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        Green Pen Of Johnny's
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        Page  Eight

Chet made a face. Then he turned his attention back
to Bellingham when the man's air-tank-is-empty whistle
began to sound. He pulled off Bob's mask and replaced
it with his own. "Brilliant Sherlock Holmes.. That's a brownie
point for you. This one's his now, Stoker." he said, tapping
the face plate he held pressed over Bob's nose and mouth
around the jaw thrust he was maintaining on the mostly out
paramedic. "Gimme yours so I can buddy breathe in peace
and quiet ok? We'll trade off every two breaths like the usual.
Do me a favor huh? Keep theorizing this crime scene to
yourself. I'm so mad at that kid right now, I just might curse him
with that hex Marco's mom once taught me that Lopez says
always seems to work for her." he cocked his geared head
in another thought. "Or I just might give the other Station
Ten guys his description when we find them and let THEM
deal out a little justice before the cops come."

Smiling and rationing his breath, Stoker lifted his HT to
report that a Station Ten man had been found alive.

"Brice! ... no.." Roy said firmly, grabbing Craig's arm.

They had both just heard Mike Stoker's report on finding
Bob Bellingham injured  soon after the stunning shock
of news announcing Engine Ten's demise.

Now, the straight laced, usually bureaucratic eye glassed
paramedic was anything but reserved. He almost shook
free of DeSoto's hold on him ; the only thing which
kept Brice from running off into the debris field to get
to Bellingham's side. "Roy, Kelly and Stoker aren't
paramedics. They don't know the first thing about
secondarily surveying a patient! Getting that right is
critical! "

"True, but they DO know the primary one. You remember..
the one about the A B C's..?" Roy grinned. "Bob's in good
enough hands until Squad 8 gets there. They did say they
had breathing, a regular pulse and that Bob was reactive
to pain.  He'll get through just fine without you going barging
in there and taking over.." he said necessarily sharp.

"How would you feel if it was YOUR partner lying there
as a victim?" Craig said, not caring how he sounded to
the civilian volunteers milling about them. "I'm sure if
the tables were turned and you were in MY shoes, that
you'd try to expedite a rescue as quickly as possible
yourself, just like what you're accusing me of doing right
now. Listen to your radio DeSoto.. Hear all that chatter?
That's the sound of three dozen other firefighters who
feel exactly the same way I do right now. "

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Roy led Craig out of the food tent by the elbow to
stand near the squad. "Craig.. Craig.. " he interjected
between Brice's long drawn out speech. "Craig.. I- I
understand. But this is triage. We go where they
tell us and not a moment before. I heard Battalion
12 say he was planning on sending us out. So all
we have to do is sit tight and wait for the word go..
all right?"

Right then came a harried rookie from the city
in dusty yellow with an air bottle strapped on
the wrong way. At his feet was Boot, barking

"Hey, 51.." said the young rookie. "This your
dog? Listen, you'd better take charge of him
cause my captain's had it up to here with him
grabbing all our pant legs for no good reason.
He's really pissing the guys off.  Broderick almost
blasted him with the engine cannon to clear him outta
our space..."

"What?" Roy said, taking charge of Boot's collar.
The ragged dog was whining and carrying on.
And he was breathing oddly, like he was choking.

The rookie just threw up his hands and walked
away mumbling. "Just keep him away from us,
Truck 226, and you'll have no problems. If he
comes back and becomes the main course on
the chow line, don't come looking for me..."

Craig had already crouched down by Boot's side.
"His name's Boot?" he asked Roy, grabbing the dog
by the head and pulling his chin up to see the cause
of Boot's physical distress.

DeSoto nodded.

Brice pulled a green ink pen out of Boot's mouth
briefly before the dog fiercely retook possession of
it, only to resume his whining and pacing before the two
paramedics with even more urgency.  "I don't know dogs,
DeSoto. But he's obviously stressed, maybe because
of all the fatalities around here."

