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       Heavy Duty
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    Page Two

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From: "finiterider" <>
Date: Sun Nov 20, 2005  9:03 pm
Subject: Two Bulls in a China Shop.

Kel Brackett was beside himself with more than just
a little worry for Nurse Dixie McCall. He was so preoccupied
with listening to the fire department scanner over the main
ER desk for any word about her, that he never heard the
soft tread of Dr. Fred Hathaway arrive until a gentle hand
set onto his shoulder.


"What?!" Brackett startled, whirling on the seat of his stool. He also
bumped his elbow smartly against the cardiac telemetry monitor in a
sharp crack. "Ouch! GaaHHhh !  D*mmit! Now I've done it.." and he curled
fingers around it and locked his body up in a grimace from the arm pain.

Fred immediately stabilized his coworker's elbow in a concerned
automatic surgeon's reflex. "Ooo, geesh. I'm sorry, Kel. I should've
given warning ahead of time. I know how keyed up you get during a
blitz like this. Let me take a look at that." he offered in a not-a-question

Dr. Brackett ...reluctantly, ...rolled up his sleeve. "It's not your fault, Fred.
I should know better than to let myself get that way in the first place."
he sighed. His irritation put gravel into his voice and all degrees of
his trademark gruffness. "Feels like just a knock on the nerve. It's nothing."
he deflected falsely.

Fred softly checked the bony structures of Brackett's elbow and
eased the joint through a small range of motions. He stopped when Kel's
face twisted tightly. "Pretty unfunny for just a funny bone, Kel. You're ballooning
up here transversely......  I think.. " he said, feeling around carefully. "..that you
actually ...managed to dislocate this, my friend."

"No way.." Brackett looked up, fiercely.

But Fred noticed that he didn't move his arm an inch. He watched as five
shades of red shot through his coworker's face in utter mortification.
It made him instantly want to remedy things.
"I can reduce it before it stiffens on you.." Dr. Hathaway said, ducking
down in equal confidence, keeping low so no one would discover the
situation with Kel's arm.

"Fred, I can't leave now. Are you insane?!" Kel whispered so no one
would notice them and his present embarrassing difficulty.

"I'm a surgeon specialist, remember? I don't need a surgical ward or tools
to realign a dislocated elbow." And with that, Fred took hold of Kel's armpit
and forearm and gave it a practiced, firm jerk that literally picked Brackett
up off of the stool. A bright jolt of pain shot across Kel's eyes but then,
the agony was gone. Just like that. It was as if the arm had never been

Kel blinked then, suddenly aware of Fred holding him upright by the
shoulders, waiting patiently until Kel got his full senses back.

"Need a few smelling salts, Mr."Fainter"?" whispered Fred.

"No." Kel spat acidly, whipping his repaired arm away from Fred. "I'm
fine!.. Uh,.. thank you. Your trademark trick still works like a charm. Now go
get me some coffee and tell me why you're down here." he said, changing
the subject swiftly with some real anger.

Fred got the fortifying drink promptly. He set it down before Kel whom he
knew wasn't about to take sips from it.
"You know why. I came down here to find out about a mutual acquaintance
of ours. You know her. She's got blonde hair, an absolutely stunning smile
with a pure saxophone silky voice to match?"

Kel pretended ignorance as he turned up the volume of the fire scanner
to drown out Fred's voice. He remained stonily silent, clearly displeased
with being in such close proximity to his companion.

Fred kept going relentlessly, still mild and cheerful. "Am I ringing a bell?
She's got a five letter word for a first name beginning with a D and ending
with an--"

That was quite enough for Kelly Brackett. He turned and pegged his
best glare of full fledged professional irritation that wasn't professional
in the slightest in actual reality. "Fred. Let's get straight to the point,
shall we? I don't know anything yet. Would I have both ears glued
to the L.A. county fire monitor if I knew the slightest scrap of anything
at all?"

"No. I guess you wouldn't." Fred agreed. But then he changed the subject.
"I thought we were friends, Kel. So I was the one Dixie turned to after she
left you. So what? It's no big deal. I'm also standing in the dumped beau
line right after you, so lighten up a little. Let's put our mutual emotional
differences aside and worry about posturing later after we find out whether
or not the woman we still both have some feelings for is still in the land
of the living, all right?"

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Kel said nothing.

"I'm sure Joe Early would have a lot to say about how we're behaving right
now if he were here. I may have fixed Joe's heart but he sure knows the state
of the two of ours concerning Dixie I'll just bet."

