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From :  patti keiper <>
Sent :  Friday, February 10, 2006 4:29 PM
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] The Little Wager...

Rec-time at Station 51 was in full swing...with a catch.

"You guys are all absolutely nuts, you know that?!" warbled Cap
across folded arms from where he was leaning just inside of
the ample curtain of rain falling from the lip of the rear garage
door's opening. "I should have McConnikee come out here right
now to see this to evaluate the whole lot of ya for sudden crisis
behavioral changes. Stress is definitely playing a factor here."
he chided, without an ounce of humor.

"What stress, Cap? We haven't had a run all day." said Stoker, grinning
as he readjusted the blue hat on his head to deflect more of the
lightningless shower threatening to drown out his line of view of homeplate
by the old engine. "We're playing a little game. Softball to be exact.
Even ol' Henry's getting into it. See?" he blinked through thick streams
of cascading downpour.  Stoker was soaked to the skin along with the rest
of the gang, and grinning like a banshee. Mike pointed to the ample
bellied bassett, who was rolling with pure doggy pleasure in a rapidly
filling rain puddle with an out of play ball clenched firmly in his teeth.

"Ohmyg*d... Guys, he's rolling in pure mud!" Hank fretted like a cat
spooked hen. "Who's gonna mop up all his paw tracks afterwards?"

"That's what fire hoses are for, Cap." Marco chuckled, opening his mouth
to catch enough of the rain to fountain it out of his mouth again in childish
pleasure. "They're real good for fast cleanups."

Hank just harrumphed low in his throat and took another step away from
the open backyard doorway to avoid getting his shoes wet.

Gage got into needling Cap, too. "Yeah. We promise we'll open up the front
doors and .....blast them all away into the street when we're done." he crowed
absently, almost giddy from the ample downpour that was practically drowning

"Oh, and can you do that in thirty seconds after we get toned out...?"
Cap shot back acidly, "Around both the fire trucks and everything?"

"Come on, Cap. Look..He's loving every second of it here. And so are we I
might add. I feel at least, twenty years younger." smiled Roy, leaning up
to the garbage can lid that was serving as a plate for his turn at bat.
"Just think, it's the one kinda bath Henry'll take here without causing us a
major battle." he grinned toothily, blinking away the warm rain's deluge.

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Cap had a comment for that, too. "Oh no!" he quailed. "Now look at him, ya twits.
He's rolling in the ash pile. He's gonna smell real good come the third inning.
I oughta order you all back in here right now.." he threatened with a note of

Chet, just grinned as he wiped away thick droplets of rain that were
trickling into his eyes from his water flattened hair. "Aw, Cap. Don't go
and spoil things for the rest of us just because you don't like to get wet
without good reason. We can't help it if your dislike for fish and what
they live in runs through ya like water.." he grinned at his own pun. "Why
don't ya come out and join us?" Kelly challenged, pulling down his catcher's
mask again over his face and spitting out a stream of mouth gathered rain.
"Don't knock it unless you've tried it. It's great! Roy's right about feeling
invigorated. I feel like a million--"

"Five minutes.." finger stabbed Cap. "Five minutes, and then it's back into
the locker room for all of ya. I'll never live it down if we show up at some
poor old lady's house on a kitten stuck in a tree call looking like a pack of
drowned rats."

"I don't think a cat's really gonna go out into weather like this, Cap." Gage remarked
honestly with a straight face. The others were trying to hide infectious sets of grins.

"Oh, you all know what I mean.. My order stands. Just make sure you obey it
to the letter.." he growled. Then he disappeared into the bowels of the apparatus
bay. Moments later, they heard the coffee pot jangling when Cap snatched it
off the burner it was warming on to pour himself some.

The five firemen frolicking in the storm immediately got back into the thick of
things and the current play in the game.

Chet smiled. "That was easy."

"It always is when Cap's had a bad night's sleep. All that wool muddling his brain
conveniently gets in the way of his handling us during station downtime. Remember?
You know he only gets sharp as a tack mentally during a fire or medical call on days
he seems like that." chuckled Johnny.

Roy bit his lip. "I wonder why he's tired today... It's not like we were busy or anything
last night. Not at all. I wouldn't count the three dumpster fires we responded to
as having been very taxing."

