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Page Three

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From: ------------Tandem Post-------------------
 by Fan Writer Robert Gutheim <>
 and Patti ETL Host USA <>
 via a live Yahoo Instant Messenger Chat Window.
Date: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:47 pm
Subject: Four Against One

Once inside,  they began searching for the quality control area while a couple
firefighters from Station 8 followed close in behind them with a hose, spraying
water onto any looming flames they encountered.

"Careful of that hot spot up there!" said 8's anchor as Roy and Johnny started
beelining for the first set of heat warping doors they could see.

Roy DeSoto jerked aside as a rafter from the roof, fully ablaze, fell and
bounced onto the concrete next to him. "Thanks.." he said as a rich wash of
fanning spray cooled him off. "We're gonna try for the main offices first."

"Sounds like a plan." said the fireman.

As they searched the office areas, they marked all doors with chalk marks to
show others coming later which rooms had proven empty, and before long, they
found themselves in the main plant area. The two air bottled paramedics
continued, gasping with their efforts, as they carefully dodged falling
machinery and bits of burning plastic.

DeSoto startled when a glove touched him.
"Roy, how long have we been looking for them?" Gage asked him.

Roy studied his steamed up watch. His voice muffled, he replied.
"About six minutes. Let's say we search for three more before
we retreat to let Wheeler and Kirk have a go."

"Ok,..Fine by me. I'm not getting that hot or tired yet." Johnny said,
breathing heavily. He pulled out an axe. "I'm gonna go try that door
over there. Something tells me that leads to the breakroom. I promise
I'll stay within eyesight.."

Roy turned back to see the direction Johnny had indicated, and nodded,
saying."Hopefully, we'll find them and get out of here." he said, pulling
up his turnout's collar a little higher to deflect more heat from the back
of his neck.

"Agreed." Gage said as he checked the room after a blow from his axe
exposed it. It was empty.

They continued on for half a minute more, before finding an area that looked
like an assembly line. As they were pacing along the line, Gage started to hear
the warning hooter that they were running low on air.

"Hey, Roy?" Johnny said. "We gotta head back. I'm on the last minute of---"

"Over here!" DeSoto shouted, sweeping his jacketted arm out towards Johnny.
"I see em. Both are unconscious. Come on, we still have time to lug them out."

"Where are they?!" Gage hollered, getting irritated as he shut off his regulator
timer.  Right about then, the HT in his pocket crackled. It was Cap. ##Time's
up. Now trade off! And that's an order!## Stanley told them over the radio.

"Squad 51 to HT 51. We just found them, Cap, so soon as we pick them up,
we'll be on our way." Gage replied over the HT.

##Make it fast. The southern exposure's beginning to sag. The roof's going!##

"On our way, Cap." said Roy into his radio. DeSoto gasped and pulled off a
glove, feeling the first man's neck where he lay sprawled face down under a tabletop.
He kicked it aside. "He's alive." he said. Pausing only a few seconds, he placed
both hands on either side of the man's ribcage to feel for signs of
breathing."He's okay for now. Yours?"

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"The same." gasped Gage, stepping onto his man's shoe toes as he stood
his victim up against a wall to throw him over his shoulder to nestle in between
his air bottle cylinder and his back. "Although neither one of them will stay
that way for long. Air's getting real bad in here..... Bad fire..*choke* Bad.."
Johnny coughed, groaning under the weight of his not-so-small plant worker.
"Let's backtrack the way we came. It's.....still the shortest way outta ..." He
never completed his sentence when the path in front of them...disappeared..

The roar of noise ended in the deep murkiness as a smoke bank cleared.
Roy looked over it to see better.  A large section of the ceiling above had
come down in a hail.. blocking their path. Roy re-grabbed his radio.
"Squad 51 to HT 51. We're cut off from the route we followed coming in,
should we try and find an alternate route or not?"


::Not good. ::Hank thought as he keyed the mic to reply. "No, stay
right where you are. It'll be faster if we cut through, to you. Believe
it or not, you're now in the safest place in the whole building. Just
get your victims to fresher air and hang tight!"


"Hang tight, he says." grumbled Gage. "Now just what the h*ll are the
four of us gonna breathe?"

"We're gonna have to get a little creative. Don't firefighters always think
on their feet?" Roy said, leading the way back into the breakroom.

"Yeah.." gasped Johnny. "When they're still standing on them."

"This has got to be the worst,... when the paramedics need rescuing."
Roy said as he beat a hasty retreat away from the fire with his heavy

"I'm not sure which is worse, a rescue like this, or the time I was bit by that
rattlesnake." Gage groaned, running away just as fast, being careful not
to smack his victim's head on catwalk railings and obstacles as he went.

"At least for that rattlesnake, you were unconscious.." DeSoto said with
a suffering tone. He was growing more and more winded.

Johnny was equally beginning to smother and it showed.
"If anything, I'm probably lucky I survived it. Did you think it was easy when
I was half towards that condition, to get an I.V. started solo?"

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"That I.V., wasn't what cured you." Roy told him with a wry look.

