low rumbling sound that
came before that jetplane fell out of the sky.  I'm scared
Mr. Gage. I still am.. It sounded so much like something to
be afraid of." she sobbed.

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"D-don't   afraid.. I ..I ...*gasp* I...know what to
do now. Megan...I...need you to find me a ...uh,  
a shot, ok.? You know, the kind with medicine in it.."

"What?" Megan said, brushing dirty hair out of Johnny's
eyes. "I don't understand."

But Johnny didn't realize he was confusing the girl.
He just blearily kept mumbling. "It's like your dad's coffee,
only stronger..." he gasped, pushing the oxygen away...
"It's called...a-atropine.... Go get the shot, Megan. Get
it now. It'' to be nearby.. I just ..saw it."

"Where? Mr. Gage, I can't do that.. I can't see anymore."
her lip trembled.

"It's ok, hon. Oh,...I see it right here, just out of reach
about six feet to our right. Can you sweep around for
it? Wait a minute, d- don't reach so far, you'll
pull out your IV. Go slow.. A little farther.. There, feel
it? It's like a plastic pack of silverware from the fast
food restaurant. Yeah, that's it..."  Johnny let his
head fall back on Megan's lap and he closed
his eyes, exhausted from the effort of picking up
his head.. "Take it out of the paper and hand it
here. You're gonna have to help me take it.."

"No,.. I can't do that.. I..hate shots.. Even watching
them.." Megan protested.

Johnny gave a little laugh. "Well, we won't have
that problem now, will we? Your eyes are wrapped

"Oh, yeah. That's right. But I know it's gonna feel
gross anyway.." she reasoned.

"Not that much for you to gross out with, now
is there? You aren't going to be on the receiving
end of it.." he coughed, trying to put a laugh
into his tone. He failed to hide his weakness.

"Oh...h.." Megan quailed.

"Now,... I gotta take this in the hip. And
I'm too beat to get my jeans loosened.
You're gonna have to help me." Johnny
said gasping.

"I'm not going to undress you!"

"Megan, you won't see anything.."
he gasped in frustration.

"No, but I will know what's going on and
that's bad enough.." she yelled right back,
more angry than embarrassed.

"Ok,...ok...ok.. *choke* Change of plans.
Calm down. I won't make you do anything
you aren't willing to do. Geesh. Relax a little."
Gage snaked out his hand until he grabbed
a pair of clothes shears that had fallen from
the crash cart when he fell against it. "Just
let me... get my breath back'll only
take a bit.."

After some time taken to use the black
O2 mask on high, Johnny spoke again.
"Ok, here's the s-scoop. Can you cut away
my jeans pocket on this side? Here's a
pair of scissors I got...from the cart.."

"I don't want to cut you..!" Megan said

"Megan, these are paramedic's scissors.
Feel that? There's no sharp points on these,
they're blunted with skin guards. Now.. go
ahead. I...gotta....hurry....Getting h-hard to..
breathe now..." And Johnny exaggerated his
true condition by breathing noisily to get Megan
over her qualms about ruining his jeans.

He eased off his acting when he felt cool
air over his hip after much tugging and
slicing on Megan's part. Soon the job
was done.

Johnny began to realize that
his respiratory distress wasn't all himself
faking it. ::Edema? Too soon. Too..::
"M--Megan.. pull off the cover from the
needle.. Now..push the plunger until you
feel the medicine squirt out the top."

"Ooops sorry.."

"That's...o..ok.." Gage puffed. "I-I'll dry off
soon enough when we get out of here.." Gage

The room started retreating again.

Johnny could feel his chemical burned
bronchioles closing off despite of the O2
and suddenly another blackout threatened
to swallow him up. ::I need the atropine..
Now.. or I'll quit br--::  "Megan..feel
where there's a padded spot on my hip
and give me the s-shot where ..*gasp* you
feel the skin isn't b-bony.."

"I can't do that!"

"Megan, I'm gonna faint on you ...right
now... I can feeling it ....c-coming on.. Now,.
just do it. Come on, there's a good
g---"  Johnny's laboring lungs suddenly
snuffed out his consciousness in mid sentence.

Megan felt Gage's hands fall away from
hers and she heard the mask tumble off
his face to the floor and his breathing suddenly
quieted alarmingly. "Mr. Gage? Are you
ok?.." she asked in horror. "Don't go to sleep.
You gotta show me how to do this..."
she whimpered.