Dr. Brackett sighed hugely, groping at some ghosting humility.
"You're right. We're acting like a couple of kids in the school sandbox."
he said, rising to fiddle yet again with the empty patient information clipboard
waiting on the table for the first paramedic team's call from the base station.
"I'm just disgusted that it took something bad happening to Dixie in order to
get us in the same place at the same time, in the same room together, Fred.
Don't you feel that way, too?"

"I do." Fred said, biting his lip, looking suddenly vulnerable for the first time.

Kel met his eyes in a matching look, mirroring the same emotion. "Care
to go out there for me and poke around a little after her?"

"In a heartbeat." said the cardiovascular surgeon with a grin. "I'll keep
her safe after they get her to us, and I'll tell you absolutely everything I'm
doing for her treatment wise while I'm doing it, ok?"

"I'm holding you to that. As doctor to doctor. " Kel said pointing a finger
up in emphasis.

"Consider it done. After all, you're the boss."

And with that, Fred was gone.

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From: Sam Iam <>
Date: Wed Nov 23, 2005  1:11 pm
Subject: The Different Eye

Chet Kelly came running. "Cap! Cap!" he shouted.

Hank Stanley felt an instant stab of dread even before he
addressed his man about what the problem was. "Kelly!
Why aren't you on the stokes crew assignment for Roy
and Johnny's new victim?"

"Infrastructure's collapsed right over their position." he
panted, sweating profusely. Only then did Stanley see that
the curly haired fireman was coated with plaster dust and
insulation fibers. "We were almost there when a truck in
the parking lot melted through the ceiling."

"You guys got water going into there?"

"Yeah. Marco and Stoker are fanning the pile right now
through the asphalt."

"Ok, I'll get the chief." Hank told him, patting Chet on the
shoulder while he leaned over and hacked up pulverized
building material from his mouth and throat. "When you're
set, head back there to dig them all out." Cap ordered
as he toggled his HT. "Engine 51 to Battalion 14. Emergency!
Cave in at HT 51's location. Thirty yards south of a ninety from
their ground point entry, going left. We're gonna need all the man
power we can get for an underground operation. Our possible total
victim number trapped is a count of three. Two are Code I.  
Note that ample water cover is in place."

##10-4, Engine 51. I'll route personnel your way a.s.a.p.
Stand fast at your posting to give the arriving crews
details of your situation.##

"10-4, Battalion 14. Engine 51 out."

Soon, L.A.'s tones sounded out the upgrade alert over every walkie
talkie and truck radio in the area. ##L.A. to Station 36 and Engine
10 : 10-19 the southern exposure with Engine 51. Multiple trapped
victims have been reported underground. Situation : Two Code I plus
one. Time out. 13:56.##

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Hank was grateful for the dispatcher's hint that firefighters were
involved. ::That'll make them arrive that much faster to me.::
Captain Stanley turned to where he could see Chet Kelly, Marco
Lopez and Mike Stoker clustered over the gaping smoking hole
in the middle of the parking lot, raining a thick fan of water down
into it, trying to suppress the active flames they could see erupting
from around the rear bumper of the truck sticking out of the hole.

He looked at his watch and saw that there was only two minutes left
on his mental countdown. After that, the air in both Johnny and Roy's
bottles would run out and they would both fall into serious breathing
shortage rapidly. ::Why didn't I tell Johnny to take in the spare scba
tanks with him going back in?:: Then another voice in his head told
him the reason why coolly. ::Because you knew that they had Dixie
McCall to find. Don't be surprised that you'd get absolutely the fastest
way to rescue such a close friend in that kind of danger involving
some risk. It's only natural. :: said his conscience. ::You're still doing
your job properly.::

Hank hated that inner voice. It took away the guilt he wanted to feel
just then and it sounded a lot like his wife's voice the more he thought
about it. Then the emotional pain truly gripped him. :: Roy's wife will be
devastated if she thought I let anything happen to her husband.:: That
put fear deep into his chest. He lifted his HT again, quickly.
"Engine 51 to Battalion 14. Uh,.. CIS channel?"

##Switching over.## replied Battalion 14.

Captain Stanley fidgetted until he heard his chief come over the new
private frequency.

##What's up, Hank?##

"Chief, I read last month that Ladder Nine was trial testing a new
device that reads heat. Do they have one with them now?"

