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  The White Engine
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Two, Episode Twelve..

The White Engine  

Debut Launch: 1 August 2004.

From :  Cassidy Meyers <>
Sent :  Saturday, August 14, 2004 4:34 AM
Subject :  Like Kids in A Candy Store

Johnny Gage arrived to work, automatically buzzing himself through
the fire station's side kitchen door, while unbuttoning his shirt.
"Morning, Chet." he greeted.

Fireman Kelly didn't even look up from the collection of gadgets
and bits of machinery strewn across newspapers on the table.
"Hmmm.. " he said, closely joining together a wire and spring
with a soldering iron. "Eat on a tray. I'm busy here. Touch nothing."

Gage skidded to a halt, naturally, to see what Chet was up to.
"What's this?" he said, picking up a small black case fitted with
a pressure dial.

"ah ahH  AHH! Gimme that!" the curly haired fireman snapped
defensively, snatching the homemade part out of Johnny's grip.
He carefully placed it back into the order he had laid out before him.
"Boy, you sure know how to listen to directions, Gage. Cap, I think
you oughta send Johnny to Rampart. I don't think his ears are
functioning." he complained.

Hank Stanley sniffed from where he was sipping coffee in the
easy chair, his lap full of snoring Henry . "What else's new?
Goes along with both of his feet, Kelly." Cap glared at Johnny,
waving what he was really reading on top of the stocks section.
"Your accident report for the week is already three pages long.
Have you been getting more sleep like I ordered ya to?"

Gage forgot his curiosity over Kelly's impromptu project  and
frowned right back. "Yeah, Cap. Plenty.. I. "

"And how about remembering to take those multi vitamins Dr.
Early suggested we all start taking." Hank added.

"As if I'd forget. Roy left a note on my bathroom mirror a foot
wide, reminding me about em." Johnny snorted under his breath.

"Good. Now eat. Stoker brought in danishes for breakfast. They're
over there on the counter." Stanley said, lifting the paper up in
front of his face to end the conversation.

"Danishes? Roy loves danishes. And there's a cheese one left."
Gage interjected as he chewed a raspberry one loudly. "How
come he hasn't taken it yet before Lopez does?"

"He's busy.." Chet Kelly answered, penning some molten soldering
onto his tiny invention. A plume of bluish smoke rose up and started
off the fire detector on the ceiling. "Oops!"  Kelly shot up and
stood in his chair while he pulled the lid off to silence the alarm.

Stoker came pelting in with the fire extinguisher from the vehicle

Kelly didn't even look up from his work. "Now there's a set of
tightly bundled reflexes. Gage, you can learn from him."

"What?" Stoker asked. "Where's the fire?"

"False alarm, Stoker. Everything's fine.." Cap said from
the chair, still buried in his paper.

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"Oh..." Mike gaped.  Then his expression fell into one of irritation
that matched Gage's when he found out the reason for the noise.
"I thought Chet fried some snow skiis again or something."

"Very funny.." Kelly told him. "Nah, what I got here is going to
revolutionize the entire fire department, Stoker. It came to
me during last Thursday's fire."

"You mean at the factory where we all got a chest full of smoke
for nothing after rescuing Moreno's abandoned turnout jacket when
we thought he was trapped in there?" Gage supplied.

"That's the one. Too bad that almost perfect recall doesn't work
so well with the rest of ya." Chet quipped, pointing his steaming
pen at Johnny in emphasis.

"Speak for yourself. You got Cap here so conditioned to your
continually setting off the fire detectors here, that he
doesn't even blink any more."

"Wrong Gage. I blinked. I just chose not to react." Hank grumbled.
"Stoker leave that extinguisher where Chet can reach it.
Then you can go back to studying up."

"Right Cap." and Mike left the kitchen with two danishes.

"Hey, Stoker. Leave the cheese one for Roy!" Johnny admonished.

"I'm bringing it to him out back. Wanna come along?"

"You mean he's not in the locker room poring over the horse
racing column?"

"Nope." Mike Stoker said through a cheekful of pastry.

"What's he doing that's so important that he's forgetting his
breakfast?" Gage asked the station engineer.

