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    Sacred Ground
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 Page Two

From :  Champagne Scott <>
Sent :  Sunday, March 20, 2005 5:48 PM
Subject :  Boot the Dog's Sixth Sense  

##...., Truck 9. Possible suicide attempt. 18 West McGinty. Cross
street Lawrence. 18 West McGinty. Cross street Lawrence. Police
on scene advise no lights or sirens. They specify a boy is involved.
Timeout, 1437.## said Sam Lanier quietly. There was a slight
hesitation in the L.A. dispatcher's usually calm voice that
that showed uncharacteristic emotion or something else, that
all the humans simply missed in their haste to gear up
and get belted in.

Before the echo of Sam's voice died away, Boot suddenly whined, rising
to his feet. He began to bark deep authority filled woofs to hasten the
gang into faster action like he did only for a located victim whenever he was
at a rescue site. But this time, he was looking up the wall where the giant city
map frame hung, intently focused on the speaker grill.

Mike Stoker gaped as he slipped into his overcoat. "Why is he
doing that?" he asked Chet and Cap and Marco piling into
the Ward around him. "Crazy mutt. There's nothing up there,
not even a flying moth to go after."

Cap shrugged. "Boot's a veteran fire dog but he's getting
older. Maybe he's just in anticipation for us to hurry it up
a little. This is a kid call and he's smart enough to know
what the word "boy" means without any encouragement
from anybody."

"Probably." said Mike, and then he was all concentration on
checking out the boulevard through the opening door ahead
for approaching traffic.

Chet and Marco continued to stare in puzzlement
at the stiff legged, on-the-point barking Boot as the engine
pulled out after the rushing squad. But then there
was no more time to wonder when an update from the police
department came over the radio. ## Seven Mary Three, Station 51.
The child's guardian is on scene and accessible.##

"Engine 51, Seven Mary Three, 10-4." replied Captain Stanley as he
tightened the strap of his helmet more firmly against
the rainy wind pushing through the engine's open window.

The outer door rumbled shut, muting the busy traffic sounds,
and relative quiet returned to the station bay.

Charlie the mechanic tried to pet Boot's back, but the shaggy,
tan and red dog shied away from him quickly, only to resume his staring pose
and urgent barking fit. "Hey, boy. What's the matter? You hungry?
Come on, I'll feed ya a can of Rival. Don't worry about the boys, they'll be
back. Firemen return to the coop even faster than carrier pigeons
do, ol' fella. Just give it em couple of hours for this one.
I'll just bet that kid's got himself up in a high place somewhere
while he's working through being a runaway or something. You
know how parents can get sometimes. He's probably just scared

Boot ignored him and continued to stare and bark oddly at the
grill, until an unbidden stomach growl brought the juices flowing into his
mouth at the word 'Rival'. He cut his barks off reluctantly.

"Huh." smiled Charlie. "Thought so. Your chow'll be under the
payphones in a second. Then I'm gonna go read the sports pages.
Just let me wash up a bit." mumbled the greasy palmed Charlie
as he ambled towards the kitchen, whistling an aimless tune.

Boot finally padded after the blue shirted grizzle haired mechanic. He
offered one last whine of concern to the rain gray light in the air as it
dimmed in the garage.


Image of bootgivingtheacknowledgment.jpg Image of charlieserious.jpg

From :  patti keiper <>
Sent :  Monday, March 21, 2005 10:49 AM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Miracle from the Sky..

Hank radioed Squad 51 when they were a half mile
away from the high rise ivory brick office building
where their incident was taking place, to begin
dark and silence mode. The complex was located
in the clover leaf of the busy expressway and already,
cars were honking and slowing down to gawk at
the sight of the crowd milling about and pointing upwards
towards a floor much higher than the speedway ramp.
"DeSoto, Gage. Pull up out of sight in the park on the east
side of the building. Take off your helmets when you go meet
with PD. We don't know yet if this young man gets agitated
at seeing uniforms or not. Err to the side of caution.
E 51'll station down the block with Ladder 9 until
you give the word."

##10-4, Cap.## replied Johnny using the radio mike
from the dashboard. The falling rain was easing into
a fine chilly mist that muted details of the top stories
of the building.