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##That just might be a winning ticket, captain. I had forgotten about
that thing. I'll send them straight away. Get that hallway your men
used cooled down well so the image contrasts will be cleaner. ##

"Copy that, chief. Thanks."

##No, thank you. That was original thinking, the kind that
always saves lives. I still think you're wasted at the captain's level.
Don't turn down the next promotion when it comes, Hank. I'd still love
to have you wearing the white before I retire. ##

"I've got a year to think about it. You're not sixty four yet, sir."

##Good luck with the IR camera. I'll be crossing my fingers
behind my back. All of them.##

Cap grinned. "Engine 51 out, switching back to main channel."

Hank got the fire companies newly assigned to him, cracking,
when they appeared a short time later.

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From: "Cassidy Meyers" <>
Date: Wed Nov 23, 2005  9:26 pm
Subject: The Inactive Action..  

Dr. Hathaway made his way around the barricades marking the
boundaries of the hot zone until he came to the triage center.
Already, he could see seventeen or eighteen being treated.

None of them, was Dixie.

He turned to the nearest doctor he saw; Dr. Morton.
"Mike, you got things in hand here?" he asked with his
voice. But outwardly, his eyes were still casting about for
the lost Nurse McCall. ::Oh, my G*d. Where is she?:: his
mind raced. ::Why are things taking so long?::

"Yeah, pretty much. Did Kel send you for an update?" the
blue jumpsuited resident asked.

"Something like that." he evaded and quickly stepped around
a young woman being treated for smoke inhalation. Before the
young doctor could ask Fred more, Hathaway walked swiftly
away from him towards his next target, Dr. Joe Early.

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"Joe, what have they told you so far about Dixie? Have they located
her yet?"

Dr. Early looked up from the leg he was splinting on the orderly
that Johnny Gage had rescued from the laboratory tunnels. "Not yet.
But things have just gotten worse. There's been a cave-in reported."

"A cave-in?! Oh, Joe.. I've got to get over there!"

"Good luck crossing the fire line." said Early, not even looking up.
"I already tried that, until my sense of duty about taking care of these
casualties got the better of me."

"I want to help, Joe. But just over there. How can they turn down a doctor's
help? They'll listen to me, I'm sure of it. I know the lay out of the labs.
They can do things my way. I just want to offer them another opinion."

Joe turned on the EKG monitor that he had hooked up on the moaning
orderly and he started studying it intently. "I'm sure that the fire department
will set you straight instantly if you try to take matters into your own hands."

Fred sighed, running fingers through his hair. "Don't you care about Dixie?"

Joe Early looked up with a flash of fury. "Of course I do. We all do, Hathaway.
But first we have an obligation to fulfill here. And if that means providing triage
for the fire department then by G*d, I'll provide it, because that's our job and
oathsworn responsibility now by all hospital procedural duty and definition."

"Not mine. Kel ordered me to..." Fred flickered a few agitated fingers.
" ....snoop around and investigate a little. So I'm not going to let him down.
Or her either, for that matter." he growled defensively.

Joe glared at Hathaway fiercely.

"Call me if you get a critical." Fred sniffed with an angry frown, holding up his
triage radio. "It's too bad us surgeons have to wait around for orders and
surgical case approval from one of you guys first before working
any. But hey, triage handles life threats before scheduling those patients'
operations, right?"

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Joe remained mute. A part of him wanted Fred to be his eyes, too. For Dixie's

"See you later." said Fred finally. He dashed off into the smoke. "I'll be careful."

Ben Llewellyn, working a short distance away, bandaging a young lab technician's
head, said. "That was brainless." he told Joe.

"How so? I warned him." Joe insisted.

"Yeah, but you didn't stop him." said the crusty, blue haired doctor.

Whispering softly to himself, Joe Early looked up into the direction Fred
had disappeared, with tears filling his eyes. "I couldn't."

Down in another casualty row, having overheard the tale end of the
conversation, Dr. Morton became pure fire. "I would've! Now we'll
all get into trouble for letting him go! So much for swearing to watch out
for each other my fine, fanciful colleagues. I'm utterly embarrassed
and ashamed to think that the fire department is a whole h*ll of a lot
better at it than we are."

Joe thought he had a backup plan. "We could always call him, saying
that a hospital administrator's ordered him to return."

"With what, son?" snorted Dr. Llewellyn. "Fred's left his radio on top of the
crash cart over there."

"Are you sure?"

"Are two doctors always doomed to fall in love with the same nurse?"
murmured Ben.