Roy also stooped and petted Boot's back to calm
him but it didn't work. "He's really worked up about
something. What was that you got out of his mouth?"

Brice suffered a brief tug of war with Boot but finally
yanked the ink pen out of the mutt's maw and he held
it up before the leaping canine snatched it away again.
"Just an ink pen.. how strange.. There's thousands of
better kinds of sticks lying around. Why did he choose
that to play with?" Craig wondered.

Roy got a sudden sinking feeling in his stomach.
"He doesn't play, and when he's onto something like
this, it's because he's tracking someone."


"Boot's done this before. When he first started hanging
around the station, on our first call, he actually found a
hiker's backpack along the roadside. Without him, we
wouldn't've ever found the victim. He was eighty feet
down a beach cliff following a fall..." Roy said absently.

Boot suddenly pushed the pen into DeSoto's hand
and then began to tug his pants leg in earnest, almost
to the point of tipping him over. His whines and frantic
barks continued even more loudly.

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Craig said. "What now? We can't keep him in the squad.
It's too hot.." Then he scratched his head. "I know, I'll
tie him up to the running board with a tow line.." And
he finished carrying out his idea.

"Let him go.." Roy said, feeling something dreadful.

The pen that he held up into the rising sunlight was
full of blood stains.

Craig shrugged and then cut the rope in two with his
belt pocket knife.

Boot took off towards Rampart like a shot, but only
along a route that the squad could follow.

DeSoto grew certain.. "He's onto someone who's
in trouble, someone no one else knows about.. Get
in. We'll follow him.."

Brice said, "DeSoto, this is highly illog--"

DeSoto slammed the driver's door after stepping into
the squad and securing his helmet. "Maybe. But we
have no reason to go anywhere else until we're
formally authorized. Buckle up.."

Soon, Roy pulled up in a clear spot alongside the
outdoor cafeteria out of the way of the line of
ambulances and supply tents and the morgue area.

Boot hastily ran into the cafeteria's courtyard.

"Oh, boy.." Roy said. "The doctors in there aren't gonna
like that.."

But Craig and he got out of the squad, complete with
their air bottles on anyway, to find out where Boot was

Roy hesitantly stopped at the barrier sealed off entrance
and waved a sweating doctor over to his side.

The M.D. said, "What can I do for you, paramedic....."
and he fished for a name, peering at Roy's sooty name

"DeSoto.. " Brice supplied when Roy wasn't fast enough.

Roy exchanged looks with Craig in gratitude. "Doc, this
will only take a second. uh,,, H-Have you seen a dog
in here?"

The blond haired man tossed his head over his left
shoulder. "Oh, you mean that one?"

Roy and Craig glanced over to a section of grass
along the brick wall that bordered the eatery. A bloody
collie lay stretched and silent in death near a garbage

The doc went on. "She came in here about two hours
ago looking for her owner most likely. Died of her
injuries before she found anyone.."

Roy blinked..."Uh,, this one's living... about two feet
high, shaggy brown.."

A commotion near the center of the triage section drew
all of their eyes.

Boot was scrambling on top of a table hastily stacked
with emergency supplies and then, impossibly, he
leaped up onto an adjacent umbrella, still stretched
upright and shading patients lying beneath it.

"Hey!!" snapped the doctor. "Get down! Now!" he
yelled, fearing that Boot would slip off and land on
the stokes victims underneath the umbrella.

"Oh my G*d.." DeSoto blurted and he and Craig rushed
forward to drag Boot off his precarious perch.

As they were reaching, they saw where Boot was
staring and barking....up the side of Rampart.

"Johnny!!!!??"  DeSoto cried out.

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Brice's HT was in his hand in seconds and he
was talking before Roy drew another breath.
"L.A. , we have a man trapped outside the fourth
floor above the triage area. Also a child. Both
are unconscious and in heavy smoke.. Squad 51
is at scene.."