"Funny man. Give credit where credit's due. I wanna live long enough to
exact a revenge against that old snake with the biggest CO2 extinguisher I
can get, later on this summer. Just how am I gonna do that?" Johnny asked.

Roy countered, shouldering the axe ripped and chalked break room
door open again. He hefted his man onto a lunch table and lowered his victim's
head down as he pushed him off, cushioning it until he was safely onto his side.
"I haven't figured that part out yet..*cough* Gimme time."

Gage did the same move, kicking the door shut behind them to block off
the heat of the flames that were following them. He pulled off his useless
mask. But then, his eyes spotted a nearby utility room. He left his unconscious
man with his head tilted back over a stack of books."I know... I'll just bet
there's a compressed air supply in this hose here they probably to clean all of
these sorters. Tanked air, Roy. Stuff to breathe." Johnny said, snatching at
one hanging from the smoking ceiling inside the alcove. He tested it
with a firm squeeze on its hand triggered nozzle. Air gushed out.

"Eoooww..." DeSoto said, making a face.

"Better oil stinking air than nothing. We may have to breathe it into THEM
fairly soon." Johnny said, returning to place a hand on his victim's gasping

"You can try that first.." Roy pointed as he pulled off his now going dead mask with
some relief.  "That way, if you die, I'll only have three lives to save, instead of
four." DeSoto said, listening by the mouth of his victim carefully. He
straightened up when he was assured of effective breathing and he drew
out his HT radio from his pocket to set on the table.

"You know, Roy, you're all heart." Gage said as he snatched up the handy
talkie. "Squad 51 to HT 51.  We've taken shelter inside a breakroom and
we think we've found a temporary air supply." He called over the radio to
update Cap as to their location.

##10-4. Once we're in, we'll follow your lifelines.##

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From: "Patti" <>
Date: Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:23 pm
Subject: Just like MacGyver-  

Johnny's victim started coughing, purposefully.
Both firemen knelt down by the table and opened
his soot stained business shirt to see his chest
a little better.  "Hey,,.." said Roy."Can you hear me?"
he said as he pulled the books out from under
the man's shoulders so he'd be more comfortable.

The worker awoke, completely panic stricken.
"F--*cough*..Fire! ..Mike,..we've...we've got to get out!"
he choked, trying to sit up.

Roy and Johnny held his shoulders.. "Easy now, we've
got him. We've got both of you out of the fire. So relax!"
said Gage. "We're somewhere safe for the moment."

The worker gripped his chest as he became more
and more alert and more aware of his shortness of breath from
smoke inhalation. "..*Gasp.* W-What? *cough*..Oh, you're
f-firemen.." he said, breathing fast and hard.

"That's right, now how are you feeling?" DeSoto asked him,
taking his pulse at his wrist for its count. It was rapid but growing
stronger. "Do you have any prior medical conditions that we
should be concerned about here, any previous heart problems
working on ya?" he asked.

"No...uh, at ....all like.....that." he gasped. "But...I
can't br----"

"That's because you're hyperventilating a little. Try and slow your
breathing rate down." Johnny encouraged. "You're doing it too fast."

"I....I.....can't." panted the man, leaning heavily on Roy's front.

Johnny sighed, thought for a few seconds, then he pulled up
his scba head harness from where it was dangling around his
waist. "Ok, ok... Here, use my air mask. It'll help protect your lungs
from all this smoke." Gage said, helping the man put it on.

Roy's eyes quirked into light humor when he realized that Johnny's
gear actually had no more air flow going into it. ::Huh, that'll calm the
guy down. He'll be breathing in his own carbon dioxide inside of that
mask and it should work for us better than a paper bag.:: he smiled.
He hid his expression quickly before the man noticed their exchanging
amused glances.

Johnny didn't even bat an eye. He just carried things to the next step.
"There, let me know as soon as you're feeling better, and I'll take
it off. Tell me especially when all that hand and mouth tingling goes
away, ok?"

The mask fitted man nodded..his hands twitching in stress where
they gripped Johnny's scba straps tightly.

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Gage rolled his eyes and turned to Roy. "Come on, let's get
their table pushed against that utility room's door frame so we're
nearer to that hose's air supply."

Grunting, Roy and Johnny did so, collectively shoving the long
lunch table where their two victims were lying, across the breakroom
to its far end where the light of the small access room lit up the
carpetting. At best, the flourescent glow was muted from smoke
that was slowly building around their heads.

DeSoto coughed. "I'll go plug up the bottom of the breakroom's
door with my jacket." he said pulling off his air bottle to set
at Johnny's feet. "Too much smoke's coming in."  he said.
Roy emptied his pockets. He set out an oral airway kit that
contained eight sizes of C-shaped oropharyngeals and
shoved the clear plastic case of Hudsons towards Johnny.

Johnny opened the small box and took one out to size
against their unconscious man's jawline. He placed his first
guess on his skin in a line from the corner of the man's mouth
to the bottom of his earlobe.  "He's a 9, Roy. I'm using it."
he said to his partner as he slipped the oral in over their second
victim's tongue after crossing fingering his mouth open with a
thumb and index finger.