"Cap? Tired?" Chet piped up, tossing his softball up and down into a testing catch in
the rain. "Man.. Roy, he slept like a newborn babe last night. Didn't you hear how
loud he sawed the wood around two am? And that was only about five seconds after
his head hit the pillow. I think he was studying those mystery books of his again."

"What mystery books?" asked Marco.

"Don't be dense, Marco. You know what books. There's probably a
chief's spot opening up at Headquarters and Cap's probably
been trying to hide the fact that he's putting in for such a promotion from us
by drilling from them whenever he thinks the rest of us are all still sleeping.."
Kelly replied.

"Hey,.." Lopez looked up, puzzled. "I just thought of something else."

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"What, Marco?" Roy asked.

"If Cap gets that white helmet spot he's supposedly going after,
who'll get his skunker stripe spot here?" Lopez wondered.

There was a pause in the storm for a long, single beat.. Then..

Chet and Gage eyed each other in a new light of appraising competition
instantly that had nothing to do with the storm sewer cover softball game.

Kelly smacked his rain wrinkled hand into his soggy ball glove. "You gonna go for it,
too, Gagey boy?" he said, narrowing his eyes at Johnny and not looking away.

"Yeah,.. I think I will." Gage said, beginning to grin. "Let's put a ....friendly little
wager on it there, Mr. Chester B. Kelly. And may the best"

Roy's eyes got real big. "Oh, boy. Talk about opening up your can of worms here."
he said, looking from his far too serious partner looking back at an equally,
pure ironized, Chet Kelly. "Uh, guys, you're just kidding about following through
with all this becoming-a-captain stuff,....aren't you?"

The clap of thunder that finally drove them all pell mell into the safety of
the garage, punctuated his feeble statement, soundly.

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From: "Monster Moofie" <>
Date: Sat Feb 11, 2006  12:43 am
Subject: Who is Johnny's date?

Three days later, 51's A-shift was back on duty.  The day, however,
bore a completely different change of weather and call-outs for them.
The weather was beautiful and the station had been run ragged for
the last twenty four hours. And for a change, even Johnny and Chet
had arrived early.

Captain Stanley called the guys together for roll call.  After
giving out the assignments, he advised. "Hey guys. Just so you know,
C-shift has been as busy as we were slow the other day.  It looks like
we're going to be kept hopping today.  Also, you two twits can
put 'gonna be captain' thoughts out of your minds," he looked
directly at Chet and Johnny."We simply aren't going to have the time
for any of that today."  Hank said, biting his lip.
::Heck, when we DO have time, I'll be glad to place some wagers
on them myself.:: Cap thought.  "I'm going to go do some paperwork
I need to get done." Cap advised the guys as he headed towards
his office.  "I suggest that all of you be ready to take over from
C-shift on the fly when they get back."


"How in the heck did Cap know about our little wager?"  Johnny
pondered as the five firemen headed into the kitchen.

"He always knows everything going on around here it
seems. At least, to me." Marco commented.

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"Yeah, I think you are right, Marco." Roy agreed.  "Well, we'd better
grab some coffee and donuts while we can."

They all dug in, enjoying the usual station morning ritual of Chet feeding
Henry pieces of his donut.  "At least Cap can't complain about
Henry being muddy today," Kelly stated to the others.


Several hours later, Johnny was in an ambulance heading to Rampart
with a trip and fall patient.  "You are going to be just fine, Mrs. Jackson."
Johnny calmly soothed the anxious woman.  "It looks like you've
broken your leg but the baby seems to be fine.  We're arriving at
the hospital now.  They'll take good care of you."

The ambulance doors opened and he quickly wheeled the gurney
into treatment three with the attendants, where Dr. Brackett was
waiting for them.

"I'm Dr. Brackett." Kel introduced himself to the expectant
mother as he smiled. "Betty, please get me another set of vitals
on her."

"Doc, do you need me?" Johnny asked from the door.

"Nope. See you later, Johnny." Kel responded as he prepared to check
the mother's fetal heart-tones with his stethoscope. After a minute, he
said.  "Your baby's heart sounds just fine. He or she seems to be very
active right now.  We've contacted your doctor and he'll see you
when you get up to Maternity.  Meanwhile, we are going to get your
leg x-rayed and then get that bone reset."


