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   What's  A  Dedicated Captain  Like  You  Doing..
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          Page Five
Note: Music soundtrack is high quality and slow loading in some cases. Patience. :)

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Captain Stanley's gaze bore right into Roy's
until Roy thought he was going to start fidgetting
under their scrutiny. But finally, Hank sighed.
"Ok, you know the support panel's there if you want
to go talk to anyone sooner. I've got us all scheduled
with the counselors for disaster debriefing this
afternoon. The usual routine."

The rest of the gang cleared their throats and
mumured uncomfortably. They all knew they
needed to talk about the run as soon as they
could, before its impact could effect any of
them even more.

"Ok, Cap.." Then Roy noticed the last remaining
Code F report form resting on the table. "Oh. I forgot.
I'll get right on this.." he promised.

"Take your time.. These aren't due at
Headquarters until six.." Hank said.

The kitchen fell into quiet as each of the gang
filled out the grim details of facts and the actions
they each had taken during the bus accident.

The tension was so thick, Henry started to whine
at their concentrated silence.

Marco and Chet got up immediately and took their
forms and donuts to the couch. Lopez took Henry
into his lap and fed him a treat. Stoker faked
stretched, without comment, studying his shoes.

"Can't hide anything from Henry, can we?"
Johnny said to no one in particular.

"Nope. He's a hot dog who's a blood hound.
What can we hide from a nose that big?"

And everyone laughed. Everyone except Roy.

"Say, Gage.."
Kelly smacked Gage on the shoulder to
get his attention from where he was
carefully writing on his incident form.

"Oww, Kelly now cut that out. Now I'm going
to have to start filling this out all over again."
Johnny groused. Then he rubbed his arm.
"That's a sore spot from yesterday."

"Sorry Gage.  But listen.. I almost brought this
up to DeSoto but he was too busy being a fidgetty
father yesterday to pay me any attention."

"Gee. I wonder why? Kelly, just get to the point."
Johnny said impatiently.

"Yeah, Chet. Get to the meat of it already."
Marco said from his kitchen seat.

Kelly glanced up and suddenly noticed that everyone,
including Cap, was paying close attention to
him.  He immediately got embarrassed.
"Now, listen fellas. I just wanted to bring up
a conversation with Johnny that was kinda private
here, you know what I mean?"

Cap's eyebrows rose. "Fraid we don't. In it
for an inch, in it for a mile, we figure. Right gang?
Anything you need to say about work, we're
entitled to know about, because we're just one big,
close knit, happy outfit here, Kelly."

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Gage and the others all agreed with animated
nods and gestures.

"Speak for yourself, Cap! uh, I mean sir.."
Kelly amended.  He whined. "Oh, come on guys.
For me..?" He sighed when no one looked away.
"Ok, ok. I see I have no choice in the matter
while I get an answer for myself. I see.
Ok,.. all right. I'll just come right out and say it then..  
Johnny, do you think I got the right stuff to make
the coursework to become a paramedic?"

Johnny had been mentally smiling as vultures
zoomed in on the summer of Chet's malcontent,
but now, Gage nearly spit out the mouthful of
coffee he had been swallowing. "What?! "

Babble followed instantly.
   "A medic, Chet?" Stoker parroted.
"That's great, Chet.." Lopez said warmly.
   Cap's face animated in surprise. "Wow, that's
news there, Kelly. What made you suddenly
decide this?"
   Roy even perked up a little."Really?"

Chet tried to quell them all with shushes and
self conscious hand waves. "Gimme a sec, gimme
a second here. Let Johnny answer my question
first, eh, guys? All right..? Then I'll let you have
at it.."

Everyone obeyed instantly, all ears and expectant,
as they all looked at Johnny.

Including Henry.

Gage cleared his throat uncomfortably inside the
circle of faces surrounding his. "Uh, well.. Chet.
You see, uh.. Wow, Gee. I don't know where to
begin.." He started over on a different track.
"You seem like a pretty good firefighter and I like
working with ya and all. But quite frankly, I haven't
actually, ever considered this idea before, you know.
I think you'd--"

The alarm tones went off.

##Station 51. Possible drowning. L.A. Riverbed.
One half mile north of Vadnais Heights Boulevard.
One half mile north of Vadnais Heights Boulevard.
Time out, 8: 02.##

In the garage, Cap thumbed the response mike
and replied. "This is station 51, 10-4. KMG 365."

And he threw on his turnout coat and beat
a hasty pace to the LaFrance.


On scene, a lone hiker, muddied despite the clear
day, met them on the roadside margin. He seemed
highly agitated. "Glad you got here so fast. Hurry.
I couldn't get down there any closer. Uh, man.."
he gasped.

"What do you got?"Cap fired at him as he stepped
out of the truck's cab.

"Well, I couldn't believe what I was looking at.
I couldn't believe my eyes at first." he panted.
"I just couldn't believe it was really a--"
The biker suddenly turned green and Johnny and
Roy had to catch him when he stopped
speaking and when his knees started to buckle.

"Whoa, whoa.. now take it easy. Hey. You feeling
all right?" Johnny said. "Here, set him over against
the squad." He and Roy and Cap managed to get
the man sitting on the wet ground. Stoker went
for the O2.