"Ok.. Watch his pulse, it's fluctuating. Might be an early M.I. working.
He's got that kind of grayish color."

Johnny rechecked the still man's carotid and found Roy's irregular
beat. He nodded at the finding and looked up at DeSoto again.
"Wet your turnout while you're doing that, in the janitor's sink over
there, Roy. Your jacket'll become a better filter if it's soaked a little
more." suggested Johnny as he put Roy's abandoned mask onto the
second man's limp face. He picked up the air hose lying on the floor
after retrieving a snack bag's twist tie from a nearby garbage can and
started working at once. Gage squeezed the hose's hand trigger
until its compressed air was flowing lightly and then tied the bar against
the nozzle head so that it wouldn't turn off when he let it go. Then
he shoved his improvised air supply source between the man's chin  
and the fire mask so that its nozzle continued injecting its vigorous
air stream inside the scba's strapped down faceplate. He left the
rest of the ceiling attached air hose lying coiled on top on the man's
bared chest so it wouldn't get bumped.  "I've got this guy going on
the air first. The rest of us, can wait."  he said.  

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Gage got up and paced back out into the breakroom where Roy was
patrolling the perimeter, sealing up smoke leaks. "Are you getting
hungry? I know I am.."

DeSoto shrugged. "A little. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
said the blond haired paramedic.

"Yep." said Gage and he saundered over to a vending machine
full of candy bars and chips. Taking out his jacket's halligan tool,
he smashed the glass covering the food, and helped himself.
"What do you want, Roy? A soda?

"No. I'm not thirsty yet. How about a candy bar? Anything but

Johnny swept away the glass landing at his feet with a heel
and then he reached into the machine with a gloved hand,
gathering what he wanted. "Ok, I claim dibs on these.." he said
holding up a bag of Cheetohs. "Gee, Roy. It's a shame all this heat
popped that machine open like that. All this food's just gonna go
to waste." he remarked.

"Not wasted. It's being put to good use helping a couple of
firemen and their fire victims." DeSoto quipped.

Both the paramedics returned back to their patients.

A few minutes later, and finally excess oxygen cured, the first man
tore off Johnny's scba mask dramatically. "Oh,,, that's too stuffy..."
he complained, swinging his legs over the side of the table as he sat
up to pat down feel all of his aches and bruises.

"You're done." Johnny said to him. "How are you feeling now?" he
asked the man, still casually chewing on a handful of cheese powdered

The man sucked in a chest crackling breath, held it, and then slowly
let it out experimentally. "Wow, my pain's gone and so's the feeling
like I was suffocating. That's amazing."

"Good. Air bottles are handy." remarked Roy.

The man looked at the snack Johnny was eating and made a face.
"How can you be eating at at time like this?" he glared. "We're all
trapped and dying in a fire here mice in a burning barn.." he

"We are?" said Johnny, taking in a deep breath. "Roy, do you feeling
like you're on the brink of death's door?"

Roy grinned, playing along with Johnny's nonchalant paramedic psychology
game. "Not particularly. I'm very comfortable, thanks for asking."

"Good. Cause so am I. And mister, you're feeling okay, too, right along
with us, because we've effectively cured you of your sudden panicky
breathing attack." Gage told him.

"You did?" The man sputtered with indignation a few times, utterly speechless.

"Yep." said Johnny, drumming musically on the table top with
a couple of bored fingers, humming absently for effect.

DeSoto offered a box of Dots to the man. "Here. Eat this sugar. It'll
control all your shakes until we can get a D5W I.V. going on ya."

The man gaped at the mention of future medical treatment coming
from the two whom he considered as just a couple of county firemen.
He blinked in confusion, trying to remember why that was really all right
to be hearing that kind of thing, but the new terminology completely
escaped him.

"We're both paramedics, yes." Johnny clarified. "It's ok.. This won't bite ya.
It's just some candy." Johnny insisted. "If you don't want any, that's fine,
we'll eat it all." he said, effecting a fake air of nonchalance as he kicked back
on the rear legs of the chair he was sitting in near the worker's friend.

Their calming tricks worked, and the man wilted out of the last of his
potentially dangerous overreaction. He gingerly took the box of sweets and
without hesitation, he finally tore it open. "I lose my d*mned quarters inside
that machine all the time. Guess stealing this now, won't hurt anything."

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"That's what fire insurance is for. What's your name?" said Roy, throwing
away his candy wrapper into a waste basket near the door of the utility room.

"It's Sean. That's Mike Odegard, my supervisor."

"Tell me something. Has Mike been sick recently?" Roy asked. "Does he
ever talk to you about anything health related? Especially anything that
might have been bugging him lately."

"Yeah,, he talked about a few things." admitted Sean, the plant worker, as he
popped a handful of Dots into his mouth. He picked out a soot cinder from in
between his teeth with a fingernail as he chewed and wiped it off against his
torn pants. "For starters, Mike's a diabetic. And he's got high blood pressure.
He spoke to me once, that on somedays, he can't feel his feet and lower legs
while he's walking the line."

