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   California Dreamin'
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Page Three

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Chet Kelly circled until the cliff sides of Marco's canyon were
whizzing by under his sneakered toes. He barely banked around
a small tree in the way as he glided his wingtips lower and lower
down with each pass, until suddenly there was no more room for
him to travel. Just solid rock looming up before him.

Kelly panicked and pulled up on the flight bar, causing the hang
glider to stall in mid air about twelve feet from the ground.

He landed nose down, heavily falling onto his right side with
a cry of frustration. Then he got up.

The night's stillness surrounded him. Unclipping his harness straps
and pulling off his helmet, Chet began to run towards the
bushes which ringed the place he remembered as framing
where Marco had fallen.

He found him.

"Marco?" gasped Chet, kneeling quickly at Lopez's head. He
gently rolled him over as a unit and Kelly bent down, listening over
his nose and mouth.

Lopez was breathing shallow and fast. Chet took a pulse at his neck.
It was rapid.

Sweeping down Marco's body for blood and problems, Kelly found
a soft spot on Lopez's left side along the ribs. When he pressed the
area lightly, Marco moaned faintly. Chet studied his face. "You are a
mess." he complained. But he got happier when he didn't find any signs
of active bleeding anywhere. He paused only briefly over the leg
splint which was still doing its job even though it was muddy and
very torn.

He moved further on his survey to course down Marco's
good leg, splitting his jeans cuff open with a pocket knife.

Turning the limb over at a feeling of dampness, Chet spotted
two wet spots glistening in the waning daylight on Marco's calf.
He recognized them as fang marks.
"You tangled with a snake, too? Oh, Marco,..why'd you have to go and
do a Johnny Gage? I'm not a paramedic here.." he mumbled, hesitating
over the puncture wounds. Then training took over and he tore part of the
splint's binding free, to use as a restricting band and he used it to tie
off the blood flow just below Lopez's knee above the bite. "We've got
nothing to worry about." he told Marco's still form. "The guys know exactly
where we are. They're going for help."

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Johnny nodded once at the others behind him with a confidence he
didn't feel as he adjusted his radio helmet on a little tighter. Then
he ran forward, hanging onto the flight bar as sent his hang glider
off the edge of the dune.

He couldn't help himself. His screams began immediately as the first
sickenly lurch downward took hold.  Then the wind captured the
wings and lifted him back up with a jerk into the opposite direction.

Gage careened sideways, overbalancing, and his legs kicked out
as he swooped and dived up and down, wildly fighting the flight
bar and glider physics for control.

He couldn't hear the shouts of encouragement the others were calling
to him over the radio as he fought to calm the glider against a strong
breeze as he gained altitude. He lived a rollercoaster nightmare until
he remembered what he saw Chet and Marco and Kip doing to
steer the kites.  He straightened his body and relaxed into a push
up layout with his hands gripping right next to the landing wheels
on the triangle bar. The glider levelled off and the violent cloth rippling
above him died away into soft rustles. He stopped falling.

"Hehhehe.." he trickled at last. "Hey guys, I think I got the hang of it."
At their groans, he apologized. "Sorry for the pun. Aiming for the beach
now." he told them.

The firemen watched as their messenger sank out of sight into
the land's shadows. Then they began to pack up camp to head for
the airport on the way to meet the rescue crews when they finally arrived.

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Chet was scoping out some shelter for Marco when Lopez regained
consciousness with loud groans and yells. He went running
back to his side.  

Kelly knelt by his head and helped Marco roll onto his back again
from the recovery position Chet had left him in. "That was a good healthy
scream. Glad to see you're feeling better.." Chet said happily, supporting
Lopez's head while he attempted to focus on his face.

Marco was very groggy and it took him a while to recognize Chet.
Finally, he gasped out a word. "Hey..."

"Hey..." answered Kelly softly, concerned. He waited while Marco worked
through some shortness of breath and confusion.

"Wh--where are we?" Lopez whispered.

"We're down inside a rock quarry." Chet told him.

"How the h*ll did that happen?"

"You crashed your glider."

Marco got mad. "I know I crashed my glider. I hit a tree. How
did I get down here?"