Stoker said nothing and just motioned to Johnny to follow him.


The first thing Gage noticed was the gaping space yawning floor
to ceiling in the bay. It made the squad seem very small.
"Where's the Ward at?"

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"In the shop. She needed a new water tank. It was rusting out."
Stoker said, picking up a basket ball and shooting it into the
hoop above the shower room doorframe.

Johnny glanced over at the speaker grill and saw the glowing
ready light pulsing there on active mode. "We're on active duty?
How can we be with no engine handy to take out on calls?"

Mike Stoker just flung the basket ball over to the open door
garage button leading out into the backyard, activating it.

The screeching massive slats retracted revealing a blinding
white light. Johnny's mouth fell open. "What the h*ll is that?"

"Our loaner." Stoker said with a grin. "Roy's at the back panel
learning how to work all the new gadgetry." He couldn't help
but show all of his teeth like a kid in the candy store. "Isn't
she beautiful?"  

Johnny followed Stoker dumbly out into the morning sunlight with
the berry danish in between his teeth, remaining unchewed.

Stoker gave a running account of what he had discovered
since coming to work. "Meet the "Ambassador" Ward LaFrance 1000.
She's got a six cylinder Cummins Diesel engine with an automatic transmission,
a 2000 GPM  two stage Hale Class Water Pump with a 500 Gallon
capacity reservoir. And get a load of this, this baby's got a IDLH atmosphere
attacking repetoire consisting of  a FOUR inch diameter hose- 500 feet in
length, a  2 1/2" at a 1,000'.  Plus an 1 3/4" topping 450' ! Awesome
killing power."

"But..but..but...." Gage sputtered.

Mike didn't hear him. He was too deep into his stint of fire truck
admiration to pay him any heed. " ...Did I tell you that she can seat all
six of us, including all of your medical gear from the squad? The
chief's already authorized duplicates. See?" and he popped
open a shiny chrome door behind the engineer's cab which
revealed everything in its proper place.

Gage slammed the door shut again.

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"Hey, take it easy! Do you want to damage Ivory before she's
even broken in?" Stoker said, protectively rubbing off
Gage's fingermarks with the chamois that miraculously
appeared from his back pocket. "We've got the honor
of being the first station to get her off the assembly line you know."

"Ivory? This ugly thing of an engine's got a name already?"
John asked incredulously.

"Sure, why not? Our regular Ward's got one.." Marco
Lopez said from on top of the huge truck, startling
Johnny. He was seated in the chrome sprayer chair,
testing out the still dry cannon.

"But.. but... but... she's......*ugh*... a white fire engine.
When I signed up for the department  I was counting
on serving the kind of engine I always saw all the other
guys working on. An honest to goodness fire engine that was
RED colored, not.. this, this frosty kind! You need a
pair of sunglasses handy to get anywhere near her here."
he said, wiping his eyes free of bright light tears.

"Got 'em..." Hank grinned, joining his men outside, pulling
out a pair from his uniform shirt. "Here's yours, Gage."
and he tossed them to his flustered paramedic.
"Roy's already got his."

Johnny's disgust only grew when Stoker, Marco and Cap
all shoved on the beach lifeguard mirror shades before
they climbed aboard.  Gage's list of grievances only grew
and the others patiently let him vent until he was done.
"So how long are we gonna be stuck with her?" Johnny
said in the end with his hands on his hips.

"Don't know. Chief says could be a week, or three.." Hank
smiled, enjoying Johnny's shock and dismay. "I told Charlie
to take his time with Ol Red. He couldn't blame me. Ivory here's
state of the art and he trusted no one else but Stoker to
be her test driver."

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Mike Stoker was suddenly rivetted with repolishing his new
intricate engineer's panel. "Hey Roy.." and he whistled
in his teeth. "Breakfast!" and he launched the covetted
cheese danish high into the air to free up his other hand.

"Stoker! What are ya doing?" Johnny yelled. "For crying
out----! "

A deep hum of moving parts and gears suddenly kicked
on and a part of the engine that was almost invisible because
of the snow white paint suddenly .. unfolded.