Joe Early left his victim's side for a moment to pick it up to confirm
the name engraved on its bottom surface.

It was Hathaway's.

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From: "Roxy Dee" <>
Date: Wed Nov 23, 2005  9:45 pm
Subject: The Opposite of Fire Is~~

There was the sound of quiet coughing echoing in the darkness.

After images started burning Roy's retinas before he realized
that he had come to. "Dixie?!"  He struggled up from where
he lay crumpled flat on his back.  A jolt of pain through a trapped
leg, stopped him. ::Something's pinned me.:: he thought, reaching
in the murk for his feet. A searing hot gas tank branded his gloves.
"Ahh!" He whipped his hands away and lay still once more, listening
to the noises around him.

To his left, he could hear breathing, about three feet away from
his right elbow. Then DeSoto realized that the weight on his stomach
was Johnny's face. "Johnny?" he gasped, pulling off his face mask
when the low air alarm started going off.

The electronic howler awoke his partner, who flinched and immediately
grunted when he found his legs pinned, too. Roy held him still with both
gloves.  "You ok?"

"Yeah,...I think so..*cough*."

"Gimme your mask, mine's through.." he croaked. "Gimme a breath,
then let's shine our lights around us to look for Dixie."

Gage moved into immediate motion as full recent memory of McCall's
condition, returned. "Where is she?" he said, pressing the air mask
to Roy's face so he could get some relief from the smoke.

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"I hear her breathing to my right. *cough* It's labored. Liquidy."
Roy said hoarsely, sucking in the fresh air from Gage's bottle

"We gotta flip her over. Can you reach her?" Johnny gasped,
taking the mask back for himself.

Roy sobbed, feeling the full extent of pain from what felt like a snapped ankle.
"Ugh!... No. Neither can you. Both of us have a full gas tank and half
a ton of rafters lying across the lower halves of our bodies."

"We gotta do something, or she'll choke in a few minutes on that blood."
Johnny said, aiming his penlight onto Dixie's pale face from where he
and his partner lay tangled in the beams from the ceiling.

Roy looked around their small enclosed space carefully. "I've got
an idea."

"What?" panted Johnny, laying a dizzy head back down onto Roy's
hip so he'd wouldn't be a burden to his breathing.

"G-Give me....your belt."  Roy told him. "I've already got mine off."

"What are ya gonna do?" Johnny said, squinting as he kept watching
Dixie's respirations.


Johnny grunted, feeling where the tremendous weight of the vehicle
pressing down onto them, had him trapped. "I don't get it."

"We shut off the master switch and we ...earn the ability to crank up
the ..." Roy grimaced when a spasm shot through his leg. "..oxygen in
the room. This is a surgical supply store, remember?" he smiled
weakily. He shook his head to clear it.

"I'm stupid. DuhHHhh. Can you reach one of those cylinders?"

"My head's lying on one." Roy grinned, tapping it with a knuckle
so Johnny would hear. "The regulator key's in my hand. But first..."

"Yeah, I know we gotta get the power off.. so sparking risk's minimized."

Roy tried to laugh but nothing came out."You're worried about
us causing some with all this open flame around?"

"Do you see any fire, Roy? It's pitch back in here. That last explosion
must have snuffed it out."

"Wondered why I couldn't ....see too well." Roy drowsed. "Don't
think my vision's clear enough for your belt buckle tossing idea,

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"I'll do it.." he said tightly. "I'm more awake than you. Hyperventilate
on that and then hold your breath. I'm gonna need the mask for a bit
while I try to snag the handle of that utility box. Keep an ear on
Dixie. Her breathing rate's picking up into the crisis range."

Roy gorged on the mask's flowing air and passed it over.


Stars were parading thickly across his vision from hypoxia when
he felt Johnny push the mask back over his nose and mouth. He felt
his chin get tipped up until he had a clear passage through which
to breathe.

"Roy? I did it. Get your senses back. You get the last of the scba's
supply. It's got thirty seconds left. Then crank on that O2 full blast when
you can. Dixie's up to twenty four a minute."

Roy's limbs felt like pure lead and it was impossible to respond.

"Roy? Can you hear me?"

He felt Johnny's hand push under his jacket to rest on his stomach,
monitoring him.

DeSoto finally answered him with a cough as the last feeble stream
of waning air from the face plate revived him somewhat. "Sorry. ....
lost track for...a few seconds."

