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Primary Complaint
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  Page Three

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From :  Cassidy Meyers <>
Sent :  Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:16 PM
Subject :  That Female Fever...

Gage snatched up the re-established phone when 110 gestured
that it was ready. "Rampart, how do you read?"

##This is Dr. Cederstrom, go ahead, 51.## came the return reply.

Johnny pursed his lips in surprise at the new voice, but then
realized that any possible concussive trauma would warrant
the attention of an intensive care specialist over a general ER doc
with regards to priority care. ::Brackett's girlfriend? Hope she's as
good as Dwyer says. Roy deserves the best.:: he reasoned. Then
he put all non-business thoughts aside and began his report.
"Rampart, victim number one has been airlifted into the chopper
and is stable. The I.V. on victim number two has been established
and is running wide open per orders. Negative on head injury signs
despite the bleeding from both ears. His vertigo appears to be
subsiding but the nausea is not. There appears to be no further
evidence of internal injuries. There's only superficial cuts and burns
about the face and scalp. Uhhh, ...request permission for some
sedation to elicit physical calming and an anti-emetic?"

##10-4, 51. Administer 2 mgs, Diazepam I.V. and 5 mgs Compazine I.M.
Re-evaluate victim two's neuro status every five minutes while
transporting and do not restrict the drainage running out of the ears.
51, is there any possibility that what you're seeing contains
cerebral spinal fluid as an exudate?##

Gage took a corner of a gauze four by four and soaked the edge
of it into the light blood flow coming from both of Roy's ears.
He held it up into the daylight, judging its color. "Negative,
Rampart, there's no amber ring spreading out from either blood stain
on sampling."

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##That's a good sign, 51. Give me new vitals sets on both victims
as soon as you get into the air. What's your distance out?##

Johnny rubbed his damp forehead, shaking his head to rid his hair of rain
so it wouldn't interfere with his vision. "Our ETA's eleven minutes best
guess, Rampart."

##10-4, I've an ENT standing by. Dr. Morton will monitor your channel
in transit. Confer to him, any adverse changes on either victim. I'll see
you and your second victim in a few minutes along with Dr. Morton.## said

"We're on our way, Rampart!" shouted Johnny over the frequency as
the coast guard helicopter waiting for them on hover churned into a
higher rotor mode. Gage leaned into Roy and briefly gripped his
shoulder to get him to open his eyes. "Meds are in, Roy. You're all set."
he grinned.

Roy tried to smile from under all of his blankets, but he couldn't, so he let
himself slip into sleep as the Valium took effect.

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Dr. Cederstrom met Roy's cot as it came through the Emergency doors.
Dr. Brackett immediately took the bed of the unconscious seaman, "Carrie,..
I've got him. I'll keep you posted."

"Ok, Kel." answered Carrie. "I'm bringing this fireman directly up to my diagnostic
ward, I've all the ears, nose and throat equipment already laid out."

"All right. I'll check up with you in a few minutes.." said Brackett.

Dr. Carrie Cederstrom leaned over the gurney and checked Roy's consciousness
level with a gentle touch to the side of his face. "I'm Dr. Cederstrom, from ICU."
she introduced herself when he opened his eyes. "We'll get you a notepad
once we get upstairs so you can communicate with us a little better, ok?" she
told him.

DeSoto lifted a water wrinkled hand and gripped hers in understanding as
he let the orderlies fuss with his warmed oxygen supply and as they got him
into drier blankets once they had lifted him out of the stokes to a fresh bed with
a sheets lift.

Gage was a constant presence at Roy's head, and he was only about a foot
away from Carrie's elbow. "He slept a little on the way in trying to fight giving
into the sedative, but he's been able to get rid of everything he's been throwing
up without help."

"All right. How's the vertigo?" Dr. Cederstrom asked.

"Gone. His eyes stopped gyrating five minutes ago." Johnny said quickly.

"Ok,.. looks like the diazepam dosage's sitting just perfectly. It'll take
a bit longer for the Compazine to kick in since he hasn't been moving
around much yet."

Johnny immediately fixed that. "Roy, shift this arm around. The one
opposite the I.V." he shouted. To carry the hint, he picked up his partner's
arm and started rubbing it around the injection site. Roy dutifully began
flexing his fingers and twisting his wrist around.  The trick seemed to
work, for once they were all piled into the patient elevator, Roy emitted
a sigh under his oxygen mask as his stomach heaves abruptly ceased.

Carrie turned to a nurse who had followed them inside. "I want a full blood workup.
You know my standard. Tell the lab to specifically concentrate on potassium

Gage looked at Carrie. "Are you still thinking about muscle damage?"

"It's a possibility. I won't rule anything out past the lack of head trauma yet.
It's still too soon yet. I'll know more in a few minutes once Dr. Morton and I get
together to compare our notes on him, Mr. Gage." she grinned.

Johnny finally started to relax as he accepted a spare blanket from one of
the orderlies so he could start to dry himself off. "Wow, I feel small." he said,
trying to hide his shivering so Carrie wouldn't see it and order him away to
a post rescue examination. "You know my name already and we've never
ever been formally introduced."