Mike Stoker drew near Johnny's elbow, chewing.
"Did I tell you that we are now the proud loaners of
a genuine 84 foot Addison extension ladder too?"

It was Gage's turn to start to drool. All of his earlier
complaints and carrying on, melted like sugar
under water. "Oh, boy. An Addison.."

A hand shot up from the basket of the rising ladder
sections and caught the danish neatly.

"Nice catch, Roy." Cap shouted up.
" I'd say you got the controls on that thing mastered. Now
come down. It's Johnny's turn. He's the last to get to
play ladderman." Hank ordered, walking back into
the station to finish his interrupted stocks column.

"Do you forgive her color now, Johnny?" Roy grinned,
setting the ladder into neutral as the gears glided down
across Ivory's back. The basket nestled snugly behind the
passenger cab.

Johnny was speechless and he dropped his danish
to Henry who suddenly knew to be there and flashed over
to the back control alcove. "Yeah,.. I'll forgive her.
Wow.. Is it really my turn?"

"There goes those problems with the ears again..."
Chet Kelly said, grinning like a Cheshire cat.

"You heard the Cap." Marco said. "Take her up."

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Gage bubbled as he helped Roy down from the scoop
stand. "How do I operate this? Quick, Stoker. Help me out."

"It's simple. Just think stick shift. Forward for up. Back for
down. Left and right for side to side. Nothing to it." Mike
said laughing. "Try to touch the top of the hose tower with
the basket. All of us got it up there in less than fifteen seconds."

"But that's sixy feet high at least.." Gage stammered.

"So?" Chet scoffed, grinning. "We've got 84 feet of vertical to
monkey with. Go for it. I'm timing ya..   3,.....2.....1.." and he
studied his watch closely. "Mark when I say go.."

Gage shoved on the work gloves Roy handed him and
grabbed the controls just as Kelly yelled "Go!"

The gang cheered Johnny on as he got used to the feel
of the white fire engine's best feature. But then the
call tones went off and Gage's concentration wavered.

The bottom of the rescue basket bumped the top of
the hose tower and all the hoses hanging there were
jolted off their hooks. Six of them sphagetti-d like noodles
to the ground in noisy splats, making all of them duck.

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"Oh, good going, Gage. Guess who gets to climb back
up there to rehang all of those." Kelly said.

Johnny shot Kelly a sarcastic look. "I'll use the basket to
redo em later."

Stoker was already in his overcoat, behind the wheel,
sliding into his helmet.

Cap ran from the station bay with his on and he began
shouting. "Let's move. Roy get that ladder down now.
We roll in half a minute. Then it's you two, in the back.
The squad stays behind. Chief's orders."

"What?" Johnny blurted, confused. "We're gonna need
that if it's just a medical call."

"No we won't. From now on until the old Ward gets back.
We're on every call, together. Kapesh?" Cap said in
a no nonsense tone.

Johnny nodded leadenly.

"Great, now  get in." Cap bellowed, jerking a thumb back
behind him as he opened the sparkling new engine's

Gage started to beeline for the squad to get his jacket but
Marco stopped him by flinging it and his helmet across
his chest. "I took the liberty of moving yours when I
did mine, Johnny. Here."

Johnny nodded an embarrassed thanks and slid dutifully
beside Kelly in the spacious back cab. The yellow of their
air bottles looked comical against the snowy metal.

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##Station 51, Station 8, Truck 127. Structure fire.
1700 East Beckner Avenue. Cross street Caine. 1700
East Beckner Avenue. Cross street Caine. Time out, 07:06.##

Cap thumbed the radio mic, "L.A., 10-4. Engine 51-A is responding.
We're KMG 365." And he released the talk button. "Let's get the
show on the road gang. Sounds like a bad one. That block's
right on the marina.." Hank got in next to Mike on the passenger's
side but his door lingered open a little longer while the rescue
call directions were broadcast. He reached down
to grab Henry's loose scruff as he hauled him aboard.
"Isn't this great? We finally got enough room for him.
Now he can be a proper fire dog.." Cap chuckled.
"Ok, Stoker. Move it out. Go through the garage and
then punch the auto down once we're on the boulevard."

"Wait a minute. Where's Roy?" Johnny startled. "He
didn't follow us inside the cab."