"The air's bad in here. My guess is that it's only from a lack of 02. The
explosion used it all up in those flares. Doesn't help that I shut
off the ventilation system when I deactivated the power in that fuse box.
Come on, you gotta get that done now before we both black out."

Stubbornly, Johnny refused the mask Roy try to hand back to him with
a firm grip. He held his partner's eyes with a no nonsense look about
it until DeSoto gathered up the strength he needed to lift up his arms.

Roy reached over his head. His hands were bloody and shaking.
::Is this from me? Or from Johnny? Dixie wasn't bleeding that badly from
her tongue bite.:: Gasping hugely, he managed to turn the valve on the E
tank until it was wide open and it started pouring out its pure, cool oxygen.

Immediately, clarity returned to both paramedics.

Roy's pain doubled and so did Johnny's, but together, he and Gage
shifted the green cylinder's weight on the gravel debris lying
underneath them until it was shooting out the oxygen gas right
over Dixie's liberally fire ashed head.

They both began shouting to grab the first of her attention.

Dixie emitted a single, weak cough a minute later, finally reacting
to their shouts of encouragement. "Dixie? Wake up! Listen to us.
Breathe deeper! You're way too shallow to do any good." DeSoto
said loudly.

Dixie's suffocation struggles grew as she began to panic in
her half state. Stronger and stronger, she flailed her limbs.
Then they began to weaken and she started turning a deeper blue.

"No.." Roy yelled, trying to reach McCall with either hand.
He failed. "Dixie....!"

Gage got an idea and took up a length of splintered wood. He began to
poke her in the shoulder firmly. "Dixie! Come on now! You need to roll
over onto your side. You've got to get rid of all that cr*p in your mouth or
you'll start to breathe it all in."

Dixie's index finger lifted an inch, involuntarily, under their penlights.

"Dixie! Do I have to leave bruises?!" Johnny yelled, losing his temper.

He was about to smack her across the hand with the flat of the board
when Dixie gasped. Adrenaline finally made her jerk and flip
over onto her face. She landed inches away from the oxygen tank's
nozzle and the sharp breeze from it started bringing her around.
The sounds she began uttering were only half nonsensical noises.

The other half was a healthy bout of swearing. "@#$%!*&" said Dixie.

Roy and Johnny began to smile only then and they both fell back
onto the ground with a complete sense of relief.

Vocalizing was a good sign in anybody.

They began to watch her closely as she recovered from almost
drowning from her tongue's bite wound. A large amount of mouth
blood trickled in a stream from between her teeth, to land sizzling
in the embers underneath her that were glowing brightly in the
oxygen stream.

"Feel like talking now?" Johnny asked her a few minutes later.

McCall didn't answer.

"Come on, I won't bite. You already did that to yourself so I
won't, I promise. How's the tongue doing? Are you still bleeding
out badly?"

Dixie stayed quiet, sucking in the rich oxygen gratefully.

Johnny started up again. "I know you can hear me, Dixie.
Your eyes are twitching."

Dixie sighed without opening them. " of here. NOW."
she said quietly, because of the intense pain still shooting through
her head.

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"Sorry, we can't really oblige ya. You see, uh, Roy
and I both have a truck lying on top of our legs..."

That made Dixie pick up her head. "What?! A truck? How
did th--OhhhHHH!" She immediately set it back down again
when a sharp wave of dizziness sent a gush of vomit into her
throat. She spat it out, turned away from her rescuers, and
impatiently waited for the bout of nausea to recede.

It finally did.

"How's your back and neck? We've already guessed about
the concussion.." Gage said.

"I'm ok that way." Dixie swallowed dryly. "Why isn't Roy talking
any more?"

Johnny glanced over at his partner. Roy was dozing, but his
skin remained warm and dry under Johnny's touch. "He's tired.
That's all. He got our oxygen supply going so give him a break."
Gage said grimacing, laying his head back down onto Roy's
upper leg.

The nurse in Dixie started reappearing. "Speaking of circulation,
how's it in you guys below both your waists?"

"If I didn't know you better, I'd be taking that as a distinct attempt
at a pass, Dixie." Johnny joked, trying to get a rise out of her.

"Really? You're not my type. I reserve all my flirting strictly
for men of the white coat persuasion, Mr. Paramedic."

"Huh. Figured that one out years ago. Kel's one h*ll of a lucky guy."

Dixie didn't deign to correct him on exactly where her love life stood
just then. "Seriously, Johnny. Will you answer my question? I don't
want to have to worry about anyone but myself here, ok?"