A new transmission cut in. ## Station 51, this is Seven Mary Four
from the sixth floor. I'm moving the mother in close enough
on the boy's level to begin a talk using a megaphone. We can
only see him through a plate glass window that extends out the
whole dimensions of this room. Suite 615. He's located in a
recessed corner under the horizontal flag pole on the south side.
Stay your personnel until we get a good feel about this.##

Captain Stanley quickly scooped up the engine's mic.
"Seven Mary Four, Engine 51. 10-4. Truck 9, hold your position
until further notice but go ahead and enable the Eddison
to vertical on your side of the building. I want to give that
boy an option of climbing down by himself if necessary
once my men are up there. Looks like CHiP PD will give us
an order to move in."

## Truck 9, Engine 51. We copy that. You'll have your access
route in five minutes.##

Cap nodded in satisfaction and waved over Kelly and Marco.
"Guys, go get belts and ropes. But keep under tree cover.
The fog layer between us and that boy could thin to clear
at any time and we don't yet know how far the boy can
see from his perspective. Lopez, hand me the binoculars
from the brush bag. I'm going around into the crowd to see
what I can see."

"Ok, Cap."

Meanwhile, Roy and Johnny had shed their helmets and donned
their non descript navy shirt jackets. They pushed their
way through the spectators to the front rotating doors and hurried
inside.They wasted no time using their fire keys to take over one
of the public elevators. They quickly established a patch to the
two CHiPs up with the mother. Speaker mode allowed them
to overhear what the mother was saying while they rode up
to the sixth floor.

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##Baby, daddy and I aren't mad at you. We just want you to come
back home. Please, move away from the edge, you're frightening

##Good!## came an angry shivering boy's voice full of rage.
##I'm sick and tired of all the doctors poking and prodding
me all the time. I'm sick of all the needles! I'm sick of all the tests
that I know won't make me live longer. You said it yourself, ma. My
brain tumor's cancer and I read in my chart that it's
gonna kill me before Christmas. So why wait? I don't want those
terrible pains to come back again.## screamed the distraught boy.
## So, I'm gonna jump before that happens..## he sobbed, almost
hoarse and shaking with cold under the falling light rain.

##Eric. You're scared. You can't possibly understand everything
that was written in there. I can't, and I'm a librarian. But I know
enough. You won't feel anymore headaches. Doctor Early
says that he can operate and turn off those parts of your brain
that will try to do that when the tumor gets big. Did you read
his notes about it? He said he'd perform a craniotomy with Doctor
Alfans to-##

The tone of the boy's voice through Roy and Johnny's HT as
the elevator rose agonizingly slow, grew quieter. "Enough mom!
I want to die now and get it over with. I hate what's in my head.
It's eating me away bit by bit...*sob* I'm starting to feel like
I'm no longer me anymore." he whimpered, sagging down
the dripping brick outside and he started crying violently
with a bowed head bent over his knees.

Eric's mother fell into a tortured silence and her muffled
crying was the first thing the two paramedics heard in person
when they entered the suite office, cautiously avoiding windows.

A CHiP named Frank Poncherello motioned them to a marble
pillar out of the boy's direct range of sight. Roy and Johnny ducked
behind a desktop and scrambled over to the policeman's position.
Johnny asked him, whispering. "Is there a removable pane of glass
around here anywhere?"

Ponch shook his head as he guardly watched Kelly and Lopez
enter the room as stealthily as Gage and DeSoto had with
the rappelling gear. "Nah. He picked the CEO suite to fall apart
in on purpose. This is his dad's office. He knew there wouldn't
be an easy way for potential rescuers to reach him from here."

Roy asked, "Where's Eric's dad now?" as he looked around
for another man in the room who wasn't PD, trying to keep out of

A blonde CHiP name tagged Jon Baker replied. "In Houston. He flew
out on an emergency flight for a trip this morning. Guess he forgot
to tell his wife and son where he was headed to."

"Nice time to forget.." said Johnny. "Sound's like that kid has borderline
altered himself into a crisis at finding out the bad news just at a time
when he needs his dad most. Brain cancer's a serious load." Then
he checked himself. "No offense, ma'am.." he addressed Eric's mother.
"I'm Johnny Gage of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. My partner,
Roy DeSoto and I, are paramedics."

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"Oh no. Not paramedics... Eric will know you for who you are in seconds.
He had a seizure two months ago that began this awful nightmare and
two men like you came to treat him." her face twisted. "Please.. don't let
my son see you... I beg you..." she pleaded, nearly hysterical.