Chet shrugged, still leaving a hand on Marco's chest. "I don't
know. I guess you fell trying to get away from that snake."

"Snake?" Marco asked muzzily. Recollection was slow, but it did come.
"Oh,.. the snake.." he sighed sarcastically as he lowered his head down
onto the fanny pack Chet deftly placed underneath his dusty head.
Marco winced as he tried to move.

"Easy.." said Chet, grabbing onto his shoulders..

"Help me up, ok?" Lopez told him, gasping.

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Kelly did, so his breathing would ease, and he started to lift Marco
against his chest. He felt both of his hands to see how cold he was
getting with the night's arriving chill. "Come on." he smiled, not letting
his worry show when he found clamminess to go along with icy skin.
"Come up. I got you."

Marco drew in a greater breath in half relief once he was upright onto
his butt. He noticed the new dressing over his snakebite. "Did you do

"Yep." said Chet mildly, still watching Marco's reactions closely.

"It's a good job." Lopez tried to smile.


Then Marco's face twisted in strain. "Oh, Chet, I broke my leg." he sobbed.

"You sure did." Kelly agreed. "But you did a nice job on the splint though."
he said, passing over a canteen so Marco could sip some water to ease a
his dry mouth.

Marco took a long swallow. "Uh,..brr..." he said, shivering, drawing his jacket
closer around himself.

"Yeah, looks like we're in for a chilly night..." Kelly shared with him.

Lopez stabbed him with a glare. "What do you mean we're in for a chilly
night? What are you doing hanging around here? Why don't you go get help?"

"I can't. We're stranded." Chet admitted, taking back the canteen Marco
handed to him to seal up again. "I can't carry you outta here. I glided in."

Marco was flippant. "You glided in.. Huh. That's brilliant." he said.
Then he threw up a careless hand. "Well, at least you brought your

"Yes, I brought my headset." said Chet, nodding.

"Great.." said Marco, lowering himself back down onto the medkit pillow
to get comfortable.

Kelly went on. "....but a headset doesn't work 300 feet down in a rock quarry."
Chet explained, biting his lip.

Marco's face fell into a firm line. "Can I ask you a personal question?" he
asked tersely.

Chet began to fidget self consciously, shaking his head in an adamant no
while looking everywhere else but at Marco.

Lopez asked it anyway. "Where did you learn your rescue training anyway?"

It was Kelly turn to bristle a bit, but he kept his temper under admirable control
for Marco's sake and health. "I'm going to go look for some shelter." he said
neutrally, pointing at the narrow canyon walls surrounding them.

"Good. Great idea. You go do that." said Marco, still mad. He shifted around
onto his side to try and find some sleep. "I'll wait here.." he retorted, "Huh.
He glides in...." he complained as Chet jogged away from him.

But sleep didn't come, only nausea... And fever.

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Johnny had a very short flight back to civilization. It took about five minutes
despite his helicopter like vantage point from the hang glider. ::Thank God
it's a small island.:: he thought with relief.

The Casino Dive Park beach lay just below him in the soft darkness. He aimed
for where he could see a black strip between the sidewalk running lights
and the surf's moonglow glistening white caps. ::That's sand. It's soft.::

Lower and lower he came, until he narrowly missed pulling up to avoid a
life guard tower's flagpole. He took it out with a wing tip, wavered in his flight,
then crashed onto the beach.

A figure came running out of the darkness from the dive shop. "Hey, are you
all right? Why'd you land so late? Don't you know it's against the law to fly
after sundown?" said the angry shop owner, who righted the hang glider's
nose up to see the dazed and sandy Gage struggling to free himself
out of the harness underneath it. "You're one of those camping
firemen, aren't you?" asked the man.

Johnny coughed out sand. "Some landing, huh?"

"Well, are you all right?"

"Yeah, I'm ok. It's a friend of mine who's in trouble."

"Well, why didn't you say so? I got a golf cart right over here.
Don't worry about the flagpole. Hang gliders knock it down all the time
landing here. I got a deal worked out with the park people who patch
it up again in return for being able to park their boats on my
pier." said the man with a shrug.

Gage listened impatiently. "You got a phone?"