Roy and Brice barely heard the Battalion Chiefs'
reply nor the unit L.A. was dispatching to aid them.

DeSoto started running for the doors of the hospital
when he felt a sharp jolt as strong hands stopped him.

"Roy,.. what did you just inform me about five minutes ago?
I suggest strongly that we stay put." Brice said evenly.

DeSoto let out a sigh of exasperation, but finally just
joined Boot into staring up skyward, looking for signs of life
in the two still forms dangling from a tied off fire hose,
above him.

The doctor couldn't tell what was louder, Boot's frantic
barks or Roy DeSoto's urgent yells to the man that
they had discovered in jeopardy. All he knew was
that in a few minutes, he'd have two more victims
on his roster to worry about.

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Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 12:29:43 -0800 (PST)
From: "Sam Iam" <>  
Subject:  Aftermath

Brice tapped Roy DeSoto on the shoulder to
get around the hindering sound dampening SCBA
tank the paramedic had on. "DeSoto.. Gage's line,
such that it is, looks secure. Let's go meet the bucket
at the entrance and start clearing a path through
the gawkers for the truck to get in here." he shouted.

Roy, grabbing Boot and praising him ecstatically,
nodded his masked head vigorously. "Ok. Sounds
like a plan." he said, aiming a powerful flashlight a
quick thinking intern had handed him from a supply
cart, up into the smoke. "I'm not seeing cyanosis on
either one of them. They've got to be breathing."
he added. "Let's go."

The two fully geared firefighters heard Battalion 12
organizing their new rescue priority around the one
Kelly and Stoker were managing, in stereo, from
their cranked volume handi talkies. The radio
commands echoed eerily up the concrete flank of
the hospital and echoed back down to them faintly
over the sounds coming from the triage station
around them. They were only slightly louder than
the moans issuing from the walking wounded lined
up by category along the cafeteria wall.

Soon, ironically, Truck 226 pulled up and Roy and
Brice were met with a familiar sight leaping off the
rear bumper.

It was the rookie who had "returned" Boot. "Hey,
51.. " the young curly haired man shouted. "Listen..
Sorry about earlier.  I- I didn't know what your mutt was
up to. I'll do everything I can to get your man down from
there as fast as I can. Don't you worry. ." and he began
to rapidly place the anchor plates down on the dusty
asphalt for the truck's descending stabilizer legs.

"Forget it, kid.." Roy grinned as best he could. "I'll be
the first to admit that Boot DOES get annoying when
he's on full bark and tug mode."

Right then, Truck 226's captain jogged up. He noted
the air tanks Brice and Roy were using and he frowned.
"No one told me jet fumes were blowing downwind into
the triage area.."

"I think they were too busy to realize that, Cap." DeSoto
said, throwing a hand at all the frantic doctors and nurses
working on the rows of patients stretched out in between
all the tipped over dining tables and umbrellas.

"Changing all of that right now.." the gray haired captain
promised. He toggled a talk button. "Truck 226 to Battalions
12 and 14. The wind's shifted southwards from the impact
site towards the hospital and triage area. I recommend you
set up a series of water curtains to divert the worst of
the smoke and fumes away from all the patients inside and
outside of Rampart. They're in a direct line of risk."

##10-4. Truck 226. ## came a dual reply.

Dimly, Roy heard Engine 8  being dispatched to his scene
with three other stations as well as his own. ::I'll just bet
Bellingham's on his way here right now if they've been
freed to respond to us.::

Slowly, 226's engineer lifted the arching white span of
the bucket's arm upwards from his place inside of it.  
He nodded with satisfaction when he saw Brice peel
off his gloves to get the two demand valves set up for
Johnny and the girl. The rookie firefighter insisted on
those going up with them.

Soon, both the basket and the three firefighters in it,
disappeared into the smoke. Unconsciously, Roy lifted
his HT. "Squad 51 to HT 51. Radio check.."