Roy hung onto her shoulders.. "Shhh. Easy.. Keep your voice low
and try to calm down a bit. Your son needs you and the four of us are here
to help you help Eric, too, ok?  Please. Sit down right over here and get
your thoughts worked out. We won't have to look at your son directly.
These two officers have already filled us in on exactly where he is
and how he's positioned on the ledge. So far, he's hugging the wall because
of the high height out there."

Johnny nodded, adding further encouragement. "He won't jump, maam. Not
if we don't agitate him. Depressed children his age have a hard time
overcoming the survival instinct left over from early childhood long enough to
actually kill themselves. I know it sounds bad right now, but he's only asking for help
in the best way he can work it out right now.."

"Oh, g*d.." the mother sobbed, her knees gave way and Roy and Johnny
gripped her arms long enough to guide her down to sit on the cushions
of the office chair. "I can't take this right now. This is all surreal.."

Gage immediately bent on curbing her denial, before shock could set in
and cause her to topple in a psychogenic faint. They needed the mother's
voice of reason. "Now, Mrs. Benoit..." he said, reading the name plate sitting
on the desk next to them. "Quit snowballing the situation here. You gotta pull yourself
together. Your son's wet, but he's not in any deadly danger. That ledge is
over eight feet wide. It's not as narrow as you might think. My partner and I
are very familiar with the buildings on this block. We use them for climbing
and rescue practice with other fire stations all the time."

"" she whispered.

"Yes. Here, drink this. Officer Poncherello got some coffee for you. Take
a few sips and then we'll begin talking to your son again, all right?"
Gage encouraged her. "He's scared but I know he'll listen carefully
to whatever you'll say next. Why wouldn't he? You're the only mother he's
got.." Johnny smiled at her. He dabbed away the worst of her tears with
a deftly snatched kleenix from a box near them. "And besides that, it's
freezing out there..." said Johnny teasingly, chattering his teeth as an unfeigned
chill washed through him.

Mrs. Benoit, briefly smiled bravely at the four men. "I'll hold out a blanket for
him.." she sniffed before another wave of crying gripped her. Officer Jon Baker
slipped a second one for her around her shoulders and refilled the coffee cup
that had splashed mostly empty, because her hands were trembling so strongly.

A crash from outside startled them all.

Jon Baker rushed to hug a wall and parted the rich venetian blinds to peer outside.
Benoit remained frozen in a horrid fear. "It's ok.. That was only some lightning.
Eric's still nestled behind the gargoyle, hanging onto its lower feet as tight as
he can. There's no way he's gonna let go. Roy, Johnny. I think that thunder
petrified him. He's gripping the stone so hard, his fingernails are bleeding..."

"They are?" Gage said, rising up from his crouch in quick discovery. He
dashed over to Baker and hugged the wall enough to see the sign for
himself. "Roy.. looks like he's catatonic.. maybe even pre seizure stage."

"We gotta get out there..." DeSoto qualmed.

Kelly burst into the room, keeping low. "No problem. The office next door
has a window washer's access pane and it's open. That's how Eric climbed
outside. One of his shoes is lying on the carpeting underneath it."

"Let's go..." Roy said. "Mr. Poncherello..." DeSoto said, reading Frank's
nametag. "Stay with Mrs. Benoit. Stretch her out on the floor on her side
if she passes out on you, ok. We'll have O2 up here in a jiffy.."

Ponch nodded.

DeSoto lifted his HT to his mouth as he and Johnny followed Kelly and
Marco to the open window and were belted up. "Cap.. have someone
bring up all the medical gear. We just got our big break and we're taking it."

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Jon Baker barked into his own radio link to the engine. "Captain. The
ladder's a sure thing real soon. Send it on up.."


Chet frowned. "Catatonia? How long will that last?"

"That depends on how far along Eric's tumor's progressed. Could
be for minutes... or for just a few seconds.  It's ok to hurry.." Roy replied
calmly, but impatiently.

Marco whipped his hands away from the lifebelts now around
the two paramedics' waists. "Done.."

"Go, man. We already got ya anchored!" Kelly turned to Jon Baker.
"Officer Baker? Come wrap Roy and Johnny's ropes around ya,
Lopez and I will take the weight if they fall but you'll be great as
our secondary brake. Put your belt gloves back on." he said, pulling
on his own fire ones.