"Sounds like those might be TIA symptoms, Roy." said Johnny, glancing at
DeSoto. He leaned over, drawing out his penlight to look at Mike's eyes. "Huh.
Pupils are equal and reactive. No signs of stroke today despite being exposed
to the fire."

Roy turned back to Sean while Johnny leaned down to get a closer listen
at Mike's chest for lung sounds by ear. "Can you tell us anything else about
his medical history? I didn't find a wallet on him anywhere."

Sean sighed. "We keep those in our lockers when we're on the floor. Yeah,
Mike told me a lot of things. He's scared for himself about dying, you know what I
mean? Everyday, he asks the plant EMT if all the medical gear's ready or
not and he always tells him that his nitro's still inside his right front pocket."

"He does? Sweet..." he celebrated.
Moving, Gage reached into Mike's pants and pulled out the brown bottle.
"Thanks. This'll help out a whole ton.." he said, unscrewing the cap after
making sure it was the man's name on the label with a current date. He
doubled checked to see where the man's pressure was sitting at, by
feeling around until he got a positive palpation of a wrist pulse. "Roy, I'm
using one sublingual. He's over 90 systolic. Mark down the time." he said.

Roy pulled out his pen from his uniform pocket and wrote 'NTG 16:33 x1'
on the man's shoulder on his skin like a triage notation. "Got it." Then
he regripped the man's carotid to monitor any changes. "What does he
sound like, Johnny?"

"Mild rhonci. Nothing big. And no burns anywhere." reported Gage
as he slid the pill into the man's mouth to watch it dissolve.

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Roy began to smile.
"All right. Pulse's settling now, but he's still got arrythmias.*cough*cough*"

Gage raised his eyebrows. "It's time to swap the air. Roy, you're next,
since you've already started coughing." he said, freeing the air hose up.
"Here. Suck on this a while."

Roy took the flowing nozzle and used it to clean out his chest after
he put the end of it into his mouth. It took a few tries to keep his
cheeks from puffing out, but it worked. Then he looked up. "So
I'm the guinea pig in this little ventilation experiment here, eh?"

"Yep. Your chest's smokier." Gage said no nonsense. "Keep at it. I'll
take my turn next, then let's give it to Sean here. Then it's back to Mike's
use for a minute or so. We'll do it in that order over and over
again until we get all of our everloving butts finally rescued and out
of this ignited tinder box."

Sean chuckled hoarsely. "So the fire isn't that bad yet?"

"Oh, it is. Just not where we're holed up. Part of the roof came
down out there and cleared away the worst of the flames just outside
this room." DeSoto told him.

"So we're lucky then, huh?" Sean asked with worry, holding onto
his friend's head protectively.

"Extremely. The best case scenario for entrapment inside a two story
warehouse." Gage said, standing up. "Say, who wants some soda pop?
I still got my axe with me." he said, hefting it up meaningfully.

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From: "Patti" <>
Date: Thu Mar 1, 2007 11:10 am
Subject: The Thousandth Man...  

Twenty minutes later, the handy talkies in both Roy
and Johnny's pockets sounded off.

##Engine 51 to HT 51. Pick up your victims and
start heading for the southeast corner. The fire in
that end of the building has been knocked down.
One of 110's paramedics are still standing by..## reported
Cap firmly.

Johnny startled. ::One of 110's paramedics? What happened
to the other one?:: he thought in alarm. But then there was
no time for wondering. Gage turned to his patient.
"Ok, Sean,..there's our cue. How's your chest feeling?"
Gage asked. "Is it still getting tight?"

The young man nodded. Most of his humorous mood had
been scorched away. He was beginning to look sicker. For
real. "L-Like I've been chain smoking rubber bands.*choke*"
the man said, picking his head up off the lunch table.

"Yeah, well, we'll get you'll both on plenty of oxygen once
we're outta here and that'll start getting rid of that feeling in you
real fast." Gage said. "Do you think you can manage on your
own or do you want me to help you?" Johnny said, putting his
helmet back on.  He paused by the breakroom door,
feeling around its edges for flaring heat before he even
attempted to crack it open to peer out.

"I..I'll ..I can walk, mister. You guys got your hands full... with
Mike over there." the worker said empathetically. "Which way....
are we..... going?" he gasped miserably.

"That way." pointed Roy, putting on his turnout. He picked up
Mike and perched him onto his back while Johnny hefted up
both the squad's drained scba air bottles. "Let one of us go on
ahead of you, Sean.  We know what to watch out for in terms of
risks. There could be downed power lines, weaknesses in the
floor catwalks..."

"Oh, I get the picture. Serious expertise in navigating *cough*
death traps." Sean replied. "Ok, lead the way. But hurry,..I-I'm
feeling kinda..... dizzy again.."

