The Story Unfolds...|
Season Four, Episode Twenty Five..
§§ The Overhaul Principle
Debut Launch: September 1st, 2005.
From: "Roxy Dee" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat Sep 3, 2005 6:27 pm
Subject: The Transfer~~
Nine p.m. was only half an hour old when Johnny Gage decided
to beg off a Sunday night
challenge of cards and chess with the
others. "Night all, I'm going to bed. I can't keep my eyes
Chet Kelly looked up in surprise from the seriously aggressive war
he was currently engaged in with Marco Lopez. "What's the
matter? You sick or something? Roy, are
you paying attention here?
The perpetual night owl's turning in before any of us for a change."
Roy, engrossed in the Bogart movie on the tiny black and white,
didn't even look up. "I heard ya..
Enjoy the peace and quiet
while it lasts. Chet, he's not sick. If Johnny was sick, he'd be
about how bad he feels to everybody with every gory
detail of symptomology. You know how he is.."
"Thanks a lot, partner.." Johnny grumbled, rubbing his eyes as
he shuffled to a halt by the kitchen
door leading out to the bunk
room. "Nice to know I rate a full vote of confidence around here."
"Only when you're on a firehose or at the working end of a |
defibrillator, Gage. Don't get so bent
out of shape. I mean,
who knows your personality better than the guys who work
side by side with
you just about every day of your life?" Kelly
said. "You should take advantage of this free status
check from us,
Johnny. It might teach you a few things about yourself that you don't
know about when your physical chips are down. We can see
how you really are when you're not even aware
of it." Kelly added
secretly, right as Marco cleaned him out of a set of aces at the end of
three stacked face off in their war game. "Marco! That's not fair.
You already have two others.."
"That's how the cards fell, Chet. Sorry." Lopez grinned,
completely unapologetic. He eagerly
scooped them up into
his discard pile. "Johnny, don't listen to them. Hope you sleep
worry, I'll keep him quiet for ya." Marco said tossing
his head at the fidgetty Chet.
Marco. I appreciate that. And I think I will. The
weather's cooling off for the fall and it took me
This time of year always makes me bushed when it does that.
Hot during the day, then
down right freezing at night. Messes with
your metabolism.." Gage mumbled while yawning.
and a few other things.." Chet quipped.
Cap looked up from the sink where he was washing dishes.
"Shush, Kelly. Let him go to bed unmolested or I'll send you to yours
too, for picking on him when
he's not dishing it out to defend himself."
Kelly plugged it up.
Johnny just threw his
hands at them all in sleepy disgust without
looking at anybody, and scratched his frumpy hair.
Gage never remembered hitting his pillow.
That was a distinct disadvantage when he was awakened hours later|
by a cool set of fingers digging
into his neck for a light pulse check.
"Ahh!! Get off me..." he mumbled, shoving the hand away angrily.
"I'm fine, don't be stupid." he said without even looking who it might be.
A mild voice, neutral
of reaction, met his comment evenly. "I've
been called many things, Mr. Gage, but I believe that's
time anyone's ever called me unintelligent."
Recognition flared unpleasantly clear
and Johnny rolled over
and shot up bolt upright in shock. "Brice? What the heck are y--
you here now?" He shook cobwebs out of his head
and immediately tempered his sarcastic tones for sake
"I mean, wait a minute, I knew you were coming to the station, but
I thought you were
transferring into C shift on the other rotation.."
"I was, until yesterday. Then I did a little
more calculating and
decided that my financial budgetting would best be managed,
if I took A shift.
Captain Stanley was kind enough to push my
paperwork to the proper channels necessary to accomodate
my needs." Craig said, pushing up his glasses. "If you're
wondering why I'm sitting on your bed,
the explanation is
that Captain Stanley asked if I'd check to see if you were
still breathing since
you slept right through what they called,
the midnight popcorn feast.." Brice frowned in confusion.
"Oh, Brice.. He was just kidding. Why do you always have to take
things so literal all the time?
If I was sick, do you think I'd be
in here by myself, being allowed to sleep, unmonitored?"
