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       Heavy Duty
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Four, Episode Twenty Seven..

   Heavy Duty    

Debut Launch: November 1st, 2005.
From :  katalyia <>
Sent :  Tuesday, November 1, 2005 8:58 PM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Heavy Duty

Roy pulled Squad 51 to a halt, barely aware of the Engine doing the
same behind him. He opened the door, and hopped out, knowing without
looking that Johnny had beaten him out the door and was grabbing the
lines out of the back, as he studied the side of the building.
Following his partner's gaze, he wondered how they were going to get up

"How did they manage to get themselves stuck up there?" Johnny asked,
as he looped the rope over his shoulders. "Do you see where they're at?"

"Yeah," Roy answered, following his pointing finger. "It's not going to
be easy to get them down.

"You're right," Johnny responded, glancing back toward the engine and
watching as Stanley approached. "What do you think, Cap? Want us to get
up there before the snorkel gets here?"

Cap studied the situation for a moment, then answered, "You think you
can make it up there?"

"Sure," Johnny answered, after a moment. "We can reach the top if we
follow that path and then Roy can lower me down."

"Roy?" Cap asked, glancing at him.

"Sure," Roy answered, not liking the idea.

"What's the problem?" Johnny asked, picking up the slight hesitation.

"I don't like it. If either one of us slips, it's a long way down."

"But do we dare wait?" Johnny asked.

"No, we can't. Not with them that close to the edge."

"Then let's go," Johnny answered, heading off toward the only way up.

Roy sighed, not liking it, but knowing that Johnny was right, and
followed him up. It was a rough climb and both of them had a problem at
one time or another, to keep from getting stuck themselves. After what
seemed like hours, but was only about thirty minutes, they reached the top
and looked over the edge.

As Johnny put on his life belt and threaded the safety rope through the
loop, Roy studied the area, hoping to find an easier way to reach them.
By the time Johnny was ready, he had to accept that there was only one
way down, and they were it.

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"Ready?" Johnny asked, as he handed the rope to Roy.

"Yeah. You?" Roy shot back.

"Yeah," Johnny answered looking over the side. "I hope they stay put.
Hitting the ledge from this angle is going to be hard enough without
worrying about landing on them."

"Just be careful," Roy reminded him, bracing himself as Johnny slowly
started down the incline.

"I will," Johnny responded, focusing his attention to a spot just to
the right of the victims location.

All talking ceased as Johnny concentrated on maneuvering his way down
the incline. He was basically climbing blind as he couldn't see more
than three feet below him. He had only been working his way down for a
few minutes when his left foot slipped out from beneath him and he went
down and he hit the side of the incline. He gasped as the tension of
the rope tightened around him before easing.

"Johnny!" Roy called down, as the rope went slack again. "Are you all

"Yes!" Johnny called up, remaining prone as he wiped the dirt off his
face and spit some from his mouth. "I'm all right!" Then glancing down,
he saw he had about a foot to go. "Just another foot or so and I'll be

"Okay! Taking up the slack!"

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As soon as the slack was taken up, Johnny carefully brought his feet
beneath him and started back down. A few minutes later, he had reached
the ledge and looked into the two frightened faces looking up at him.

"Hi! My name's Johnny. What do you say about getting down from here?"

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From :  Roxy Dee <>
Sent :  Thursday, November 3, 2005 1:50 PM
Subject :  Birds of a feather~~

"We're not going unless they can go, too!" cried the blond haired

Johnny had to blink at that. "Uh,.." he mumbled, looking around
and wiping the ample sweat off of his brow with a glove. "Who're

"Them!" said the boy in Gage's arms, pointing. "Right over there.."

"They need us!" insisted his young female friend. "They're hurt. Not

DeSoto rubbed dirt off his exertion runny nose. "Did we miss a head
count here, Johnny? I thought the corner cop said that there were only
two kids stuck up here."

Roy and Johnny both twisted on their ropes, mindful of snagging,
until they eyeballed the side of the building's escarpment cap upon
which the stately stone skyscraper gargoyles sat.  

Gage came face to face with a nervous peregrine, backframed by
the flowing traffic, far below. "Agh!" he shouted, when the bird promptly
took to the air and started dive bombing both the firemen paramedics.
"Would you--!" He bit off his explicative when he realized that an angry
bird of prey wasn't all that good on the english language.

Roy ducked, too, and swayed, causing both their anchor ropes to jostle
and ripple down the building.

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Cap's voice immediately shot out of their belted HTs, its sudden booming
immediate voice driving off the oddly furious falcon. ##Engine 51 to Squad 51!
Are you all right up there?! Do you have a struggle on your hands?##

Johnny fumbled for his talkie, spinning on his line ridiculously, until he
planted both feet on the powered down radio antennae that they had
just climbed past to still himself. "Affirmative and negative! We just got--"
and he broke off, at a loss for words.