Roy looked at him sharply, eyeing up his color. It was pale
but his breathing wasn't fast like it had been before. "That's
ok. Maybe a little smoke inhalation. You can sleep all you want
once we're out of here and safe. Firefighters are waiting  
to treat you outside those windows. Can you hold on a
few minutes more?"

"I.....think so. I..." Sean's eyes started to close.

Roy lifted his helmeted head. "Johnny, get behind him. He's
close to blacking out." DeSoto said.

Gage grabbed Sean's elbow. "Just a little farther. Here, wear my
helmet. There are sparks still falling from the ceiling." he said.

Along the way, Johnny and Roy were forced to use an emergency
fire hose recessed into a stairwell landing to get to the air open
side of the warehouse. Kicking aside the discharged hose, they
quickly moved on.

DeSoto got on his radio. "Cap, one unconscious, probable cardiac.
One downward S.I. We're *gasp* almost to that exterior wall of
yours. Smash the glass so we can triangulate.."

##10-4, pal. Stand by. I'll have them pop open a window near you.##
said Stanley. ##Battalion says there's no explosion risk.##

Gage sighed in relief, wiping his sooty face. ::Thank heavens for
small mercys. We're still bacon in the frying pan right now.::

A few seconds later, fire crews on the outside of the building used
tools to cave in the tall window they had set the working end of
a ladder against. It was Truck 127's aerial. The musical tinkling
of showering glass under axe blows, annihilating itself, pointed
the way out of the smoke.

Sean felt the taller paramedic tapping him on the shoulder. "Have
a seat over there. We're going to get your friend out first, all right?"
Roy asked.

"What about" Sean asked, weaving dangerously until
Johnny helped him sit down on a cindered crated.

"Do you see any around here?" Gage smiled at him. "Put your head down
between your knees. This'll only take a second.." he said, turning back
to help Roy push Mike into the arms of the firefighters waiting outside
the windows. He only saw Kirk the paramedic eagerly grabbing for
a carotid on his man. "Where's Wheeler?" Johnny asked him as
a team of firemen dragged Odegard out onto the bucket ladder and
onto a backboard.

"He got winged by a beam. He's fine. Maybe a dislocated shoulder."
reported Kirk. "He says he can wait for us on a pain med."

One of the fire lieutenants barked when he noticed something. "Hey,
this guy's quit breathing on us." he said, feeling Mike's chest.

Kirk turned. "Johnny, go help Roy with your other victim, I already got
permission for an endotracheal tube. I'll bag him on the way down.."
promised the paramedic from 110 as he knelt inside the aerial bucket
to insert the one he had pulled out of his trauma box.

"Ok." said Johnny. "We'll meet you down there to assist. History of
hypertension, TIA, and angina! We nitro'd him twenty five minutes ago
with some effectiveness!" he shouted as the basket descended to
the ground level.

"Got it. I saw the note Roy left.." Kirk said, patting Mike's shoulder.
"See you in a few.."

"I'll meet you down there.." Johnny promised, not happy that he was
being separated from an arresting victim.

He was only partially contented that the basket firemen never started up
on chest compressions on the lift down.

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:Ok, so he's gonna keep that pulse..:: Johnny thought finally.
Gage turned and went back inside the warehouse. "Sean, he's out.
It's your turn. We're going down these stairs. Firefighters have already
checked them out for solid integrity and they've already
cooled them down for us. Let's go."

"But aren't we going that way?" Sean frowned weakily, pointing at
the open sunset lit shattered window frame.

"No, we're on a second story. And the basket team's busy with Mike.
Come on, put your arms around our shoulders." Johnny ordered.

Sean did so, and soon, the two paramedics were moving down
the catwalk to the fire exit stairwell at the end. The fresh air of the outside
was too rich for Sean, and he sagged a few feet outside the door when
his adrenalin terrors finally ran out.  Roy caught him and slung him over
his back. Johnny knelt by Sean's dangling head only long enough to see
that he was still breathing."He's ok,..still moving it. Keep going." he said.
"I'll go help Kirk out with the other guy."

"I'll handle him and Wheeler." DeSoto confirmed as another firefighter
rushed up to help him shoulder carry Sean over to the treatment tarps
laid out on between the two gear doors open, waiting squads. Roy
dropped their two air bottles like a sack of potatoes as Cap rushed up
to get a report. "I saved them, Cap."

"I can see that.." said Hank appreciably as he took off DeSoto's helmet.

DeSoto felt happy enough to joke around a little. "I meant the scba gear,
Cap. Not the victims, they're already a given--- HaccCCK..*cough*"

"Easy, Roy.. Marco's got the O2 set out. Let me take him." Hank said. "I
want you to grab a few pulls off a resuscitator before you start treating
anybody." he told him.  Roy and Cap traded places in their shoulder carry
of Sean. "You seem to be worse off than Gage is. I got another rescue
squad on the way to take over for all four of ya. But they won't get here
for another six minutes. Same goes for a couple of ambulances. Once
they're here, you and Gage go in, too, and get yourselves seen."

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Roy didn't resist. He just concentrated on putting one foot in front of
the other one the rest of the way to the street. "Ok, Cap. Thanks."