Roy and Johnny both got confident ready nods from the two engine
firemen so they inched their way out onto the concrete ledge that was
one cornerstone pillar away from Eric's dripping perch.

Gage was the second one to step outside. He was immediately soaked
to the skin from the driving rain but he never hesitated. Roy looked back
through the access window. "Kelly! Is the boy's rope attached to a third
belt yet? We'll try to get that around him first before we do anything else.."

"Yeah, anticipated ya!..." Chet shouted back. "Here!" and his tan gloves
lifted out to Roy, a neatly coiled line and a life belt already cinched
down to a small, child sized diameter.

DeSoto peeked around the corner of the end column, but Eric still hadn't
moved or blinked. Slowly, Roy pulled out his bandage scissors from his
hip holster and he crept one glove around the edge of the pillar
blindly, until he felt soft flesh, giving way. He quickly withdrew them but
there was no reaction at all to his nudge. "Eric?" he whispered carefully
over the mist.

There was no reply or any sound of voluntary movement that showed
the boy had even heard him.

"Is he zoned?" Gage whispered.

"Yeah..." Roy nodded.

The two paramedics flew into business, hollering for a pair of
rig stretchers over their HTs once Eric's safety rope was
securely snubbed off.

The boy did not resist them and continued to stare straight
ahead, emotionally reacting to nothing. He stayed rigid necked
and limb stiff, the whole way back through the office window on
Roy's shoulder.


It took only seven minutes for the four firemen to get both Mrs. Benoit
and the boy into the waiting ambulance. Hank Stanley gave
the departing rig a couple of hand slaps to the back to send it
and Roy on its way.

Hank turned to Johnny and the others, and said.....


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From:  "lafddispatcher" <lafddispatcher@y...>
Date:  Mon Mar 21, 2005  11:01 am
Subject:  Gift From Heaven...

"..I think we owe the Big Man upstairs a whole lotta thanks,
don't you?"

"Heck, yeah..." said Gage. "I'll never complain about
a rainy rescue day, ever again..."


Image of capamusedsmile.jpg Image of gagegoodgrinrampart.jpg

From :  Jeff Seltun <>
Sent :  Sunday, March 27, 2005 3:19 PM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] In for a Mile..

Cap was dozing in the black vinyl rec room arm chair.

Just about everyone else, was either nodding off
on the couch or onto their dinner plates while the
droning effect of the late afternoon rain on the roof
of the vehicle bay, lulled them into sleeping

Only Charlie the mechanic seemed invigorated by
the continuing dreary weather. He had both bay doors
wide open to further dry the paint on the squad
from his repair job and he had Boot as a very eager
audience, for company.

"What's the matter, boy? Are the guys too inanimate for you?
Heh. Firemen are like that." Charlie told the shaggy dog.

Boot intently wagged his tail energetically from where
he sat with a screwdriver in his mouth. Every time the older
mechanic made eye contact, he wagged it ferociously.

"One minute, they're like you'd expect them. Running right
for you, doing the work they're hired for. But then, after only a little
atmospheric effect from mother nature, they slip into hibernation
mode and drop whereever they are. I know, fella, it's boring.
Seems like every firehouse I come to is like that when it starts
to rain." Charlie explained rubbing red paint dotted fingers to scratch
an itch on his nose. "One of these days, I'm gonna make
a short call to Headquarters, suggesting that an afternoon
communications check would be a good idea. Right around
mid shift. That way you mascots'll benefit and have firemen
to play with who're actually awake and functioning at
least part of the day." he chuckled.

Boot whined in agreement.

"Say, didn't I see some dog toys in the mop cupboard in a box
with your name on it?" Charlie addressed Boot.

Boot angled his head quizzically, still drooling around the
screwdriver he dutifully held in his jaws.

"Yeah, I know I did. Hang on a minute and I'll go get it out for
ya. Maybe it'll have something in there for you to do besides
getting crumbs of companionship second hand from me. It's not
like I can pet any part of you right now. I'm all gooey."

Charlie opened the wooden cupboard on the squad side of
the garage with a carefully clean rag, and almost fell over the mechanic's
dolly, the same one that had injured Gage the night before. "Geesh! Doesn't
anybody use the wall cradle I made for this thing that's in the closet?!
This is gonna kill somebody some day... Stupid firemen.." he grumbled.

Boot barked in concert, giving the offending apparatus a firm
bite as he helped Charlie lift it up into where it ought to be.