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Gage said to Cap. "I got him. Looks like it's
a syncopal episode. His pulse's normal."

"Cap, I'll go looking around. Maybe I can find out
something.." Roy said, readjusting his helmet.

"You do that. Marco, Chet, go with him." Cap said.
He pulled out his walkie talkie. "L.A. This is Engine
51. Send an ambulance to our location. We've a
man down."

##10-4, 51. Time out 8:14.##

Marco, Chet and Roy headed into the brush
rimming the man made channel of the L.A. river.

The bed was partially filled with a fast flow,
and it was clogged with many many downed
trees and debris from the flooding of the day

Then they spotted an orange hiker's pack
and mountain bike and an abandoned CB radio
lying on the ground.

"This is where he must have made our
rescue call..." Roy said.  "Let's assume
he spotted something straight down from
here."   And he waved Chet and Marco
along with him down the next decline.

They skidded over the slope of
the final levee to the top of the drop off leading
into the concrete river system and crawled
on their bellies until they were able to see
beyond down into the waterway.

Marco gasped.

A horribly mangled little girl lay twisted in
the bows of a flooded eucalyptus tree with
skin so dusky, that there was no doubt
that the life signs in her had fled long ago.
One arm was broken hideously over her head
and the crushed torso was wearing a
very familar set of school colors.

"Oh, my g*d. It's her.." Kelly heard from

"What?" Chet asked. "This is who, Roy?"
he asked through a scrub bush, separating

But Roy just stood there, dropping his
walkie talkie from limp fingers.

Chet and Marco didn't see him falter,
still being partially hidden in the
overgrown field.

"Come on, Marco. Let's get closer.."
Kelly said, moments later.

Through the brush, Chet called out
again as Marco and he struggled to get
nearer the area where they saw the little
girl's remains."Roy.. we need to know
what you know." Kelly said over the
roar of water. "There are parents
somewhere out there looking for this little
girl. If you know something we don't, y--"

They heard DeSoto sob a heart rending
incomprehensible outburst, quickly
followed by sudden violent retching.  Kelly
and Lopez heard the thud of something with
weight, fall onto the dry reeds above the river,
seconds later.

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Kelly and Lopez turned from the water,
not understanding for a moment. They both
were shocked when they jogged back the way
they had come to see Roy curled up into a ball on
the ground. He was on his side, getting sick and
trying to hide the fact that his stomach
battle had been lost in what seemed to Chet,
a pitiful way.

"Roy, pull yourself together man. It's ok.
We'll just get her in a few when you're better
and we'll just get the h*ll out of here.."
Kelly said.

Lopez said. "I don't think this is just a grossing
out, Chet. I mean, this is ROY. He never lets things
like this bother him. Something's really not right

"You deal with it. I gotta let Cap know what's going on."
Chet said defensively. His face was a mixture of
worry, disgust and frustration. Kelly went to find
some high ground to report to the engine crew.

Marco went to Roy's side and pulled him away
from the soiling ground.  He helped Roy kneel upright
and Lopez held him while he continued to empty
his stomach. His heaves were so violent, that
his chin strap loosened and DeSoto's helmet
flopped forward over his eyes.

Marco took off Roy's helmet and threw
it some distance up the hill in frustration and anger
over the second unexpected horror delivered
to them yet again in as many days.
He waited until Roy was through gagging, then
he said. "Come on, Roy. Let's move away. We're
too near the edge."

Kelly pulled out his HT. "Cap. We've got a Code F.
It's a  ...  it's a ...kid from the bus rescue. Roy
recognized her right away."

##Would you 10-9 that, Kelly? A Code F from
yesterday?## Cap queried.

"That's affirmative, Cap. And she's retrievable."

There was a long silence. ##All right. Listen.
This is first. Our hiker informant's a diabetic and
the stress of his calling us out here has set off a
metabolic crisis. Have Roy come up here.##

"Ah, Cap. That won't be possible."

##Kelly? What's the hold up?##

"Just get down here, Cap. On the double."
Kelly said and he flicked the walkie talkie's
speaker off, his face fighting powerful emotions.


Marco had gotten Roy's collar loose.
He saw that DeSoto was no longer getting ill
in the place Marco had guided him to away
from the river's wall. But things were far from
improving. Roy lay, pale and in denial, on
his side, sobbing uncontrollably.

Lopez patted his shattered coworker on the shoulder.
"It's ok. Just take it easy.We'll take it from
here. Your nausea passing?"  

He got only a moaning half cry for a reply.

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Lopez moved Roy's head to his knees to keep
the sharp grassy brambles from cutting his face.
"I know it. Just let it pass. You don't have to do
anything right now."

Cap and Stoker came skidding through the
undergrowth fully loaded with ropes, a metal
grappling hook, and a small folded body bag
between them.

They halted in shock at the sight of Roy, curled
fetal, going to pieces.

Kelly and Marco didn't have to explain anything
to them at all when Hank saw the little girl they
had seen. His own face twisted in pain.  