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Dr. Cederstrom dropped her head in undisguised mirth. "Sorry. Kel always talks
about his favorite paramedic team. You and Mr. DeSoto here mean an awful
lot to him."

"You mean professionally.." Johnny gathered.

"That and I also mean personally, Johnny. He sometimes wishes that he could
spend more time as friends with you and your partner, but work always seems to
get in the way whenever he starts to plan a get together or something. Dixie tries
to help him organize his time a little better, but things never seem to work out
well enough."

Gage grinned. "Yeah, well. Being head of the Emergency Department's a heavy
responsibility. One that I wouldn't want. Oh, ..Uh, no offense, heh." he corrected self

"None taken. I wouldn't want Kel's position either. That's why I took on Intensive Care.
There's fewer patients." she said. Then she looked up as the elevator stopped on
her floor's suite. "Ah, here we are. Minor surgery's all set up. The ENT's waiting for
us just inside."

Johnny sneezed, turning his head away from Roy's bed, where he lay sleeping.
"Ow,...oh, I hate water rescues. Gonna get a cold for sure. Can I break off for a few
minutes to give the guys a call? Cap's gonna wanna know that our station needs
a replacement to fill in for--"

"Of, course. Use the phone by the nurse's station in the center of the room. Pam'll
open a line for you." Dr. Cederstrom gestured, pointing, to orient Gage to the unfamiliar
ICU ward.

"Thanks, Dr. Cederstrom."

"Please, call me Carrie. I'm not as formal as Kel is." she smiled.

"Ok.. Uh, I'll ..I'll.. be right back.." Gage grinned uncomfortably. He frowned at himself
as soon as his back was turned to the lady doctor because he was beginning to
feel an unexpected reaction to Carrie that was totally off base. ::Whoa, Johnny.
Get a hold of yourself. She may be drop dead gorgeous, but she's already
definitely spoken for here. She's with your boss..:: he mentally chided.

Johnny moved to the desk and gratefully accepted a metal stool one of the
nurses kicked over to him so he could sit comfortably in spite of being soaking
wet like he was. Then he reached for the phone. "Hello, is this the hospital
operator? Yeah, this is Fireman John Gage. Could you connect me up with the
fire department dispatcher in a relay to Station 51 in Carson? Yeah. I need to get
in touch with my captain on official business that's not needed via HT, a.s.a.p....
Thank you, ma'am." ::Then after this. I'm calling Joanne DeSoto to let her know
about Roy getting hurt.:: he considered, planning ahead.

Gage rubbed his face wearily as every bump and bruise he had taken on the
helicopter flight in began to show itself, but oddly, part of him deep inside still
felt pleasantly warm whenever he caught a glimpse of Carrie moving around
Roy's exam cubicle in spite of the tight hold he thought he was holding on his
emotions. ::Oh, no. Now what am I gonna do? It's still happening. Chet was right,
I AM still in love..:: he said, as he avoided looking at her to quell another dumbstruck
grin. ::Am I gonna run into her every trip into the hospital whenever we come in with
an emergency patient?:: he quailed. :: I sure hope to h*ll I don't.:: he worried, trying
to rub away the fierce flush just beginning to reddened his cheeks.

He completed his call and learned that Dwyer would be the one to be recalled
from off duty to take Roy's spot on the squad crew for the rest of the night.
::Geez, is her hair really five shades of blonde? Wow. I really like that:: he
thought. Then he caught himself again sharply and clenched a fist to still
his impulsiveness.

Dr. Morton's entrance into the suite finally gave Johnny Gage something else
to think about. Hurriedly, he abandoned his wool blanket and followed the young
African American resident doctor into Roy's room.

From :  patti keiper <>
Sent :  Wednesday, September 20, 2006 10:23 AM
Subject :  Gelling Moments..

It was ten minutes later, and Dr. Morton was just finishing up his
detailed cranial nerve evaluation on Roy. Mike looked up
from the otoscope he was using to look at DeSoto's ear
canals. "Just one more thing, Roy. I'm going to test some sound
waves out on you." he said, striking a tuning fork on the edge of the
gurney's railing that was near Roy's sitting knees.

Next to him, Carrie began scribbling another note for Roy. 'Tell
Dr. Morton which sound is louder, through the air or the one in contact
with you.' Dr. Cederstrom held up the pad so Roy could read it and
know what to expect.

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Dr. Morton first held the vibrating two pronged fork next to Roy's left
ear for a few seconds. Then he set the end of the grip against DeSoto's
head so the sound began to reverberate through the bones of his skull.
Roy got excited through his obvious worry, "I hear that! The second
way, doc!" he grinned nervously.

"Is it the same over here?" Morton asked, striking the pitch again
and repeating the test.

Carrie wrote down another question and held it up. 'How about the right side?'

"It's doing the same thing, doc. Uh, doctors..." Roy corrected. Nervously,
Roy shoved aside the emesis basin he no longer needed. "What,..what
does all of this mean? Am I going to stay deaf like this?"

Johnny, standing close and just as intent, muttered. "That's exactly what I
wanna know, too." he snorted, eagerly handing Morton the ear instruments
he needed whenever he reached for something.