"No,  I ..uh. I don't. My shop's kinda small."

"Can I borrow your wheels then.." Gage asked like a bulldog on a bone.
It was not a question.

"Sure. My golf cart's right over there by that palm tree.
Just bring it back in the morning for I'm gonna be using it to bring tourists
down from the hotel to the glass bottom boat tour's launching slip."

"Ok.." said Gage, looking around the Victorian built looking buildings, bistros
and clifftop houses. "Uh,...Look, where exactly are we mister? I'm not familiar
enough with Avalon to get around even with that cart you're loaning me."

"Listen, buddy, this road's Cabrillo Mole. To get to Fire Station 55, hang a right on
Crescent Avenue, left on Descanso Ave. Take that all the way to the end
until you reach Tremont Street. Hang an immediate right, then an immediate
left onto Avalon Canyon Road. Take that and go all the way past the golf course in
towards the interior's mountains.The fire station's white with mint green doors.
There's a three tiered spanish adobe style fire bell tower to the west
surrounded by plenty of palmettos near a sitting park. You can't miss it.
The fire chief's there with three captains, three engineers, three on
duty firefighters with the potential on-call crew of 25 more. Once they
know the problem, they can set off the fire siren to call em in. It'll go
on, then off again, and back on in a triplet of thirty second intervals
once it's been committed. Mister, they can get one of Mercy Air's
birds or the Coast Guard on the fly in seconds."

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"How far is it?" asked Johnny.

"About four minutes. Less than twelve hundred feet if you put the cart's
petal to the metal. I'll run this way and notify the county lifeguards about
your friend.  Their office is at the end of my pier." he said pointing
to a Victorian stencilized sign that said, "Pleasure Pier." at the foot
of a green painted pier stretching out into Avalon Bay.

"Lifeguards? Must be one of my county's Baywatch teams.
I'm a paramedic. Who do they use for emergency communications
way out here?"

"I think it's still the L.A.County Sheriff's dispatch."

"Thanks, mister, for the use of this. " said, Gage, accepting a key with a
small rubber water float attached to it from the shop owner. "I gotta go."

"I've no doubt of that. Good luck finding your friend." shouted the local
as Johnny climbed into the white and red cart and sped away.

"I'll let you know how it turns out.." Johnny promised with an urgent
outstretched wave.


Chet grunted as he dragged Marco into a cave that he had found. For a travois,
he had used the nose frame of his glider as a drag. Lopez hung on for dear
life as he was thunked over rocks and boulders that littered the cave's floor.
"I started a fire. It's nice and cozy in here." he told Marco as he struggled
to pull him deeper into the cave. "All right.. Here. we go.." he grunted gain.
"Ok.. I got you." he said as he finally got Marco next to the fitful blaze he
had going in a rocky depression. "One, two, three.... ready?"


"Ok, I got ya." Kelly struggled over the last large rock in the way.

Lopez screamed in pain when Chet dropped his glider made
stretcher down too quickly over the last rock.

"There. Sorry.." Kelly said, collapsing onto his butt to rest.

Both men just rested for a while, breathing fast in the cold silence.

Marco readjusted painfully on the metal frame, trying to get pressure
off of his cracked ribs as a new layer of sweat built on his face.
"Oww,... Oh,.. man..."

Kelly, tried to catch his breath, too, and he wiped wind blown dirt
out of his eyes. "What'd ya think?" he said, sweeping a proud hand
over their little emergency camping area.

"I think it would be better if you put me over there...." said Marco
wearily, pointing a slow finger.

"Oh,, uh, what?" Chet exclaimed sarcastically.

"The other side of the fire. Yeah, that's better.."

Kelly shook his head in disagreement, having come to the end of
his strength.

Marco picked up his head, getting anxious. "Well, the least you can do
is get branches and some bigger logs. This thing's only gonna
last about twenty minutes.." he complained, gesturing at the feeble

Chet finally let loose. "I found the cave. I built the fire. I know what I'm
supposed to put in it." he told Lopez sharply.

Marco blinked. "Why are you getting testy with me? I'm the one with
the broken leg and the snake bite here."