"That's true. You'd be evaluated at Rampart for any detrimental
health effects and then you'd either
be allowed to stay at work or
be sent home on doctor's orders, to recover from them." Brice
"So they got to you, too, huh..." Johnny said mildly, pulling the
blankets a little tighter around
Brice said nothing, freezing in place at the sudden sharing of
"Don't worry about it. Sometimes their joking gets under my
skin, too. You should have seen me when
the water cans were
flying thick.. But between you and me, I know humor's not your
Brice finally looked up from adjusting the pair chrome silver
pens he carried a little straighter
in his paramedic's shirt pocket.
"I appreciate your honest observation about me. But how are we going
to...." he bit his lip and said without emotion."..get back at the other guys?"
nothing." Johnny's sleepy face cracked into a huge devil's grin.
"Or better yet.. Grab a bunk.."
The dim light from the moon outside glinted faintly in Craig's glasses.|
"I'm afraid, I don't understand."
"Copy what I'm doing. It'll drive them crazy trying to figure it out.
That way, we both can get
our revenge on them for teasing you into
vitals checking me." Johnny grinned.
about it without moving, but then he suddenly fell
into a convincing yawn. "Gee, I'm suddenly feeling
a little tired.
A nap sounds like a good idea. Who's bunk shall I take over?"
Roy's directly across other side of
the aisle." said Gage, rolling back over to bury
under his pillow. "If this works, Roy'll be in here
himself with a penlight and stethoscope to check
of us inside ten minutes. Sometimes, I think he's more gullible
than me at stuff like
this. Don't worry, Brice. We won't have the
wool pulled over our eyes for much longer. All we
to do to is just go to sleep to get it all back."
Brice was soon snoring as loudly as Johnny from
he laid out neatly on his back with his hands folded over
From : Cory Anda <email@example.com>
Sent : Sunday, September 18, 2005 9:42 PM
Subject : Double Indemnity..
paramedics never got a chance to see their counter
move joking ruse bait, bitten. The tones went off
half an hour had gone by.
Gage groaned as he threw on his night trousers, attached
suspenders and boots. He was about to check aloud verbally
about whether or not Craig Brice had
dug his own out of consignment
yet from Headquarters, when he realized that the door leading from
the pitch black bunkroom was already swinging back and forth from the
sandy haired fireman's rapidly
disappearing departure. The natural
level of irritation he normally felt around the man flared even
:: He's way ahead of me as usual again, d*mn it.:: Johnny thought as he
rubbed bleary eyes as he jogged to the squad's passenger
side fender. He opened the door and then
stopped when he found the
center seat between him and Roy empty. "Where's Brice?"
riding with the engine until you two work out some kind of
rotation about who gets to ride where when
we respond to all of
our rescue calls." DeSoto replied with a grin. He was enjoying his
major sleepies immensely. "You missed a really good
late show and a whole lotta popcorn."
information broadcasted as the station klaxon tones
completed their cycling. ##Station 51. Unknown
type rescue at the
gravel pit. 128 Live Oak Avenue, cross street North Western Avenue.
Oak Avenue, cross street North Western Avenue. Time out,
Hank's ringing radio acknowledgement
of the call and slamming fire
vehicle doors finally jolted Johnny into full wakefulness."I'll live.
I need is a little fresh air. Maybe we'll get a high angle extrication so I
can just hang out
and get a lungful or two.. And speaking about passenger
riding, why won't you be rotating on and off
the engine with Craig Brice's
new work schedule?"
"Seniority ranks, Johnny. But I wouldn't
pull that argument for yourself
in front of Cap if I were you. I bet if you look at the numbers, Craig's
around longer than you have with the department."
Gage was about to smart off a retort when the truth of that fact bit home.|
He tried to content himself
with rolling down the squad window so the cool
smoggy autumn night blew into his face. He set a grumpy
elbow on the
edge of the door frame after writing down their response address on a
piece of paper.
"Sleep well?" Roy asked as the squad straightened out on the boulevard
and sped for the nearby
"How do ya think? Take one good look at these bloodshot eyes and just
take a wild
guess, pal. I hope Brice gets assigned a bunk down Cap's way,
because he snores louder than Chet does
when he's sleeping." Johnny
"Glad I've got a set of ear plugs under my pillow." DeSoto
reacting to his partner's grumbling. "I've told you a hundred times to go grab
from the pharmacy at Rampart along with the shoelaces you're always
borrowing from me to replace the
ones ya break all the time."