"Course not." yelled Kelly gleefully. "Somebody's gotta
steer our back end. For today, Roy's designated wheel

Johnny's face finally fell into another smile, one of jealousy
as the news sunk in. "A wheel man. Just like I used to dream
about when I was a kid."

"Well, now you get to indulge yourself Gage. We all do.
Just like the big boys in the city.. Wah..HoOOooooo!"
Chet shouted at the top of his lungs.

Henry the basset, in between Caps knees, barked like
a mad thing in excitement at finally being able to follow his
humans to whereever they were going.

"Wow, would you look at that?" Marco shouted, adjusting
his helmet over the noise of the powerful engine and
shrill triple tone and whistle siren. "Henry's a puppy again.
He's acting like he's years younger." he celebrated.

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The white engine roared down the freeway top speed. Her shockingly
bright non color was scattering the traffic out of her way like harried
chickens long before the siren's wail ever got there.

Gage smiled, noticing. "Maybe there IS something in painting
a fire truck white."

"Not to my way of thinking, Gage." Kelly said, overhearing. "You're forgetting
how much the dirt is going to show up on Ivory's flanks when we're through.
Stoker's gonna keep us busy buffing and polishing her up for hours."

Johnny's happy little boy look faded into a look of horror.


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From:  "Cory Anda" <>
Date:  Mon Aug 16, 2004  5:55 pm
Subject:  Other Things Are White, Too

Stoker had no problem finding the fire. The tang of salt from
the ocean was mixed with the bitter smell of tricolored smoke that
was the signature of a spanish beach stucco and tile house fire.
The burning plume of ash was wafting over the pacific coast highway,
making traffic slow as gapers rubbernecked the stilted house perched
on the clifftop.  

Cap gestured, "Stoker, can you get us through on the margin?"

"Yep." and Mike hauled the large wheel around until they had bypassed
the driving gawkers. The airhorn he used every hundred feet elicted
cheers each time he used it. All the people stuck in the morning
and fire traffic did this as they passed in the usual California motorist
reaction to seeing an emergency vehicle moving on through.

In the back, highly visible to all, Roy restrained himself and tried not
to wave back.

Hank was relieved to find that he wasn't the first one on the scene.

Captain Ben Stone's Station Eight crew was there, already milling about
in the scrub surrounding the house for the water hydrant pipe.

"L.A., Station 51's on scene. We'll be attacking from the northern exposure."
Stanley made his arrival known.

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##10-4, 51. An ambulance has been dispatched to your location. ETA
nine minutes.## came the dispatcher's reply.

"Copy, L.A. 51, out." Cap replied, collapsing down his walkie talkie
antennae as he stepped from the engine's cab. He was about to slam the
door shut when a deep woof arrested him. Henry dropped his heavy
bulk to the smoky street and he immediately ambled over to a wide
place on the grass where he sat himself down by a eucalyptus tree,
to begin intently watching the fire.

Ben Stone noticed, in between shouted attack orders issued to his men.
"Oh, so you've only just managed to spring your resident couch potato
off his perch for this one?" he teased Hank. "It's been what? Three years
since he showed up for dinner?"

Captain Stanley shouted to get Roy's attention. "DeSoto! Ladder up!
Unmanned bucket. We'll use the auto cannon to cover the roof. Then
get down and set up fire standby medical gear."

"You got it, Cap." Roy answered, waving a glove.

Then Cap answered Ben. "Sure. Why not? You can see how
he's enjoying himself."

"That I can." smiled the big dark skinned captain immensely.

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Gage motored on by at a run, when he saw Squad 8's compartment
doors wide open which was a universal sign that a victim had been found
and was being treated.

Johnny crouched by Craig Brice and Bob Bellingham who were both struggling
to offer a flowing demand valve 02 mask to an old lady covered with burns.
She was sitting upright and supported in Bob's arms to make her breathing

"Now, maam. You'll feel a whole lot better if you breathe some of this
in.." Bob urged, pulling the tiny woman's arms down as she tried
to push away the mask in her fight to get air into her lungs.