Cap crouched by Roy and added his own
comforting hand to DeSoto's shoulder. "Easy, pal.
You don't have to do this at all. We'll handle it.
Marco, stay with him for a moment. "
And he rose back onto his feet.
Cap swallowed. He motioned to Mike.
"Stoker, get her down from there."  
His eyes never left the dead child's
place in the partially submerged tree. "We're not
losing her again." and he handed off all his gear
to the engineer. "Kelly, go back up the hill and
help Johnny any way you can. You're taking
over for Roy."

"R- Right.." and Chet bounded up the hill.  "Roy, you
get yourself together, ok.. You hear me.." he said as he
disappeared. Chet stumbled once but then got to the
highway a few seconds later.

After a notification to L.A. for a morgue team and the
D.A.'s office, Cap shooed Marco off to help Stoker
recover the tiny pitiful body.

Hank closed his eyes and made sure Roy didn't see
their awkward retrieval using the hook either, by
screening out DeSoto's sight of it with his captain's

It could have been ten minutes or ten years later
to Stanley when it was finally done.

The morning sun was a little bit higher in the brilliant
sky, a few minutes later. Hank began to speak
quietly to his heart wounded friend, sharing a like
story of when his own shell had finally cracked
under strain in honor of a dead child's memory.
It did little to lessen Roy's grief. He still shook,
gasping like a fish, no longer able to voice sounds.
Cap sighed compassionately and softly, he whispered.
"Roy. We're all here for ya. It's ok. Just let it out."
and he drew his senior crewman up into a hug.

Stanley let him cry for a long time.

Privately, Cap let down a shadow of his past grief.
He allowed tears of his own to fill his chocolate eyes.
Silently, unchecked, they fell onto his jacket, rolled off its
hem, and into the L.A. river below.

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Gage looked up impatiently as Chet knelt
where the hiker now lay. He was irritatedly
biting the IV Dex bag covering off on the
solution he had been ordered to give the
downed hiker. "Here. Get this set up."
he said thrusting the IV into Chet's hands.
"Where'd you all go to? Took forever getting
him to settle down. Fortunately, he's deep
into diabetic crisis now and no longer seizing."

Kelly was quiet.

Johnny didn't even think to guess the reason why. He
asked. "Where's Roy? We gotta get this man
NPA intubated yesterday."And he began to take
another hasty BP on their victim.

"He's not coming." Chet said, stringing the IV tubing
and stabbing its port valve lance into the bag he
had set between his knees.

"What do ya mean he's not coming?" Gage snapped.
"We've got a major medical here. He oughta know
any body we find's last priority." Johnny said, pulling
the stethoscope out of his ears.

Chet held Johnny's hand that was holding the IV
needle still for a moment, to get his full attention.
"Johnny, Roy cracked. Cap's down there now
deciding whether or not to stretcher him outta

"What?! Chet, you must be talking crazy..."

"Wish I was, Johnny boy. I hope to g*d I was.
Anything,.. but the bad scene I just witnessed
down there."

Gage fought mentally with himself, warring over
his care of the hiker and his own desire to whip
out his HT to demand of Cap how Roy was doing.
He attempted to console himself with trying to peer
over the side of the steep grassy embankment.
The next words out of his mouth were barely
audible..  "Is he awake?"

"What, ....this guy?" Chet asked, looking down,
beginning to do a pain stimulus check.

Gage gripped his hand and stopped him.
"No, I'm talking about Roy.."

"Oh. Yeah, he is. But he lost his breakfast,.. and
maybe last night's dinner, too. Johnny, he's
not even standing."

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"Gonna get shocky." Gage mumbled to himself,
suddenly redirected.


"No, our victim here. Chet, pay attention."
Gage said angrily. "This next step's gonna be
tricky. Now lube this NPA down with the K-Jelly.
I've already measured this to be the right size
airway. And get that positive pressure handy.
His lack of glucose is gonna knock out his
respirations something fierce."

"Gage I don't know about this.." Chet said.
"Maybe you'd better call in another sq-"

Johnny grabbed Chet by his jacket lapels
and snatched him close until he was only
inches away from his face.
"You wanted to know if I thought you were
medic material? Medic trainees follow orders
INSTANTLY from their senior trainers and they
never EVER second guess a medical order.
I ordered you to prepare that NPA tube.
Even told you how to do it. So do it! Now!"
and he let his overcoat go.

"Geez, all right already. I'm just as worried
about Roy as you are. No need to beat me up
over it.  You'll have ta tell me more on what to do
here though. Been rocky ever since I've been
ordered to take over to help ya in Roy's

Gage glared at him and arrowed his spent IV
needle into free flight, not caring that the
bloody thing whistled by only a centimeter
from Chet's ear as it clattered home into
the drug box's waste needle catch bin.
"You've got thirty seconds.. I'm not repeating

"Ah,, Ok..  ok.. which side..?" Chet said,
positioning the end of the soft nasopharyngeal
airway near the hiker's nasal passages.

"Try the right side nare first. Don't force it."

Chet nimbly got it into place, doing all the right
moves and techniques, sending the airway down
flat, along the palate as it should have been done.

Johnny smiled, handing Chet the positive pressure
mask. "See, you HAVE been watching us.
You'll still have to keep his head back for a clear
airway and be prepared to yank it out if he vomits."