Charlie reached down and pulled out Boot's toy box. Inside was
a few dusty rawhide bones, a tennis ball or two, an old CPR baby
full of bite marks and some rope shreds, well frayed and chewed.
Charlie lifted out the obsolete training baby. "Is this your retriever
toy? So that's how they get you to go find people who're lost.
I've always wondered how you do that."

But then, to the left of Boot's box, Charlie spotted one marked,
'For Tour Kids'. Inside, there were a few interactive games. One
box, Boot instantly glommed onto, sniffing eagerly and whining.
"Oh ho!.. So you're a dyed to the wool Twister fan. I think this one
should belong in your box, Boot." he laughed. Charlie lifted out the
game, and blew the dust off its cover. "Say, I got an idea.
If ya bark over this game loudly enough in the kitchen, I'll bet you'll
get some signs of life outta those lazy lugs in a jiffy."

"Bark! " said Boot.

Charlie chuckled. "Here, boy." he said, handing out the Twister
game's box. "I'll trade you. Now go get the blood moving in
your buddies while I finish up out here.. And if they ask, it wasn't
my idea...." he whispered to the station mutt, taking the Phillips
tool from between his teeth and substituting the Twister box.

Boot lifted his head high, counterbalancing the tangle limbs game
in his teeth and he eagerly padded away into the kitchen at
a puppy like gallop.


Image of bootwithaspanner.jpg Image of charlieunderthehood.jpg

SMACK!!  went the game on the tile floor right in the middle of
the cluster of the snoozing gang.

All six of them jolted from their rainfall induced naps with satisfying
alacrity at the noise. Boot barked, hastening their progress to wakefulness.

He set a paw on the Twister game pointedly.

Chet mumbled sleepily, rubbing his eyes. "Geez, Boot. If ya wanted
to play you could've got only one of us awake, a little more gently
than.. hey.. what's this?"

Gage coughed, picking up his head from the kitchen table. "Looks
like the board game we use when the school kids come here on tours."
he yawned.

"Really? I didn't even know we had this.." Chet said, pulling it away
from Boot and opening it up. "I remember this game. I used to worm
my way into victory against my sisters all the time." he said, unrolling
the floor playing mat. "Smells like our old game used to, too. Like an

"Bark!" Boot insisted, nosing the color spinner until it moved around
its circled panel.

Captain Stanley blearily rose, messy haired, to the stove to pour
out six mugs of fortifying coffee for all of them. "Sorry, Boot, there's
no tours scheduled today. It's Saturday, pal. Not a kid in sight."

"Bark!" Boot yapped again, pulling on a corner of the game mat Chet
had unfolded in his lap pointedly.

"Hey, Boot! Knock it off! You're gonna rip it.." Marco said.
"Then where would we be for the kids?"

"Bark!" Boot parked himself in the middle of the Twister mat and
started a staring match at each of the gang's eyes in turn as they
looked at him in amusement.

Stoker scratched his stubbly chin. "I wonder where he found that?"

Roy snorted, "The same place he found the dolly that KO'd Johnny
last night. The mop cupboard."

"Bark!" boomed Boot.

Chet narrowed his eyes. "Hey guys, I think Boot's issuing a challenge
or two here. There was definitely a note of insult embedded in that last

Gage scoffed. "Oh, come off it, Chet. You're hearing things. Boot's the
nicest dog in the world. He wouldn't--"

"Bark! Bark! Woof!" Boot said, looking right at Johnny.

Gage nearly spit out the mouthful of coffee he was swallowing and he
spun around, not believing what his ears were telling him. His
jaw dropped open.

"See?" Chet gestured at Boot. "That was pretty colorful language for
a dog, wouldn't you agree?"

"Yeah..." Gage said incredulously, wanting to doubt his ears, but
finding that he couldn't.

Image of bootgagecouch.jpg Image of capohyeahbricks.jpg Image of chetamusedroystove.jpg

Captain Stanley grinned. "If he wants to play, then we'll play with him.
Nobody's gonna get any sleep around here with him making that
kind of racket."


"...and I don't think he'll shut up until we play how he wants to play.."
Cap continued.

Marco made a face. "Come on, Cap. You've got to be kidding.. Us
playing Twister?"

"Why not?" shrugged Cap. "Consider it a modified fitness exercise.
Come on. I'll join in, too. The faster we humor Boot, the faster we
can get back to napping..." Hank said. "Get the drift?"