Johnny headed out of the treatment room and was joined by Roy who
was just entering the hospital.

::It has indeed been an extremely busy shift for the entire station.::
DeSoto mused to himself. ::Thankfully, the weather's beautiful and its
forecasted to stay that way for several days.:: he thought.  

Now that they had delivered their latest patient into Dr. Brackett's care,
Roy and Johnny decided to dare taking a break.  

They had been going non-stop since their little donut-fest that morning.  
Ten minutes after Cap's little talk, the squad and engine, manned by C-shift,
had pulled in and their own shift had been toned back out just two minutes

Besides Mrs. Jackson, Squad 51 had responded to :  a house fire,
thankfully with no injuries, a man who had cut himself with a jigsaw,
a toddler who locked herself in the bathroom, two heart
attacks, and an MVA. They hadn't even had time to stop for lunch,
although they had been back at the station for five minutes at noon.

::Just long enough to hope for a lunch break and then have those hopes
dashed.:: Johnny sighed mentally.

Heading into Rampart's staff lounge, they grabbed some coffee and
fruit and sat down with another weary pair who entered the room as well.

"You two finally caught a break, huh?" Dr. Early asked the two
paramedics.  The hospital had been equally busy and Joe and Dixie
were enjoying their first break of the day.  Both had been on duty
since 6:00 a.m. and had been running non-stop.

"Doc!  You'll jinx us!" Johnny exclaimed.

Dixie laughed at Johnny's paranoia.  She didn't address it out loud,
however, choosing instead to ask, "So how are the plans for the
fireman's ball coming?"

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"It's looking good, Dixie." Johnny replied.  "We've got the hotel
ballroom rented and we've got a nice little band reserved.  They'll
play quite a variety of tunes.. everything from jazz to some of
the modern pop numbers. I'm really looking forward to it."

"Lucky for us, Joanne and Cap's wife, as well as several other firemen's
wives from C-shift, have taken over most of the planning," Roy stated.  
"They've taken on the menu, all the decorating and buying the prizes.  
Pretty much all we guys have to do, is show-up in our tuxes."

"Now that's the kind of planning I like to do." Dr. Early said with a
laugh.  "I've asked a friend to go with me.  It'll be nice to take
her out to a ball like this.  I hope this band's jazz is good."

"Kel is taking me, Joe. And I know he bought our tickets already." Dixie
added. "I'm glad for the excuse to go shopping for a new formal
dress tomorrow.  Not to mention the fact that I'm looking forward
to dragging Kel away from this hospital!"  Changing tactics,
she slyly said with a smirk, "So Johnny, who's the lucky lady?"

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Blushing, Johnny stuttered, trying to think of an appropriate
reply.  He really didn't want to reveal who she was just yet.  The
guys had been trying to drag her name out of him for weeks and he
had been successful at deflecting their inquiries.  Dixie, however,
was another matter.  "Well, Dix, let me tell you about her." he
replied.  "She's...."

##Squad 51.  Stand by for a response.## squawked the radio.

"Squad 51, standing by." Johnny answered as he and Roy quickly headed
out the door.  "Thank goodness!  Saved by the bell," Johnny muttered
under his breath.

"Wow,.. that break lasted almost five minutes!  See you later Dix, Dr.
Early.." Roy called as the paramedics rushed out the door.

"Ohhh that darn radio!  Joe, did you get the feeling Johnny didn't
want to answer my question?"  Dixie asked.  ::I'm going to have to
look into this.:: she thought.

"Yep, I sure did." replied the thoughtful doctor.  "I'm not sure why
though.  I guess time will tell.  He's an eligible bachelor, so I
suppose anything is possible."


##Squad 51, Engine 51, child trapped.  3414 Parker Avenue, Cross
street, 212th.  Timeout :15:20.## came the call a short time later.

Arriving on the scene, Johnny and Roy were met by the frantic mother
of a trapped little boy located inside a residence.

"Please, hurry!  You've got to help my son!  He isn't moving
anymore!" she cried.

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"Ma'am, please, you've got to calm down." Johnny soothingly
said.  "Why don't you show us where he is?"