Craig immediately replied back and his distant figure
suddenly reappeared in a hissing gust and Roy saw him
lift an arm in an affirmation wave as he spoke. ##Loud
and clear, 51. Stand by for info. We're almost there. I
can see them.##

There was a long pause, and Boot in Roy's arms sliced
it wide open with an impatient frantic whine. "Yeah,
I know how you feel, I hate waiting, too, boy."


##Squad 51. They're alive. Carotids on both..## came
Brice's relieved voice.

Roy let out the breath he had been holding and he joyfully
shoved Boot into the squad before grabbing his gear out
of the side compartments. He laid them on a yellow treatment
tarp on a section of uncluttered grass. He knew he'd be
treating long before the triage doctors even had a space
for his two victims.  He got on the biophone just as Engine 51
pulled in to begin setting up the water curtain to protect
the triage area from the thickening chemical smoke.

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Roy gave Captain Stanley an indication of who one of the
victims was by tapping the number on his helmet. He immediately
tempered that with a hasty thumbs up to Cap without speaking.

DeSoto saw Hank visibly relax.

Brackett replied to Roy's hail.  ##Squad 51, Go ahead.##

Drumming relieved gloved hands on the squad's hood,
Stanley nodded at DeSoto in a thanks for the news and
then he scrambled Kelly, Stoker, and Lopez into support

Roy did one double take as Bob Bellingham was
carried in by Engine 8's crew on a long board. He wasn't
even fitted with an airway underneath the oxygen mask.
::That's good.:: DeSoto thought. He saw the still and
wounded paramedic placed on the grass in the line of
victims classified as red tagged to await his turn for
more aggressive treatment and further assessment. One
of Station Eight's paramedics parked with him but soon
automatically volunteered himself to monitor those
victims in his same row without being told to do so by
a doctor.

Dutifully, the medic dragged Bellingham's gurney
into the yellow triage tagged line when the burly man
awoke and began to ask him legible questions.

Roy sighed and replied to Dr. Brackett.
"Rampart, we've a Code I and a little girl of nine
from a previous rescue. Right now they're inaccessible
but both of them should be freed in a few minutes.
Please stand by."


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In the Base Station, Kel's face furrowed when he
heard about the child. "Is this the girl from the factory fire
that Joe Early handled earlier?## he demanded to know without
giving out too much information over the very public biocom
channel he knew the fire chiefs and L.A. were both monitoring
because of the declared disaster level emergency they
were all facing.

"10-4.." Roy answered.

##I'm getting her chart now..## Brackett affirmed and
he turned to tap on the window for Betty, Dixie's stand-in.

"Don't bother.." said a voice near his waist. Kel whirled
to see an arm slinged Dixie McCall in a wheel chair,
sitting next to him. She nonchalantly held Megan's
patient slate out to him with her good hand. "I took the
liberty of grabbing this on my way in here."

"Dixie! Just what the h*ll are you doing out of bed?! Who
let you loose?" Brackett boomed.

"Kel, do you think I'm stupid enough to even hint at that
person's name? Besides, I didn't break your orders. My
I.V. finished up just fine and my pressure's holding so here I
am. Gimme..." and she wriggled fingers for a note pad and

Kel Brackett figured it out. "You sly little vixen. You turned your
Ringers to wide open, to drain it faster, didn't you?"

Dixie merely blinked straight faced at him, not admitting anything.
Then she said. "Now how could I have done that? You had
both my arms strapped down."

Kel didn't even blink back. "Someone else did it then.." he
started to smoulder.

"Ease off, Kel." she pleaded with a half whine of weariness.
"That firefighter and little Megan both need us right now so
just can it, Kel. Shut up and let's get to work!" she said just
as brusk, breathing hard.  But then she smiled and the faintest
hint of pink flushed rapidly into her cheeks.

That convinced Kel as to the progress of her recovery so
he gave her what she wanted sheepishly. "Glad you're back,
Dix, we've missed you."