She heard Gage sigh, trying to hide a cry of pain.
"I can feel everything, down to my toes.*gasp* I assume he can, too.
Or he would've mentioned that he didn't."

"There's a small mercy. Do they know we're down here?"

"Yes. Roy got out our position before the second explosion
separated us from both our walkie talkies."

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"Any bleeding on you two?" she asked.

"Nope. Just scratches."

"Spinal injuries?"


"Broken bones?"

"Uh,...let's leave that one for the attending once we're outta here."

"Johnny.." Dixie warned.

"I ...don't know.  I can't reach Roy's lower half to find out and he
can't reach mine. You wouldn't happen to be free from debris enough
to check on that for us, would you?"

"I.. think I am. But there's this little problem called vertigo happening."

"Oh. In that case, never mind. Prop your head up onto
that tank. You need to keep it up with a head injury."

"Practice what you preach. I can see the bruise on your forehead
from here." Dixie said. "Lemme spend half a year crawling over
to you and I'll help you keep an eye on Roy's pulse. I can do that
at least. It doesn't require me to keep my eyes open."

"Lazy." Johnny kidded her.

"No, I'm just honest enough to acknowledge my current limitations."

A sharp hiss and a sudden shift of settling weight made the metal
of the fire heated truck in the ceiling groan sickeningly.

Roy's eyes shot open when something pressed down even harder
on his thighs. "Ow. Ow. Ow.. sh*t!" he writhed. Then he closed his
eyes, and let a string of profanity gush out freely. "Of course it
would be me get the lowest end of the truck's bumper on my lap."
he hissed. "Hurry up, gang, if you know what's good for you.." he grunted,
throwing up a look at the ceiling in the direction of the working firefighters
he thought he heard digging down to their chamber.

"Hey, nap boy. Morning..." Dixie joked, waving a weak hand at him in
the dimness. "Guess who's awake?"

Roy cracked an eye open and waved back. "Oh, it worked? Hi Dixie.
Excuse me while I vent a little m---" and he choked out another bout
of bad language. It faded into a soft moan when light shock finally
came to give him relief.

"I think your run of trucker mouth was better, Dixie. It had more class."
Gage chuckled as he took Roy's pulse while he worked through
the increased change in pain. It began to speed up. Johnny frowned
and looked at Roy's face. Cold sweat was beginning to bead on his
forehead. "Roy? Are you hurt worse than your legs?"

"I think ....something's in lower back. I can feel it when I breathe."
Then he blacked out.

"Roy?" Johnny said, getting a grip on Roy's neck pulse. "Roy?! Can
you hear me?"

DeSoto didn't reply.

"D*mn it!" Johnny said. He immediately reached into his partner's jacket
pocket for one of the oral airways he knew Roy kept in there for rescues.
He bit off its plastic wrap and used it on him. "I knew something wasn't going
right with him."

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Dixie started dragging herself over to the two firefighters, fighting nausea
the whole way. "Dig." she said with urgency. "Let's dig a hole under him
and see what it is. Maybe it's just something he's lying on."

"All right.." said Gage evenly, seriously. "But the moment you get tired,
I want you to stop. I don't want you overexerting yourself. I'm still kicking
myself for letting him do the same thing by letting him crack open that
oxygen tank without checking him out first."

"We were suffocating, Johnny. Time wasn't yours to waste."

"Well, now it most definitely isn't either. Hey!!" he began to shout, picking up
the ripped up board to hammer it soundly on a pitch angled wall near him.
"We're right here! Hurry up! H---" Agony from his left leg locked Johnny up.

"Johnny. Quit that. Serves you right. You're a trauma victim, too, whether
you want to be one or not. So shut up." Dixie ordered.

Gage smiled from the ground where he had curled up around his pinned
leg. "Now I know you're getting better. You're beginning to sound more
like the Dixie I know."

"Speak for yourself."

"I thought I was doing that." Johnny said, loosening up Roy's jacket and
collar from around his throat. "Here, take this board. Use it to deflect some
of that oxygen stream Roy's way. I want it in his face."

"Think it'll wake him up like it did me?"

"There's always hoping." Gage said sharply. Then he looked up at
the dark hole above them again. "I wonder what's taking them so long
to get through to us. It's not that far up to the parking lot's level from here."

In answer, a falling pipe of drinking water, the lab's two foot diameter water
main, fell down over their heads, rupturing wide open. Hundreds of gallons
of water began to bounce off the roof of the mangled truck and onto the
three trapped below.