The ENT standing near Morton and Dr. Cederstrom, looked up from the head films
they had gotten on Roy as a precaution. "Things are looking better and better
at this point. The fact that Roy hears the tuning fork at all means that he didn't
suffer any nerve damage. Just some kind of conductive loss. It could
be anything from some seawater trapped in his inner ears to what I'm seriously
suspecting as just a couple of bilaterally perforated eardrums."

Carrie started smiling as she translated that particular diagnosis for Roy with
her pen.

Morton grunted as he swung a viewing magnifier in front of Roy's face. "Let me
take this off of you." he said, taking the oxygen mask away and handing it to
a nurse. "You don't need it any more. Your pressure's back to normal. Now,
I want to check out your retinas for petechiae. Petechial damage there might mean
some concussion-like symptoms later. Do you have any sensitivity to light?"
he asked Roy.

Carrie held up the notepad, 'Photosensitivity?' she showed Roy.

Roy shook his head, and winced at the motion, while he waited for Dr. Morton
to get through looking at his eyes through the dinner plate sized viewing glass.

"That still hurts a bit, doesn't it?" the ENT asked DeSoto, as he touched the backs
of DeSoto's ears with both hands as he palpated the area gently over both ear
canals where his neck joined the bottoms of his ears.

DeSoto nodded.

"Well, I'm feeling more and more confident about your injury, Mr. DeSoto." said
the ear doc. "Your vertigo was due to getting cold water against your exposed
cochlea ossicles through the new tears in your eardrums. Did you see how fast it
went away once you warmed up a little?"

Carrie translated for Roy once again.

Roy blinked and coughed, holding his head against the jolt of pain
which bit through his head from both ears. "Yeah. But where is this nausea
coming from? I'm sure I'd still be puking if the compazine wasn't working
so well."

"That is what we're going to check out next." said Carrie. "We have to rule out
any possible organ damage from the explosions' blunt force effects. Lie back onto
the bed. We have it propped up for you." she said, beginning to run through a
series of in-depth neurological tests on his limbs with her reflex hammer while
Morton looked for abdominal tenderness or other sore spots.

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Mike looked up as he worked. "Any joint pain might mean a trip to a
decompression chamber to prevent possible embolus formation." he told Johnny.

Gage gaped. "You mean he might have the bends on top of everything else?"

"If he was pulled down deep enough and held there for a while, yes, it's possible."
Dr. Cederstrom told him. "Certain environmental conditions can bring that on suddenly
in some cases of rapid submersion. We have no way of knowing whether or not
Mr. DeSoto's perforated eardrums are the result of being too close to the explosion's
noise or from being pulled underwater too far, too rapidly."

"Never thought of it that way." said Gage, studying Roy's groggy face thoughtfully.
"So what happens next?"

The ENT smiled. "If his blood work comes back negative for hyperkalemia and
decompression sickness tissue byproducts, we can schedule an immediate
surgical ward in there to begin repairs on Roy's eardrums. If we can't salvage what's
left, we can perform tympanoplasties on them using small pieces of his scalp tissue
as emergency grafts to replace them. Also, if we find there's internal aural ossicle
fractures under the microscope, we can raid the cadaver bank for new bones.
Most likely, if any ear bones shattered at all, it would involve the maleus and the incus
only and those are easily graftable. The only telling factor in the end to worry about
will be about how much scar tissue Roy's body forms after his surgery. That will directly
determine the degree of hearing loss that might remain as a result of all the
activity that we'll be performing to try and fix things. If we do nothing at all, Roy, you'll
stay deaf at the current level you're experiencing and possibly run the risk of
meningitis developing through your exposed mastoid bone tissues."

Roy finished reading the notepad that Carrie had written down in medical short hand.
"Just how much loss of hearing are we talking about here?"

The ENT frowned. "I've seen cases where people lose only ten percent of everything
and other cases where significant loss occurs despite heroic efforts to repair all
the damage." the doctor shrugged. "But, even if moderate loss results, hearing aids
can easily make up the difference."

"No it can't." muttered Johnny under his breath. "Not in our case." he sighed.

The ear doctor lifted his eyebrows. "Oh? Why not?"

"We're both firefighters, doc. I can't believe that there's any hearing aid out there that's
built strong enough to survive the intense heat of a house fire. They're all made of
plastic nowadays, aren't they?" Johnny asked even as he wrote down his
comment for Roy to read.

All three doctors nodded reluctantly. And the entire room fell silent in worried thought.

Until Roy started chattering. "Well, I'm not going to worry about what might happen.
Not until all my cards are finally in and counted." he said firmly, grinning as brightly as
he could.

Carrie smiled at him. "That's the spirit, Roy. It's always good to have a positive attitude."
Then she looked up at Dr. Morton. "So, do you agree with my assessment, Mike?"

"You mean about his having no signs of internal trauma and shock? Yes, I do."
he replied, stepping back from his hands on examination of Roy. "How are his
lungs doing?" he said, lifting his stethoscope's drum in a flick where it sat around
his neck so Roy would get the question being asked.