Then something integral made Megan let go of
the "child" way of thinking and a new budding
"adult" side of her kicked in.

With only slightly shaking hands she stuck the needle
firmly home and injected all the atropine in the
syringe into Gage's hip muscle. Then she jerked it
out and flung it away in absolute disgust.

Weeping, Megan Miller hugged Johnny Gage,
listening to the rapid and weak wheezing noises
coming from under the mask she had quickly
returned to his face.  

"Please don't die..." she whispered.


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Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 16:43:28 -0800 (PST)
From:  "Sam Iam" <>  
Subject:  A Glint In The Light

An obnoxious squelch over the open frequency made
Chet Kelly startle as he and Stoker climbed over the
airplane debris field colorfully marked in fatality sheets.
"J*sus H Christ... That's too loud!" he articulated as
his hand shot into his turnout pocket to pull out his HT.
His face was hot and streaming inside his air mask
that he still wore. "Gonna be a scorcher today. Feels
like 80 and the sun's just coming up."

"Could be because of all the fires, Chet. Relax. Feel
like going for another air bottle change out yet?"
Stoker asked, wiping a sooty glove over his faceplate
so Kelly could see the glint in his eye that was an
attempt to lift his spirits.
Kelly stared at his radio accusingly as L.A. did its first
communications check in with all the rescue and police
personnel on scene of the jet crash.  ##L.A. Stations:
99, 36, 118, 12, 127, 8, 51, 10, Battalion 14, Ladder
90, Brush 5, One Adam Twelve, One Bravo Three,
One Tango Six...#... the list droned on and on...

"Man, Stoker. I'd thought I'd never be on a response
this big. I mean, how can they ever keep track of
everybody? It's hard enough just keeping our own
station's chatter on sub band 51."

Mike Stoker stopped in his tracks and turned a
circle in place just like he'd been doing every
twenty steps for the last two hours, looking for
magnesium hot spots that might endanger
their boot material. He eyed the signs of carnage
and rubble alike with a professional dispassionate
distance that Chet knew he'd never be able to
master. "That's what the Fire Chiefs are for.
L.A. can only ferry transmissions, not organize
them all."

"I know, I know." Kelly said, hooking yet another
piece of plane metal away from a tiny fuel blaze
as they searched for their current assignment,
looking for the flight recorder. "Maybe I'm just
on edge because we haven't found a live victim.
I really didn't need to see that rescue worker
and his dog all busted up like that. It kinda gets
a guy down. Know what I mean?"

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Mike Stoker motioned that their way forward
was clear of hazard without saying anything.
He started counting out their twenty paces
out loud once again as the lead man on
the recovery team.  His left foot stumbled
on some baby clothes and he only hesitated
briefly before walking on, using his hook as
a support.

"Ah, man... I should have been a farmer.."
Chet said softly as he regarded his crewmate's
hunched over back. "This stuff's for the birds."

He hurried to catch up to Mike to give him
an affectionate pat on the shoulder.


They were on the east side edge of the triage
area outside a SafeKo store.

Roy DeSoto and Brice patted the back of the
Mayfair after sealing off its access doors.
"Go, go go!" the weary, ginger haired paramedic
urged the driver as he stepped back away
from the tires. Then he leaned over, catching
his breath with his hands on his knees.

Brice whistled, getting Roy's attention.
"Need this again?" he asked, lifting a
demand valve mask from a coil wrap
he had just finished making in their O2

DeSoto shook his head, and waved him
off with a gesture. "Nah... I'm fine..."
and he parked his soiled backside on
a spent foam unit casing to rest.
He rubbed his face. "It's just... that last
one really got to me.  I mean, who'd figure
a four year old boy going to his first day
care center would ever end up on the receiving
end of all of this..." he said, throwing up his
hands at the chaos around them.

A sharp support volunteer quickly darted over
from a supply tent and handed both paramedics
plastic water bottles, already opened. They
were luke warm.

Roy and Brice nodded their thanks mutely.

Craig rubbed the dirt off his face and made a
half hearted attempt at rubbing some more off
of his usually pristine uniform. "It doesn't pay
to get emotionally involved with a patient while
treating them."

Roy flared, "Does it look like I'm treating anybody
right now, Brice?" he shouted, sharp. "No..."

