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  The Long Hours
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The Story Unfolds...

Season Six, Episode Forty Six

§§   The Long Hours    §§

Debut Launch: June 1st, 2007.

From: Mark Panitz <>
Subject: A Day At The Pier
Date: Wed May 30, 2007 7:28 pm

It was a beautiful summer day. Roy and Gage were just coming on duty.

"What a beautiful day. Too bad we can’t go the beach." he said with
a smirk, throwing his clean set of shower towels into the back of his
locker with a snap of his wrist.

Roy regarded his partner ruefully. "Be careful. Your wish might
come true."

Just then, the tones beeped. Engine 51 and Squad 51 were called to
respond to a relocation move to station 110 by the marina as standby.

“10-4, L.A." Captain Stanley replied. "KMA." he said, using that part of
the county's affirmation.

Johnny celebrated as he buttoned his shirt up the rest of the way as
he followed Roy out to the vehicle bay. "Hey, I got my wish!"  Gage replied.

Roy just rolled his eyes as he opened up the squad's door.

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Station 110 was out of service for the day, gone to the fire academy
for training, so the gang made themselves quickly at home on the dock
as their official for-a-shift fill in.

They parked nearby and went out onto Station 110's pier to the main house
located there. They soon spied the station's fire boat under the eaves. Seeing
the boat brought back some memories for the gang as they arranged how they
needed to be configured gear and apparatus wise for future calls.

Johnny instinctively shuddered at the sharp sea breezes ruffling his hair.

DeSoto, too, picked up his navy work jacket's collar.
"Man, do you remember the guy who drove off Pacific Avenue into the
channel?" Roy muttered, eyeing up the dark ocean shifting beneath
their feet through the slates below as he rubbed his arms against the chill.

"Boy do I." said Gage. "I was soaking wet!" he said, grabbing a couple
of medical boxes from the squad's gear stow to set in the middle of the
dock garage with a stokes near where the boat was housed in its water
channel. He did so in order to make room so they could pack their water
rescue equipment better inside the squad for quicker access.

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Meanwhile, at Santa Monica Airport, an instructor and student pilot
where practicing take offs and landings. They had made three successful
landings in what was known as the touch and go. On the last pass, as they
took off again, they flew into a flock of seagulls coming off the waves, and
one got noisily ingested into their front end single prop engine.

In seconds, the feathery debris caused the engine to quit and the plane's
occupants soon realized that they wouldn’t make it back over the airport.

The instructor got on an emergency frequency on their radio. Fast.
##Mayday! Mayday! This is November 5622. We are going in!## he shouted
at the control tower he knew was watching, as their plane crashed right off
Santa Monica Pier, into the Pacific Ocean.

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Soon, down the beach, the tones began to sing. ##Engine 51, Squad 51.
Respond with Santa Monica Fire on automatic aid to Santa Monica Pier.
Baywatch lifeguards and the Coast Guard are also responding.##

"Hey, that's on the sand beach." Roy yelled to the others.

The gang responded to the busy tourist pier in minutes, in their trucks.

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They met up with Baywatch lifeguards, staring down into the water off
to the north side, about half way down the recreational pier.

Hank exited the Ward, putting on his turnout coat. "Do you know what we got?"
he asked them.

"Just now, a plane down.  A student and instructor." said a young, dark haired
lifeguard, putting on his life can float's elastic strap over his head and shoulder
rapidly. He pointed to where a trail of bubbles was fizzing at the surface of
the shallow sea. Underwater, they could see the outline of a crumpled Cessna
haphazardly sprawled on its back in the murk whenever the wave crests
receded into deep troughs.

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From :  Cassidy Meyers <>
Sent :  Sunday, June 10, 2007 3:58 PM
Subject :  Realm Of The Brave..

Stanley nodded, stepping up to the edge of the pier's railing, looking
down. He could see a trail of air bubbles coming up from below. "Have
you got people coming out?" he asked the guard.

"Plenty. One wave cruiser. And a Sea King MK6 off that carrier you
can see out there. They were nearby on maneuvers. Navy Air Rescue
says they'll be here in two."

"Why the navy?" asked Marco, tying off and throwing a rope
down into the water far below as a reference point for themselves.
"Isn't that highly unusual for them to handle a coastline rescue?"