"They're clear.." said Roy, Johnny and Carrie at the same time.

"I never started drowning, doc. I'm too good a swimmer for that." DeSoto said,
adding more.

"Oh, that's right. Didn't you used to be a Navy Seal?" Morton asked him.

"He went through the training." Johnny shared with him, when Roy was distracted
by another lab technician coming in to check his I.V.'s flow rate. "But ended up
with the Army when the conflict accelerated on us." he said of the Viet Nam war.

"Tell him later that that's what probably saved his life, Johnny." said Morton,
pulling up the bed rail on his side to hold Roy in safely. "Need me for
anything else, Carrie?" he asked Dr. Cederstrom.

"Thanks, Mike. A second opinion's all I needed." she said, picking up Roy's
chart to start adding orders for an anesthesiologist to report in to oversee
Roy's soon-in-coming repair procedure.

"Ok, I'll order up some Demerol for him as a pre-op shot to handle some
of that pain he's feeling right now." he said writing in Roy's chart over Carrie's

Carrie nodded in appreciation and watched as the young doctor left the room.

Roy looked up from his bruised hands. "So I'm not hurt that badly for sure now."
he grinned, some of the first signs of his usual good nature surfacing at last.
"Just what I figured. I was telling that to Johnny the whole trip in here, Dr.
Cederstrom." he complained.

"So?" Gage gaped. "Can you blame me for worrying a little? Geez. You know
how much it sucks being a paramedic suddenly having to take care of your
own paramedic partner. I had to make sure you weren't dying or anything."
Johnny wrote down on the pad. Then he tossed it with some force onto
Roy's bare stomach in mock affront.

Chuckling, Roy picked up his notes and read them. "Really?.. huh..."
"You knew I wasn't the moment you took my first pressure." DeSoto teased.
"So you're not going to be fooling anybody when you say you didn't overreact
a little when you tell the guys about me later on at the station."

"Did I over react, Dr. Cederstrom? Tell me quite frankly. Did I overreact
to you about him in any way? I'd like to settle this thing once and for all."
he said in partially real mock anger.

Carrie gaped for a few seconds. Then she said. "Well...Ten vital sign sets
reports in ten minutes were ....just a tad bit excessive in my book. " she
shrugged gently.

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Please click the rose for a music change.

Gage threw up his hands and walked away in mock exasperation to get
a rise out of Roy. He returned to the bed, grinning a whole lot more when
he saw the corners of Roy's mouth curling up.

Carrie and the ENT shared with DeSoto what to expect after his ears were
repaired. "Your ears will be filled with biogel that will be holding your new
grafts and bones in place. It'll be important for you to not sneeze, suck on
a straw or cough with your mouth closed or you'll damage everything we've
fixed up. We'll help you keep your mouth open while you're waking up
from the general anesthestic. And your head will feel about ten pounds
heavier, and full, due to the packing gel."

"How long will the procedure take?" DeSoto asked.

The ENT wrote. 'Oh, anywhere from two to four hours. It's delicate work.
If the new eardrums are placed too far forward or back inside the ear canals,
the new drums might bow and re-tear again during the healing process.
We don't want that to happen. For each time repairs are made to fix
tympanoplasty failures, more scar tissue is formed, resulting in more
potential permanent hearing loss.'

"Just.. uh, just how much will I lose this time, doctor?" Roy asked.

"We don't know. It all depends on what we find for damage
once we go into those areas." admitted the ENT on paper.

"I see.." whispered Roy, lowering his eyes.

Johnny's face fell out of his encouraging grin at the news.
"Roy, do you want me to call Joanne now or later? I mean, it might
calm her down better if.. if she had more to go on about all this."
he scribbled.

"Tell her later. My wife's least favorite words, she tells me, that
she ever hears from doctors are: 'I don't know.' I think we'd better
make sure my facts are known before we tell her anything." DeSoto

"Ok.. I'll hold off until you hit the recovery room. Joanne's not
expecting you home tonight since it's just the beginning of your
48 hours on so she won't suspect anything from not hearing from you.."
Johnny said as he wrote down his sentences. He winced at his own
unthinking words. "Sorry.. I didn't mean that to sound like it did."

Roy grinned at the chagrin on Johnny's face. "That's ok." he said
once he read the part of the sentence Johnny had tried to scratch
out. "I'm gonna need a lot of joking to get by this one so you'd
better get yourself and the other guys started on that." he winked.

Carrie touched Roy on the shoulder. "Dr. Morton's ordered for you
some Demerol for pain. Can you have that?" she asked, showing
him the written order on his chart.

Roy read it and nodded. "That'll be ok. I don't have an allergy to that.
I- I'm really ready for some more sleep. It's been a long day." he
said bravely. "Can't say my luck's been running too.. good"
he mumbled, beginning to snore. Fatigue finally carried him into
sleep and his breathing quieted.

"It's been running better than you know." Johnny said, under his breath.
"You could've died out there today...." he said, feeling Roy's wrist
for the reassuring soft beat there.

"But he didn't.." said Carrie, overhearing Johnny.