Roy, still rotating on his lifeline slowly, got out his own radio and
completed the sentence Johnny couldn't finish, neatly. "..shown off
by a peregrine falcon. Must be a nest around here somewhere

##I'm beginning to understand things a little better here. Kids and
birds' nests are like powercords and outlets. They're gonna get into them.##
sighed Cap. ##O.k. Do what you have to do while you secure those kids.
If the air attacks get bad, let us know and we'll send a stream up through
the bucket man. 110's snorkel is half way up to you already. It will be
extended to meet you as far as it can reach, at the halfway descent point.##

Both paramedics threw their chins down to gape between their hanging
feet and saw that it was true.

##Any injuries? Do you want an ambulance?## Hank asked.

"Affirmative, Cap. Looks like the boy here's got a face lac. Let's go through
the motions for mom's sake, when you find her." Roy said, starting to seethe
at the idea that two children under ten were unattended long enough to get
themselves stuck on a ledge sixty storys up a very tall building.  
"Are you his sister?" he asked the little girl while he roped and lifebelted
her in. He had noticed the close resemblance between the two.

"Yeah, I'm Nan and that's Stan, short for Stanley Dean."

Johnny caught onto his irritated mood in kind. "Listen, doesn't being
this high up bug you two at all?" he asked the boy while he lifebelted and
hooked the child safely snugged to his own.

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"Why should it? My sister says you can't fall if you don't move. So why
be afraid of it?"

Roy started grinning despite himself but then his fierce disapproval of
unshaparoned minors got the best of him. "Does your mother know where
you are?"

"Sure she does. She's one of the biologists who's been studying Zoom
here." said Stan, accepting the helmet that Johnny put onto his head.
"She just left a half an hour ago to get us lunch. We didn't mean to fall.
Honest. Usually, we're very careful. We just go out to make sure the eggs
are staying warm."

"Every day." agreed Nan. "Only today, Stan twisted his ankle and fell
down to the ledge. That's how we found out that Zephyr and one of his babies
were hurt from a cat that tried to eat them. Zoom's just trying to protect her
family. She didn't mean anything.." insisted Nan. "Please, please you gotta
get Zephyr and the hurt baby down. That's what we wanted to do in the
first place."

Gage started up. "Now listen. We're people paramedics, not peregrine
paramedics! And besides, birds' of prey talons are very dangerous if
you don't know what're doing. And I'll admit, I don't know what I'm doing
even being up here, guys!"

Nan crossed her arms. "You climbed up here because a cop told you to
do it. I know how it works. Mom and us, we always get harrassed by them
about studying the three confirmed falcon families around town."

Roy's eyebrows went up at that fairly informed answer. It spoke of an intelligence
that belied age. "Ok, so you think you were given proper permission to
hang on the side of a building just because your mother has a license to?
Well, let me share something with you, it's against the law for folks your age."

It was Stan's turn to cross his arms, except for when he had to swat away
Johnny's hand for fussing with his small cheek cut with a square piece of
gauze. "What law? There's no ordinance against falcon studies."

"Oh, yeah? I'm not talking about urban nature study regulations, I'm talking
about reckless child endangerment!" said DeSoto, glaring firmly.

Gage, meanwhile, still had his hands full. " Hold still, Stan. All right. I'll stop
monkeying with your laceration until we hit the ground. Lemme see your ankle.
Now which one is it?" he said, beginning to spin on the axis of his rope again
until the firefighter manning it below muscled in the reverse rotation,
to slow and stop the effect.

"The left one."
"The left one." replied both kids. But then Stan added more. "Don't think my
foot's outta commission, buster. Because I'm gonna start doing a whole lotta
kicking here, square into your gut, if you don't rescue Zephyr and his son
before you two turkeys leave with us on this 'rescue'."

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Johnny framed an arm around his middle instinctively. "That wouldn't
be the smartest thing to do, now would it?"

"When two lives are on the line?" Nan huffed. "You bet it is. Go get em! Or
I'll add biting to his list! But, take me with you when you go to the nest and
I promise I'll keep Zoom from taking a chunk out of your scalp."

DeSoto sighed and then signalled to the firemen watching from the
bucket snorkel below that he was going to be making a lateral move.
"Take your sweater off. I'll use that to wrap the tiercel in. You handle
the hurt chick. I need both my hands to do the climbing. I'll put him
into my helmet and hang it off a jacket snaffle or something. Just
stay quiet and unmoving while I'm doing it."

"Thank you, sir." said the little girl politely.

Stan started up. "See, Nan? I guess firemen aren't so bad after all. They
actually listen to ya unlike those corner cops we constantly dodge to
get up here."

Zoom, the female peregrine, started screaming when her mate and one
of her chicks suddenly disappeared from her sight a few minutes later.

But she didn't charge ballastically any more, past the one armor beaked
stab she took at Roy's departing shoes as he left the nest site.

Zephyr, the male falcon's head, now kid sweater covered, caused the bird
to twitter softly in question and that calmed down much of the flying female's
fire directed at the two adult human intruders, after that.


It was a long trip down to the snorkel.

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Johnny and Roy didn't know exactly what they were going to tell Captain
Stanley in explanation when he finally eyeballed the two bleeding birds
with them. They unspokenly decided that the problem was beneath notice.

All they cared about was that two more kids hadn't become another set of
sad urban fall fatality statistics.

From: "Cassidy Meyers" <>
Date: Mon Nov 7, 2005  4:35 pm
Subject: The AMA girl..