The water began to rise rapidly around them, filling up the hallway.

Image of labflood.jpg Image of hospitalflood.jpg Image of gagegoodnightsweat.jpg

From: "patti *mimic*" <>
Date: Fri Nov 25, 2005  4:47 pm
Subject: Morpheus Effect..

Dixie let out a startled scream. "What's happening? Is this
from a fire hose?"

"No, there's too much of it. I think this is from a subterranean water main!
Don't you smell the chlorine?" said Johnny.

Dixie nodded that she could.

"Reach him, Dixie. Cover Roy's face with his air mask. He can't protect
his own airway from all this water while he's unconscious like this."

Grunting, Dixie shifted on her stomach, until she got a hold of
the emptied scba bottle. She began using its face plate like
an umbrella , holding it over DeSoto's nose and mouth
to start deflecting away the cascading water.
"I got him." she coughed, shaking frigid streams from her eyes
like a wet dog. The cold of it drove away the last of the nausea she
was feeling and surrealistic terror took over. Oddly enough, McCall
felt her brain begin to function. "Johnny. Use the water! It's softening
the debris layer underneath him."

"I know. I'm already down here." he grunted, digging under Roy's hip
and lower back with both muddy gloves. "I'm gonna try to free him first."

Dixie helped him with a heel of her foot.
"Is he really stabbed on top of something?" she gasped, struggling to keep
the air mask off of Roy's face even while the falling water tried to beat it
down forcefully.

Gage didn't answer, coughing in whistling, frightened gasps while he
dug a hole underneath DeSoto, using his penlight for illumination.
The dull gleam of an opaque white cylinder revealed itself, etched with
familiar horizontal black lines. It was stuck vertically down from Roy's back.  
"It's a 100 ml syringe of some kind. The needle's impaled him and
it's partially full of something."

"Get it out!" McCall quailed.

Johnny didn't like the idea of disturbing an object inside of Roy's
lower abdomen, but the thought of whatever that solution was, injecting
more of itself into him, was too much to bear. Slowly, he pulled out syringe's
embedded needle carefully; straight down, and back out the way it had
come. One inch, two inches, three... Finally, the end of it pulled clear.
"This looks like a bicarb needle, Dix. It's six inches long." he said,
holding it up quickly into the light of his flashlight. He snapped the sharp
lance's hub off and threw it away violently.

Image of dixjohnnyneedle.jpg Image of flailchestpetechiaeblueshirt.jpg

"It looks like an anesthetic." she said taking it from him to study it.
"A lot like one of the preps they use before doing spinal punctures."

"I'm saving this then." Gage said, stuffing it into his turnout pocket.
He knew it would have to be analyzed to discover what drug it contained.
"How's he doing?"

"Still breathing. But it's very slow, shallow."

"That might be because of all this oxygen saturating the air.
He's still pink enough."

Dixie coughed, thinking of an idea. "Give me your penlight."

Johnny handed it over, barely able to reach Dixie's hand far enough
to do it.

Dixie flattened herself over Roy, using her body to shield him from
the raining water burst, and ran its beam over Roy's pupils, checking
each in turn without disturbing the lay of his oral airway. "They're
pinpricked, nonreactive."

"So it's a narcotic working on him." Gage sighed. "It fits his symptoms.
Let's hope he didn't get enough for an overdose or he'll lose all vital
signs eventually." he said with dismay.

"All three of us might suffer that if this water gets any higher. I can feel
that it's almost up to his ears already, Johnny." Dixie grunted, struggling
to keep the scba mask over DeSoto's head. "We've got to hurry."

The two of them began to dig out from underneath the fallen truck even
faster, shouting for help as loud as they could at the hole that was flooding
them out rapidly.

Image of dixiejohnnyscreaminfire.jpg Image of roysleepsidedarktank.jpg

From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy <>
Date: Sun Nov 27, 2005  7:44 pm
Subject: To Dixie.. With Love..  

Marco Lopez looked up from where he and Chet were
washing down the sinkhole in Rampart's parking lot
when a portion of it suddenly collapsed again; the
fire glow that they could see, turning into more steam
than their own water cover could account for. "Chet!
Substrate's shifted! We've got a pipe burst! Get back!"

They staggered backwards in a panic as the tarred ground
beneath their feet gave way before them. They both fell
onto their backs and were immediately helped to their feet
again by fire crews so their hose wouldn't get away from them.
They both fumbled until they could man the nozzle again, enough
to shut it off.