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Chet stared incredulously at him as if he were some odd specie of
fauna, with half guilty for backtalking and half not written all over his features.
"You're also the one with a strange way of showing your appreciation."

Lopez suddenly doubled up in pain, holding his left leg. "Oh, ugHH!"
he grimaced, holding it. His hands were trembling.

"What's the matter?" Kelly said, scrambling back over to Marco's side.

"The bite. I think it's...starting to go.....bad." he gasped.

Chet looked up at him, reaching down to touch a new area
of red skin on Marco's thigh. "Does this hurt?"

"AckkKKK! Of course that hurts!" Lopez screamed at the lightest
brush of Chet's fingers.

Kelly whipped away the offending hand. "Ok, sorry. I'm sorry.. I had
to know."

Marco lowered back down onto his makeshift pillow, trying to
slow his breathing rate. "Is the swelling moving up my leg?"
he asked fearfully.

"Yep." Chet said, examining the skin by firelight. Then he shifted
his eyes upwards. "But your color's still good."

Lopez waved a weak hand over the tourniquet. "You gotta move
that thing."

"I know to move this thing." said Chet defensively, Marco's fear
rubbing off on him. "Ok, ok,.. I'm doing it.. ready?" he said,
untying the knot of glider material banded around his calf.
Kelly slipped it higher up until it was above Marco's knee at
the thigh and then he retightened it.

Lopez bit his lip, stifling another scream.

"Ok,.. easy.. This tourniquet's gonna buy us some time,..
but I guess it can't last us forever.." Chet told him honestly.
"We're gonna get you outta here." he said. "We're
gonna get you outta here real soon.." he soothed.

Chet was startled when he didn't get a reply back.

Kelly looked up, glancing at Lopez's damp face. "Marco?"

But Lopez didn't hear him.
Marco was shivering in a fitful half sleep, reacting to the
surge of venom that had been re-released into his bloodstream,
and both of his hands were gripping the front of his shirt in a
paltry attempt to fend off the chill.

Chet took off his jacket, instantly chastizing himself
for forgetting the most common way to treat shock
as he used it to cover him up snuggly.

Kelly buttoned up his own shirt as high as it could go
at the collar to conserve heat and he began to rub his arms
briskly to try and warm them as the wind howled mournfully
at the mouth of their tiny cave. He kept a few fingers on the rapid
pulse beating at Marco's elbow to reassure himself that he
was still with the land of the living.

"Hold on, pal. Help's gotta be on its way soon if it isn't already."
said Chet for his own ears' sake so he wouldn't start despairing.

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From: Patti or Jeff or Cassidy <>
Date: Mon Jun 5, 2006 6:35 pm
Subject: Juxtaposition...

Marco awoke to the sound of a stick snapping.

He opened his eyes and found Kelly seated by a much
larger fire, breaking a pair of green twigs into smaller pieces.
Chet smiled at him warmly. "I brought you a given special."
he said, handing over one of the toyon branches that he
had found. "Chew on that. It's got vitamins and minerals in
the bark. My dad showed me where to find these for a quick
snack while we were cattle rustling once in Wyoming."

Lopez took the stick and noticed movement under the bright
green inner bark's layer. He peered a little closer. "It's got
plenty of protein, too.There's a family of termites living in here."

Chet's eyes widened and he snatched back the branch in
horror and disgust. They were there. He felt like an *ss.
Angrily, he tossed the offending twig into the fire to burn
with the others.

Marco sighed and closed his eyes wearily. "How could you
fly off.. to save me ...without bringing me any food, huh?"

Kelly told him how it was. "I had to choose between the medkit,
and a roast beef sandwich."

Lopez scoffed in his dilirium. "Yeah, right. Like a candy bar
really takes up a lot of room."

Chet got mad, his patience gone. "Remind me never to save
you again..." he said defensively.

Marco lifted his head in amazement. "You call this a save?"
he asked with light sarcasm.

"I call this a save." said Chet firmly, holding his ground.

Lopez begged to differ, and he held up a dirty, waggling finger.
"No, no. I'll tell you what a save is. A when I am
stretched out at home, in a warm bed, with lots of hot food
and lots of loved ones.." he winced. "...fussing over me.
That's....a save." Then he relaxed back into a half state.