"Unlikely.. Now, has Roy given you any data yet?"

"Nope. Victims are still stuck high up." Kel said, checking
the circulation in Dixie's fingers to see how his suturing was
faring. "Any seepage?"

"Nope.." Dixie said, trying not to wince at the exam. "You
did your usual thorough job, Doctor Frankenstein. Very
neat rows. Looks like I was stitched up by a sewing machine,
instead of by you."

Kel grin's split even further. "I aim to please.." he said, gently
releasing her arm.  "How did you know I'd need this?" he said,
hefting the metal chart of Megan's.

"Oh, Kel.. I tried to tell you and Morton both about Megan. That's
the whole reason why I went up to the fourth floor after the plane
hit. Let me fill you in. Johnny's the Code I, so get boned up.
That orderly who attended me, with you earlier in the
Treatment Room, told me more about how Gage and she were
trapped in their room by fallen scaffolding. Only one back hall
leads out of their bathroom and that was the one..."

"... that leads behind the glass elevator shaft... hmmmm.." Dr.
Brackett said thoughtfully. "There's also a supply room in there.
Something must have happened to effect Johnny's reasoning
ability or he'd still be in there holing up with Megan."

Dixie had an answer for that, too. "It did. There's a block long
water curtain going up on the crash side of the building. I remember
seeing those only used to divert toxic smoke away from people
back when I was still training paramedics on ride alongs."

Brackett frowned, and toggled the switch. "Rampart to Squad 51."

##Go ahead, Rampart.##

"Just learned about the bad air outside. What are your victims'
consciousness levels?"

##Both are out, doc. Brice and another fireman's got them on
positive pressure ventilations assisting their own inhalations.
Both have unimpeded airways, adjunct supported. They say
no signs of laryngospasm is evident . Oh, and the little girl's still
got her I.V. line. It's intact. Brice said Johnny's signature's on it
marking it as a new bag. Uhh,'s I.V.#2..Timed forty five
minutes ago..##

"10-4.  51, I'm fore-authorizing you for 1 cc epinephrine, adult's, and
.3 cc's peds if that condition develops in either victim. Continue
to update me as your rescue progresses and notify me
as soon as you have patient access. I'm assuming position
as their attending M.D. I'll be faster than those assigned out by you
in the triage area. If I'm needed by you and Brice, I'll be out
there. Rampart out."

He sighed and quickly read Megan's patient information
with a practiced flipping of pages. Then he leaned against
the counter with the recording machine and switched it off
to await Roy's next transmission. He regarded Dixie
thoughtfully as she jotted down the last of his orders to
Squad 51. "Just how did you know beyond just his and your
guessing, that Johnny and Megan had gotten into that hallway? "

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"The orderly went down to the security office and had them
aim a camera onto the floor to look for biosigns on the tiles.
They found some blood, and an arrow of coloring pens,
pointing in the direction of the elevator shaft."
 At Brackett's puzzled look, she elaborated. "This afternoon,
I sort of...snuck up there to check on Johnny by taking over
some of Megan's lab work and saw that they were arguing
over custody of a green pen that she had on the table.  I just
put two and two together.." she said bowing her head fractionally.

"I don't know whether to congratulate you or throttle you for
leaving the ER twice, unannounced, during a crisis alert."
Kel grimaced, waving Joe Early into the room to order him
to take over as ER head while he went to rendevous with Roy.

"I did pay the price, Kel. I argued with a window losing a battle
with a crashing airplane." and she lifted her splinted arm in

Kel fell silent and brooding without anger. "Pain getting too much?"

"Nope.." she trickled instantly. "This one isn't an ankle. I can take an
arm over a foot any day of the week. That time bothered me. This time,
it doesn't." she said evenly. "Besides, what's my color showing you?"