Roy and Johnny were divested of their problem in the
form of the children's mother, who strode into their
midst wearing a bland, I-expected-this-to-happen-someday,
matter of fact expression.  "Nan?..Stanley?.. ah, there you are.
Oh, hi fellas. Excuse me a second and I'll be right with you."
She immediately knelt by her son's cot and examined the
softly warbling bird in the boy's arms. "Oh, no! Don't tell me,
the penthouse caretaker's cat?!  You poor thing..." she cooed
at Zephyr, gently manipulating the falcon's wing out to inspect
all the blood tinged pinions. "Stan, he's ok, this doesn't look
serious. Just a few nasty skin scratches."

Roy and Johnny exchanged disbelieving looks with each other.
Then Roy DeSoto cleared a thoroughly climb weary, dusty throat
and took a step forward while his partner, Gage, stood by with
the bio receiver phone open to Rampart, and muffled against
his thigh. He knew that Roy, by far, was the best choice to
play the public service diplomat. Johnny tried to content himself
with nursing his cramp riddled shoulders and forearms.

"Ma'am?" DeSoto smiled timidly, through the grime on his face.
"Can we talk a moment? We can't treat the boy here until we do."

The long haired ornithologist finally looked up, a warm grin on her
face now completely free of birding worry.  "My son can handle getting
a few bumps and bruises without fussing or bothering folks unnecessarily.
I'm ...pretty sure he must have told you already that his scrapes are
nothing by now. He knows enough to tell someone whenever he's really
hurt. I can tell he isn't, or he would've shared that with me already,

"Mr. DeSoto. Fireman paramedic Roy...DeSoto." he added, still plastered
in a mild public smile and pulling on his shirt's name tag.

"Yes, I think I understand the nature of your occupation." the mother
said demurely with a winning freckled grin as she hugged her daughter
and kissed her head. "Good job getting help for Zephyr and his son, dear.
I'll call the vets right away as soon as we're done speaking with these
fine firemen." she told Nan as she next held and examined the
fluttering white falcon chick. She looked up with the first frown the firemen
had yet seen. "Uh,, do either of you have some cotton or a clean cloth
handy? I can't see what I'm doing here."

Johnny ran frustrated fingers through his hair and thrust out an already
opened and corner taped four by four for her.

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"Oh, thank you so much." said the mother and she taped up a bare spot of
ripped away down on the tiny bird's back. "There, Nan. Stop fretting. This'll
hold well enough to keep him warm until we get to the university lab."
Then she stood. "I believe, sir, that your station has an against medical
advice form that I have the option of signing that'll release you from all of
your legal responsibility regarding my children. I'd like to do that now if
I may."

Gage blinked, and found himself caught in a coughing fit when the mom's
comment thoroughly surprised the snot out of him. He waved away
Roy and the mother both when they looked over at him in concern.
"Ahhh, ..about his ankle, ma'am..."

"Which one?" she sniffed curiously, looking down. She was
completely worry free.

"The left one. Uh, right there." Johnny said, pointing and pulling up the
dusty boy's pants leg.

"Stan, is your foot still sore?" the mother asked her adventurous boy.

"Nope. It's better now. See?" and he stamped his paramedic unsneakered
foot against the pavement in a few solid smacks. "And a bandaid will
fix the nick on my face. It's not even bleeding any more."

"I'll get you one out of my knapsack once we're in the car. Come on, we
better not waste anymore of these fine gentlemen's time. The longer we
wait to get Zephyr and his son treated the slower their recovery period'll
be." And she scribbled on the line Roy pointed to on the form, efficiently

Cap couldn't hold himself back any longer. He approached. "Ms..,do you
realize how much it costs citizen taxpayers to haul out three fire
stations for a high rise building rescue?"

"I didn't call for you. They did.." she neatly told Cap, pointing to
the glaring traffic policemen, without breaking her bubbly expression.
"Take it up with them." And with that, the biologist mother bustled up both
birds, both of her kids, and promptly made herself gone.

Cap sighed through tight lips and actually sat down on the engine's side
bumper in full view of all the curious business district onlookers currently
on their lunchbreaks who were out to view the fire department's unexpected

Gage joined him, and Roy, too, folding out of their sweaty paramedic turnouts,
into utterly exhausted piles on either side of him.

"How do you feel about this one, Cap?" Johnny groaned, a hand over his

"Just terrific..." he growled sarcastically, replying as he rubbed his own. Then
Cap lifted his HT. "Engine 51, L.A. Snorkle Truck 110, Stations 8 and 51 are
now one hundred percent...available."

##Engine 51.##

A long interval of stupefaction overtook all three firemen as the call's tensions
drained away.  Then Hank spoke. "You won't hear this from the cops or from
our dear departing ditching victims, either, I'm afraid. But,... nice job up there,
you two. That was absolutely fabulous high angle work you did for them."

"Thanks, Cap." Roy said, not moving.
   "Appreciate it.." Gage echoed, just as immobile. "Ow,..I think.."