Kelly shook his head in annoyance, mumbling to himself
as he tended the fire. "I should have brought the roast beef


It was morning, first light.

Chet was once again hard at work dragging Marco's makeshift
travois out of the cave and into the open to try and warm him in
the growing sunlight. It had been a rough night of pain for Lopez
when he often became lost in fevered nightmares.

The wind around them was anything but friendly. It was blowing
hot, and wild, casting leaves, dust and insects into the air in
a flurry of swirls, with a roar.

Marco felt some flying sand sting his cheek and it triggered
a new surge of mindless anxiety in him. He began to struggle
under Chet's coat as he grabbed at the glider straps holding
him down. "We...gotta get outta here. We...g--" he sobbed.

Kelly gripped his arms tighter, afraid Marco was going
to hyperventilate himself into a blind panic. "Hold on. Hold on."
he said, grabbing both of Marco's hands into his own so that
he could feel them. "I'm right here, pal. Just try to relax..."

A part of Lopez heard him and he made a huge effort to slow
his rising breathing rate by tightening his crampy stomach muscles.
It worked. The wave of misery passed, leaving Lopez limp.

Kelly noticed that his eyes were starting to roll up into his head.
With a start, he grabbed for Marco's inner arm for another pulse

Lopez pulled his elbow away. "What are you doing? I'm ok.."
he said self defensively.

"We're here. I need the practice." Chet told him with a soft
but no-nonsense worry.

Marco frowned, gasping, and he looked at the fingers gripping
his arm. He couldn't feel them. Scared, he let Chet get his count.
"Yeah." he agreed. "Do me a favor, would ya?"

"What?" Chet asked him, trying to smile.

"Watch out for Boot for me, ..will you?" Lopez whispered.

Kelly's face twisted in emotion and he looked away
suddenly to hide the tears which sprang up unbidden.

Marco paled and he started to slip into unconsciousness.
"I'm just gonna take a little rest. Yeah,...take a little--" his voice
trailed off and his eyes closed. The brachial pulse under
Chet's hand disappeared.

Chet's despair returned full fold and he violently wiped away the
moisture in his eyes. He gave into crying eventually, staying silent
so Lopez wouldn't know how frightened he was feeling.

Sniffling, Kelly moved his monitoring grip to Lopez's weak and
thready carotid pulse as he scanned the sky desperately for signs
of rescue.


Captain Hank leaned into the Coast Guard pilot from where
he wore his communications helmet. "Let's go lower..."
he told him. "I don't understand it, we're not in darkest Africa.
Where the h*ll are they?"

The fierce wind blowing in from the dawn warming ocean bucked
and rocked the helicopter like a toy bobbling on a string.

The pilot shook his head.

Johnny and Roy re-examined the map authorities had given them
of Catalina's terrain, tracing out another possibility and yet another
canyon that might be holding Chet's hang glider. They had
already located Marco's shredded one a half hour earlier.

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Some of Avalon Fire Department's on-duty crew had remained behind
in the forest to bag and carry out Kip the guide's body.

"Cap, the prevailing winds yesterday were north by north west."
Johnny shared with him. "I got the weather report from the Sheriff's
office before we took off. Maybe if we travelled in a line downwind
from our campsite......"

"It's worth a shot." said DeSoto agreeing with his partner
over their shared helmet frequency.

The pilot and Cap both nodded, redirecting the orange HH-65A
Dolphin up and over the rise toward the dunes bed to the east.


Chet lifted his head from where he cradled Marco, guarding his

He thought he had heard the unmistakable thwap of helicopter
blades fighting high winds.  He eased Lopez down off of his
lap and turned him onto his side so he could breathe without
his thickening tongue getting in the way.  

Hurrying, Kelly ran to where he had tethered his brightly colored
glider in the center of the tiny rock quarry.  He lit up the SOS he had
spelled out in termite infested toyon branches with a fire brand.

The insects and bark began to burn with thick smoke. It was inky black,
caused by the chemicals in their bodies. The messaging
column rose high into the air as an urgent signal sent on the wind.