"That much I remember Gage. What now?"
Chet said. "He's breathing fine." he said, letting
the man pull his own oxygen off the mask.

"What's his rate?" Gage said, adjusting the D5W
flow into the man's veins.

"Ten, and slowing."

"You know to ventilate him if he slips
below eight a minute?"


"What's his color?" he said, drawing a blood
vial for a glucose check, for Rampart.

Chet peeled away the man's oddly sunburned lips
until he saw his gums. "Pink. Look Johnny.
I could go back down there now and see how Roy's
doing for ya you know. You are in charge of me
up here.."

It was tempting but Johnny knew his responsibilities.
"Nice try. But we're gonna have to trust the
other guys' judgement on that. Roy's probably just
reacting now because he didn't react yesterday.
It's most likely no big deal."

"You didn't see him, Gage.." Chet said in the tiniest
of voices. It was full of fear.

Johnny looked up, his attention full and frightened.

Cap heard a voice call out. It was Stoker's.
"Ready to move, Cap."

It must have been some minutes later, for when
Hank blinked, he saw the black body bag nestled
in a scoop stokes that Marco had retrieved from
the engine. The bundle was already tied and rope
tethered for a hill climb back up to the roadway.

Roy, was now some feet away, dry eyed,
sitting and hugging his knees to his chest,
with his back to the body, staring out at the
brightly sunlit flowing river bed below.

"Stoker, you and Lopez go on ahead. Have Johnny
go on alone in the ambulance with the hiker if you
have to and tell Chet to take in the squad. Roy's
coming with us." Hank told Mike. "But, you're giving
us two, a minute or so alone. Get me only if Johnny
needs another rescue squad to finish the transport,
and when you're done picking up after yourselves.
Tell the detectives whatever they need to know.
I'm out of service for a bit. Understood?"

"Right, Cap." and the dry crackle of the grass
told Stanley that the grisly trip up had begun.
Soon, even that soft rustling faded away.

The ambulance came, then went, with
the squad behind it. Soon, even those sounds fell
into the distance too.  Not long after, the mortuary
wagon and an unmarked detective car
pulled up, to take away the child's body and to learn
the information necessary for the bus investigation
from Marco and Stoker.

Hank's talkie came to life. ##Engine 51, to HT 51.
All the gear's stowed. Want us to put the Engine

Hank lifted up his talkie and said.
"When we're base bound, Engine 51."

##10-4, HT 51.## came Lopez's reply. And
the station frequency fell silent.

Rubbing his mouth, Cap could see Mike and Marco
watching them from where they sat in the idling
engine cab, waiting. He flashed them an okay sign
without radioing back. He saw them visibly relax.  

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Cap sat by Roy, not directly looking at him,
as he took in the same spectacular view of
the valley over the concrete river bed that
Roy seemed to be looking at. He took in a
deep breath of the canyon's sweet, spicy air.
"Hear that, Roy? The birds are still singing..."

Roy swung red, swollen eyes towards him.
"Hear what, Cap? All I hear are the sounds
of all those school kids, screaming, as that
hill came down on top of them. I just
wanna know why it had to happen. That's all.
Is that too much for a guy to ask for?"
But Roy didn't cry again. His face remained
only dusty and flushed.

Cap handed DeSoto back his helmet and
slowly put on his own. "Come on, let's go."
he said, grabbing a hold of Roy's gloved hand
to pull him to his feet. "We'll take the engine

DeSoto clasped Cap's dirty hand numbly,
and then used its strong steady leverage until
he stood. Cap watched Roy put on his helmet
only after he seemed to contemplate the
purpose for which it served, for long, unseeing
moments.  Then he saw Roy sigh a lengthy
quavering breath. Roy's face was now a little
less pale but his voice was weaker than a baby's.
He murmured. "Yeah. Let's get outta here."

Cap, threw a stokes blanket around Roy's
shoulders and together, they went up the hill
to the road.

Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 10:34:05 -0800 (PST)
From: "Patti or Jeff or Cassidy" <>  
Subject:  Come Uppance...

It was four hours after the L.A. river call.

Marco Lopez looked up from where he was
dishing out chow for Henry. The longish hound
was snuffling excitedly as the Rival can of dog food
filled his chrome dish. All the guys were watching
him get worked up. And some of them even had
their fingers crossed for luck while Marco finished.

Stoker, ignoring their "sport", was the first
to see Cap enter the kitchen. "How's he doing, Cap?"

"Roy? Still resting. I did order him to take a nap.  And
yes, I explained to Joanne what happened and then
called the crisis counselor just a few minutes ago.
She's coming for a station visit, and she's towing
along Roy's wife. They'll one to one with him first
and then we'll get our session over dinner as
planned." Hank announced. He knelt and petted
Henry as the dog licked his lips in anticipation of

"That's good. Maybe ..having Joanne around will
help Roy get back his equilibrium." Kelly said
thoughtfully, arching his balled up snack napkin
into a wide shot for the trash bin. It landed

"I know it will." Cap said empathetically, rubbing
some dust out of his nose.

The gang fell to the moment as the salty scent
of horsemeat filled the air. "Do it Lopez.." Stoker
said with anticipation. "This time it's gotta work."

