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Within Sight
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        Page  Eight

Hank held Kelly's eye in a scathing glare for
almost a full ten seconds. Then he looked away
and one hand snaked up from his hips to scratch
Boot on the head in apology for scaring him while
he dressed down an underling. "And put Boot down

"Yes, sir.. Right away, sir.." Kelly set Boot slowly down
on the floor and smoothed out his coat without daring
to look away from Cap's disapproving stare.

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The shaggy dog immediately skittered out of Chet's
reach, all four sets of claws scrambling on the cement
floor in his haste to get away from the currently
Hank hexed fireman.

"Next time.. take it like a man, Kelly. Dogless!"

"Right, Cap. Thank you, Cap. Anything you say, Cap.."
Kelly kept on saying obeisances, withdrawing slowly,
until his back impacted the kitchen door. Then he
hastily stumbled and bolted through the door
for the sheltering illusion of the newspaper and the
bodily comfort of the cushy leather couch.

Marco had been quietly watching the whole fiasco
the entire time. He was nonplussed and relaxed with
his arms comfortably folded over each other.
"He's right you know."

Cap's iron glare shattered into one of weariness
and he admitted. "I know that... I just wanted
to vent on somebody. And he was the best target.
The fire investigation's not going anywhere and
it's eating at me, Lopez."

"I can tell. You chewed up Chet and spit him
out pretty good there." he said, cracking a polishing
towel at the engine's side panel loudly to make
a point.

It was Cap's turn to wince. Hank immediately
looked remorseful and bit his lip. "Maybe I should
go in there and apologize to him....ya think?"

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Marco stopped Cap before he got two paces.
"Uh,,..I'd... wait a while for the effect to sink in
first if I were you."

"I'm afraid I don't understand, Marco.." Cap said

"Well, Cap, it's like this.." Lopez said thinking while he
absently polished the same spot on the engine that
he had just shined a few moments before.
"That was the first time I've ever seen Chet cower
sincerely at one of your dressing downs since Johnny
became a medic."

"Really?" said Hank, straightening with pride. Then he
lowered his voice to a confidential whisper, glancing
towards the kitchen to make sure Chet didn't overhear.
"I've been watching McConike..Trying to ......imitate
him. " he said, gesturing thinking fingers to the air before
rubbing his lips thoughtfully. "That, what you just witnessed,
was how he used to ream MY rear way back then."

"Oh, I see. Displacement of aggression." Lopez
quipped as he picked a new spot to polish on
the engine chrome. "Turning full circle.. Maybe even...
disassociated revenge.. Clever.. Good way to deal
with your burning hat/inspection day phobia."

Cap narrowed his eyes at Marco. "Lopez, stick to
being a fireman. Somehow hearing Freudianisms
coming from a man from south of the border just
doesn't work for me.." Cap muttered. Then he
retreated to the inbox work load that seemed only
to have piled higher during the minutes he had
procrastinated while blowing up at Kelly.

Marco blinked several times, then he self-
consciously peered at his reflection in the engine's
side view mirror, trying to see what Cap was talking
about.  He saw Boot regarding him closely.
"Hey boy. Do you think my growing a goutee'
will help people start to take me more seriously?"
he asked the attentive mutt while he pushed out his
chin in an experiment.

Boot tipped his head to a funny angle and
whined a doggy noise of puzzlement.

Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 13:28:08 -0800 (PST)
From: "Sam Iam" <>  
Subject:  Kid Talk  


"And again......." Mike Morton ordered.

Susan Jordan took in an even deeper breath
than before as the dark skinned intern listened
to her chest with his stethoscope. "How am I
doing now, doc?" she said breathlessly afterwards.

"Uh..hmph." Morton grunted. "Sounds like they're
going to have to be removed right away..." he

Susan's eyes got as big as saucers in concern
where she sat upright on the treatment room
gurney, but that change made Roy and Johnny's
little blond haired patient seem even cuter
than a button.

"Doc.."Johnny warned with a grin and with his
voice, smacking the young doctor's arm with
back of his hand. "Quit teasing her."

"hmm? Oh! oh. oh.. I wasn't talking about your
lungs, Susan. Sorry... I meant these.." he said tapping
her hanging IV and the flowing O2 cannula she
still wore in her nose. "Actually, things sound
really good now. The bronchospasms seem to have
dissipated completely."

"Finally..." Susan said as Dixie moved on Morton's
nod to free the little girl from her tubes. "I hate it
when that happens. I feel like a beached sperm whale
the whole time."

Morton gave another grunt, then asked. "Do you
usually get your asthma attacks when you exert-
I mean run around or ride your bike ever?"

"No.." Susan said. "Not ever."