Craig Brice nodded, getting out a blood pressure cuff to take a vitals set on
her. "Please, hold still. I know those leg burns are painful. We're trying
to help you."

The woman in the paisley dress and white knit sweater ignored him,
choking and coughing louder and she fought them with all of her
small frame's strength.

Johnny gripped her arms and tried some charm which didn't work.
"Maam. It's ok. You're out of the fire. Don't worry about the house.
We're gonna knock it down. " The lady's distressed eyes caught
Johnny's eyes desperately and she only moaned louder again turning
her face away from the mask as she gasped from smoke inhalation.

"What's the matter? Easy. Just calm down." Gage asked her."We're trying
to understand ya. But  first breathe some of this in. It'll get rid
of that shortness of breath you got. I promise you that."

The tiny old lady yelled louder, pleading something of him in
mumbling words that he didn't understand.

Her verbal shouts caught Marco's ear as he dragged down hose
from the white engine's hose bed. He tossed down his looping armful
to the lawn and he pulled off his work gloves. "Chet take over. I gotta
check out that victim over there. I think she's speaking spanish."

"Ok." Kelly said, picking up the uncharged water line while running
to the middle of the front yard.

Marco let Cap know with a hand signal what he was up to.
Hank nodded. Then he ran over to Squad Eight's flank.

Lopez tapped Brice's shoulder. "Let me try. She's frightened about
something. Maybe I can find out what it is. I don't think she knows
any english." And he spoke to her urgently with rapid questions in

Paying attention, Henry started to bark and howl jogging up
to the firemen. After sniffing the woman's skirts once, and he
began staring at the house, then back at the woman nervously.

"Uh oh.. " said Cap, catching on at once. "I hope that reaction
from him doesn't mean what I think it means."

The white haired lady began to sob, hanging onto Marco desperately
and she spoke the first comprehensible words to him, in relief that
someone finally could talk with her. After a short exchange, Lopez
looked up at Cap. "It's ok, she's not fussing over anyone else who might
still be in the house. She's worried about her cat."

Cap relaxed his tense crouch with a sympathetic smile for show. "Tell her
we'll do everything we can, Marco. Go ahead and ask her where she
last saw it." he encouraged.

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Marco got the information. "Back bedroom, on the ocean side,
the room above the swimming pool, second floor. A three year old tan tabby."
and he went back to soothing the woman and soon, he got her to accept breathing
in the pure oxygen being offered by paramedics' hands. "You need me
yet?" he asked Cap, looking up from the frightened woman's face.

"Nah, stay with her. Brice and Bellingham may need you to be an interpreter
before she gets too shocky to talk. We're fine for now. Kelly, did you hear
that about making that room a priority point?!" Hank relayed in a shout.

"Yep. I just radioed Roy on our band to hit that side of the house with the cannon!" Chet replied,  gesturing to Mike Stoker that he was ready for his hose to be fully charged. Two from Station Eight's crew joined Kelly on his newly stretched line.

DeSoto diverted the bucket until it hung above the house out of flame
range and he diverted the cannon nozzle's powerful water stream until it connected
with the second floor's veranda window. Glass immediately shattered on impact
and the fire glowing space within started to hiss clouds of steam as it
started to be smothered by water.

"Hold it right there, Roy. You're in position. Lock her down, pal." Hank shouted.
"Go help Gage, ok? Looks like they've a victim needing an extra pair of hands.
I've already got eight's and one twenty seven covering the other three sides."

Roy waved and nodded, and froze the ladder maneuvering controls. Soon
he was at Johnny's side in listening mode.

"Dona Arana. Nosotros estas a ayudar mirar por su gato. Shhh." Lopez
soothed as he clutched the old woman's hand tightly as she writhed in Bob's
arms due to her severe pain.

"Go ahead and get those burn packs on, Bob. Brice's got his hands full
on the biophone. I'll take over keeping her elevated for ya." Johnny offered,
taking over holding the oxygen valve over the restless woman's nose and
mouth as she fought to breathe without coughing.

Roy grabbed a two liter saline bag and helped Bellingham pour the
solution over sterile sheets Brice had laid over the woman's charred
legs, as fast as he could. He knew that its relief would only be
temporary. "Does Craig have his order for some MS yet?"