"I will. I will." Gage insisted self defensely. "Trust me. I'll go
get a pair the next
time we resupply at the hospital. How else am I gonna get any sleep any more?"
"You could always go a few rounds on the punching bag Stoker hung out in
the yard." Roy said.
"I'm sure that'll work out some of the restless overtired
energy I'm seeing pouring out of ya tonight."
"Energy? You call this excess energy? I'm plum beat, Roy. That nap did
absolutely nothing for
"Sorry, I couldn't tell. You hardly seem different from the usual."
"Very funny. Just
drive and keep your thoughts to yourself, okay? And hang
a right here on the off ramp. The Peck water
conservation park's around
the corner past those trees."
Roy smiled bigger and shook his head
ruefully as Johnny's groggy attempts
at hasty finger hair grooming finally panned out and he watched
Johnny belatedly remembered to shove on his fire helmet. "That sign
we passed a couple of minutes
ago beat ya to it. I'm way ahead of you."
"So's Brice it seems..." Johnny grumbled.
did you say?" Roy asked over the loud wail of the squad's sirens.
"Nothing!" Gage said, pulling
on his chin strap. "Pretend I'm just sitting here
Roy curbed another amused
grin to spare Johnny a last shred of dignity.
He never understood why broken sleep always brought
out the worst in
Johnny. ::Or in the rest of the gang for that matter. Maybe I got my immunity
it for having two kids to raise the last eight years or so.:: he decided.
Soon, they were there.
A construction foreman immediately ran up to Cap, taking Hank's
immediate appearance and
physical stature, as the one
man in charge. "We're so glad you guys are here.." the man gasped
the night lights of the gravel quarry. "The problem's two fold.
One of my workers is stuck and a
child's trapped under one of our transfer
conveyor belts in a car over there."
the first part, but the second, took him aback."What?
A child? In a car at the bottom of a gravel
"Yeah, the city gang buries cars in here all the time to try and
hide em from the heat
when they steal em. They think covering them up
with gravel's the smartest idea in the world for
their auto hustling ring.
We try to thwart em with dog patrols and security guards, only the place's
so big we can't watch over everywhere and we never usually find
them all until the gang sneaks back
in to collect em. We're guessing
that this kid must've snuck in here playing earlier in the afternoon
got caught by the gang while they were hiding one. Twenty
minutes ago, one of us heard shouting
under the rock pile beneath
this belt's fall/dump. Only our man got in trouble trying to find him.
We're guessing that this kid's been locked up inside a trunk."
Cap held up his glove. "Get back
to your victims' locations. Show us
where." he ordered.
The anxious man, surrounded by a core of determined tool wielding workers,|
motioned quickly. "This
way." And around the firemen, the pit crew
suddenly split into two groups arrowing into the surrounding
spot lit darkness.
Hank immediately dissembled. "Brice, Roy. Check out that child's situation.
Chet, help em out. Johnny and the rest of you, come with me with all the
tools you can carry and
plenty of rope!"
"Don't bother. We've got plenty in use right now, mister." the foreman
hastily with a hint of anger. "Come on, come on! Marty can't wait much
longer. He stopped screaming
a couple of minutes ago."
"Ok..ok. Calm down a little. Getting excited's the last thing that'll
people, ok?" Hank said gently. "Gang, you heard him. Skip the extrication gear.
As Cap's group ran to the accident site, the sweating highly agitated
them in. "This belt became overloaded causing the electrical
breaker to trip!" he shouted over the
roar of chistles and jack hammers hastily
being applied from an area just ahead of them in the heavy
dusty gloom. "I shut
down the entire line and Marty went to try and fix everything, like he always
to clean away spilled material on the sides of the belt with a front end loader,
time, he was assisted by Scotty, d*mn it all."
The foreman bit his lip in sudden guilt and worry.
"The kid's a truckdriver
recently hired by the company. He didn't know what he was doing down there.
Scotty told Marty that he was going to the breaker panel to turn the power
back on after the
jam was clear. He told everybody specifically to stand
clear of it while he went to start up the
"I don't understand." said Cap. "I'm assuming Marty's your man who's trapped."