"Well, what do you think triggered it today?"
Roy asked the child from where he leaned
near the exam room door still holding his
walkie talkie in his hand.

"I don't know.." Susan said evasively. "Maybe
because I got real mad I guess.."

"Mad about what?" Dr. Morton asked gently
as he helped her put on her windbreaker that Roy
had found in the park before the trip in.

Susan zipped her lips shut and dropped her
head and watched as Dix secured a bandaid
on her hand where the IV had been.
Then she shot an uncomfortable glance up
at Morton, Johnny and Roy. "It's a secret.
A girl's one." she declared with defiance,
wrinkling her nose as Dixie took off the
cannula from around her face.

"Oh, I see." Nurse McCall said, fighting a smile.
"Well," she sighed expansively.. "If you gentlemen
would excuse us for a moment. Us girls are gonna
talk privately together, if you catch my drift.."

All three men in the room suddenly caught on
and hastened to make themselves scarce. Gage
fumbled with gathering up the portable EKG
monitor while Roy grabbed the small oxygen
tank from the foot of the gurney, handing off
Johnny's helmet to him as he struggled through
the door with his load. Morton helped the
paramedics make their exit by holding the
door open for them. The paramedics and
doctor all waved at the scowling child as they

"Take care Susan. Coach Stoker sends his best
to ya.. Ahh!  Oops. heh." Gage said sheepishly
as the door nearly squashed him.

Soon, nurse and girl were alone.

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Johnny made immediate tracks to the water
fountain along the wall, against which he piled the
medical gear. Morton followed, looking to learn
more from the medics before they had to leave.

"Here, hold this.." Gage said to Roy, shoving his
helmet into Roy's stomach.

Being ticklish, Roy grabbed it without thinking.
Then he made a face when he realized that
Johnny had outsmarted him in the helmet
carrying game. Having no better way to
carry the extra item, he parked his own
back onto his head with a frown.

Gage smirked in triumph and he took a
long pull from the icy water stream dancing
in front of his nose. "I'm just too fast for ya,
Roy. Someday, you'll learn." he chuckled.

Mike Morton cleared his throat. "Fun and games
over yet?"

Roy and Johnny's grins fell away they both slipped
into professional mode. "Sure doc." Roy nodded.
"Well, uh.. it happened pretty much as Susan said
it did. She felt her chest getting tight and she
just crawled away from the game and trying to
will it away by resting under a shade tree. Only
her usual trick didn't work."

"Oh? Didn't she have her inhaler with her?"

"That's just it, doc." Johnny said wiping his mouth
free of water droplets. "We think she doesn't like
the notion of needing one. Stoker had to scout
around a baseball infield before he located it for us."

"Thanks. That'll help me figure out what to tell
the case worker when she gets here for post visit
instructions. Oh, yeah... How's Engineer Stoker
doing? I haven't seen him since the night you fellas
brought him in."

"Stoker?" Johnny said. "He's doing fine. Though
I do wish I knew more details about his eyesight
prognosis, doc. He's clamming up about it."

"Nice try Gage. But I can't tell ya anything."

DeSoto lifted his head.
"Please, Doctor Morton. Y- You don't
have to give us much. I-it would really mean
a lot to Johnny and me and the rest of the
guys if we had something substantial to go on."
Roy pleaded.

"All right, all right!" Morton said holding up his
hands in surrender. "I can tell you this much.."
he said, beckoning a come closer finger.

Roy and Johnny leaned in nearer with side long
glances at the people passing in the halls and
then confidentially, at each other.

Mike Morton whispered. "Nothing he's going to
face,.....will be bad news.."  And then the young
African American doctor was off down the
corridor like a shot.. "See ya later, boys!" he
called out as he rapidly departed.

Gage's mouth flopped open in wide disappointment
and he bellowed, "Oh, come on, doc. That's not fair.
You could have given us more than that...!!"

Morton shrugged hands and shoulders as he rounded
the bend, "Can't.." he replied tartly amused and
pantomimed a zipper shutting firmly across his lips
and made good his escape.

Johnny was stuck looking at the place where
he had last seen Morton's white tunic-ed
back, gaping like a fish.

Roy leaned on the wall and crossed his elbows
over one another with a mystified grin. "I'd say
Morton beat you at your own game, Johnny.
He's even faster on the draw than you are."

"Would you just shut up.. And carry those
two helmets like a man, you look ridiculous
wearing one in the hospital like that." And
he swiped Roy's headgear off his partner's
head, thrusting it at him.

Roy suddenly snatched up the gear boxes
and rabbit dashed for the supply desk. "Ha!
You touched it last.." he teased and got out
of range quickly before Gage realized that
he'd been had yet again while still holding the
"ball."   "And that's a tag back. So accept the
full consequences.... like a man.." he smiled.