Bob shook his head minutely as he worked.

DeSoto sighed. "Must be a busy day at Rampart..." he speculated.
"My goodness." he complained. "What's the hold up?"

"Craig's got a new doctor on the line. Someone covering for Joe Early.
He's sure taking his time mulling over our signs and symptoms on her."

Quite suddenly, the old woman pitched over with a groan, going limp.

"I got her.." Johnny said, catching her head and neck and lowering her to the ground carefully preserving an open airway. He began to get fuller
breaths of 02 into the woman's bubbling chest and her color immediately improved. "She's ok.  I've still got a good pulse."

"Now there's our wish for mercy being granted." Bob confided in DeSoto. "I was waiting for her to black out. Hand me those shears, Roy. I'll get her ready for the EKG leads."

Roy reached into the trauma kit and found them.

Brice was getting miffed, his cool crumbling visibly to the others.
"Rampart, this is a repeat of our victim's LOC. Unconscious, and
yes, with a gag reflex. Request permission to insert a nasopharyngeal
airway. Marked pulmonary edema is most definitely evident.." he
hinted with beginning irritation to a young sounding unfamiliar
male resident on the hospital line. Craig's head jerked up and down
and his hand swept round in some "oh come on" circles in the air as
he mentally encouraged the man on the other end of the biophone
to hustle it up.

Johnny, losing patience next to Brice, broke some rules and intubated
her anyway after gelling the tube.

Brice startled, covering the phone receiver.  He said, "Gage, that's not
regulation..!" he hissed.

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"Neither's delaying life saving treatment. We'll say her throat was
swelling up if we have to." he remarked, checking the placement
of the tube in the woman's sooty nostril. "Just hang up on that jerk.
Make it sound like we've hit a communications failure or something.
Happens all the time this close to the beach. We've got all our critical
orders already.  Her IVs, burn irrigation, and that atropine to boost
her respirations. Roy, did you hear the doc say go ahead?"

"I sure did. He grunted. Clearly."

"There you go, Craig. And I know you're with us on this wholeheartedly.
It'll be our experienced three against his very youthful one." Johnny said,
pointing a finger at the shoulder buried phone receiver in emphasis.

On cue, the woman's breathing grew stridorous and noisy, but
working, because of the presence of the NP.

Brice gaped like a fish but finally he said, "Rampart, you're breaking
up.." as he dropped the phone into the box and pulled out the
radio antennae. He looked up a little stunned. "I just may be
in significant trouble now for doing that I'll have you know."

"I doubt that." Gage said. "Do you see the captains looking this way
right now?"

"Hank did. For a moment." Craig admitted, swabbing the old lady's
arm with alcohol. "He knows what we did."

"Course he knows. He saw us save her airway. He won't say anything
if we don't. Welcome to our world of little white lies, Craig. Sometimes
you gotta do what you have to do." Johnny said, stone faced as
he kept on delivering careful oxygenated ventilations through the demand
valve to help the woman out.

Bob Bellingham smiled and took the Normal Saline 1000 ml IV bag from
Craig's numb hands. "I'll take that, Brice. Thanks guys. Craig would've
never allowed me to do that kind of stunt myself. Not in a million years."

Craig was still unconvinced.

So Roy reiterated. "Brackett'll back us up after he hears the transcript
without question. That doc was dangerously slow. And that'll show
on the recording."

"I suppose you're right." Craig finally replied, rubbing the sweat and
dirt off the woman's skin with some gauze to be able apply the heart
monitor patches.

"Now there's a first.." Gage teased. "I thought I'd never hear the
day when paramedic Craig Brice sided with someone who wasn't following
the book to the letter."

"I am capable of making amendments when somebody's life's on the line."
Brice protested mildly.

"I know. I saw you save my crewmates last year when that warehouse
ceiling caved in on them." Johnny smiled. "Thanks for that. I don't think
I ever properly expressed my gratitude back then."

"You did." Brice grinned.

"I did?" Johnny asked in surprise.

Roy mouthed silently. "I sent him a card on your behalf." and he pantomimed
a square in the air with two fingers. He quickly busied himself with adjusting
the IV. flow when Craig looked up.