"Yes, yes. Here's what happened!" urged the foreman as the firemen strode
deeper and deeper into the
heart of the central gravel pile underneath the conveyor
belt. "The electric panel for the conveyor
belt's at a location out-of-sight of this
far end. There's always a few minutes delay when someone
does a restart because
of this long walk over to the panel area. Only this time, Marty must have noticed
the discharge chute from the incoming belt was also clogged. We figured
that he must have
climbed up onto the belt to clean the secondary chute. When he
did that, Scotty didn't know about
it and turned the jam breaker back on. Marty fell
down on the moving belt when it jerked to life
Cap started shaking his head in pure high level professional frustration as
unfolded unpleasantly. The foreman noticed. "You gotta understand.
Marty's a very big man, in excess
of 300 pounds. He couldn't easily get up or
jump off the belt. Marty tried to yelled at Scotty, who
ran alongside him, to shut off
the belt from the other end, but Scotty wasn't familiar enough with
system and he couldn't find the emergency shut-off switch in time before--"
Johnny hastened to the point. "Ok, that's how it happened. Just tell us|
how Marty's hurt. That's
the most important information right now."
The foreman wiped his face with a filthy rag from the
back pocket of his overalls.
"Scotty says Marty rode the belt for about 30 seconds, the entire length
conveyor, before being pinned under an end angle iron motor bracing."
"Traumatic asphyxiation for sure, Cap."
Stoker ran back towards the engine. "I'll get the O2
tank and the intubation kit."
"And a full adult sized spine board with sand bags. " Cap added.
"Hurry!" Gage shouted after him. Soon, the wiry paramedic and the others
reached the spot where
Marty's gravel dusty leg protruded from a knot of
belt cloth and metal. Already, gravel works employees
were frantically digging
with shovels, crowbars and brute force to try to free their coworker.
he moved?" Johnny shouted to them.
"No." one of them replied. "Not for a long time."
being the skinniest firefighter, took off his overcoat and helmet and
crawled onto the halted gravel
strewn belt into the feeder hole on top
of Marty's partially pinned body and stomach. The whole way
he felt for signs of respiration with his gloves. He found none. "Not
breathing. I'm going
for his head!" his muffled shout echoed from out
of the hole.
Cap snapped an order. "Marco,
get in there with him. Help him any way
Lopez peeled his coat and helmet, too. Hank
stopped him with a touch on
the leg. "Take this with you!" He passed off a pack of oral airways that
he always carried in his turnout's jacket pocket. Then he pulled out his
HT. "Roy, Brice. Our victim's
spotted, not breathing. Gage and Marco
are going in to aid him. Let me know the first second you know
you have out there with the minor. I'll call PD for you to get a court
ward consent for treatment
on him or her but note this...
after your word only....that we have a survivor."
Stanley.## replied Brice over his radio.
There was grunting from the hole and Cap hung onto Gage's
and Marco's boots and they worked deeper into the tiny space
at the end of the gravel shunt feeder
bin nearest Marty's head.
"Easy. Easy.. Some of this loose stuff's working its way down."
Cap. We almost have his head freed up!" Marco shouted
in a strained voice.
Cap didn't like
the tight quarters. He turned to the guilt ridden foreman,
gaining assurances. "Do I have your absolute
guarantee that that
feeding circuit breaker's locked off?"
"You do, I locked the panel access
cage up myself before I came
running outside to meet you.. Oh my G*d, Marty. I got ya in so
trouble. I'm so sorry. I- I knew I should've been more firm
with the boss about making the changes
you pointed out around here.
I- I know we should have had the starting and stopping of the belt possible
from the same location."
Scotty, the new employee, was standing nearby and was thoroughly
tear stained and crying. "That starting should have also included a
warning alarm, Miller! And
I should've been briefed on where all the
switches were before you even put me to work on the line!"
"It's my fault.." mumbled the foreman. "It's.." he stumbled against a
shaft piling. "Oh, my G*d.
What have I done?"
"Don't you mean what DIDN'T you do?" snarled Scotty.
Cap ignored the
pit men and began poring over his two men with Marty.
"How is he?" he shouted into the gap along the
belt where the two
firemen were struggling to unbury Marty.