Cap rose and helped each of his climb rubbery men, to their feet.
"Come on. We've got to clear out of the streets. A set of showers isn't much
to offer, I know. But I'll turn your bunks down myself for the naps you two have
just earned yourselves big time."

But the naps the squad crew rightfully earned would never come that afternoon.
Because then, something happened that no one could've ever predicted.

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From :  wone3 <>
Sent :  Monday, November 14, 2005 7:20 PM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Roller Disco

At Rampart Hospital, the day had been moving along.

While not totally overly busy, the doctors and nurses on duty had seen
their fair share of patients but still had time for short breaks in
between. Doctors Kel Brackett and Mike Morton were presently among
the ones on duty along with Head Nurse Dixie McCall. Joe Early would
be coming on later in the day after having a day off. He was
substituting for another doctor on vacation that week.

Presently, Kel and Dixie were in treatment room two with a patient, a
Miss Stephanie Miller. Stephanie had been watching the latest show on
TV where the dancers were performing roller disco and had decided to
go outside and try it herself. She wasn't going too badly until her spins got
totally out of control and her legs got twisted. She then went
tumbling to the cement trying to catch herself on the way down. She
was sitting in the treatment room with her left wrist and both ankles
splinted, awaiting surgery that the x-rays indicated she needed. Kel
had thought based on a few observations that Stephanie might be
anemic based on her vital signs and asked for samples to be taken down
to the lab. The x-rays had returned, but the lab results hadn't yet,
which was totally unusual. Kel Brackett was getting impatient to get
his patient up to surgery to set the breaks that the x-rays revealed,
and Dixie could tell.

"Doctor, do you want me to go down to the lab and see what the hold
up is?" Dixie asked.

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"If you would, Nurse," Kel answered and then quietly leaned in and
said, "I'll meet you in the lounge to share a cup of coffee after
you return with the results."

"Ok, doctor. Let me make sure the base station is covered and I'll
go down." she replied with a knowing smile as she exited the
treatment room.

Dixie walked down the hall and noticed Carol by the base station.
Dixie told Carol where she was headed and asked her to stay by the
desk since she knew that Station 51 was out on a call. Carol
reassured her that she'd stay at the desk, and Dixie headed to the
stairs leading to the new basement laboratory.

The basement laboratory was down a rather long hall once Dixie
reached the bottom of the stairs. There were several storage rooms
and former abandoned labs between the stairs and the new lab. A
couple of the storage rooms still had oxygen stored inside and one of
those rooms was an old lab that still had old, usable wiring.

However, the wiring in this room hadn't been checked in a very long
time and the safety coating on the wires had worn away exposing the
bare metal. Electricity was still flowing through this room and
several rooms adjoining it, including a storage room near the new

A technician had gone into the adjoining storage room and turned
on the light to retrieve something, sending electricity through the
entire circuit. The wiring in the old lab couldn't take it and
sparked, setting the wiring in the wall on fire. The fire in the wall
spread quickly outward to the wall's surface and down the wall coming
closer to the stored oxygen.

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As Dixie passed in front of the door to that lab, the fire reached the
stored oxygen causing a big, loud blast. The blast took the door of
that room off of its hinges, slamming it into Dixie; and slamming both
of them into the wall across the way. Dixie immediately blacked out.

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Upon hearing the blast Kel said...

From: "Monster Moofie" <>
Date: Tue Nov 15, 2005  6:58 pm
Subject: 51's new clothes

A clothes line above 51's crew snapped, raining down its contents
onto the unsuspecting guys. Johnny now was wearing an underwear
hat, and Marco was covered in pink, polka dot and zebra striped
socks. The line could not have fallen any more perfectly onto Chet,
allowing a size 28 dress to float onto the unsuspecting fireman,
fitting over his turnout coat perfectly. Unfortunately for Johnny,
Chet and Marco, the clothes had just been hung and they were still
soaking wet.

Cap's jaw fell open as he watched his crew be clobbered with
clothes. He couldn't help it and dissolved into hysterical
laughter, along with Roy, Mike and stations 8 and snorkel 110.

A crewman from 8's said to Chet, "Madam, would you have this dance
with me?" causing the rest of the crew to nearly collapse on the
ground in laughter.

Red faced, Chet threw off the dress and headed back to the engine
and got in. Johnny and Marco followed suit, followed by a bunch of
laughing hyenas.

Johnny muttered as he went. "So much for a nap this afternoon. I'm
too awake now and the guys won't stop laughing until a month of
Sundays has passed."

"We really ought to make a supply run anyway, Johnny," Roy advised
his sulking partner. "Remember? We didn't have time this morning."

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"Ok let's go." Johnny replied. "Cap we're going to make a supply
run." he advised.

The crews got in their vehicles, heading back to their respective
stations. Squad 51 headed to Rampart.

Shortly, Squad 51 was pulling into Rampart's driveway. Watching the
ER grow larger, Johnny said, "I sure hope they have a fresh pot of
coffee! I could sure use a cup about now."

Roy backed up and parked and the paramedics were getting out of
the squad when an explosion shook the building.

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Johnny looked at Roy and saw the look of dread mirrored in Roy's
face that he knew must be on his own. He picked up the microphone
and radioed dispatch

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From :  Cory Anda <>
Sent :  Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:10 AM
Subject :  Underground..