Quickly gathering their gear, Roy and Johnny followed the distraught
mother into the house.  Leading them into the family room, she
pointed towards the floor.  A small pair of sandal clad legs
hung out of what appeared to be a heating vent, approximately a foot
above the floor.  Around the vent, was a large, heavy bookshelf
full of books.  They could see telltale prints showing how the boy
had scaled the bookshelf to reach it. Lying on the ground beside
the bookcase, was an ornate brass vent cover and a screwdriver.

"I was in the kitchen doing the dishes when I heard a thump in
here.  Johnny was supposed to be taking a nap!
I checked on him not half an hour ago and he was asleep!"

"There's the engine," Roy said as he headed for the door.  "I'm
going to get the tools and talk to Cap, Johnny.  I'll be right back."

::Oh great, if this kid turns out to be fine, the guys are going to
have a field day with me about us having to rescue a stuck kid
with my same name.:: Johnny thought as he appraised the situation.

"Johnny!  Can you hear me? My name is Johnny, too." Johnny called out
to the boy.  Seeing a step stool nearby, he shoved it out of
the way and kneeled down, checking the pulse in the boy's leg.  
"Ma'am how old is he?" Johnny asked the mother as he felt its
quality under his fingertips.

"He is six and a half." she replied.  "Please get him out of there."

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Meanwhile, back at Rampart, Joe and Dixie were already returned
to work.  Joe headed upstairs, having been called to consult
on a case in the Neuro step-down unit. Dixie headed back to her desk
in the ER.  

Kel was there, making notations on a chart.
"I just sent Mrs. Jackson upstairs to maternity," he
commented.  "Looks like she is going to be fine but they want to
monitor her for a day or so.  And yes, the cast should be off her
leg by the time she has the baby."

"Poor lady.  It must be hard enough to be pregnant, let alone
breaking your leg, too, in a fall." Dixie observed.  "By the way,
don't forget that I'm off tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to a full day
of shopping.  It isn't everyday a girl can look forward to being
escorted to a fancy ball, and by a handsome prince no less. "
she grinned at him.

Brackett was good enough to blush.

Dixie leaned closer. "You do realize we're going to have the
entire Rampart staff and half the fire department speculating
again about whether or not we're an 'item'." she said saucily.

Kel laughed.  "I'm glad you are looking forward to it." he
commented.  "You definitely deserve a fancy ball after all you do
for us around here.  Oh, by the way, be sure to let me know what
color dress you come up with.  A pretty lady deserves some pretty
flowers to go with them.  As for all the speculation, let them wonder!
I don't care if they think we are having a torrid affair or not.
They were going to gossip even if we never spent any time together.
Actually that probably would have made things even worse.
Then,.. they would think we were having a wild affair while
acting like we didn't like each other.  So,.. we might as well just spend
our time together when we want to and hang all the gossip!" he grumbled.

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"True on all counts.  I'm glad you feel that way. You are pretty important
to me, too.  Although I do have to say one thing...There had better
not be any emergency deliveries or any other such thing this time
once we're there." Dixie stated.  "With my luck, the ball will
end up like our lunch did last month at Manny's."

Just then, they were interrupted as the ER doors opened and a woman
entered.  She looked barely able to stand and they quickly ran to meet
her, attempting to get her into a convenient wheelchair before she

Barely able to speak, the woman moaned. "He's in my car.."
Then she passed out.  She would have fallen if Kel hadn't been
there to catch her.

Dixie grabbed a gurney and they got both the woman onto it.  

Typical for the way the day had been so far, the base station
chose that moment to start squawking.  Fortunately, at its beeping,
there appeared several other nurses and Dr. Morton.

"Here we go again!" Dixie said to no one in particular as she started
taking the fainted woman's pulse while Dr. Brackett ran outside
to the still running car.

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Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 10:09:51 -0800 (PST)
From: "Sam Iam" <>  
Subject:  The Control Factor

Kel Brackett had to search only a few seconds to find the car the
woman had spoken of. It had crashed into the wall outside of
Emergency and was steaming from a violated radiator. He glanced
into the back seat where a man lay sprawled only long enough to
reassure himself that he was still breathing. "Hey,..what's the problem?"

"M--my chest.. Hurts...real bad." gasped the man. His pallor was gray
and he was sweating profusely.

"Ok, I'm gonna get you out of here. Did you get hurt when she hit
the wall?"