Kel stroked her cheek in a brief show of affection. "That you're hungry.
Go eat. I promise I'll call you the moment Roy calls back in. I'm clearing
you for some oral intake. If you don't spill anything on my suture job,
I'll forget you were ever AWOL." he said marking down his
orders on the run sheet he pulled down from the file box next
to the EKG monitor.

"Deal, I'll be back with some coffee just for you."

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"Good luck. All the pots are empty..." he grinned without
looking up. "As of three hours ago."

"No, they're not. I know all the hiding places.
I'll do some acting as the poor hurt head nurse and beg
some off the student squirrelers."

The last part of her sentence was punctuated by the
sound of a fast opening door onto the busy ER.
Kel thought. ::Oh no she doesn't...::
"Hey!" Kel yelled after Dix, holding the glass door of
the base station open so that he could see her retreating
back. "You forgot your wheel chair.. And why don't you
fess up and tell us doctors about those hiding places..?"

"Nurses autonomy.. Live with it and accept that you're
simply SOL, doctor." her voice floated sweetly
back to him. "Thanks for lifting my chow restriction,
I'm starving!"

Kel launched the empty wheel chair out of the little
transparent room and narrowly missed hitting Joe
Early with it as he breezed in.

Joe didn't bat an eye and deflected the wheeling
obstacle away from his knees with a foot neatly agile.
"Problem, Kel?" he asked picking
up the orders Brackett had just finished dictating.

"Head nurses and firefighters.. Who can live with them?"
Kel said without elaborating further.

"Us, Kel. Can't live without 'em. Remember that when
you're old and gray like me." Dr. Early smiled mildly.
"They're your bread and butter for the whole paramedic
program which you created, by the way, doctor." he said

"Don't remind me." Kel grumbled. "Better have someone
get a forklift to pull Johnny Gage's chart from Records again.
He went down while playing Batman on the side of the

"What's he doing out there?"

"He got a kid out of the only patient room endangered
by that mess outside. His own. Smoke made him attempt
his current idiotic stunt gone bad, and he's now hanging,
out cold above triage instead of staying nice and safe in  
a supply room."

"Terrific.. I'll get Respiratory Therapy ready. Want a couple
of bronchoscopy trays set up for your jump bag? I assume
you are giving me the entire ER's reins while you go play
Doctor Do Right out in triage."

"You guessed right."

Right then, a candy striper trotted into the base station
alcove with a mug of steaming coffee. She went right
to Kel Brackett with it. "Compliments of Dixie, doctor."
and she sailed right back out again.

Joe melted. "Oh!  That's real coffee! Where'd you manage
to materialize that, Kel? I've been licking the dry coffee
ring in MY mug for hours." he asked drooling.

"Go see, Dix, Joe. She's the head of a secret society
of illegal java poolers."

"Huh?" Joe blinked.

"Never mind. Just look for the sky blue splint and you'll spot
her if you want to get some for yourself."

"Splint?! She's hurt?" It was Joe's turn to get sharp.
"Why didn't anybody inform me?"

"There wasn't time. Morton and I handled her surgery

"Dixie was hurt enough for surgery?!"

"MINOR surgery, Joe. So don't get your shorts in a knot.
A brachial tear from glass. Easily repaired. Now shoo.
Go be my leader. "


"Dixie'll tell you about it all herself no doubt before I'm
through with this call. And she'll probably yarn about
Johnny here, a bit, too. " he said, tapping the biophone
radio receiver and the run sheet he had scribbled
the firefighter's name onto.  "Oh, and did I tell you that the
child he had with him is actually Megan Miller? I know you
saw her this morning but I'll be seeing her now out in triage
after you take over for me."

Dr. Brackett wisely closed base station door on
Early's scowling face as Roy's voice sounded in
once more on hail, grinning like a banshee at the
sight of his colleague absorbing the double whammy
news shocks like a trooper.

He took a deep breath to fortify himself and flipped
the  recorder back on.
##Go ahead, 51. I read you loud and clear.##
Kel toggled, answering Roy's request for contact.