"The Coast Guard was typed up on another incident. And these guys
were the closest alternative. Don't worry. They're good." replied the lieutenant.
"We'll do a pier jump from the end and work our way back. The water's
too shallow here. I've three more swimmers on the way." he said, pointing
down the pier to where another cluster of swim suited life guards with ropes
and torpedo cans were running towards them from the public beach towers
nearest the pier.

"We're going with you." said Gage, taking off his helmet and peeling out
of his shoes. Beside him, Roy nodded, doing the same. "You're going
to need all the help you can get if they're spinally injured. We have extra
extrication gear."

"And stokes." Roy added.

"Okay. It's your call. But watch yourself. The current's are tricky around the
pilings." advised the lifeguard.
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Roy chuckled, remembering the police helicopter they had attended to off
the jetty located a quarter of a mile away from Santa Monica's pier last year.
"We know." he chuckled, peeling out of his shoes. "Floats are valuable."
he joked, pointing to the buoys the lifeguards were holding as they climbed
up over the railing and stood on the edge to start timing the surf waves in
preparation for their high jump.

Stanley reassured the lifeguard. "We'll have our own back up boat here in a
few minutes. You won't have to watch us at all." he said. Then he lifted his HT.
"Engine 51 to HT 51. E.T.A. ?" he asked over the sound of seabirds and the

Chet Kelly's voice rang out over all their handy talkie's. ##Just rounding Point
Loma. I'll be there in four with the gear. Scuba's already laid out.##

"Good man." replied Cap. "Come even with the lifeguards' rescue boat. She's
due here shortly. Squad 51's going in."

##10-4.## said Chet, shouting to be heard over the roar of the motor of
Fireboat 110. ##I see your position clearly.## he said as he located the
two red specks that were the squad and engine parked on the pier, just past
the boardwalk cafes.

Cap looked at Marco and Stoker. "Rappel down there using ropes, and act
as stokes guides." he ordered.

"Right, Cap." they replied as they ran back to the engine to get their belts.

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Looking up, Cap could just make out two white "V"s arrowing their way toward
the accident site on the breakers. One of them was yellow. ::That's Malibu One,
the Baywatch boat.:: he recognized. :: Well, for once, we've tied arrival times.
So much the better for these victims. If they're still alive.:: he thought,
punching down the antennae of his radio.

As the three lifeguards, Roy and Johnny lined up on the railing, Gage
leaned over to his partner. "Feel like changing your mind?" he said,
holding his arms out to balance himself in the sharp breeze roaring around

"What? And miss all this?" DeSoto grinned broadly. "Like you said, it's
a beautiful day, junior. Just perfect for taking a swim."

"All right." said Johnny, licking his lips as he counted the waves, looking
for the deep cresting top of one. "Let's go."

"After you..." Roy said with the sweep of his hand.

"Funny man.." Johnny said, making a face, still hesitating.

"I'm just.....being your spotter until you resurface again." Roy said,
licking his own lips.

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"Uh huh..." Gage mumbled sarcastically.

A triple impact on water sound decided Johnny before his reluctant
nerves could. ::Those are the lifeguards, already jumping.:: he realized,
crossing his arms across his chest protectively. Then he leaped out into
open space as he put his bare stocking'd feet together. "Geronimo!"
he yelled. And then he hit and went under the water. Roy splashed
down a few seconds behind him once he saw Johnny's head was
safely popped up once more in the rolling froth.

Cap winced, suddenly embarrassed in front of the lifeguard lieutenant,
when he saw the man's eyebrows go up. "Sorry. He gets a little
enthusiastic at times." he shrugged.

"Are you sure he's all paramedic once a victim's in his arms?"

"Absolutely. He's one of the best." Cap grinned, leaning over to watch
Marco and Stoker's progress climbing down the wooden pilings and
buttresses beneath them.

"I'll just take your word for it." the guard said, rubbing his eyes, doing
the same.
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From: MM <>
Date: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:15 pm
Subject: A Friend In Need

Swimming strongly, Johnny followed the three lifeguards out toward the
wrecked plane. He could vaguely see the plane’s tail, not quite
submerged in the water.

As the lifeguards neared the downed plane, they could see two men in the
water. One of them was holding onto a piece of wreckage and struggling
to hold the second person’s head out of the water. Seeing help
approaching, the man called out, “Help! He’s hurt...I can’t hold him
much longer.”

The first lifeguard of the group swam up to the men and carefully took
hold of the injured man. As the others approached, he said, “I’ve got
him now, sir. You just hold tight and we’ll have you taken care of
momentarily.” He glanced back and was glad to see that Gage was only
about twenty feet away.