The shake that had rattled Kel's teeth, died away.

"What the--?!"
Then Dr. Brackett remembered his limb fractured young
skater and immediately curbed his first natural instinct to
get loud in his shock about the concussion he just felt and heard
through the floor tiles. "Easy. I know that sounded a little frightening.
I'm going to go out and find out what that was. Stay here, Miss Miller.
I'll have an orderly let you know what's going on just as soon as I do."
he promised with a barely believable smile.

Kel fled the treatment room for the front desk.


Dr. Llewellyn, the orthopedic surgeon Kel had asked for, was
shouting at the panicking nurses gathering around reception.
"Quiet! Security's already on the way down there to see
if the way's open to that level. But no one, absolutely no one
else is allowed to go into that area until the fire department
says it's ok to enter there!" said the jowled white moustached
doctor in scrubs. "I will not add to any casualties intentionally.
Is that clear?!"

Kel immediately shouldered into the bunch taking charge.
"Benjamin. What happened?!"

"Explosion. In the south lab's outbuilding basement,
offshooting the main hospital proper." said Llewewllyn quickly.

"How do you know that?"

"Because I stuck my head out the doctor's lounge window, and
I looked! Don't get stupid on me, Kel. I know you're worried about
Dixie McCall. We all are. That's at least half the cause of all the
pandemonium going on around here." replied the older doctor

Kel took a deep breath, one that he could feel down into his very
heels and he barely curbed an angry outburst. "Ok,'re right.
I'm not thinking clearly yet. But I'm gonna change that right now by
getting a hold of the fire department." he said, grabbing up the
red phone only used in the worst emergencies.

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Ben grabbed his arm. "I'll let you know what the security guards
discover, I promise that, Kel. But after you make the call, triage must
take the priority. The junior M.D.'s can handle patient management
without us while we get everything ready to run hot. Morton's already
applying his unique brand of diplomacy as you can see.." and the
surgeon pointed to the waiting room.

Dr. Brackett saw that Mike was in his deepest professional colors,
issuing orders to his staff and reassuring those in the waiting room
that their immediate safety was not in jeopardy. "Yes, there's a fire.
But it's in the next building. Please, everybody remain seated and
calm. There is no need for an evacuation as yet. I'll have a spokes
person fill you in once help arrives and after they've assessed our
current ongoing damage. Please, if you'll excuse me.." he shouted
over the noisy babble of people. "I'm needed by my superiors."
Dr. Morton neatly extricated himself from the public's eye to join
Ben and Kel.

Dr. Brackett saw that he already had soot on his face as he hung up
the phone with the fire dispatching center. "How bad is it, Mike?"

"Bad enough." said Morton.

"Did you see any sign of--"

"No, Kel. I didn't. The stairwell ceiling's partially caved in, in that underground
tunnel walkway. But the smoke didn't smell like chemicals to me. Only like
burning cardboard. If Dixie had time to make it down there after leaving
your treatment room, she won't have inhalation poisoning to deal with."

"No, only one tiny complication...called a roaring fire, Mike." he growled,
clearly not happy in the slightest as he kept the worst of his agitation
low so no one not medical would overhear.

Morton had nothing else to say. So he put his attempt at reassurance
into physical action. "I'm going to meet the first fire crews at the ER
entrance and let them know what we've got."

Ben Llewellyn added more. "And I'll go up to the sixth floor to get the
blueprints of the tunnelways under the parking lot leading to that lab

Dr. Brackett nodded. Then he spotted Roy and Johnny, masking up
in scba gear, jogging down the hallway towards them with fire extinguishers
in both of their hands.

Gage wasted no time. "Doc, help's already on the way."

"I know." Brackett tried to grin. "They told me. Guys, can you go check
it out? There's a good chance Dixie might be trapped. No one's heard
from her since it happened. " His face twisted in horrified guilt.
"I asked her to go check on some results down there."

Roy was level headed. "Dr. Brackett. What's in that lab?"

"Just tissue sampling equipment and storage. The basics. Nothing
substantial like fuel or other volatile chemicals. But there's a supply room of
surgical gas tanks right next door on the same level in the sub-basement. That's
probably what went up." Kel said, mincing on his toes as he fretted.

"What about biohazards?" Gage asked as he tested his mask's air flow regulator
with a few taps.

"The fire will take care of the small stuff. Don't worry, the type fours are all well
away from the fire in another unconnected building. Including samples of your
monkey virus, Johnny. All the cultures Rapid Lab deals with are your usual
garden variety emergency room ache and moan bugs, exclusively."

"I think we can handle the sniffles, don't you think, Johnny?" Roy joked.

Kel immediately took solace in DeSoto's shammed calm. "I'll hand you
the kleenix boxes myself. Can you just go? I thought you guys can scout around
without a captain's order as long as you have a charged hose."

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"We can." said Gage.

"Good." said the older, listening bone surgeon. "There's one in the west stairbay.
But, uh, don't try the east way down. Dr. Morton says it's blocked by ceiling
debris." said Dr. Llewellyn.

The silent Dr. Morton, next to him, nodded.