Craig studied his feet and then just knelt and
finished putting away the O2 apparatus. A long
pause seemed to isolate the two men despite
the roar of fire and echoing radio transmissions
and hissing hoses and idleing engines surrounding
them. But then, his face altered and opened up.
"Sorry. There I go again, offering stupid advice
where it isn't welcome."

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Roy lifted his head and just shook it, brushing off
the apology. "We're tired. We're all tired. And
things really seem like they can just.....go on forever.."
His eyes wandered over to ground zero where
he could just see a crane trying to lift
the tail section of the airliner away from an
alley full of body parts. "Not your fault lashing
out.." he said softly. "I just did it myself.." he said
with an unconvincing familiar smile.

Brice's back just stayed stiff as he slowly
stowed their gear back into the squad
side compartments.

Roy got up and walked over to recollect
his soggy coat from where it lay on the roof
of the squad in a futile attempt to dry it off.
"Come on, let's go grab some coffee. Dwyer said
they have a refreshment tent already set up.
Anything's gotta taste better than these things."
he said draining the last of the water from his
bottle. "We'll keep our talkies with us in case
we get any more calls. I don't know about you,
but I don't wanna be tied to the squad's radio
for that. I wanna move around a little."

Craig finally grinned and looked at Roy.
"Same here. I thought I was the only one
getting ansy."

"Not by a long shot.." DeSoto smirked.

But then Craig's face fell into another
disturbed frown that DeSoto noticed.

"What's wrong?" he asked Brice.

"I....can't put my finger on it. But have
you been listening to all the radio
checks? There's not one voice going
on the air that I recognize.." he told Roy.

Roy tipped his head, thinking a bit.
"Well, there are a lot of us here.."

"Yeah, perhaps you're right. But I can't
shake the willies I've had ever since
we both got here."

"Body recovery blues?" DeSoto asked.

"" Craig said carefully. "It's

"Well, a little sugar might help. We're
both a little transparent right now. Not
hungry, but hollow. And we still have to
do our vitals sets on each other looking
for hidden trouble spots because of
all the complex smoke around here."

"We'll do that after the break." Craig
nodded in decision.

Roy shrugged back into his damp jacket.
"Ok.." he grinned. "Let's go."

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Chet Kelly passed by mountains of steaming
rubble, house and plane and nothing he
saw was familiar. "We've been all over
the place, Stoker. I don't think we're gonna
find it. Maybe we should let the Feddies.."

"We haven't been on this side yet, Chet.
I know, I would have remembered passing
that.." he said, pointing down to a charred
car that had a severed fire hose lying by it.

Kelly leaned in a little closer. "What happened

"Hose burst. The crew manning it must have
touched a mag fire."

"Oooo." Chet winced in sympathy, peering
into the windows of the car. "Looks like
they got out a live one. There's IV and EKG
papers all over the place. And I'm seeing
a used suction cylinder in here. "

Mike hooted. "Whoo Hooo! There's one
LESS for ya, Grim Reaper! " and he
celebrated by raising his fire hook in

Chet raised his eyebrows in silence before
mumbling, "Always gotta watch out for the
quiet types, man.." but he smiled just a few
seconds later.

Unfamiliarity reigned across the landscape
on the ground with nothing recognizable,
but all the fire and smoke was all too
familiar to them as they resumed search.

One section to the west under a rising column
of an as yet unbattled fuel fire caught Chet's
attention. A shape sticking out of the mess
that bothered him. "Hey, Stoker. This way."

"Kelly, we'll mess up our pattern.."

"Just come on.. I may have spotted something."

Mike Stoker followed line of sight along Chet's
arm. Then he shrugged. "A firefighter. So.."

"Stoker, think a minute.. Do you see a truck
around here anywhere. No one leaves
the hundred foot perimeter from the engine
in an unknown hazard scene."

Stoker once again eyed the figure picking its
way over the debris field, shimmering in the
early morning heat thermals. Its helmet
almost seemed to big.  "Looter?"

"I'll bet fifty bucks on it.." Kelly complained.

"Now, I'm really mad...." Stoker frowned.
The mild expression on his face hadn't changed.

"Good,  glad it's unanimous. Shall we
do a little city property recovery mission?
Not like we're really needed victim scouting
and I'm fed up with trying to locate a needle
in a haystack with that flight box." Kelly sighed.

"I'm in.."


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        Green Pen Of Johnny's
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