Startled, Gage looked up at Cederstrom with surprise and felt heartened
by the encouragement she had him given off the record. "Thanks.."
he smiled, finally relaxing. "So,.. how much sick leave is he going to
need to get his ears better?"

"Oh, it'll take about four weeks tops. It'll take time for his body to
absorb the gel we'll be putting in and about a week's more time for
the swelling to go down to the point where we'll learn where his
hearing's going to be sitting at post operative." Dr. Cederstrom told him.
"As for the rest of his observation, he can go home in the morning once
he's fully over the effects of his anesthesia."

"Okay.. okay. I'll be sure to tell him that,.. Uh, and I'll tell Joanne everything
I just heard, too. Afterwards."

"I'd appreciate that. Thanks, Johnny." Cederstrom smiled.

"No problem."

"Would you care to grab a cup of coffee with me? It'll be a few minutes
before Roy's ENT is ready for me to assist him in the other room."

Gage's heart took a leap.
"Oh, Uh, Coffee?! W-with you?! Well, uh,.. actually. Heh. I think I'd better be
getting into a new uniform. I'm beginning to itch from all the salt drying
on my skin, Dr. Cederstrom." he snapped his fingers."Sorry,..uh.. C-Carrie."

"That's all right. I'll take a rain check for another time perhaps.." said Carrie,
winking slowly at him. Then she moved back to the bed to hook Roy up
to an EKG in preparation for his surgery.

Gage barely made his exit from the room before giving himself a stunned
thought. ::Did Dr. Cederstrom just take a pass at me?!:: he fretted.
::I wonder how Dr. Brackett would feel about that if he ever found out.::
Johnny quailed. ::Whatever the case, he's not going to find out about
what just happened a moment ago from me.::

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From :  Champagne Scott <>
Sent :  Thursday, September 21, 2006 1:06 PM
Subject : Man Trap..

Johnny Gage picked up his soggy uniform from the floor
of the squad after he pulled up into the vehicle bay. He
had made due in his T-shirt and night pants to tie him over
until he could grab a hot shower and some new clothes from
his locker.

Dwyer was already there, checking the engine's resuscitator
apparatus after changing out an oxygen cylinder. He offered a
friendly wave to Gage as the tired paramedic dragged himself
out of the truck and onto his feet.

Chet Kelly was with Gil, too, and instantly, he gave word out
loud of Johnny's arrival back to the station. The rest of the
gang eagerly abandoned dinner preparations to rush out
and get the latest news.

Gil beat them all to it. "How's Roy doing, Johnny? I heard something
about his undergoing surgery from Dixie a couple of hours ago."

"He's ok, guys. Relax. They're just making a few repairs on his
ear drums, that's all. He's negative for internal trauma,.. brain, pulmonary
or abdominal." Gage smiled wearily.

Captain Stanley was the last to join them all because he had snatched the
coffee pot from the stove to take with him. Cap poured out a mug and offered
it up to Johnny. He placed them both on the squad's hood and shoved them
over with a few fingers. "Drink up. You must be starving. Supper's almost ready.
A-are you sure that Roy's doing ok? Sudden deafness is nothing to shake
a stick at if it means there's a chance that it might cost a guy his livelihood
sometime down the road." Hank fretted.

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Johnny gratefully warmed his chilled hands around the steaming mug.
"That's not gonna happen, Cap. I made sure I got Roy's results and the
best possible outcome from his doctor just before I left the hospital."

"Oh? Who's got his chart this time?" Hank asked.

"What? Uh,. w-who's got it? Well, uh.." Gage stuttered, uncomfortably.
Unconsciously, his fingers began to fidget on the rescue truck's hood.

"Uh, oh..." Chet trickled. "She does. Doesn't she?" Kelly grinned like
a cat. "Man, does Dr. Cederstrom even know she's got the key to your
heart, Gagey boy?"

Gage shot him a dirty look.

Chet was merciless. "Well, you know what they always say about the
grass being greener.."

Johnny slammed his empty mug on the hood with an angry smack and he
promptly made tracks for the kitchen, abandoning all of them. He made
straight for Henry, looking to use his big bulk as both an emotional pacifer
and a convenient hot water bottle.

Sighing, Gil laid a hand on Chet's shoulder.
"Kelly, I think we'd better back off on trying to throw a complication into
the Rampart/Love Boat bet for tonight. Let's just give him some peace, huh?
We won't find out any more news about Roy if you irritate Johnny too
much about what's an obviously new sore subject." Dwyer said. "I didn't
know that he'd feel hopelessly attracted to another man's girl. And I'm sure
that Johnny didn't either."

Kelly finally stopped his predatory grin, cold. "I know I didn't
expect anything like that. I'm totally shocked, man. At full charge."
he said, gesturing between himself and the blonde haired paramedic.
"But, uh..what do you think happened between those two earlier that's
making Johnny so jumpy?" he asked slyly.

Gil licked his lips in deep thought. "Who knows. It's always dangerous
messing with your boss's girlfriend. I don't think I wanna find out, Chet. Do you?"
Dwyer asked. Gil walked away to pick up where he left off on his cooking

"Yes, I do. " Kelly whispered, when Roy's substitute was out of earshot. "Might be
kinda fun finding out a few of the grittier facts first. Yep. I think I smell another prime
betting pool opportunity in the works concerning our resident Romeo and his
forbidden love interest. A guy's got the right to make his rent payment whenever
he can, doesn't he?"