Soon, Roy was on the phone with Rampart and wearing dry
turnout that Chet had traded out with him. "Rampart, this is Rescue 51.
How do you read?"

Dixie McCall answered. ##51, I read you loud and clear, go ahead.##

Roy sighed in relief at the sound of her voice and he started giving out
his data. "Rampart, I've two patients, One:  A twenty nine year old male,
approximately 155 pounds, victim of smoke inhalation, the second, is
a Code I, injured shoulder. Stand by for vital signs..*cough*"

##Standing by..## said the head nurse. ##Dr. Brackett's on his way.##

DeSoto glanced across the street and he noticed Johnny on the line
to the hospital, too, using 110's biophone. He smiled when he noticed
Johnny sucking breaths off a spare demand valve in between transmissions.
A glance told him that Mike Odegard wasn't getting any worse. He
was still being bagged but no one was watching his EKG monitor like
a hawk like they could have been doing. ::Still no dangerous rhythm
showing up?... Well, that's a point in our favor. We've been so lucky
with him....:: he thought.

Feeling his good mood returning, Roy spoke to Wheeler who was still
lying on the ground where he had been left, wincing and holding his shoulder.
"So, did you lose that bet with Johnny about getting hurt or not this month
working a scene?"

Wheeler chuckled, his face twisting in both pain and amusement.
"It's a.. .Come on now, don't make me's a tie. He's going in for
mild smoke inhalation later on, along with you, isn't he?"

"Maybe not. *Cough* I'm worse than he is."

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"Then I guess I lost that bet. Fair and ....*wince* square." said
the mildly sweating but still smiling paramedic.

"I wouldn't give up on it." said Roy, taking Sean's BP with a stethoscope.
"Johnny's klutz gene is still a working sure thing. You can still make
a lot of money off of him. And so can I."

Wheeler started outright laughing at that, and smothering screams, until
Roy took sympathy on him. "Ok, settle down some of that mirth. I'm
coming over there to give you your MS." he said. "Want some versed to
forget about that bad shoulder for a while?" he asked as he watched Marco
begin to ventilate Sean some on oxygen.

"No.. G*d, no.. I wanna study Gage some more. Maybe he'll still pass out
from smoke exposure and invalidate our running bet. Just the numbing will do."
Wheeler said, shifting his position where he lay on his crewmates' spare
turnouts. "Here, put it in my left arm. It hurts less."

"Sure thing." Roy grinned. "And don't worry about your shoulder. It's
not broken from the angle I'm seeing on it. That knob's too pronounced to
be anything else but that simple dislocation Kirk's already told us about."
DeSoto shared as he swabbed down and injected morphine.

"I diagnosed that, too. I'll let you know if that hand starts to fall....a...sleep."
said the paramedic slowly as Roy's pain med began to work on him.

"You do that." Roy said to him. Then under his breath, he muttered.
"If you can.. although I don't think it'll be just your hand that might fall
asleep here." he smiled as Paramedic Wheeler's eyes finally drifted shut.

He nodded to the firefighter sitting at Wheeler's head to keep some tabs
on his vital signs.

Only when his two patients were taken care of, did Roy bother to
clear out some of the smoke that was still sitting in his own chest
with some oxygen delivered through a self administered nasal cannula.

It was about then that Cap's promised paramedic relief arrived
to take over for Squads 51 and 110 for patient transporting.

Roy and Johnny, thoroughly worn out and tired, let Marco drive them
into Rampart for their checkup and evaluation, using their station's squad.

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Everybody was there at the ER desk when the three of them finally
arrived. Dr. Brackett looked up from the notes he had been clarifying
with Dixie. "How are you boys feeling? Is it bad this time?" he asked
about their smoke exposure.

DeSoto answered for the two of them. "No, just annoying.
The O2 has helped us out some." he said, holding up one of
two tanks they're were carrying.

"But you both still feel like death warmed over, huh?" Dixie asked.

Gage and DeSoto both sighed at her in agreement and started
coughing wetly.

Kel Brackett frowned.
"Hmmm, that does sound problematic. Dix, can we get them into
Treatment Two? I want to get a set of chest films, that's if you two
wouldn't mind, after I listen to the both of you to hear what your lungs
are doing. I'll decide what else's needed after I've grabbed a better

"Is that a pun?" Dixie quipped at Kel.

Brackett smiled mildly.

"Sure, that room'll open up in about ten minutes." McCall told them all.

"Mike,.." said Dr. Brackett, turning to Dr. Morton, who was still sitting by
the base station. monitoring the earthquake traffic. "Would you help me
out with Roy and Johnny?"

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"Sure, Kel. I'm free. The two patients Roy and Johnny had are already
on their way upstairs to CCU and ICU." Morton replied.

"ICU?" Gage asked, surprised. "So Sean's going aspirant?"

"Yeah. Both he and his supervisor were in that smoke a long time even
before the two of you found and rescued them. Odegard's fine. He's suffered
only a small heart attack. That apnea of his was just due to the smoke."