There was a long delay inside
the hole. Then Johnny's voice came
over the HT. Two short words. ##Code F.##
Cap sighed and slammed both gloves against the side of the inert gravel|
belt and he lifted his head
to fight down a crush of emotional pain.
The foreman got back onto his feet. "Code F? Wh-what's
a code F? I-is
that some kind of rescue code?" he asked hopefully. "If there's anything
I can do
for Marty, just a---"
Scotty interrupted in a rage and a new flood of tears. "That's F for fatality
Miller. Marty's dead! Remember that for the rest of your pathetic life.
A good man died today because
of your unwillingness to confront your
boss, and his death is entirely ..your ...fault. I sure hope
can learn to live with this, cause I know I sure won't. Not ever....."
he glared softly
dangerous. "I quit right after I talk one to one with the cops.
There was no excuse for this happening,
Miller. None. I've never seen
such a shoddy excuse for a twenty four hour gravel operation in all
Hank and the others broke out of their listening shock between the two
works men and fell into immediate action. Cap grabbed first Gage's
legs and then Marco's to hasten
their progress off the belt. Then he yelled at
Stoker over radio to get the resuscitation and spinal
gear out to DeSoto
and Brice instead. Cap added one thing more. "Gage, leave your clothes
on his chest so the MSHA investigators know that we got in there
first for a victim's vitals check.
Disturb absolutely nothing else getting
back out here, guys. Remember everything you did in there
detail and what you touched." he said in barely controlled fury.
Gage and Marco soon
fled for the site of Brice and Roy's situation
with Cap running close behind them.
From : Champagne Scott <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent : Wednesday, September 21, 2005 1:11 PM
Subject : Saved From a Tomb...
easily under the gravel pit's night spotlights three
Roy didn't even ask why
his partner and Marco had returned
so quickly from the conveyor belt site. He already knew.
was directing gravel workers and Chet on where to dig
to try and locate landmarks on the buried car
so that they could
reach a window or even better, the rear trunk compartment.
But it was like
shoveling inside of a sand funnel. As fast as gravel
was removed, more slid in immediately to take
its place back
into any hole made by the workers.
Kelly shouted. "We got problems, Cap!
This pea gravel's
like water. We can't make any headway!"
Hank jogged to where Roy and Brice
were kneeling on top of
the hood of the buried stolen automobile. "Wanna cut into the
"I don't think that'll be a good idea, Captain Stanley." said
Craig Brice. "The
interior'd only get buried as well. If we
can get by with a visual looking inside, that'll be good
to determine where the child might be trapped."
Hank nodded in agreement. "And I'm sure the car's owner|
would appreciate minimal damage as well."
He rubbed his
lip. "How about a front end loader, digging a channel to
the trunk? The foreman
mentioned they use one of those
a lot to find these cars when they encounter them."
it on in, Cap. And hurry. We don't know how long our
child's been in these low air conditions like
this." Roy fretted.
Brice looked up from lying on his stomach. He had peered into a
from its top edge, looking upside down with a
flashlight. "The car's empty! I'm only seeing beer cans,
spent shotgun shells, and I'm smelling a whole lot of alcohol
"What nice car
crooks, gang. Don't ya love it?" snapped Johnny.
"Not only do they hide what they steal from the
police, they mess it
up, and then endanger kidnapped small children while going about
as usual. Makes you wanna--"
"Easy, partner." said Roy. "First thing's first. I promise I'll
get into a few faces once the cops find them later on. Right now let's
on undoing some of the mischief by rescuing that kid
first." Then he froze in place. "Shhh.. I think
I hear something." he
said, angling his helmeted head.
But then the front end loader started
approaching, and drowned out
all chance of anyone hearing any subtle noises.
Gage looked up
for the heavy equipment driver eagerly. "Over
here! Over here! Nice and easy.."
out of the way of the work crews and shouted.
"I'll call Rampart and let them know we almost have
a victim. Sir,
making that phone call now for court authorized treatment might
Hank nodded, only slightly raising his eyebrows at Craig's formal
demeanor, and jogged over to the
squad's cab for a quiet place
to call L.A. and the police department.
Johnny and the others
watched as the front end loader slowly bit
into the flowing rivers of gravel. Its appetite soon won
a solid dirt
path leading right up to the very rear of the gang buried car.