"Ok. Fine." Kelly said. "But let's liven up the pot a little for the winner.
Let's say, the winner doesn't have to patrol the yard after Boot's bathroom
breaks entire week."

"No, make it longer.." said Stoker.

"How about for an entire month?" Roy suggested.

"You're on.." Kelly said.

"Wait a minute, wait a minute.. What's in it for Boot?" Marco asked.
"This game was his idea..."

The gang fell quiet, their faces falling out of their grins in a hard
moment of consideration.

"Bark!" Boot said, looking at the silver SCU tones speaker grill on
the wall.

"Oh,.. now that's worth playing for.." Cap understood. "He wants to
play for a ride along. Ok, pal. I'm dealing you in..." he said to Boot,
picking up his paw and shaking it. "Let's play..."

Mike Stoker smiled. "If this works out, maybe we can use Boot's game
to wager away chores for the future.."

"Don't tempt me.." Hank grinned. "I'm beginning to warm to the idea.."

Gage frowned. "Awww, Cap. I'm still stiff and sore from my fall. I can't do
this now.." he complained.

"Are you telling your captain that you're too hurt to work today?"
Hank glowered. "I can always arrange that talk with the Chief about the
little field trip you took in the garage last night.."

"Playing's fine, Cap..." Johnny said, shooting out of his chair. "There's
always Tylenol available afterwards.."

"Thought so. Now, who's gonna spin first?" Hank asked.

"Bark!" Boot said.

"Ok.. Boot's got it. Everybody on your border marks. Watch for
it.." Captain Stanley ordered, kicking off his shoes.

Roy immediately gaped. "Cap.. that's not fair."

"What's not fair..?" Hank asked, cracking a few joints as he
stretched out the sleepy creaks from his bones.

"You. You're wearing white socks today..." Gage continued.

Cap's face immediately washed self conscious but just as
quickly, turned all captain. "I was...running late today. I grabbed
the only clean pair handy. My wife was too busy getting
dinner on the table last night to remember the laundry."

The rest of the gang frowned, unappeased.

"Ok, ok. The next time you guys forget black socks, I promise
not to yell. But I'll only excuse ONE time.." Cap punctuated.

The rest of the gang settled into serious competitive play poses,
waiting for Boot's nosed spin.

"Blue!" Chet shouted aloud.

Six socked feet shot out,.. and the game was on.

Image of twistergang.jpg Image of charliecaprjoutside.jpg

Out in the garage, Charlie the mechanic smiled as he worked
on polishing the squad's chrome around the new fender he
had rebuilt.  The noises of tusseling, wrestling firefighters mingled
with the sounds of Boot's happy barks. "Maybe I should go into business
as a pet psychologist as a side job. I'm getting pretty good at it if I do
say so myself." he grinned broadly.

From :  Cassidy Meyers <> and
            Patti Keiper <>
Sent :  Tuesday, March 29, 2005 12:34 AM
Subject :  The Fall of an Icon..

The guys were hard at play when the Motorola Quicktones
for a medical rescue sounded from the station control unit grille.

The guys froze in place as the first three notes filled the air.

Cap sighed. "It's not us..." he said, from underneath Roy's waist
on the Twister board. He meant to win and he tried to concentrate on
not falling onto his butt and into the same disqualified status
that Marco and Johnny had already fallen onto. Boot was still
hopping gamely on his hind legs on the proper colors shown
by the spinner. ::It's astonishing that he knows how to play.:: thought
Cap as the speakers played out the SCU's for the call that wasn't
gonna be theirs.

As soon as the familiar voice came on, giving the address, Boot
startled in unexpected alarm and fell over onto his back in his
haste to rush underneath the speaker to begin the same barking
vigil that he had done for 51's earlier child suicide call.

"You threw your game, you crazy mutt! Why'dja do that? You
were winning.." Chet moaned as he picked up the spinner and spun
out yet another color for the rest, still arms and legs tangled
on the Twister game's playing mat. "Yellow!" he said.

He tried to pet Boot's back with a free hand, but the dog
would have none of it, barking mightily up at the ceiling
again once he had dodged the Irish fireman's grope. Chet gave up
trying to calm Boot down and said, "Hey, Cap. He's doing it

"Doing what?" Hank grunted from his very difficult body pretzel
he was currently preserving while the others moved onto
yellow touches around him with either fingers or toes, or
a chin, in Mike Stoker's case.