"We're on it." said Johnny. He and Roy ran back outside to the squad to
grab tools and irons.

Together, they ran into the smoke pouring out of the lab building in
Rampart's shadow as the sound of responding fire station sirens began
filling the air.

From: "Roxy Dee" <>
Subject: Plan of Attack
Date:  Fri Nov 18, 2005  1:53 pm

Battalion 14 rose out of the driver's seat of his red chief's car
and surveyed the scene around the lab building as arriving fire
stations filled in around him on all quadrants of the fire site
that was showing clear of blast debris. He got on his
radio mic's bullhorn. ##Station 36 : See if you can determine
an estimate of the numbers trapped and their possible locations.
Engine 8 : Ascertain the type and extent of the damage to the
building, any hazards and where they are. Battalion One: Get on
top of what rescues are currently underway right now. L.A. specified
that two from Squad 51 are in the immediate vicinity and responding.
Engine 51: Cover the north exposure and lay out two inch and a halves
in a water curtain over the main tunnel entrance. Use extreme caution.
This is a hazmat priority one until we find out otherwise.## he
ordered. ##Ladder Nine : Cover the west side with your equipment
for an external attack only. Stations 24 and 18 : Start handling these
walking wounded in the parking lot and remove all other
casualities from non-difficult situations as you find them. Do not
enter the fire area with scba until we get Squad 51's initial scene status
report. Engine 10 : Search areas of high survivability, blocked by light
debris only, until after we've received positive feedback from Squad 51.
Anyone else: Report anything critical to note, directly to me.##

The chief of the district nodded in grim satisfaction as all phases
of the operation around Rampart took shape and acknowledged his
overall plan. To his practiced eye, it was bad. ::The subterranean tunnel
networks in these hospitals always beg for trouble whenever one of
them goes up. And it looks like this one has, the whole way under
the parking lot. My secondary concern is the stability of the asphalt
infrastructure over the tunnels leading directly to the lab building.
Cars can and will tumble into the fire zones underground if the
temperatures underneath rise high enough. And then we'll have
exploding gasoline tanks from collapsed cars to manage as further
risks.:: he reasoned. But he kept his worries to himself while his eyes
drank in the disaster site for more information. His right hand clutched
the now live HT tuned to Squad 51's duty active frequency in a grip of
iron. Tightly.

Glancing over his shoulder, he spotted some hospital staffers already
setting up triage inside Rampart's helicopter hanger. Some were milling
about behind his car with laden gurneys and ambu bags. He flagged down
a pair of them who seemed to have a doctor in their midst judging
by the stethoscope around one silver haired man's neck.

He gestured the blue jumpsuited team over.

"Chief?" asked Dr. Joe Early. "I just got word. Any victims yet?" he
asked the white helmeted fireman as he checked and rechecked
airways and crash cart medications under the stretcher's buckled

"Squad 51's on a rapid recon to find at least one. Stick arou--."
A sweeping plume of dust like a wind devil suddenly billowed
around them and all three of them started choking. The chief shielded
his face, using a hospital blueprint map as cover. Battalion 14's
voice shouted over a sudden roaring sound in disbelief..
"Is that chopper running hot?"

"Yeah." answered Dr. Morton, who was teamed up with Joe, glancing
over to the hospital's roof and eyeing it. "Guess they figured they'd
be ready for any critical evacs once we fill up."

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The chief immediately got on his full, wide bandwidth channel. ##Copter 2.
Power down immediately! Your backdrafts are raising dust that'll suffocate  
our exposed victims! You and you alone are grounded until this scene's
fully contained. Shut down all systems and report to triage to aid operations!##

The pilot complied instantly. He had been unable to see the effect of his
rotor wash through all the smoke spilling from the violated lab.

Battalion 14 turned back to the sheepish doctors. "He meant well but that
was inexcusable. I've been telling the county to train pilots as firefighters
but they never listen!"

"Someday, perhaps." Joe admitted. "Look how long it took Kel Brackett
to get your department to accept the paramedic program."

"Point taken. I guess progress is always slow when you want things to
move along faster than the established bureaucracy. How many victims
can your teams handle in triage?"

"As many as you can give us, chief. We've recalled all available hospital
staff in for this emergency." empathized Morton.

"Good man. I'll let you know when those in the building are finally outta there."

"We'll be waiting." said Joe Early.

The two doctors retreated to the chopper's hanger to radio from their portable
base station to the paramedic one inside Rampart about the walking wounded
being rushed through their propped open ambulance doors.

Battalion 14 turned back towards the fire. ::Okay boys, I've done my part.::
he wished at Squad 51's men. ::Now tell me what you're doing for yours..::

From: "Champagne Scott" <>
Date: Fri Nov 18, 2005  8:47 pm
Subject: Debris Pile...

Roy turned from his fast rummaging through the squad when
his partner tapped him urgently on the shoulder.

"Would you look at that?!" Johnny mumbled, his face going slack.

DeSoto looked. "The upper story's going?"

"That's got to be an elevator shaft. I thought Brackett said
that all the passages leading to the effected building are

Image of jrscbauptense.jpg Image of labburningwindow.jpg

"That was my impression. Let's get going, junior." he said,
hefting up an extra set of scba air bottles to leave by the
entrance for themselves. "Time's more than wasting."