Then Chet spotted them. A tiny, moving orange dot in a big blue sky....

"Here! Down here!" Chet shouted gleefully, waving his arms wildly.

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Gage nearly jumped out of his seat. "There's Chet!" he yelled.
"I don't see Marco but he's got to be close by if Kelly made a
landing there to spend the night."

Stanley pressed his nose against the search window. "How
the h*ll did they get down there?" said Cap as he got a
better and better view of just how steep and small the gorge
they had found actually was. Hank tapped the pilot on
the shoulder. "Bring it around.." Cap told him, pointing to the
left in a downward gesture. "It's actually them this time."


Kelly began leaping about ecstatically in celebration when he saw
the helicopter finally circle his location. "Yeah!  Yeah!" he shouted.

Then he ran back to wait with Marco while the others landed.


Roy looked at one of the Avalon Baywatch guards wearing an
overland jumpsuit. "Would you mind at all if the two of us rappel
down with the rest of you guys?" he said, indicating Johnny and

Cap waited expectantly for the lifeguard captain's decision.

Lifeguard Paramedic Steve Troegger shook his head. "You're fully
qualified and technically still in your legal service area. I'm not
gonna stop either one of you from doing whatever you want. I know
how I'd react if that were one of my crewmates trapped down there.
Knock yourself out, fellas. The only stipulation is that you let
my paramedics treat any problems as they're the ones who're
considered officially first in by the city."

"You are heading this rescue mission." said Gage with a smile.
"I promise. My partner and I'll just hover."

"Thanks, captain. We appreciate it." said Roy.

"Likewise.." answered Hank from his search window seat.


Chet crowed over the roar of the descending helicopter.
"Hang on, Marco. We're almost home!"


Stoker spoke into his radio to the hospital in town. "We've
spotted them. We're going in for a closer look."

##10-4, Medevac 1. Mercy Air will meet you at the airport for your
patient transfer. We'll be waiting. ## said a female voice over
the radio channel patched into their chopper cabin commline.
## Call us back when you have your initial patient report
and I'll have Dr. Greene standing by. Avalon Municipal, out.##

Roy looked up at Mike. "Who was that?" he asked with genuine

Stoker shrugged. "One of the nurses at the hospital I guess.
She said they still have two open beds available if we
need them."

Gage started chuckling. "I must be getting a little homesick.
She sounded a lot like Dixie McCall."

The pilot spoke up. "Dixie McCall? Of Rampart General?"

"Yeah.. you know her?" Gage wondered.

"No, I know OF her, though. Through that RN you just heard.
That nurse you just checked in with was the one and only one
we have on the island, Jo Swett. Jo talks about Dixie all the time.
Seems they trained together in nursing school until Jo left
the mainland in 1966 to come here." he said.

"No kidding. Do they still keep in touch with each other?"

"I wouldn't know, boys. Probably not I'd guess.
Head nurses are kept too busy to hang onto old connections
sometimes. Know what I mean?"

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Roy agreed.

"Ok, here comes the tricky part." said the pilot. "Everybody,
hang on. We're going in. It's bound to get a little bumpy.."

The coast guard chopper started to give away altitude, but
gust after gust of wind buffeted the sides of the craft, making
it rock and pitch with rolls and violent yawing.

The pilot decided not to make the attempt. "We can't land here.
The crosswinds are too strong. We'll land on the bluff. Avalon
FD can route our climbing gear to us there."

The Baywatch and Station 51 crews all nodded.

The helicopter stopped fighting for a level as the pilot
carried them back up into calmer air.

"This fire road ends in five hundred yards.." the coast guarder
said. "I'll land us at the top of the quarry. Then you can rappel
down."  Then he got on the radio to the island village's fire
department; Avalon. "Meet us at coordinates 693 at 7-0."

##This is Chief Hoefs. I copy Medevac's rendevous point.## came
the reply. ##Six, nine, three at seven oh.##

Hank met the Avalon Fire Department along with Baywatch
Avalon's Captain Troegger outside the waiting aircraft. Stanley
filled them in after some short introductions. "They're at the
bottom of a rock quarry. We can make it down the south face. Is
all the gear ready, sir?" he said, flashing his fire captain's

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The fireman in charge of the equipment nodded. "Yeah."
And he ran through a fast scene checklist. "Three five
hundred length Borders?"