"Hey!.. You'd kick a guy when he's down?!"
Gage shouted after him.

"Sure, why not? You aren't down, you're just a
little stung for being so cleverly outsmarted,
that's all." Roy said, pouring himself and
Johnny some coffee from Dixie's warming pot.

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It took a full minute for Johnny to figure out
how to carry all the equipment, his talkie, AND two
helmets. He nearly dropped his run slate.
Finally, Gage got a handle on his ungainly load
and he let loose a long suffering groan, trudging
slowly after him. "Thanks, pal.." he said
sarcastically from behind a wall of gear.

"No problem, Junior.. And remind me to thank
Kelly for the Helmet Game idea when we get back.
I think we're really going to have fun with it ."

"Speak for yourself.." Johnny grumbled as he
set all the gear and hats onto the desk in front
of him.


"What?!" Johnny snapped. He felt a prod and
looked down to see a coffee cup nudging his light
blue shirt.

"You're gonna get thirsty lugging all that."

"You're all heart.." Gage said, snatching the cup from
Roy gruffly.

"It's in my nature." Roy replied, draining his own
in two swallows.


Dixie had finished getting Susan set for discharge
from the ER and then she got her into her
jeans and shoes to go along with the windbreaker.

The blond haired girl had jumped down from the
gurney to go wait for her ride in the waiting room,
when Dix said. "Hang on a minute there, young lady..
You forgot this.." she said, holding out the Albuterol
inhaler Roy and Johnny had said was hers.

"Oh, that ol thing.. You can have it. I don't want

"Listen, sweety. That "old thing" saved your life
this afternoon. Now I think you owe it to your
personal counselor to at least be cordial enough
to have it on your person for the next time you
get into the weeds. Don't you think?" she said,
lifting Susan's chin gently by the chin.

"I guess.." The girl said glumly, taking it reluctantly
from Dixie's hand.

"Here. Have a seat back up." Dixie said, patting
the gurney and the sheets lying rumpled there.
She surprised the unhappy child by hopping up
onto the gurney too, taking her into her arms
in a mothering hug.

Susan relaxed immediately and almost started
to cry because it felt so good to be held.

Dixie sensed the child's fragile state, but she went
on.  "Now.. let's have that woman to woman talk
before you have to go. I did hold up my part of the
bargain by shooing all the men out of the room.."

"You did.." she sighed. "Guess I have to tell you
then, huh?"

"Yep." Dixie said, unwrapping her arms from their
hug to straighten a messy curl back to its usual
place behind Susan's ear.

Susan took a deep breath in, fiddling with the
silver inhaler in her lap, before saying, "Jeremy Conners
said that he was going to make sure no more buildings,
like the one that killed his dad, stayed standing anymore.
I got really mad because he said he wasn't sorry for the
one that hurt Coach."

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Dixie blinked a bit at that, frowning. "Just what do
you mean by that Susan..?" she whispered, making
sure her voice stayed calm even as the rest of her
filled with a sudden sick dread.

"Don't you get it? Jeremy's proving himself to the
Skinheads Gang. He's trying to be picked to be their
next firestarter ace.  They told him his dad won't
rest peacefully until he burns someone else."

Dixie gasped in shock, but quickly hid it. Numbly,
she felt the next words tumble out. "When,'s
Jeremy ...C-- Conners, isn't it?"

"Uh huh.." she nodded, fiddling with the rings on
Dixie's elegant hands.

"When will Jeremy Conners, .....try it again?"  

"When you can't see the moon anymore."

::Ohmyg*d..:: Dixie quailed mentally. ::That's tonight!::


Mike Stoker and Victoria the psychologist were
having dinner at the station with the rest of
the gang. Cap had insisted she stay to shed
some light on the kids in the Home.

"Now, Captain. You know I can't discuss details
of my case minors with you.."

Cap inclined his head. "I'm not asking for their
phone numbers, just a little insight or two. Look,
it's costing the city thousands of dollars, if not
millions, each time a derelict goes up in smoke.
Now that translates into budget cuts, and eventually,
those hit the fire department, and that effect,
gets US where it hurts the most. Right in the
pocket book.."

"Here, here.." said all the gang with derision.

Victoria sent down her fork and knife with a
clatter and she looked up from her plate of
roast chicken. "Oh, isn't that so noble of you."
she said with heat. "Money first, eh? Well, your
tactics stink. I'm not the bad guy here."

"No one's saying you are, Vic.." Mike Stoker
insisted, rubbing an itch around his wrapped eyes.
He had been silent through the whole debate but
now he found he had to speak up for his crewmates.

"Oh, Mike, not you too." she said, surprised.

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Within Sight
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