"" he moaned. "But I think daughter did. She hit her
head on the steering ...wheel." he whispered.

"Ok, I'm getting you out of here. Just let me do all of the work. The car
might not be safe anymore."

The slight sized, sick man nodded and let Kel take him into his arms
like a child.

Dr. Brackett stood with his burden and moved quickly into a patch of
sunlight and turned in a circle until he spotted a couple of hospital staffers
arriving to work from the employee parking lot. He whistled. "Hey! I need
some help here with this man!"

The young intern and an orderly ran the remaining distance to the emergency
entrance, dropping their books and bagged lunches, and took the gasping man
from Kel. "What happened?" they asked, rushing to support the man's head and
airway so he could continue to breathe without any problems in their arms.

"Possible cardiac. Looks like a relative panicked and smacked their car into
the wall trying to find some fast help. Bring him inside.. Dixie'll tell you
where to put him. I'll be right in. Max, get him on some O2 a.s.a.p. and inform
Joe Early. I gotta handle this car first."

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Kel paused only briefly to watch the two staffers carry away the older man.

Then the dark haired doctor leaned down to shut off the running motor. He
kicked the gear into neutral so he could push the overheating Oldsmobile into
the center of the ambulance lane away from the building. Sure enough, there
was leaking gasoline underneath where the car had been.  He barely had it
a safe distance away from a parked ambulance and a squad when it burst
into flames under the hood.  Brackett snatched down the fire alarm lever
next to the ambulance doors.

A few seconds later, 99's paramedics, whose squad it was in the receiving
space, dashed out at the sound of the alarm. They immediately ran for the
hospital's exterior glass encased hose, giving out the situation they were seeing
through their HTs to L.A. as they turned off the auto-alarm with a jacket key
so a hospital evacuation wouldn't start unnecessarily. One of them shouted to
Brackett. "Anybody inside of there?"

"Not anymore." Kel sighed, resting in a crouch leaning over his knees. "There's
some spilled gas on the ground all the way up to the Cadillac ambulance parked
next to your squad. I had to push the car back out of range."

"Good thing you did, doc. If this explodes, it'll only take out itself now."

"Need anything else?" panted the doctor.

"Nah, we got it from here. Go treat the people who own this car. The rest of our
station's only a minute away." said one of the fire paramedics. "Most likely, we'll
have this out before our engine arrives on scene." he told Kel, pouring hose water
over the engine his partner had exposed by popping the smoking hood open
with a crowbar from their nearby squad.

In an angry growl, the car exploded, chasing Brackett into the safety of the hospital's
entryway. The firemen, were fine, having known instinctively where to stand
to wait it out to attack it afterwards with the charged emergency fire hose.

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Dixie noticed the orange flare from where she was taking a blood pressure on
the woman, who was still unconscious. "What was that, Kel?"

"Nothing we need to worry about. How's she doing?" he said as the two of
them began to push her gurney toward the same treatment room as the man's.

"BP's low and staying there. Too long for just a faint. Did she hit her head?"

"Yes. She decided to argue with a wall on her way in here."

"She what?"

"Never mind. Let's get cracking. The man she was with's a possible MI. And
he's even more critical than she is.  Any sign of Joe down here yet?"

"Yeah, I saw him go inside the man's room a few seconds ago. He's
got an intern and an orderly with him, I think." Dixie said, reaching down under
the gurney for an oxygen mask to start on the girl.

"You're right about who else is with him. Those two, I flagged down from the
parking lot." Doctor Brackett said as he connected the mask's tubing to
the oxygen tank latched at his end by her feet. "It's high flow, Dixie."

"I'll chart that just as soon as we get back in control of things here, Kel."
Then she wrinkled her nose. "Are you ok? You smell like a barbeque."

"I've got nothing that a long, hot soapy shower won't cure." he said, wiping
his sooty hands along his white jacket's front to clean them enough so a future pair
gloves would slide on a little easier. "I had to play fireman for a bit out there with
this girl's father. It made me glad I'm just a simple city doctor." he said, keeping
a grip on her wrist to monitor its weak, rapid pulse.

"Fireman? Kel,..what happened out there?" Dixie chided.

"I'll tell you about all of it...later. That's if, we ever get another break in today."