"That's great news, doc." said Roy.

"And I've got even better news for you, too." said Morton.

"You do?" asked Gage, rubbing the soot off his face.

"Somebody you know's wide awake in Treatment Three and he's fully
expecting some visitors."

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"Vince!" exclaimed Marco. "Can I come too? The rest of the guys'll wanna
know how he's doing and I'm the perfect guy to make that phone call."

Brackett chuckled. "Why not? Johnny and Roy'll show you the way."

Roy and Johnny opened the door and they were incredibly happy
to find the familiar policeman extubated and resting comfortably in
his hospital gown on the gurney.

"Hey, Vince.. How are you doing?" asked Johnny.
   "Are you feeling better yet?" Roy wondered.
They both said at the same time.

"I'm feeling fine, boys, all thanks to you." said Howard.
"Hiya, Marco." he waved. Then he turned back to the paramedics.
"You'll never guess what did it, boys."

"We have an inkling. Don't tell me, it was some kind of chemical."
DeSoto grinned, folding his elbows together.

"It was, but you'll never guess the culprit. Not in a million years."

"Oh, yeah, well don't keep us in suspense.." said Johnny, a little
over eager and impatient. The problem Vince had, had been bothering
him all day, even through the quiet moments during the warehouse fire.

Vince looked up, and scratched a rash that the two medics hadn't noticed
earlier on his arm. "Ever heard of the topical psoriasis medication, Dovonex?"

Gage's face fell into one of discovery.. "No way.. Well, I'll be..."

Roy equally started to grin with revealment.

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Marco was clueless. "So what was it? Ok, so I take it that stuff's a skin
ointment of some kind. Sounds harmless enough. So what the h*ll really
happened to Vince. Uh,"  he glanced apologetically to the officer. "Begging
your pardon, Howard, but I and the rest of the gang've really wanted to find
out." Lopez insisted.

DeSoto demurred. "Vitamin D toxicosis, Marco. That skin medication contains
calcipotriol, a synthetic analog of calcitriol..."

Gage continued where he left off. "Which artificially raises the amount of
Vitamin D present in the bloodstream if used too heavily.."

Vince nodded in agreement, a little sheepishly. "I was really started to itch.
I couldn't help myself this morning. Next time, I'll know to use just Calamine
Lotion for my condition when it flares up." he said empathetically, scratching
a scab or two.

The three firefighters burst out laughing.

An hour later, Roy and Johnny had been seen and taken care of
and with their clean bills of health in hand, they made their way to Rampart's
cafeteria for some solid snacking food. Along the way, they met Kirk and
Wheeler. Marco was still tagging along as their station chauffeur.

"Hey, Wheeler..That was fast." remarked Johnny. "How's the shoulder?"

"This? Oh, fine. fine. Dr.Early popped it back into place and it feels almost
as good as new." he said. "This sling's only to remind me that I hurt it today
so I don't overdo it. I'm still on duty, same as you." he replied. "So, what's
new at the station?"

"Oh, not much.. not much.." said Gage thinking hard about the injury bet that
neither one of them were going to collect on this month. "Got an invention
in the works for the chiefs..It's going good."

"Really?" asked Kirk. "That's ironic, cause Tommy here's had one cooking, too.
And it's come to fruitation."

"Oh, yeah?" Gage asked suddenly getting a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"Well, what's it about? Mine's about a new kind of...information gathering system.."

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"No kidding, well mine was, too. And the chiefs just got done approving it." said
Wheeler, holding his used to be hurt arm absently. "Got a letter of commendation
for it."

"Huh..Imagine that." said DeSoto, suddenly interested when he realized that Gage
was suddenly dismayed. "What's it called?"

Wheeler grinned proudly and Kirk smacked him on the shoulder proudly, sharing
the good feeling with his partner. "Oww,," Charles winced. "Easy, pal. Pat me on
the other side if you're going to do that. I'm still sore."

"No, you're not. That's all psychosomatic." Kirk whispered into his ear.

Wheeler ignored his hovering partner and spilled the beans. "I'm calling it
the Vial Of Life. You see, the two of us are always sick and tired of taking care
of little old blue hairs who can't ever tell us what's going on with them
on a rescue call. Now this system is actually a container, that holds...."

Gage's expression fell into one of long suffering and he held up his hand to
stop overenthusiastic Wheeler's spiel. "Don't tell me,.. I think I already know.
Let me take a little guess here..." he sighed miserably. "The Vial-of-Life is a
plastic container like the one medicine comes in, right?"

"That's right. H- How'd you know, Johnny. I haven't told anyone else about it yet.
Except for the chief and good ol Kirky here.".. he bounced on his toes.

Gage pushed his lips into a thin line of disappointment. "I'm a very intelligent
man if you haven't figured that one out already."

"Oh, ok." said Wheeler, still completely unoffended and excited. "So can
you tell me how I've worked out the rest of it?"