“I hope I didn’t hurt him.” the man panted. “I had to pull Mike out of
the plane. I know he took in at least a little seawater. We had to
submerge to get out. He said his back hurts and I could clearly see his
right arm is broken. I didn’t have any way to stop the bleeding.”

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“Don’t worry. We’ll take good care of him.” the second lifeguard
reassured him. “It looks like you need a little help yourself, sir.” he
said, observing the bloody trail leaking from the man’s scalp. “The
paramedics are right behind us. We’ll get you both taken care of.”

Swimming up, Johnny began to assess the situation. He could hear Roy a
few feet behind him. Seeing the first victim was conscious and oriented,
he maneuvered himself around the two lifeguards supporting the second
victim. He paused a split second as shock filled him - the victim was
Dr. Mike Morton.

Gage quickly spurred himself back into action and began examining his
friend, speaking softly to him as he proceeded. “Doc? Can you tell me
what happened?”

“Johnny?” Mike managed to gasp out.

Overhearing Johnny’s question, the pilot sputtered angrily, “We crashed,
mister! That’s what happened. Isn’t it pretty obvious?”

Roy had just arrived on the scene and turned to the pilot, gently
explaining in his soft-spoken voice, “We know that, sir. My partner is
trying to find out what Dr. Morton remembers.” Treading water, he
glanced over at Johnny and Mike briefly while he spoke to the pilot; he
wanted to help Mike but knew his first priority had to be taking care of
*this* victim. Ignoring the burning in his own legs, he said, “You have
quite a bump on your head there, sir. Did you lose consciousness at all?”


Meanwhile, Chet had picked up 51's remaining crew, the lifeguard
lieutenant and the equipment. As they sped toward the scene of the plane
wreck, Captain Stanley said to the lieutenant, “My paramedics are two of
the county’s original paramedics. They’ve been trained since before the
program was officially off the ground. Gage can act a bit like a twit at
times but believe me, he and Roy are who I’d want tending me if I was
hurt.” He paused momentarily, briefly reminiscing, then added, “For that
matter they *did* treat me once when some power lines went down and I
got zapped by the current.”


“Johnny?” Mike Morton mumbled again. He tried to focus but was having a
difficult time doing so. He sputtered in surprise as a wave broke over
the group, and then began coughing as he weakly fought the supine
position the lifeguards held him in.

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“Hold still Doc, we've got you.” Johnny said, his voice reassuring as he
examined the intern as thoroughly as possible in the water. He grimly
noted the compound fracture of Mike’s right humerus and the two-inch
laceration on his head.

“My back...pain...Johnny.” Mike stuttered, his voice laced with fear.
He’d seen far too many cases where the victim had ended up paralyzed and
he found himself terrified that he, too, might end up that way.

“We’re going to have you out of here very quickly, Doc.” Johnny stated.
“Can you tell me what you remember happening?”

“Birds..those dratted gulls.” Mike moaned. “Then...we crashed. I think I
was out a couple minutes...Harold was leaning over belt
stuck...water coming in fast. My arm...couldn’t move
back...hurts. I think I went out thing I knew we were in
the water with Harold keeping me afloat.”

Seeing the boat approaching in the distance, Johnny said, “We’ve got
more help coming, Mike. Once they get here with our gear we’ll get you
on your way to Rampart. Hang in there, okay?” Hearing the rattling in
Morton’s chest, Johnny felt concerned about the amount of water his
friend might have taken in. He briefly made eye contact with Roy,
silently letting his partner know their friend appeared to be in serious

Shivering uncontrollably, the intern mused, “Why’d I enter that darn
radio contest? I should...have just stuck to medicine. I think I’m going
to...forget about flying a pl....” Morton broke off as a fresh wave of
pain washed over him. He looked at Johnny in desperation as he felt
himself slipping away.

Johnny watched helplessly as Mike’s eyes rolled back in his head. “He’s
out.” he said to the lifeguards who were helping support the doctor. He
was grateful to see the fireboat approaching.

Chet slowed the boat as they approached, coming towards the scene as
carefully as possible.

“I need a c-collar and backboard!” Johnny called out as soon as the boat
had stopped. “I’ve also got to get his arm splinted. Compound fracture
of his right humerus. We’re going to need a chopper, Cap.”