"You don't have to tell me twice." Gage said empathetically.

They noted the arriving fire response with a sidelong glance
and then they had their masks on and found themselves embedded
in the sublet staircasing leading underground. Immediately, the
smoke grew thick. But it was white.

::Clean burning.:: Roy thought automatically as he tied off both
their lifelines to a railing at the foot of the parking lot's stairs. He
left the bright yellow clump of airbottles as a conspicuous marker
to show other units where they had entered the fire zone.

"Dixie?!" Gage began to shout as they began their search of
the rooms immediately around them with sharp kicks to locked doors
and hastily scrawled 'room empty' chalk marks.
They started working quickly towards the orange fire glow remnants
that they could see left over from the initial explosion. As they got
nearer, the atmosphere around them grew clearer and more free of
billowing smoke.

"There's a hole to the outside around here somewhere." Roy grunted
through his respirator's mouth piece at Johnny.

"Yeah, and it's gonna fan up the bad stuff." he said kicking away
a pile of lumber that had fallen from the ceiling after making doubly
sure no live wires were crisscrossing through the middle of them.
"I wonder if the hospital engineers know to shut off the utilities and
power down here?" Gage shouted. "Dixie?!"

"If they don't, Battalion will be sure to remind them." DeSoto replied back,
making another chalk marked "X" on the door of the room that had
proven itself to contain no downed victims. "Dixie! Can you hear me?!"
he chorused right after Johnny.

Image of royjohnnyscbasmokyhallsearch.jpg Image of ramparthallwayempty.jpg

There was no reply from the missing nurse in the relative quiet.

Gage was growing more nervous. "I don't like this, it's too easy.
Where's the heart of the fire, Roy? The explosion's origin?"

They came to a T junction intersection of hallways where they faced no
possible good choice, but to split up, in order to still rapidly cover
the search area.

"One thing at a time, junior, one thing at a time. Whatdiya want?
Left side or right side?" DeSoto said falsely confident.

"I'll follow my writing hand." Gage said turning left. "Keep in contact,
partner, over the HT every thirty seconds." he panted with
effort. "I say, too, that we pull out for our next set of air bottles in....
six and a half minutes..Tops."

"Done.." Roy gasped.

They separated, following the oddly normal looking corridors of the lab's
reception area, casting about for audible moaning or the sight of
singed bodies on the floor.

A minute later, Gage's voice came over the frequency. ##I got one,
Roy! He's in the freight elevator! You were right about that change. The
fire's vertically climbing around the shaft!##

DeSoto didn't stop his own searching, and he stumbled over debris;
some unseen carts and a couple of concussion tipped towel storage shelves
lying in piles in the dimness. "Need help with him?" Roy shouted into
his walkie.

Johnny's breaths came in whistles over Roy's radio as he hefted up
the semi conscious orderly's back against a wall using the sooty man's
feet as anchors under his own so he could tumble him between his shoulder
and his air bottle in a fireman's carry. ##Nah, I'll be faster on my own.
Keep looking for Dixie! I'm headed outside with this guy and I'll be
right back! * cough.*cough* ##

"Ok, I'll be watching for ya!"

Gage's breathing came painfully rapid due to the fatigue that he had been
fighting since the skyscraper climb after the peregrine falcon admiring kids.
He rested for a long moment at the foot of the short stairs leading up to
the parking lot before heading back into the daylight with his half out victim.

Captain Stanley met him there and Johnny was rapidly divested of his
burden. "He breathing?"

"Yeah!" Gage gasped, peeling off his mask. He folded into an indian style
crouch onto the ground, sucking in the much cooler, fresher air now swirling
amply around him as he recovered from the rescue.

"Ok, give me the short of it." Hank ordered. "What's in there?"
the tall commander demanded as they both watched Chet and Marco
carry off the luckless lab orderly to the nearby triage center
set up in the heliport hanger, on a backboard. Cap and Gage watched
as the man  was richly ventilated with pure oxygen from a demand
valve in time with his own weaker inhalations as he was carried away
from them.

Image of caplistentogageinscbatalk.jpg Image of rjscbasawdoor.jpg

Gage stretched out onto his side, not even bothering to remain seated as
he talked. He began checking and rechecking the integrity of the knots
on his lifeline that was still whole and attached to his scba's harness.
"There's no sign of discoloration in the smoke or flames, Cap. So no
chemical spills there, but we can't seem to find the center of things either.
It's real weird inside. Blast damage is all around us concentrically,
not located just in one or two places..."

"Hmm." said Hank, thinking. "A large scale trigger field, huh? Perhaps
the news is true then, that a faulty wire in the surgical gas store room
along with a slowly leaking oxygen tank, is the cause of it all. There'd be
little flame in a situation like that after the flashpoint."

"That's a thought." Johnny said. He grabbed Hank's arm. "Cap, I think
everybody got out. There wasn't a single soul down there,.. except for him."

Cap started to grin.

"And maybe...Dixie McCall."

"What?!" Hank uttered, horrified.