Johnny hung his head, avoiding eyes as his frustrated anger began to build
privately. "I think I can. So,..inside these containers there just wouldn't happen to
be lists of important medical information for one or all persons in the household,
would there?"

"Yep. There is." said Kirky.

Gage winced and inwardly, he fumed. ::They stole my idea! They up and stole it!::
But on the outside, he made his lips form one last question. "So, after your window
stickers are noticed by the arriving paramedics, where are your containers of information
stashed? In the bathroom somewhere?"

Wheeler made a face of negation. "Heck, no. I mean, where's a place that everybody
goes to no matter what, that's not a trip going to the sh*tt*r?"

Gage thought about it and came up a complete blank. "I don't know.. Somewhere in
the bedroom?"

Kirk grinned. "No man, the refrigerator. A bottle looking like a bunch of pills will
stand out like a sore thumb for any searching firemen, paramedics or cops because
it looks so opposite from a food item."

Johnny was crestfallen. "Yeah, that..that would be the perfect spot." Then under his
breath, he muttered. ::Now why didn't I think of that? And why didn't I hurry up about it,
too?:: he quailed privately, still feeling the sting of being inadvertantly out-competed.
"Congratulations on getting in an official action plan with the chiefs, Thomas. I'm really
proud of ya." he said, taking up Wheeler's good hand into his own and given it a shake
of congratulations.

"Gee, thanks, Johnny. I'm still rather surprised at myself for having even thought up the
idea." Tom said.

::So was I.:: Johnny thought privately.

Roy decided to rescue his stunned partner. "Well, I'm glad your arm's fixed. My, the
three of us are absolutely starving. Geez, is it really six o'clock? Uh, if you'll excuse
us, we're gonna go eat something right now." Roy said, pointing to the food line in an
animated gesture.

"Oh, sure. Fine by me. Sorry, I was still basking in the moment.." Wheeler said, shaking
himself out of a reverie funk. "I still can't believe I'm getting that contract as that program's
designer." he said, as he and his squad partner started walking away.

Johnny whirled back around from the tray line he had been escaped to. "You mean
you're getting money for submitting this thing?!" he asked incredulously.

Roy grabbed his partner's arm and firmly steered him away before Wheeler noticed
the outburst. "Settle down, partner, and quit being such a sore loser. This time, no one
cheated on anything. Now let's go eat like truly honorable firemen.." he hissed.
"...and try to forget about the whole thing."

"Me? I don't think I'm ever going to be able to forget about it." Johnny hissed.

Marco helped to pin Gage's other arm until he got a hold of himself. They didn't
let go until the happy paramedic team from 110's had left the room entirely
a few seconds later, when they got another rescue call.

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A few days later, back at the station, Lopez finally launched a way to
cheer up Johnny. "Say Johnny, why don't you go let Henry out before dinner?"
Marco began.

"Why should I?" Johnny moped.

"Because it's your turn.." Hank glared in an order. "And it's only fair to
do an assigned chore handed out without grousing about it."

"Ok...." Gage grumped.  He got up and left through the kitchen's side door
whistling only briefly to get Henry to hurry up a little on following him outside.

Lopez motioned silently and excitedly to the others after he had disappeared
outside and the rest of the gang trailed Gage on tiptoeing shoes down
the whole length of the side driveway, waiting for the final moment until.....

"Hey you guys, when did THIS get installed?!" came Johnny's excited
surprised voice.

The others laughed outright and jogged over to join him in the backyard near
the old engine.

Hank leaned on a telephone pole. "Oh, you mean this little ol thing?" he said,
tapping his foot on a brand new, sparkling seismography base station scribbling
away underneath a newly erected open shed. "Well, I have it on good authority
that a curly haired fireman we all know, submitted the idea on behalf of a certain
dashing young paramedic standing to my immediate right, that all the firehouses
probably needed one each, for a faster, earlier warning and detection system. "

"Chet, is this true?" Johnny asked, his mouth flopping open, moving from his
days long moderate festering depression to sudden heart warming tears of

Chet, dug a toe into the dirt, "Yeah. So...?" he began defensively. "Yeah.. I did.
Uh,.. I did it just for you, Johnny." he said, on a gentler shy note.

"Why did you go and do a thing like that for me? That's..that's..." he broke
off, moved beyond words.

Chet scuffed his hair self consciously. "Marco told me about what Wheeler
did ahead of you and I couldn't just let that station make our station look bad.
So I...sort of killed two birds with one stone. Nothing wrong with that." he said,
finally meeting Johnny's eyes.

"No, there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all." said Stanley proudly.

Kelly swallowed uncomfortably. "Uh, your first check comes in the mail next
Saturday for offering up the project, Johnny."

"You know I'm splitting it with ya. Every dime."
Gage sidled over and gave Chet an affectionate mock knock on the chin with
a closed fist of knuckles. "Thanks, Chet. That was real nice of ya."

"No problem." said Chet instantly. "That's what firefighters do. They stick up
for each other whenever ANYbody goes down."


Pilot Light  Episode 42, Season Six
Emergency Theater Live  

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Pilot Light
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