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The door of treatment room five soon opened after they pushed the woman's
gurney against it. They found they had walked straight into a full cardiac
arrest response on Kel's man from the car with Joe Early orchestrating
things efficiently at the head of it. "Ok, zap him again..." Early said to
the attending intern standing next to him.

Kel and Dixie started right in caring for their injured girl positioned
next to the man once the outer door snapped back shut behind them.

"Any recapture, Joe?" Brackett shouted over the aggressive CPR and
noisy ventilations being given to the man.

"Not yet. Stop CPR. I'm going in with an eppy IC." he told the orderly and

"Let me get her squared away with finding a decent reason for her syncope and
I'll come over there to help." Brackett offered as he checked the daughter's pupils
with his penlight.

"What happened to you? You're filthy." Joe asked, finishing his IC injection
of epinephrine into the man's heart. "Ok, begin CPR again.." he nodded at the

"I decided to try out Roy and Johnny's other job description outside a few
minutes ago. I can't say I like that kind of work. I didn't feel in control of anything
out there. Not at all."

"And you think we all feel that way in here today, Kel? You'd be wrong. What's her
story?" asked Early, as he watched the intern hit the charge button to get the
defibrillator paddles ready to fire off again.

"A full blown case of daughter panic with a little MVA to spice things up a bit."

"Oh, so that was the fire alarm I heard going off...Don't tell me. The wall parked
the car for her." said Joe.

"You got it." said Kel, checking out the girl's neck and head. He found a small pool
of blood under the skin just above her forehead under the hair line. "Looks she's got
a front impact concussion. But there's no fracture here." he said, palpating
the area gently. "Dixie...."

"Already ordered. A full upper C-spine and skull series." McCall answered from
the black lab phone.

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"Ok, is everybody clear? 400 watt seconds.." Early said calmly. Then he
delivered his fourth defibrillation attempt on the girl's dad after taking the paddles
the intern handed out to him once more.

Shock! And the man's body jumped on the bed before it settled down again.

The intubated father's EKG wavered into sputtering life with a slow rate of
thirty. Early snapped out his orders. "Max, get an Isoproterenol Drip going into that
I.V. Dixie, could you call for a respirator for him? He's not picking up that part of
things yet." he said, listening to the father's chest for lung sounds not
being made by an ambu bag. "On second thought, I don't think he's gonna do any
breathing today. I'm reading a third degree right bundle branch block creeping in
on his monitor."

"I'll get a bird right away, Joe." replied Dixie. "CCU for him or surgery?"

"CCU. He's perfusing well enough for me for the moment. I want to get his strength
up a bit before cracking into his chest."

"I'll take a surgical ward for my gal if her x-rays don't pan out." Kel volunteered.

"I'll reserve one." McCall nodded. "Labs, Kel?" she said, looking at him.

"The works." Brackett answered.

"For dad, too." Early piped up. "We didn't have time to get any done before he
arrested on us." said Joe.

"I'll do them myself." Dixie said. "I'm faster." she said seriously.


Out in the receiving alcove, it was just as busy.
Doctor Morton leaned into the biocom.

"Unit calling in, please repeat." he said, thumbing the radio's talk button.

Chet Kelly's voice came over the frequency. ##Rampart, this is Squad 51.##

"Go ahead, 51." said Mike as he pulled out a notepad from his pocket.

##Rampart, we've a child approximately six years old trapped in a heating
duct. He's unconscious and still partially inaccessible to our paramedics at
this time. We have rudimentary vital signs. We've found a popliteal pulse of
142. We're assuming that he has adequate respirations. The boy's color
in his lower extremities remain shades of fair to good without strongly evidenced
cyanosis. Please stand by for more information.##

"10-4, 51. Standing by.." sighed Morton. He reached over and pulled up a stool
and tried not to look up at the chaotic emergency ward bustling around him
through the glass windows.

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From: "andacory" <>
Date: Sat Feb 18, 2006  5:16 pm
Subject: Spelunking For Children...

Johnny Gage looked up as Roy returned
with the gang and a slew of manual extrication tools.

"How's he doing?" Roy asked, pulling off his helmet.
He got out a thigh blood pressure cuff to take
a quick reading off one of the boy's exposed legs.