"Brackett says Dixie came down to this particular lab after some results
on a fracture patient.  He mentioned that there's a good chance she may
have been in the lab itself next to Surgical Supply at the time of the
explosion because she hasn't been seen by anyone since then." Johnny
told him.

"Have you two searched down that far yet?"

"Roy's working on it."

"How are you two doing fatigue wise?"

"We're....fine." Johnny lied.

"What about THAT fire?" Cap said jerking his head at the blaze
sputtering out the top window of the freight elevator shaft.

"That's only the greased cable burning and then probably
the start of the roof of the shaftworks room. It's doesn't have
a lot of fuel to go anyplace else, Cap."

"Ok,..Get back in there. I'll have a hose team on your backs in two minutes." Cap
promised. "See you in four when you change out your bottles." Johnny rose and
turned to leave when he felt Hank jerk him to a halt by a bottle strap.
"Wait! Gimme your out tags first!"

Johnny sheepishly handed Hank both Roy's and his, metal id incident tags for
the chief's status and personnel board from a special clip on his jacket.  

Cap patted Gage's back encouragingly and gave him a push back down the
subterranean stairs after his paramedic had reapplied his air mask and had his
helmet returned to his head tightly. Then, he got on his HT on the squad's
frequency. "Engine 51 to HT 51 DeSoto! Your position?"

Inside the crackling, but only fitfully burning, shattered lab, Roy studied a door.
##Suite 9-A, heading, uh,... heading towards the east wing.##

"10-4." Hank said watching his best rescue man return down into the smoke
with trepidation.


Back inside, Johnny quickly caught up with Roy. "How's your air, pally?"

"Five minutes left. Yours?"

"Same. Let's go." Johnny said, yanking on his trailing lifeline so it wouldn't
snag on obstacles.

"That corridor's clear! There's no one else." he said when Johnny wanted to
continue where he had left off.

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"Ok," Gage gasped, hurrying alongside his partner down the final wing still
left unexplored.  Soon, they spotted a form on the carpetting next to a warped,
force torn, now floor stretched, door. "Female victim! Ohmyg*d. Is that Dixie?"

"Sure is!" Roy celebrated through his steamy mask.  
But then his great fear bit home."Dixie?! ....Hey, can you hear me? Dixie!!"

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She was lying face down and didn't move in the slightest at the sound of their
yelling voices or noisy, tanks clattering approach.

Johnny swiftly knelt onto his knees after kicking burning cinders away from
her hair with his feet and he peeled off a glove to grope at the angle of her
neck for a carotid. Frowning, he groped again, digging deeper. Finally..."She's
alive. But her pulse's very weak and thready."

Roy let out the breath he was holding as he carefully started untangling her limbs
enough for them to log roll Dixie onto her back to look for life threatening injuries past
the unconsciousness and for a quick listen and feel for signs of adequate breathing.

But then, a belching roar of fire suddenly vomited expansively out of the supply room
along the ceiling over their heads, making the two masked paramedics immediately
duck to cover their heads and torsos over Dixie's smoking body.  

A full sized monster oxygen cylinder gave way and blew up, shooting through
the ceiling, on fire.

"Let's get her out of here!" Gage gasped. "Before another one of those
tanks works loose, falls, and fires at us like a rocket!"

Swiftly, they pushed bits of ceiling and gas cylinder chains off
the shattered door that had impacted outwards into Dixie, and gently, they
eased her in a safe spine line onto it for use as an improvised emergency
stretcher. A few seconds later, they jog carried her lying on it, to the safety
of the T junctured hallway. They both settled onto the floor over her instantly
then, so they could get back on McCall's head for a more thorough breathing

Roy opened her airway further with a modified jaw thrust. "She's still doing it."
he said, studying the slight rise and fall of her stained uniform's chest. He
quickly placed his air mask over McCall's face in a clean air offering. "No
coughing though."

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"That's far better than being dead, Roy. Count your blessings. Dixie?" Gage
prompted, feeling up McCall's arms and legs for fractures or major bleeding.
"Can you hear me? It's Johnny Gage. We've just found you in the lab."

She didn't respond to him, not even to a pain check.

DeSoto got on the HT. "Squad 51 to Engine 51. We found our victim.
She's deeply unconscious and in severe shock. We're in the south corridor,
thirty yards and ninety degrees left from our exterior stairway."

##Sending in a stokes backup team now!## Hank replied over the radio.

Image of royhtscbascared.jpg Image of johnnyscbatreatlookdown.jpg

Roy was about to insert an oral airway into Dixie's mouth from his jacket's pocket,
so they could leave with her without the worry of a tongue/airway obstruction,
when a fierce cascade of explosions from behind, rocked them both off of their

It also caused the corridor's ceiling to start raining thickly down in pieces
around them.

Sickeningly, a lightweight truck from the parking lot above slid into the gaping
hole newly made in the ceiling, and pinned all three of them underneath a vast
debris pile of rafters and the Ford's smouldering gasoline tank, now impact jarred
free of the sunken 4 X 4.

The two paramedics didn't even have time enough to scream as the vehicle
came tumbling down in a massive roar of dirt and shattered cement

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