"Fussing over another rescue.." Kelly frowned.

"He is? Why? Did 18's draw a kid call like ours?" Gage asked.

"I don't know yet. Sam's not done assigning it out.." Chet shrugged.
He paused with the game's spinner, as the run filled out verbally.

##Squad 18, difficulty breathing. 1710 North Barren Street. 1710 North
Barren Street. Cross street  An-Annex Way. Time out : 18:10. *Spap.*##

Gage's eyes widened, "Was that a sound skip?" the paramedic
wondered. "Hey, Cap. I think the rain's effecting the P.A. system."

"Never mind the P.A. system.. I'm worried about my muscular system!"
strained Cap. "Chet, start spinning or I--"

"Green!" Kelly gulped, giving the grille and the still vaguely whining Boot
a glance or two as he complied.

The new switch did everybody in and the whole contorted firegang fell
over in a balled heap, wiping out any hope of having a winner in the game.

Cap lay where he had fallen.. "Oww.. I may never move again.."

Roy, still leg trapped beneath his lanky captain, grinned. "You may
have to if we get a run just like they d---"

The tones pealed out. This time, the three notes spelled out their signal.
And then two more, a complete station call. Chet and Marco helped the
others to their feet and all the firemen hastened into their shoes as they
rushed for the garage.

Charlie was already holding out the squad's keys..
"Aren't you lucky I planned ahead and used fast drying automobile paint.."
he said to Roy, handing the sweaty paramedic, his helmet as DeSoto
climbed into the open driver's door.

Roy smiled, "Looks beautiful..!" he said warmly. "Isn't that right, Johnny?
You can't even tell where our hairy collision hit anymore." he teased.

"Don't you mean furry collision?" Charlie blinked.

Gage did his best trying to sink into the passenger seat. "OOoo, Roy,
quit it. He'll figure it o--"

## Station 51. Unknown type rescue. 4100 Upton Lane. On the college
campus. 4100 Upton Lane. Cross--ss S-Street University Boulevard.
Time out : 18:13. *Spap.*

Hank answered using the radio mic from the Ward. "L.A., 10-4. Station 51 is
responding, KMG 365."

Johnny dug a finger into his ear after he put his helmet and belt on.
"Ugh..H." he shuddered. "Hey Charlie.. can you check out the station
radio feed lines? They still sound like they're shorting out.."

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Charlie grabbed a Boot who was once again growing wild, barking
and jumping up the county wide wall map in his haste and want
to climb upwards. "I'm a mechanic, not a gaffer!"

"Yeah? Well, all right, all right.." shouted Gage over the sound of
the pouring rain out front and the start of the sirens Roy had flicked on.
"How about getting inside Boot's head a little and finding out why
he's going crazy.."

"He's probably mad because you're ditching the game I suggested
to him.." Charlie grinned, jogging alongside the squad Roy was
pulling forward.


"Never mind.." Charlie chuckled. "Just go! I'll see what I can do.."

Station 51 roared out of the dry, lighted vehicle bay and into
a driving full dusk rainstorm.

Charlie watched them disappear into traffic and out of sight.

Thinking of Boot's current state, he slammed down the autoshut
garage door button early and then he turned to deal with the things
Gage had mentioned. "Ok, there, fella. You squirming because of
an ultra high squeal on the communications band? Maybe I oughta
go climb the station's roof to go check it out.."


Gage squinted in the rain, fully aware that Roy and he were a visual
vanguard for the engine, following closely behind. In his hands, he
had a road map. "SoCal campus.. Yep. This is it. 4100 is not
administrative services, nor the library."

"It's gotta be a college house..." DeSoto decided, turning on the wind
shield wipers to their maximum setting in an attempt to see through
the dark and the deluge of the long duration summer rainstorm.

"Ok, turn left here.." indicated Johnny. "This leads to Fraternity Row.
And that, bisects Upton."

Roy leaned on the hooter so a whoop of siren split the air to get
people's attention. Following suit, the Ward blasted its air horn
a few times.

Lights came up porches and one such porch suddenly disgorged a
young man who was wet and dripping. What made him stand out
was that he immediately ran out towards Station 51 in the street,
without caring to stay dry.

"There!.. At Pi Kappa Alpha.." Gage pointed.

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    Sacred Ground
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