Johnny glanced up, very aware of the fact that the boy's
mother was watching and hearing every word. "He's still
unconscious, but I'm not finding any obvious bleeding from
anywhere that I can reach. Don't worry, ma'am. We get children
out of tight spots like this all the time. The only thing that makes
your son's situation different from others is that ..." he grunted
while he pushed and prodded around the child's limp legs.."an
application of soap's not gonna be the obvious answer for getting
him outta here. I'm afraid we're gonna haveta make due with just a
Phillips screwdriver." he said with a grin, holding up the one the
boy had used to twist open one side of the heat vent cover.

The mother laughed a short nervous laugh and sat down
onto the bed next to the bookshelf. "Johnny is just like his father.
Always tinkering with things around the house. But this..." she
said, her composure breaking again into sobs." something

Cap knelt by her and smiled. "It's ok to be a little upset by all this.
But my men and I will have some answers soon about how he got this
way and how he's doing now. But first, there are some questions you
need to answer for us.."

Roy stepped right into the medical history opening. "Does Johnny have
any illnesses or pre-existing medical conditions that might be causing
this unconsciousness? Any allergies?.. Is he on any medications or
has he been sick or hurt recently?"

"No.. no. Nothing. The only thing I can think of is that he's
autistic. He never gets into anything that would be bad for him.
At least, not intentionally. He always listens to what my husband and I
tell him very closely. Only this time, I think his overwhelming curiosity
about mechanical things got him into this trouble..." she sobbed.

Roy looked up. "Johnny. 90/52. Pressure's normal. Ma'am, is he
severely autistic?"

The mother looked uncomfortable. "Well..he's not bad. M-maybe
moderately according to his doctors." she shrugged helplessly with
more than a little embarrassment.

"It's nothing to be ashamed of." Roy smiled. "I've a neighbor who's
daughter has some autism at about the same level. She's the best painter
I've ever seen. I have one of her landscapes hanging in my living room."

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"Oh?" sniffed the mother. "How old is she?"

"Only about a month or two older than your son is here. And her condition
doesn't effect anything she's truly interested in. Johnny seems to be very
handy for his age with these tools. Maybe giving him his own garage
workshop after today'll keep him from exploring the ventilation ducts."
DeSoto said, helping Johnny unscrew the outer rim of the vent.

"That was my husband's idea, too. If only I had listened.." she sobbed.

Gage motioned for Chet to give him a flowing oxygen tube without
a mask on it. This he shoved under the boy's shirt back through a gap
in the intricate brasswork mesh and fed it further until the end of the tube
thrust out around the boy's collar to poke against the child's cheek. "Ma'am.
Johnny's doing fine for us so far. It's probably a simple reason why he's
out cold like this.. " Johnny said. "He might have gotten scared a bit at
being jammed in here so tight. He could have suddenly discovered
some claustrophobia he didn't know about before and just fainted.
His vital signs so far, are matching that profile."

"That might be true.  I.. I.. don't like small spaces much myself."

"At any rate, I'm not worried quite so much about his condition as I am
about how we're gonna save all your ductwork getting him outta here."
Johnny smiled.

"Please. Tear away. My husband will have a fit about having to replaster
the wall. But if Johnny helps him, some of the sting will work out of having
to do the repair."

"Now that's what I call being optimistic, ma'am." said Cap kindly.
"This probably isn't as dire an emergency as you first thought it was.
Kids getting stuck in weird places always looks scarier than they sometimes
actually are. I think we can get him out of there without demolishing anything."

"I dearly hope so, captain." said the mother.

Even after the screws were removed, the venting cover still
didn't pull free, even with an encouraging crowbar.

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"Man,.." Gage grunted. "This is really nailed down here."

"Yeah, but I'd hate to cut this grill. It looks like an antique." Roy
replied. Then he reconsidered. "Maybe there's another way to
approach this.." He looked up. "Cap?"


"In split level ramblers like this, aren't the heating ducts built double
wide for better air exchange when the furnace kicks in?"

"I'm pretty sure they are. What are you thinking of?" Hank asked.

"Maybe we can get through the vent opposite this one from the room
behind this wall. We might be able to spot the rest of him and figure out
how to get him out without damaging the ventilation system unnecessarily."
DeSoto speculated. "I'd hate to cut into things when we might not have to."