Marco carefully set down the dish gingerly, as if
jarring it would cause Henry to lose interest.
"There you go, Henry. Dive in."

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The slowish hound looked up, licked Marco's face,
jumped down from the leather couch, almost
on top of the food bowl, and then he kept right
on truckin forward and straight out the kitchen

"Hey, where are you going ya crazy mutt?!" Kelly
said from where he was sipping coffee at the kitchen
table. "What a schmo...Geez, that's two cans of
grub now, slated for the trash can.."

Hank only chuckled. "You forgot Henry's a true
station dog there, Kelly." Cap grinned. "Can't you see
he's making a house call? It's more important than
food to him."

"Yeah, Chet. He does it all the time whenever one of us
is feeling out of it." Marco said, retucking his shirt in around
his belt. He had just come out of the shower.

Johnny neatly rose to his feet, abandoning his
coffee mug. "That's my cue.. Excuse me guys. I'm
right on Henry's angle.." and Gage, too, exited the
kitchen for the bunk dorms. On a second thought,
he grabbed a couple of donuts on the way out,
one for him and a second one for Roy.

Gage noticed that Cap had pulled all the
shades down around Roy's bunk and had
even set a water pitcher on the desk
tabletop with a paper already opened to the horse
racing section next to it.

Gage smiled when he heard Roy stir in his
sheets to play with Henry. Respectfully, he
knocked on the wooden doorframe first
before he entered the room further. "Roy?"

"Yeah, Johnny. I'm awake.." his partner said.
"Didn't anybody feed Henry yet? He's acting like
he wants his bowl now."

Gage walked into the room and grabbed the
chair from the desk, inverted it, and straddled
it to sit. "Now, Roy, you know Henry won't eat for
anyone else but you. And we're dumb enough
to keep forgetting that. He turned his finicky nose
up again at Marco just a minute ago when he
opened a can right under his face. You sure got
a way with dogs."

Roy's face unexpectedly fell at Johnny's comment.
and he stopped petting Henry's broad back.
"Yeah, well. I wish I had a way with children right
about now. Lately my luck's been running kinda dry."

Johnny scoffed gently. "Now what's that supposed
to mean? You got two wonderful kids who're incredibly
proud to call ya dad. You got a beautiful wife.
That's more than what I got. What more can a man

"To turn back the clock for starters. How about
turning it back about..oh,...forty eight hours or so.
Then I'd truly be a happy man, Johnny." Roy
said, with a groan. He flopped back onto his
back and drew his sheets up to his chest as
if chilled suddenly in his T shirt and boxers.

"Roy, cut it out. You shouldn't be ashamed of
your emotions. What happened out there today,
happens to all of us. H*ll, Cap's been there. He just
told us when and why over coffee a few minutes ago.
And I bet if we took a poll, we'd find that there isn't
a single guy on the rosters who hasn't been
in the same shoes you wore this morning." Johnny
said. "I'm not immune either. I've been there.
Remember? I lost it only two weeks into the
paramedic program.."

Roy regarded Gage quietly for long seconds,
"Not everyone, Johnny." A slight smile curled
his lips,  "What about Craig Brice?"

"Oh, yeah.." Johnny chuckled. "Brice. Forgot about
him. How can a man without sense of humor
find something about our line of work that'll make
him lose his lunch? Brice sure can't. He's an Iron Man."
Johnny  grumbled, answering his own question. "Maybe
he should team up with Detello at ten's for a while and
learn something about compassion." Johnny took
a bite from his donut, then belated remembered that
he had already bitten into the first one. Lamely,
he offered the pastry to Roy.

DeSoto took it, and began offering the pieces wearing
Johnny's tooth marks to the snuffling Henry who had
sprawled his heavy weight across Roy's legs. "Here, buddy.
Yeah, that's a good boy.." and he smacked Henry's hide
loudly in affection. The rest, he popped into his mouth.

"Nausea finally gone?" Johnny asked.

Roy looked up, almost as if he had forgotten his
partner was there. "Yeah, that anti-emetic you gave
me worked." he said chewing slowly. "Who authorized

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"Joe Early. He knew what you had been up against
yesterday. And understood the need for the
hypo today."

"Does everybody know about ...what happened to me?"
Roy asked quietly, caressing Henry's ear as the dog
snoozed in his lap.

"Only those who care a whip about ya." Gage quipped.
Then he leaned forward, lacing his fingers together.
"Listen, Roy, so what if it took six years for you to
finally crack on a call. Big deal. You're a human
being. It means that you care.."

"Yeah, maybe I care a little too much." Roy said

Johnny rubbed his mouth in frustration
and then he got angry."Oh, boy, here we
go again. You didn't make that driver hit the
bus. You didn't cause that canyon wall to come
caving in on us. And unless you're really Moses,
I know you didn't cause that rain storm to
flood us out like it did. So knock off the pity pit.
A paramedic's GOT to have empathy. H*ll. You're
the one who taught me that.." he sat
back with exasperation.

Roy was silent for a time. Then he said.
"I'm thinking about leaving the program
Johnny. I really think I can't hack it any more."
he pointed to the uniform that Cap had folded
neatly on the dresser and said. "I really don't
know if I can ever get myself to wear that
uniform again. Ever. It now hurts too much.."
and his lip quavered.