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"Rampart, we've extricated both victims. We're getting
both on EKGs on simultaneous telemetry.  The adult male's
via the defib paddles and the girl's through the Tetronix. He's
tachycardic and I don't know why. He's got a weird
V-Tach with a pulse."

##10-4, .....uh.. 51,....I know the identity of your Code I. Given
his past surgical history, I'm ordering you to draw a red top
for a cross match for a prelim RBC count. Then start a 500
cc D5W I.V. on him but keep it TKO until we've determined  
the cause for his arrythmia. I'll be right out there in three
minutes after you send me those strips.##

"10-4. Transmitting both now on Lead Two.."

##Link established..## Kel confirmed.

He was still studying the EKGs when Joe showed up and
parked Kel's favorite jump bag into the wheel chair still
partially blocking the way into the receiving alcove.

Joe paused long enough to look at Megan's strip before
he darted off to run the ER department in Kel's stead.

Brackett abandoned his post and hurried past
the security checkpoint and out into the cafeteria commons.
He pushed the wheel chair full of gear along with him
and also a spare O2 upright apparatus that he found
unclaimed against a wall.

It was still full with ample suctioning tubes and a cleverly
added tracheotomy kit around its regulator.


Roy DeSoto didn't even reprimand Brice about where
he placed Johnny and Megans' mutual stokes. They
were lined up in the red row adjacent to where Bob
Bellingham was lying in the yellow one. ::That's bending
the rules a bit but if the situations were reversed, I'd be
doing exactly the same thing by trying to get close.
He's gotta know how his partner's doing.::
he admitted mentally.

DeSoto lifted the paddles away from Johnny's ribcage,
his strip reading send now complete. Brice had already
assessed Megan and found her the more stable of
their two patients. Now, Craig was sweeping down
Gage from his head on downwards, pausing only long
enough to get in a fast pupillary check.

Roy decided to speed up finding out what was wrong
with his partner by beginning palpation of his abdomen.
His gloves were just about pelvis level when Craig
shouted. "Freeze, DeSoto. That lump in his pocket
may be a drug needle. His pupils are constricted
and that with his odd tachycardia might spell atropine.
He's smelling like anesthetic similar to a surgery store

How Brice smelled that over all the acrid
chemical smoke leaking off Gage's blue jeans,
Roy couldn't even begin to guess at. He just
chalked it off as another quirky Brice talent.

"Johnny, self treated himself for sure?" Roy asked

Roy checked carefully in the suspicious pocket and
he blinked when he indeed, found a .3 mg syringe packet
full of atropine. Its needle was lacking a cover. Brice had
just saved him from a nasty, unpleasant injection
and needle stick.

"Yeah.. It's almost guaranteed. His blood pressure trend
confirms it.  Up there, we got not even orthostatic changes
happening while we were securing him for lowering.
B.P.'s still unmoving and rock solid at 92/58." he said,
taking the stethoscope out of his ears. "That was very
smart of Gage to use atropine. There was enough
cyanide in that smoke up there to choke a horse. Our
jacket indicators changed color right away."

Roy didn't miss Brice's quick glance towards his partner
lying so close and yet so far away in the next row of

He got up and knelt so that he was in between Megan
and Gage's stokes. Then DeSoto said, "Go, Brice."

"What?" Brice stammered, still adjusting the I.V. on
Gage while his other hand stuffed it under his shoulder.

"Go visit Bob. I won't tell. I'll just give you a heads up when I
eyeball Brackett coming our way." DeSoto offered.

"Thanks, DeSoto." Brice said uncomfortable about
breaking a rule. But that didn't stop him from scooting
over to Bob and donning a new pair of gloves so that
he could do a once over on Bellingham himself under
the eye of the paramedic attending Bellingham.

Roy saw Brice take Bob's hand into his own
as he spoke quietly to him, in tearful relief.

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