Stoker went running,
"I'll get lines from the engine. We can pull it out
using them tied around our bumper and their loader's,
"Make it happen!" Hank agreed, missing nothing from where he sat.
yelled. "I'll get a crowbar!"
Chet said, "I'll get the gear laid out." And he fell to|
work spreading a yellow plastic treatment
sheet onto the damp
dirt of the roadway. He quickly placed the resuscitator, defibrillator,
and drug boxes out with their lids open.
Cap finished making his call to L.A. and to the emergency
system and he told his men good news. "Gage, DeSoto, Brice! Do what
you have to do. That
child's now under federal court authority for being
a kidnap victim. All you need now are doctor's
"Thanks, Cap." said DeSoto. "Let's hope we won't need to do much."
hurried to secure two fast rope lines to the Ward and the
front end loader once it had completed clearing
away what gravel
it could from the back end of the stolen car.
"Ok,, ok.. ease them back, slowly!"
said Cap to Stoker and Marco, who
had joined the gravel vehicle's driver with an HT so they could
Cap's instructions the same time Stoker did.
##10-4." they both replied.
easy..." said Cap as he watched the tension in the tug ropes
increase, and finally grow taut. Soon,
the intact car groaned, shifting
under its deep cocoon of heavy gravel with ear piercing nails on
chalkboard squeals as raw rock pellets scratched into the chassis
covered their ears at the sounds.
"Ooo, there's goes the paint job." Chet shivered as he opened
a second sheet pack into thirds on top of a backboard in case
they needed spinal care on the child.
Brice smiled from where he was hailing Rampart. "A problem easily
remedied. Just picture
what the owner of this car would have thought
if we had decided to flower petal open the roof to
saw through the
back passenger seat and frame, looking for this minor."
"You got a point there."
said Kelly, grinning. But then his grin fell away
when he saw Cap raise his glove in a halting gesture.
He shot to
his feet quickly. "Here we go.." he said, grabbing an iron bar with
which to help Lopez
jimmy the trunk release.
Brice watched his crewmates as he talked with Dixie McCall. |
"Rampart, we're a minute away from extricating
a child of unknown age
from an automobile trunk that was found buried under five or six feet of
loose gravel. Please stand by until we free our victim. And yes, we
have official court permission
to render any treatment authorized by you."
::Well, if that isn't clairvoyance, I don't know what is.:: thought Dixie
when Brice's last statement
anticipated her next question neatly.
##10-4, Squad 51. We're standing by.## replied Dixie when she
Joe Early making his way over to the base station at her urgent wave.
The frosty haired
nurse readied a note pad and set the record button
on pause. Joe entered the glass alcove, read the
Dixie handed to him, and then they both began to wait restlessly.
The trunk cracked open and its springs shot the rear hood up with
alacrity. A wave of hot, fetid
sour air met the firemen's noses in the
darkness. But an odor wasn't about to stop them in the slightest.
Gage threw aside loose objects that the child had kicked around in
his struggles and peered down under
Roy's flashlight beam as he
felt for a neck pulse. "He's alive. But it looks like all this rock did
absolutely nothing to protect him from daytime heating. He's got
all his clothes torn off."
quickly set a resuscitator mask of pure oxygen over the boy's
face as soon as the two paramedics
had him carefully turned onto
his back, while he still lay in the trunk. "Is he breathing ok on his
"Help him a bit. It's irregular." replied Gage. "Go 20 a minute, and someone
to rig a reel line! We've got to get his high temperature down
with a hose as soon as he's been spine
immobilized! Roy, I'm seeing blunt
force bruising here. His left eye's orbit, right side rib cage
and right thigh
so far. And he's got a broken index finger on his left hand."
Kelly tried not
to seethe. "He's been beaten up, too?"
"Looks that way." said Roy, holding the heatstroked boy's
still until Johnny could get a pediatric cervical collar around the child's
neck. The tall
quiet paramedic was ready to kill in his eyes but
his hands remained firmly gentle as they moved the
boy onto a long
board and strapped him in tightly with sandbags and belts.
Chet was a tick
with the demand valve, sticking to the child's face
and minding his airway aggressively while he delivered
breaths. "No problems here, Johnny. O2's going in easy."
Click the MRI cardiac image|
to go to Page Two