Johnny showed no sympathy.
"You're just saying that. Now what would I do
in a few months if Kelly kept good on his threat
and suddenly became my new partner?"
Johnny asked drily.

Roy finally smiled and laughed. "You two'd
probably, most likely kill each other the first
week out."

"There ya go.." Johnny said. "So don't leave
me in that kind of spot. And quit talkin like
that. You're just hurting, that's all. You're not
disabled. A little time taken with the family
will make it all right again."

"Now you're sounding like Cap." Roy said.

"Good, cause he's right. And that's what
he said worked for him when he cracked
over his own child call."

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Roy sat up. "You know something Gage?"

"What..?" Gage said, curling Henry's tail
and scratching its white furred tip until Henry
picked up his head to see who was messing
with it. Henry's tail started wagging when he
saw who it was.

"You're right. M- Maybe that's all I'll need.
A little time off. Just enough ta.. get my clear
thinking back again and maybe I'll even find
that sense of inner balance that I had before.. "
he said, grinning.

"That's the ticket.." Johnny beamed,
taking another bite out of his donut.

"No, wait a minute, I can't go on leave."

"Why not? You got enough vacation time
coming to ya. As long as I've known ya, you've
only been on vacation twice. Once to Santa Rosa
with me, and the other time when you took
Joanne and the kids to the f--" he broke

"You can say it, Johnny. Farm. I'm not mad
at you over that any more. I mean who can
control circumstance?"

"And that's it right there, Roy. On your coming
days off, hold that thought and you think about
it, real hard.." With that, Gage disappeared,
leaving the rest of his donut abandoned on the

Roy blinked, amazed that Johnny could move
so fast. And that, in itself, made him think all
the more about Roy DeSoto.  Johnny's cool advice
and Henry's warm tongue on his fingers, made
him mull over what was really the most
important thing going on in his life apart from
his family.

Sighing, Roy picked up the donut and began
doling out the correct pieces to the proper
mouths. Then, feeling thirsty, he reached
for the water container.

And a bit later, after a long tearful talk with
the crisis counselor and Joanne,....

...Roy DeSoto reached for his uniform..


Returning back to the present, all three ranked
firemen realized that their stomachs were growling.

Captain Gage rose from his chair. "All right if I dig in?
You guys can join me."

"Rank does have privileges.." Stanley agreed, holding up
his chowder bowl. "Let's eat,... Cap." Hank teased.

Beside them, Roy DeSoto began to laugh wholeheartedly
at the nickname used by Hank. "That sounds so... odd..
coming from you." he admitted.

Soon, the trio were filling their stomachs while sharing
current news and catching up with each other's past
during the few years that had gone by following Gage and
DeSoto's promotion.

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From : patti keiper <>
Date: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:28 pm
Subject: A Moment Of Weakness..
Johnny burped loudly and pushed away his chowder bowl.

"Still that good, eh?" Hank chuckled.

"Nothing like home cooking. And this station still feels like
home to the both of us."

"Sure does." said Roy, wearing a huge contented smile on
his face.

"I know what you mean. And I guess 48's is still mine. And
I haven't been doing much with them, except eyeballing the
number on their trucks when they show up for our annual
brush fire details, for alot of years now." Stanley admitted.

"Haven't you ever wanted to go back to those days?" DeSoto
asked him, his face growing quiet and thoughtful as he
leaned forward on his arms resting on the table around his

Captain Stanley smiled ruefully and scratched his whitening
temples. "Past missing familiar surroundings, sights and smells,
I can't say the ties I had there were that memorable, Roy.
Unlike what we had together, my first crewmates just worked as
a team and got the job done. And it definitely wasn't a blessing
that Dick Hammer followed me here to 51's when the time came.
I lasted only a month before I transferred out to 24's. I was so
upset that a man like that so abused the captain's spot, I vowed
to learn to be a captain, too. Just so I could prove that I could be
better at it than--"  Hank  broke off, realizing that he was sharing
something private and deeply personal.

Roy and Johnny froze, not believing their ears at first. Then
they registered the shock on Hank's face, his look forcing them
to react.

Gage's expression faded from surprise, and he smiled in
soft politeness. "Cap, that last thing you said,.. We know it slipped out.
You don't have to say anything more about it. Some things are better
left uns--"

Hank fell silent and he suddenly looked burdened while he studied
the coffee grounds still clinging to the bottom of his empty coffee mug.
"Well, not this time. Now you know why I was so worried about what
Chief McConnikee would do to me for burning his hat. I didn't want to
lose my new Cap's spot that I was using to show everybody what I
could do before I lost confidence in myself and my abilities, for what
I did to Hammer."

"Dick was a negative stimulus?" Gage asked, confused.

"No, actually. A twisted positive one. Sort of like what Brice was to you
whenever he seemed to always come up smelling like roses." Stanley
said, finally beginning to smile. "Hammer wasn't a bad man. He still isn't.
But I still can't condone what he was doing in his final days with all of
you behind your backs." Stanley sighed tiredly, almost whispering.