Putting his hands in his pockets, Chet wandered back into the kitchen.

Conversation was already getting paramedic technical as Gil mulled over Roy's
prognosis from the details he was gleaning off of Johnny.  Dwyer also wanted to
get one or two bowls of steaming chili into Johnny to stop his shivering before
they got their next rescue call, for Gil knew that he'd be really miserable
going back out into the rain without being fully dried out.

Even Henry was trying to lick away Johnny's goose pimples.

"So, the vertigo's back?" Dwyer asked.

"Yeah, and Roy's hating every moment of it. He's getting dizzy just breathing." said
Johnny, hugging Henry while he petted the huge dog where he was sitting sprawled
out in his lap. "The ENT surgeon said that there's a slight chance that some
labrinthine damage in the form of swelling may have occurred post surgical. He's
being evaluated right now to rule out a possible perilymph leak as the cause of
his new vertiginous symptoms. So far, Joanne's the only one doing the happy
dance. They can't knock him out to spare him any misery because he's still
got too much of the general anesthetic left in his system bogging down his BP."

"That sucks." muttered Stoker, placing a bowl of romaine salad on the table.

"No, it spins." Johnny grinned. "Round and round. Clockwise in his case." he

"Well, how do you explain yours, Johnny?" Captain Stanley asked. "Are you
gonna do the honorable thing and lay off Brackett's lady in spite of how you
feel about her?"

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Gage's mouth flopped clean open. Hearing a comment like that coming from
Cap was totally unexpected. The idea of Hank getting in on the usual dating shop
talk was almost too much to wrap his mind around. "Cap, I'm surprised at you."
Johnny blurted out. "Don't you trust me?"

"With my life? Sure. But when it comes to some pretty little thing walking down
the street who's got someone else's ring on..." he shrugged his shoulders

Johnny immediately became even more crestfallen. "I suppose you're right.
Sometimes I wanna score so bad, I don't think about any possible negative
consequences before I go leaping. But you've got to believe me when I tell you
that I didn't start things with her today. She did. I was just minding my own business
when she came up to me and--" Gage immediately bit his lip in horror and he
glanced up to where Chet was setting out the chili pot onto pot holders. Luckily,
Kelly hadn't heard one syllable of that hot little confession.

Hank smiled and finally stood up from the crouch he had taken in front of Johnny.
"Well, I think I'm beginning to understand things a little bit better now. Thanks
for levelling with me about Dr. Cederstrom. But I had to pry, Johnny. As a friend,
not as your captain. Getting Brackett on a bad side would be pure h*ll for all
the rest of us."

"Boy do I know that.." Johnny moaned miserably. "He'd go to the chiefs
and cry departmental character foul so fast that--"

"Here. Eat." said Marco, passing off a heaping bowl of hot food to
Johnny where he still slouched on the couch, draped in dog. "My mama
always says if your heart's aching over somebody you can't have, fill your
stomach to the eyeballs. That way, you'll get so sleepy that you can't
even think about 'em."

"Sounds like a plan..." Johnny said, picking up his spoon half-heartedly.
"I don't think I'll need much to do that. out a couple of
gallons of that for me, Marco, would ya? I think I'm gonna need it." he
sighed sadly.

Marco patted him on the arm in sympathy. "Just say no to her." he said,
rising to rejoin the gang at the table. "That's easy enough to do."

"Maybe for you.." Johnny muttered. "Your heart's not the one involved here..."
he said when Marco had finished wandering away. "Mine is."

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The gang was comfortably somnolent in chairs around the rec room when
the tones went off an hour later. Long ones.

::An all station's call?:: Hank thought. ::I wonder what's up this time?:: Cap
thought as he roused the rest of the guys into a faster get-on-the-ball vehicle
break out pace.

Image of gageusewallmapcall.jpg Click to activate tones. :) Image courtesy of Bryan G. 2006.

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Please refresh page to restore original soundtrack music. :)

From: Sam Iam <>
Date: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:02 pm
Subject: The Seige..

##Battalion One,Truck 127, Stations 39, 36, 8, 2, 20 and 51. Tanker
accident with an unknown number of injuries, involving chemicals.
Highway 101 northbound at the Santa Monica Freeway viaduct.
Highway 101 northbound at the Santa Monica Freeway viaduct.
Hazmat has been notified for a full response. Time out : 17:56.##

Cap shot out of his chair with alacrity along with the rest of the gang.
"Mike, the wind direction right now in that canyon's still matching what
we have here in Carson. I just saw it on a weather broadcast."

"I saw that, too. It's from the southwest at 12 to 18. Got it." said Stoker as
he jogged by Gil and Marco, who were checking the wall map for the
fastest way to the scene while they searched for a large open spot that
was going to remain safely in an upwind.

Lopez spoke up. "Cap, there's an empty car dealership immediately
to the south of that location with six hydrants at that intersection surrounding
the freeway. I know that because I shop at a supermarket there and
notice them all the time."