Johnny gushed in a neat cover.
"Oh, that's right. I forgot about that card. Heh. Must've slipped my mind.
I was still recovering in the hospital from my own mishap. That time was
for my leg, I think. Sorry I didn't recall it sooner, Brice."

"Quite all right, Gage. I'll forgive you for being forgetful if you forget the
deceitful atrocity that I just committed with our medical director today."

"Deal." Gage said enthusiatically, but then he thought about the word
atrocity some more and fixed Roy with a puzzled stare. "Atrocity?" he
mouthed back at Bob and DeSoto.

"To him it is.." Bob silently mouthed back, and Roy bobbled his head
in agreement.


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Henry's frantic barking finally got Hank's attention. He knelt by
the basset hound's side. "What is it, boy? What's got ya all excited?"

Henry suddenly took off out of Captain Stanley's grip and loped high
speed around the burning house and up into the hillside brush beyond.

"Henry! Get back here ya crazy mutt." Cap shouted, starting to run after
him. But then he stopped in his tracks, rubbing his nose. Hank decided to
delegate a solution before any other station crew noticed the new
embarrassing development. ::At least he's not at risk from the fire up there.::
he hoped.

Chet Kelly answered Cap's private band hail. "Go ahead for Kelly."

##Chet. Henry's taken off up the hill above the house. Go after him.
Make it look like you're just laying spray to protect against a brush
burn ignition from the house.##

"Got it, Cap." Kelly said. He craftily directed his hose team to
follow him while he cased the rough scrub for Henry's familiar
brown and white hide. "Just a little bit farther fellas, the grass is
real dry here." he remarked. "On second thought. Let's just catch
this whole side, ok, gang?"

No one on the team caught on to Kelly's impromptu search pattern
for Henry and continued the sweep.


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Behind the burning house, the wind was picking up and Henry's
sensitive nose was working full time as he paced along the ground.

He got about ten yards from the flaming structure immediately
next to the swimming pool when...


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From:  "patti keiper" <>
Date:  Thu Aug 26, 2004  4:11 pm
Subject:  Straight from the...

...Henry heard something.

His ears perked up, tracing frightened high pitched sounds that were
laced with vocal distress.  Barking furiously, Station 51's mascot lumbered
heavily across the singed and burning ground, sneezing from the heavy
smoke as he went closer to what had attracted his attention from the street.

Captain Stanley monitored his radio. He had sent Johnny Gage
into the house with Mike Stoker from the aerial bucket to case the
upper story for their woman victim's cat. She had come to,
refusing to transport to Rampart by Mayfair until her tabby was
accounted for, one way or the other, as Lopez had put it in translation.

Hank put Marco in charge of making sure the woman kept
wearing her O2 as she watched the firefighters work. DeSoto had
long since joined the perimeter teams in preventing a spread of
the structure fire into the cliffside brush above and below the
flaming beachhouse and had left the biophone near Lopez in case
Brackett had more treatment to offer during their victim decided
waiting delay.

Roy inwardly hoped that the senora would black out again
because of the deep 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her lower
calves, giving them an excuse to transport her in legally.  

Captain Stanley reciprocated DeSoto's impatience, reading the
expression on his older paramedic's face. "I know, you
don't have to tell me, adrenaline's keeping the fiesty ol gal awake
and that's why you're all still here."

"You hit the nail on the head, Cap." Roy sighed, watching the water
pressure guages on the white engine cycle through as the teams inside
the bungalow used their lines off and on to suppress the fire surrounding
them inside the house. "Even Brice's no nonsense approach didn't
work with her. Nor did Marco's natural Latin American male charms."

Hank sighed. "Go see what Chet's up to. I haven't heard from his
team for four minutes."

"Still a minute early for checking in, Cap." Roy grinned, putting
on his helmet.

"Call it an instinct. There's a reason why Henry rocketted out of here
and into the backyard and I wanna know why. Go. I'll take over the pumps
here for ya."

DeSoto needed no further encouragement, slipping on his SCBA mask
as he circled the route he remembered the basset hound taking
when he took off away from them.


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