"Give it a try." Hank said, "Marco, Stoker. Go with him with the small tools.
He's gonna need another screwdriver most likely."

"Ma'am?" Roy asked. "Could you show us the way to the other vent?"

"Oh.. uh, sure... That would be the master bedroom. I'll show you."
she shouted. "Johnny...Mommy will be right back. Please wake up for me.
Mommy's so worried about you."  Then she bravely left her son in
Johnny, Chet and Cap's care.

Meanwhile, Kelly gave Dr. Morton an update. "Rampart, we have more
on the little boy." Then he read the notes Roy had written down onto
his notepad. "Unconsciousness remains but he's got an oxygen supply
near him. Blood pressure's 90/52, obtained from a leg. Pulse has now
settled to 70 and it's regular. There are no signs of active bleeding or injury.
Uh,..another footnote. The child's mother says he has moderate autism."

##10-4, 51. Fear and anxiety stemming from his autism may have
precipitated a syncopal episode.## came Morton's voice over
the biophone. ##Let's hold off starting an I.V. until you've freed the child
and have assessed him more throughly while out in the open. His vital signs
don't suggest the need for aggressive therapy yet beyond preserving that
good breathing source of oxygen that you've already set into place.... 51,
when he's free, see if you can wake him up by the usual means. If he
doesn't regain consciousness quickly or easily, transport him as soon
as possible. Otherwise, if he appears normal and oriented times three to
his normal baseline, advise his mother to take him in to see a family
physician for a follow through exam TODAY. Make sure it's not tommorrow
or some other time when she decides to go.##

Gage nodded his understanding and Chet relayed his response verbally.
Then he set down the phone and knelt down next to Cap to help him
aim a flashlight deep into the vent to see if they could see anything of the
boy's face to judge how his true skin color appeared now that he was breathing
in pure oxygen.

Johnny tried a pain pinch in the fleshy part of the boy's calf. Little Johnny
flinched and moaned slightly, jerking that leg. "Well, looks like he's waking
up a bit." Gage grinned. "Hey, Johnny? Can you hear me?" he called out,
rolling his eyes at Kelly in advance of his reaction.

"Johnny? You mean, this boy is named Johnny, too?" Chet chuckled when
he heard the name.

"Shush, Kelly. Hush up and help Gage with him." Cap said no nonsense.
"Your voice carries better."

Chet began shouting right along with the paramedic. But little Johnny didn't
move until a second pain pinch was applied as encouragement. His eyes
never opened. Nor did he articulate anything new past a quiet moan.

"Ok, that's all, Chet. Leave him alone. I got my estimate. He's sitting at about
Glasgow ten." said Gage sharply.

Kelly ignored his coworker.
"Roy? Can you hear me? The boy's waking up a little over here."

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In the master bedroom, Roy had the heating grill off. His head was stuck
through the opening and a flashlight's beam was fully lighting up the small
space. "I hear you! And I can see him. Looks like it's big enough for me to
get inside. Did he just move his legs a bit?"

"Yeah.." Gage shouted back. "Glasgow 10."

"Better and better. I'm going in!" DeSoto yelled in warning.

Sliding on his stomach and inching forward with his toes, Roy buried
himself in the vent. Then his fingers reached the boy's collar. "I got him!
Taking him out my way. Let go of his legs!"

Stoker, next to Roy, grinned and said. "I'll go get the O2."

"Wait on that, he's ok. I'll bring him back over there." Roy said, leaning
his face near little Johnny's to double check his breathing status. On a
thought, he checked the boy's pupils with his penlight. "They're dilated,
Johnny! And there's no bleeding anywhere just like we figured!" he yelled
through the jammed grill where the others were huddled. Then he mumbled
to Stoker and Marco. "Classic sign of a recent blackout, these eyes of his.
Ok, guys, haul me out of here. He's in my arms.."

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And soon, he was in his mother's and stretched out on the boy's own
quilt in the original bedroom under a richly flowing oxygen mask. It wasn't
any time at all before the challenged child was asking her questions about
the nightmare he thought he had dreamed in the dark, stifling hot cave that
he had found under the bookshelf.

Station 51 left soon afterwards, without their patient.

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Click the panicking Roy       and Johnny to go to
         Page Two
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