Hank paused with one leg inside the Ward's cab, leaning on the roof.
"Dwyer, Stoker, go to that lot first. And Chet, tell the chief where it's at while
we're still on the way. He's gonna wanna know a good set up location from
which to stage all phases of Hazmat's and our rescue operations." Then
Cap pulled on his jacket from the seat of the side front passenger cab.
"Did L.A. say that things're involving an overpass, Stoker?" he asked as
he slipped it on and strapped his helmet onto his head.

"Yeah. I think Santa Monica's a new one that opened up this spring."
Mike replied, starting the ignition.

Hank snatched up the loudspeaker as the garage door rolled open
and yelled out an order. ##Grab two extra scba bottles each from the
holding locker before you belt in. Gage, Dwyer..that goes for you, too.
My guess is that we're gonna make every pound per square inch
of breathing air count in the worst possible way.##

"O.k, Cap." they all said, hurrying a little faster.

Johnny, thinking ahead, grabbed on board a couple of three liter saline
irrigation bags from the wall closet and laid them on the floor of the squad
by his feet where he wouldn't step on them. At a surprised noise, he looked
up to see Gil in the process of raising his eyebrows. Johnny mumbled.
"Well,..a lot of burns are gonna happen, right? Especially if this turns out to
be a mass casualty incident." he explained with a shrug.

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Dwyer nodded grimly in agreement. "Hope you're wrong. Hope we
all are, on worrying about this one." he said softly, gripping the driver's
steering wheel in antsy palms.

The extra minute it took to gather the supplemental gear felt like an
excruciatingly long time to everyone, including Henry, who started barking
from where he stood uncharacteristically in the kitchen doorway as if to tell
them to hurry it up a whole bunch.

The firemen needed no encouragement from him at all.  

They were gone...


Gil and Stoker made up for the slower start time by washing the road
stretching ahead of them, with their trucks' airhorns more frequently than
they usually did, to clear the way until it was free of traffic before their lights
even began stabbing through all the lamped intersections.

New tones sounded over the air waves, ones not heard very often that
signified an emergency update from L.A. headquarters. ##L.A. to all units,
please hold silence for priority 10-90 traffic. All stations responding to the
truck incident on Highway 101: Citizens' report a gas cloud of unknown type
has been liberated from the scene and is drifting east north east over a
residential neighborhood. Rampart General and Mercy Hospitals have
been notified of an official MCI declaration as ordered by Battalion One.
Helicopter Nine is en route with two doctors who're reporting to your scene
for triage management. Battalion Fourteen, do you copy?##

##Battalion Fourteen, L.A. I copy. Battalions 9 and 12, roll out and report to
the main incident on Highway 101 and Santa Monica Freeway. Approach
from the south. Start delegating assignments as our stations report in.
L.A. respond a third alarm assignment to that endangered neighborhood to
effect immediate evacuations. At no time will you call L.A.P.D. to assist.##
said the divisional chief.

::No kidding.:: grunted Hank as he impatiently drummed his gloves on the dash
as Stoker stepped up their pace to the accident site. ::They don't have air bottles
like we do. Let's just hope people have their TV sets on and heed the warning
to stay inside buildings until help arrives to break them out safely.::

The requested page for additional fire responses went out, involving L.A.
City Fire and the nearby Escondido pumper stations.

Hank paid no more attention to the main channel, instead perking his ears for
orders from his Battalion Chief, One, as he called for his station crew specifically
via HT. "Stoker, that's for us, hand me the dash mic. Engine 51 to Battalion One,
go ahead." swallowed Cap, controlling the tension in his voice.

Battalion One replied with defining authority over their private band and crew specific
HTs. ##Engine 51 and Squad 51, survey the original accident scene from a safe distance.
If there's no gas danger to the south, go in upwind and get out all the casualties you
can in strict triage order. I've cleared that auto lot for a site of operations. That's
where I'm located and where our medical air support will be landing. Do not risk
your men, even in full scba, should wind directions shift towards you. Pull 'em out
a.s.a.p. Hazmat will be ready to enter then if you're forced to abandon and they'll
eventually be taking over for you. They're ordered to decontaminate victims and
deliver them to you and Station 36 as they're freed for all necessary treatment at
Triage after that personnel switch-off is complete.Truck 127 and Stations 2 and 20
will be maintaining water spray curtains and applying alcohol resistant foam to
protect all of your extrication efforts until we determine the exact nature of that
spreading gas cloud. Report all DOT MSDS details you discover. Is that clear,
Station 51?##

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Hank got a double horn tap from Squad 51. "Station 51, Battalion One, that's
affirmative. We're arriving now and we're positioning ourselves on the overpass
for a good vantage point. Stand by for more information."

##Standing by.## answered gravel voiced Battalion One.

Stanley got out of the truck and met his men, who left both vehicles running and
aimed at a clear escape route off the viaduct's other end. He saw that Gil and
Johnny had already taken a peek off the other side of the concrete railing.
"Whatcha got?!" he yelled at them when he could see nothing on his side.