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Now it was Roy and Johnny's turn to be disturbed. Finally, Roy spoke
to fill the stretch of silence building between them. "Hank, what
happened before you came back to Station 51? We never noticed
anything different in Dick."

Gage amended. "Well, not that different anyway. I mean, there were
changes. More time spent in his office.. The darker moods.." Then he
turned to his old partner. "Roy, remember?"

DeSoto's face fell into old thoughts. "Kinda. Maybe...uh, it would help
if we had something more to go on... Cap?"

Hank slowly put the cover onto the chowder pot, keeping it hot for the
rest of the gang for when they came back inside for lunch after finishing
the back yard chores. "Maybe I should start from the beginning.." he
said, meeting both of their eyes sadly. "It seems you guys don't remember
that particular event that he and I never, ever forgot."


Another deep groaning rumble echoed through the abandoned
building and rattled both trucks of Station 51 where they sat at the
ready along the curbside.

Captain Dick Hammer knelt before the boy. "And you say your friend's
still in there? How old is he?"

"Billy's eleven.." replied the dusty kid. "He got lost. We didn't mean
to go inside."

Vince Howard frowned ruefully. "Didn't you see the orange signs posted
on the doors about collapse danger? The whole building's condemned."

"We both bought good slingshots. We just had to try them out on all the
rats." replied the city wise boy proudly.

Policeman Howard grabbed the plaster powdered kid by the arm.
"They're fast enough to get out of way. And it seems, smarter, too.
Didn't you realize something was wrong when you didn't find any of
them running around inside?"

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Behind them, a fourth story floor fell internally under the weight of
the morning's rain, causing another cloud of dust to rise up into
the mist.

"I didn't know..." sobbed the boy as the horrible din died away. His
tears mingled with the raindrops running down his face.

"Let's just better hope your friend's in an open spot, or else you and both
your mothers will never hear the end of it, coming from me!" Vince spat,
disgusted with the bravado of the young. "Let's go call them now."

Feeling a wave of unaccountable dread, Dick directed a very freshly
assigned Gage into DeSoto's shadow for the first scout into the old
hulking department store. "Gang.. grab the portapower, first aid gear
and radios. Stoker, it won't hurt to get the listening probe ready."

"Yes, Captain." Mike replied.

"Roy, Johnny, start scouting around. And be careful. I want life lines
on the both of ya. Manned." Hammer ordered....

The scene faded out...


Back in the present, the three captains shifted in their chairs uncomfortably.

Gage looked up somberly. "I remember now. It was Hammer who finally
found him and-- that kid.... he....didn't make it out alive....Right?"

Hank nodded minisculely. "That's how the chief explained it to me at
the official inquisition later on. I was given all the rescue notes on it
because I was called as a character witness for what happened a  
week afterward."

"How did that boy die?" Roy asked, still not remembering.

"Both of his lungs were ruptured." Stanley replied. "He wouldn't ventilate
during CPR. You weren't there. You were called away for a bystander who
fainted on the sidewalk who had been watching the rescue from across the
street. A second ambulance was called and you had to go in with her."

Johnny's eyes grew blank. "Roy, Hammer didn't stay on scene. He insisted on
riding along with me during that child's code. He ordered the others back to the
station except for Marco, who followed your patient in with the squad since
ours had basically d--" he broke off, suddenly putting two and two together.
"Cap," he said, meeting Hank's troubled eyes. "What did you notice on
Dick later that was so bad? Leaving charge of a fire crew's not an offense.
Not for an active resuscitation attempt."

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Stanley didn't look up. In fact, he looked nauseated. "Dick's got kids of
his own. So does Roy, and...and..and me. Lord knows how finding a fatally
mangled child would have effected me or any of us if things had been different.
But it was Dick facing it back then. Alone..." he sighed. "One week following
that death, my station and yours were called to a hotel fire. Dick asked
me to go get his assignment slateboard he had forgotten to grab. I did so, for
he was incident commander for the duration. Well, I.. went back to the engine,
just like he asked, and I got the board for him." Hank told them matter of factly.
But then his eyes clouded. "But when I slammed the door shut again, I heard
a tinkling of something made of glass, spinning around on the floor under his
seat. I..I...well I, just couldn't believe my eyes when I pulled out a half empty
bottle of Jack Daniels into my glove."

Gage and Roy both startled. "He was drinking on the job?"

"Yeah. And a random chief appointed spot check from the cops on
another call later proved that he still had alcohol in his blood while on active
duty. I had to turn him in. For any command decision he made for you
guys while under the influence could have proven to be a wrong one."
Stanley shared miserably.

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Roy whispered. "You were protecting us."

Hank rubbed his face. "Then why do I still feel guilty about it? Guys,
I ruined that man's career. The department made him retire for
unresolved job stress effects."

"You did what you had to do." DeSoto emphasized.

"It was by the book." Gage agreed.

Stanley sighed, looking haunted.
"I don't know why the crisis counselors weren't effective that particular
time for Dick. And he still doesn't know it was me who discovered his
newly formed dependency problem. You guys probably just saw his
increased cigarette smoking."

Johnny nodded, still serious. "How's he doing now?"