Running back to the new edge of the subsidence in between
the parked cars, Lopez stretched himself out onto the ground,
peering down, "Johnny?! Roy?" he shouted into his walkie
talkie on the squad's band.

There was no reply. Only the sound of tons of water
escaping infrastructure at high speed. He nodded to Stoker
to report the change.

51's engineer spoke quickly with Battalion 14 and filled him in.

##Engine 51, is Ladder Nine setting up at your position?##

Mike looked up and saw a team from the city in yellow opening
up a high tech, foam cushioned equipment case. "That's affirmative."

##Hang tight. I have a couple of Rampart's designers here with me.
We'll work out exactly what water main's involved and try to get it
shut off a.s.a.p.. Note your stable ground and get a vertical wench
situated.## ordered the chief.

"10-4.." Stoker affirmed.  He rapidly got what he wanted and clusters
of helping hands set up the rapid access tripod and pulley over
the hole.

A new voice interjected through the chatter of the firemen as they checked
and rechecked their set up. "Let me through! I'm from triage. We
need an update on your situation."  It was Fred Hathaway. "What's
happening? Why aren't your people going down there to start digging?"

Marco rose from where he crouched next to Stoker and Kelly who were
threading lines into the portable winching gear and hooking up lifebelts
and stokes to it. "Hey, not so close. The ground isn't safe here." Lopez
cautioned holding up a damp glove.

Fred used his greater height to peer over Marco's helmet. "How bad is it?"
the surgeon asked. "We heard the tunnel ceiling gave way."

"Mister, we're about to get your staff nurse out of there." Kelly told him.
"We're gonna peg her position with an infrared reader and then get
our team down. She's not alone. Believe me when I tell you that. Johnny
and Roy, our paramedics, are simply the best in the business and they're
right down there with her. "

"Wait a minute, that stuff coming out of the hole's not fire smoke. That's a
water vapor cloud!" It was only then that the blonde haired surgeon smelled
pipeline moisture. Fred panicked, instantly understanding that the firemen
were dealing with a rapidly rising flood, and flames no longer.
::Dixie!:: Fred quailed. "Somebody, get down there now!" he said, pressing
nearer. "They're drowning! Let me over there!"

Stoker grabbed his shoulders. "Doctor! Stay put!" he growled. "You're not
going anywhere. Let these people do their job. Your interference isn't helping
matters.." he told Fred as they grappled.

Vince Howard, manning the public traffic away from the rescue site, looked
up. "Is that man causing you a problem?" he asked Kelly and Lopez from
his traffic directing post.

Image of vincefarstand.jpg Image of hathawaymarcochetstruggle.jpg Image of stokercloseoutsidehelmetday.jpg

Fred pushed away from Stoker's grip, throwing his hands up in surrender.
"No problem officer. I was just.....leaving." said Hathaway, and he put his
hands into his triage tunic's pockets. Fred strode away, weaving in between
cars in the parking lot in a general direction back towards the triage hanger.

As he had hoped, the firemen's attention fell away from him and back to
the rescue ongoing over the pavement collapse site. He saw a firefighter
lift up some sort of camera to an eye, looking through the billowing water

Hathaway immediately ducked behind a large van and made his way
over to the south entrance of the lab building. As he suspected, there weren't
any fire personnel over there anymore. All were at the hole, helping out
with the active rescue team at the winch.

Slyly, Hathaway uptook one of the spare air bottles Gage had
left at the top of the stairs and put it on. Then he took hold of the end of
Johnny's safety rope that was still tied off on the underground stairway's
banister and Fred began following it down into the tunnel, feeling his way
by touch in the steamy darkness.

No one saw him go in.


Gage was still digging around Roy's legs. It was harder, since everything
was now under two and a half feet of water.

Dixie was holding Roy's head up against her chest. "Johnny! Hurry. I can't
sit him up any higher." she sputtered. Rushing water was now up to her chin.
And Roy's neck.

"I'm going as fast as I can." Gage said, taking another huge breath. He dove
underwater and swam under the truck again to chop with his knife's blade once
more around the plastic truck bumper still stubbornly trapping his partner's legs.
He rose for another gasping breath."Keep getting his face out of the water!  
I've almost got him free."

Johnny's own foot, had been easy to untangle. The water had acted as
a lubricant, softening his shoe's leather. Cutting it away was all that
had been needed to rescue himself from the debris pile's grip. Now, he was
working frantically to save Roy.

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