Gage shifted the air bottle on his back and began playing with the straps on
his mask that he was carrying at the ready in his hands. "There's a front-end
loader on the freeway. Looks like it tipped and fell from up here off somebody's
passing trailer when a turn was taken too fast. That guy's gotta be long gone.
There's two trucks down there. Neither one with significant damage.
One is clearly labelled hydrochloric acid and that's the source of the leak.
Not very big of a puddle's on the ground yet, maybe...six feet by twelve feet
from a bent valve underneath the main barrel of the tanker.There's a driver
trapped in the leaking truck. He's conscious. Towards the back of Truck One,
there's an off-red car T-boned collided underneath his payload's tank.
Can't see if there's anyone inside of it or not."

"We'll check that out first." Hank promised. "What about the second truck?"

Gil cleared his throat in frustration. "The cab's empty. The driver's standing
on the embankment rubbing his face, probably walking wounded. There are
no markings on his truck at all except for a DOT placard. It says, 'Corrosive.
Class 8.'"

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"Oh, wonderful.." Hank sighed. "It'd better not be an oxidizer. Ok, get down there and
see what you can do, gang. Put your masks on at the slightest sign of trouble. I'll
watch everyone's back as a safety. I'll only step in when I'm needed. Chet,
Marco go help them handle those drivers and check out the car. Stoker, go in with
a reel line, just on a light spray, from Engine 20. And for Pete's sake everybody,
be careful down there."

"We will.." Kelly waved encouragingly.

Hank jogged down the grassy embankment close behind them, taking two of
the plastic stokes from Squad 51's rear store compartment with him. ::Won't be
able to use metal ones. They'll just melt in all this acid.:: he decided. He could
see Johnny climbing the sideways cab of the HCL acid truck with Marco and he
whistled loudly. They looked up. Cap gestured, indicating where he left the
pair of stokes on the hill. Then he reported to Battalion what he had found.

##Only the HCL's leaking, Hank?## asked the chief.

"So far, yeah. From a bent valve still partially sealed. The other driver's
milling about with a bunch of papers in his hand. They might be the bill of
lading." he said into his handy talkie.

##Get him out of there and get him up to me. How many victims do you have?##

"Three. A male in the first truck, a female in the car, and then our walking truck
driver. I'll read what he's got and evacuate my men out once the last victim's

##Make it fast, Hank. You know how volatile an acid spill gets in breezy conditions.##

"Don't worry, chief. We won't be the ones frying, sir, just the trucks when they go.
I'll be watching things better than just closely."

##So will I. Notify all the supporting engine crews via HT on everything you
learn about the second truck the instant you discover it. Then tell me. Their
safety's first.##

"Aye, chief. Gimme one minute!" Captain Stanley said. Then he turned to
his four working to free the two accident victims. "Gage, Gil.. I'm talking to this guy.
I'll be right back!" he said. "Meyers, cover me with problem spotting for them." he
ordered a lieutenant off Engine 2.

"Yes, sir.." said the younger man, taking a nearby place on high ground to watch
51's crew's rapid extrication work.

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Nearby, Marco and Johnny had pried the first truck's door open where the
intact cab lay on its side. Johnny began shouting. "Hey! You've got to get
out of there now! It's not safe. Grab my hand. You're not hurt much at all." he
shouted down at the conscious driver cowering inside the window cracked,
white painted truck cab.

"There's acid all over out there..." said the man fearfully, breathing hard.

"I know that. But it's not here yet. Gimme your hand at we'll haul you up
outta there." said Johnny.

"I don't wanna go. I.. It's not safe!"

"Don't be stupid! What about the fumes getting in? Didn't you think about that?
They're gonna get you for sure if you don't get out now. I don't know about
you but I don't wanna die today. Come on, mister, reach for me!" Johnny
ordered, keeping an eye on Kelly and Gil crouched by someone alive in
the crushed dark red car. A woman's arm flopped out of the open door when
they pulled it away from her and he was glad to see it moving some fingers.

The terrified trucker grunted and finally grabbed hold of Gage's glove. Johnny
lifted and got the man hefted up part way. Then Marco hauled on the dazed
man's pants belt to finish the job.

"Ok... anything broken in your legs? Can you walk?" Gage asked the man as
Lopez jumped down to intercept a pass-off from Johnny to get the man off
the truck.

"No,..uh, yeah.. My foot. The left one. I can't feel it.." stammered the driver.

"Ok, Marco, help him down. Support his left side. It'll take no weight."
Gage told Lopez.

The fireman nodded, then he coughed quickly before he could
say anything. He whipped his flowing air mask up fast in order to take
a breath from it. "Gage, wind's shifting!" he yelled from under its
protective glass.

Johnny nodded, pulling some air off his own faceplate. Then he offered it
to the coughing driver as the two firemen arm support walked him over
to a newly geared up Meyers and the waiting orange stokes.
"Gil, get the woman out now!" Gage shouted to his new partner.
"The wind's changing!"

Chet's head looked up in momentary terror and Johnny saw it disappear
behind scba gear after a short shout. "We're almost through, Johnny!"
Kelly promised.

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