"Dick's back participating in sports, like he used to when he was
part of the Olympics. And he's not an alcoholic anymore." Stanley
said.  But he couldn't find it in himself to smile at the outcome.
"Thank G*d his kids still think he's a hero."

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From: patti keiper <>
Date: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:46 pm
Subject: Carbon Copies..

In his darkened Intensive Care Room, Kel Brackett
finally let the sedatives they had pumped into his system
take full hold. Slowly, the sound of the myriads of
monitors keeping tabs on his blood pressure and other
vitals signs, faded out.

Sighing, he felt Dixie squeeze his hand encouragingly
as she whispered that she was still there, close by.

Dimly he could make out long hair silhouetted in
the faint light of the ward, and the glint of loving
tears from his future wife's eyes as she sat down near

"I love you, Dix..." he gasped, through his oyxgen mask.

"Shhh, go to sleep, hon. I'll still be here when you awaken."

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Soon, the head of the Cardiology Department fell to dreaming
about past events that had been equally as painful to Kel
as his current illness....

Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 18:54:30 -0800 (PST)
From: "Jeff Seltun" <>  
Subject:   The Stuff of Dreams

(From Father And Sons, Episode Two)

The phone rang two times and the
pauses showing his call going unanswered
between them only increased his
anxiety. ::Why am I feeling like an errant
school boy? I'm forty two years old.
Dad is just dad to me, isn't he?:: his
thoughts rose.

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-------     -------     -------  

"Because he's you're dad." Dixie's voice
spoke from his memory of a conversation
he had a week ago with his husky throated
head ER nurse on just that same subject.
"And you still look up to him. After all, you
did follow in his footsteps getting into the
medical field." she said.

"Emergency medicine's a far cry from
psychiatry, Dix. I didn't follow anyone to
get where I am today. Especially not him."
Kel said a little defensively when Dix's
comment stuck a little too far into the
real truth of matters. "Also, I've branched
off into cardiology, too, and that's an even
more unrelated area than being some office
bound,  leather chair to couch side shrink."

Dix's frosted eyebrows rose in amazement.
"Oh? I'd say in that way, you and your father
are in an area a little closer together my fine,
fretting friend. You both deal with matters of
the heart. Only yours deals with just the
physical aspects of things. You fix the body
whereas he fixes the mind. Quite a complimentary
pair to have in one family, in my book. You should
team up together, Kel. Even if just to compare
professional notes or something. Might be a way
for you two to work out differences."
she said gently, handing Dr. Brackett a cup
of coffee.

"We are. I have dinner with him once a month."

"Oh, really." Dix said, throwing disbelieving doe
eyes at Kel. "There's twelve months in a year,
Kel. And I distinctly remember setting up
reservations at Mannie's for you and your father
only twice total, since this time last year.."

Kel's chin twitched. "I've been busy.."

"Yeah, well so have I. " Dix countered.
"Although in my case, I haven't been too
busy to see family I care about, to drift
apart from again, due to carelessness."

From anyone else, Dixie's remark would
earn a scathing sharp reply. But Kel and
Dix were the best of friends, been old flames
even, at one time. And what she said and felt,
was still very very important to him.
"You .....really think so?" he said, studying his
hands and rubbing absently at their surgical

Dix shoved a jar of hand cream at him across
the lounge table. "I  know so. I've seen you
two cross by my desk everyday. Brent to
his office on the ninth floor and you to yours.
I can't believe you two even work in the same
hospital. He could be in Greece for all the contact
I've seen. I can read the whole state of affairs between
you two just by the degree of scowling on your
faces. You in particular, have a certain cheek
twitch that pops up whenever you think of
your father.."

"I do not.." Dr. Brackett protested.

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"You do... Ahaa!" she cried out in triumph.
"There it is again! That's seven times today already."
She leaned forward, finely filed nails clicking
on the formica table top. "And for me, that's
a critical sign with only one treatment available
in my line of thinking.......Go call him, Kel.
Arrange one of those well overdue dinner
dates. You both are in severe need for quality
father/son family time.....Oh,.. Just one thing

Kel's face was sheepish as he used the cream
Dixie had given him briskly to ease his chapped
aching hands. "And what's that, Dix?"

"Promise me you'll both leave your white
doctor coats at home.."

From : "satchie51" <>  
Subject :  [EmergencyTheaterLive] Dinner Reservations    
Date : Fri, 22 Nov 2002 15:50:32 -0000  

Outside Mannie's Restaurant..

Kel reluctantly relinquished his car to the
restaurant's valet.  He walked toward the
entrance with the enthusiasm of a man facing his
executioner, not his own father.  Summoning his
resolve, he approached the maitre d'.

"Yes sir.  How may I help you?"

Taking a deep breath, he replied, "I'm joining
Dr. Brent Brackett for dinner."

The maitre d' nodded.  "Ah, yes.  He's been
expecting you.  Please come this way."

Numbly, Kel walked to the familiar table.  A
distinguished looking gentleman was already seated.
He glanced disapproving at his watch.  "You're
late.  I thought perhaps you changed your mind."

"I'm sorry.  Things got a bit hectic in the ER at
the last minute.  I didn't think I was going to
be able to get away," Kel apologized.

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