"Check." said another man.

"Slings?" asked the first.

"Check" said the second.

"And anchor points?"


"All right, let's go." Avalon's fire chief ordered. "Troegger, head
both teams going down. I'll coordinate with Mercy and
relay your found patient ICR data to them."

"Right, Steve." said Troegger.

Everybody who could gear up for the descent to come, did.

The rescue using ropes, began.


Chet held Marco's head as he struggled to awaken, and talked
to him. "Hang in there. I can see Roy and Johnny coming fast
for us, pal." he said, keeping his eye on the rocks above.
"It won't be long now at all."


Baywatch Avalon's team along with Roy and Johnny, made

They disconnected the stokes litter from the guide rope it
was tied to and all six of them ran over to where they could
see Kelly's form bending over something.

Roy shouted. "Chet! Where's Marco?"

"Right here. With me!"

The two on the lifeguard crew who were paramedics nudged
between Roy and Johnny apologetically when they all got

Johnny asked Kelly. "How's he doing?"

Chet answered very eagerly. "Blood pressure's low. Snake bite's
been swelling up for the last couple of hours. He's got at least
two broken ribs.... And that.." he said, pointing to the leg split.

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Troegger nodded as his medic partner assessed Marco's
breathing after he had applied some oxygen from his backpack.
"Neck? Back?"

Kelly shook himself out of a daze of relief at being found. "Uh,,
They seem ok." he said with a nod of dismissal.

Troegger directed a lift to get Lopez into the stokes from off
the glider travois. "Ready on three..." he said.

Roy, Johnny, and the others all grabbed belt loops, shorts
material, shoulders, and head for the move.

Johnny snuck in a pulse check from his place at Marco's
neck. "It's 130..but nice and regular.." he reported. "Man,
is this poison oak?" he asked Troegger, gesturing down at
Marco's legs and arms and face.

"Yeah, it grows all over the island. It was unintentionally introduced
by ranchers growing hay. Don't touch him too much or you'll itch
for weeks later." said the Baywatch paramedic in warning.
"Ready to lift? On three...." he skipped counting 1 and 2 and went
straight to 3 to spare Marco the wait. "Three.." he said, and Marco
was moved.

Pain roused Lopez out of his stupor. "AHHhhhhhh..! " he groaned..
Then he grunted, trying to hide how much he was hurting from
the others. "Nggnnn." he grimaced as he was settled and covered
with a tarp in the stokes.

Soon they were at the top and paused for an I.V. start
and a hefty MS injection.

"Hey, Cap.." Lopez said after a fast flow of electrolytes had
sharpened his awareness back to near normal.

"Hey, Marco.." said Hank happily. "Don't worry. We
rescued your glider. Won't cost you a dime to replace
it at the rental place since you were with their guide
when you crashed."

"I'm sorry he died. He seemed like he would have
been a really fun guy to hang out with..." quipped Marco
in a morbid joke.

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Johnny groaned at the pun that he himself had used the
day before.

Cap, Stoker, Roy and Chet all smiled at that sign of
returning vigor.

"Hey, Chet.." Lopez whispered.

Kelly knelt near, giving Marco a couple of raised eyebrows
to show that he was paying attention. "Hmm.."

"Thanks.." Marco said, and meaning it.

Kelly smiled, his face so full of emotion, that it made his eyes
almost start to water again.

Lopez cleared some phlegm out of his throat uncomfortably
at the intense warm scrutiny by which he was being regarded.
"What are you waiting for? An invitation?" he mock snapped
at Roy and Johnny to get him going to the hospital.


At Avalon Municipal, Roy and Johnny had their eyes opened
when they finally met Head Nurse Jo Swett in what served as
the hospital's trauma receiving.

She was unique, in all respects. And the doctor heading
her was equally interesting to Roy and Johnny.

Gage and DeSoto were eager to learn more about them now
that Marco had been stabilized and treated for his injuries.


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   California Dreamin'
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