“You got it, pal.” Captain Stanley said as he pulled out his HT. “L.A.,
this is engine 51. Please respond a chopper to our location.” After
receiving L.A.’s acknowledgment, he leaned over to assist in the rescue.
“Holy cow! Is that Dr. Morton?”

“Yeah, I’m afraid so.” Johnny answered solemnly.


While the others were assisting with Dr. Morton, the third lifeguard
crawled into the boat and he and Mike Stoker helped Harold in, too.
Roy quickly followed, hoping that he would be able to turn their
man’s care over to one of his crewmates and be free to help with Mike’s
care. Unfortunately, as Harold tried to put his weight onto his left
foot it gave out, sending him crashing to the floor. Stoker’s quick
reflexes saved the man from hitting his head on the side of the boat,
but Harold’s lower leg lay twisted at an odd angle, clearly broken. Roy
dismissed all thoughts of leaving this victim as he promptly knelt by
the man’s side and began his exam.


With the lifeguards' help, Johnny got the still unconscious intern
strapped to the backboard and splinted his arm. A stokes was lowered and
they lifted Mike into it. Then many hands reached out and carefully
lifted him into the boat. Johnny scrambled up the boat’s ladder and
quickly set about taking his patient’s vitals.


##Rampart, this is Squad 51.##

Head Nurse Dixie McCall and Dr. Kelly Brackett turned from the chart
they were looking over and stepped into the hospital’s base station.

##Rampart , this is Squad 5-1. How do you read?## Johnny’s voice announced.

“Squad 51, this is Rampart. We read you loud and clear.” Dixie answered.
She picked up a notepad ready to write the details of the case on the
run sheet.

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##Rampart, we have two male victims from a small plane that crashed into
the bay. Victim one, approximate age twenty-five, was being supported in
the water on our arrival. He was conscious and talking at first but has
since lost consciousness. Victim has a palpable fracture of his
vertebrae at T5/T6, a compound fracture of his right humerus, as well as
a visible laceration on his forehead approximately two-inches long.
We’ve extracted victim from the water and are using full spinal
precautions. His arm has been immobilized. Vital signs: blood pressure
130/85, pulse 70, respirations 20 and somewhat labored. Patient appears
to have ingested some seawater and lungs have definite rales. He's
on O2. Stand by for details on victim two.##

“Squad 51, victim one, start an IV, D5W t.k.o. and transport as soon as
possible.” Dr. Brackett advised.

##10-4 Rampart, IV, D5W t.k.o. Also, Rampart, please be advised that
victim number one is Dr. Morton.##

As Johnny revealed this last bit of information, Dixie gave an audible
gasp. Dr. Brackett grimaced. He reached out and squeezed Dixie’s
shoulder as he said,“He’s stable for now, Dix. You know we’ll do
everything we can.”

“I know, Kel.” Dixie responded. “What on earth was he doing on that
plane?” she wondered out loud.

“I think I remember him commenting about winning some contest on the
radio that gave him a dozen flying lessons.”


Twenty minutes later, Dr. Brackett, Dr. Early and Dixie were on the
rooftop meeting the helicopter that brought Mike and Johnny in. The
other victim, Harold, was now stable and would be arriving with Roy in
an ambulance shortly.

A soggy Johnny walked alongside the gurney as he gave an update on
Mike’s condition. “He’s been in and out of consciousness several times.
When he’s awake he seems oriented to time and place, although he’s not
quite with it, so to speak.”

Once in the treatment room the two doctors made quick work of examining
Mike. X-ray arrived almost immediately and soon the two Rampart doctors
were looking at Mike’s x-rays.

“It looks like Mike has a vertebral compression fracture, Joe.” Kel said
grimly, his lip twitching as it often did when he was worried.

“I believe surgery will be needed - on his back as well as his arm.” Joe

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“Unfortunately, I concur.” Kel then turned to Dixie and requested, “Dix
please call the O.R. and tell them we need to bring Mike up STAT.”

“Right away, Kel. Orthopedics just called. Dr. Johnston is on his way.”
Dixie said as she picked up the phone.

Kel and Joe turned their attention back to Mike. Once again conscious,
he asked through chattering teeth, “Kel, how bad is my back? Level with
me please.”

Placing his arm gently on his colleague's good arm, Kel looked him in
the eyes and spoke reassuringly, saying.....

From: Rampartbase <>
Date:  Thu Jun 21, 2007 10:17 pm
Subject: Completion

"We'll know more after we get an ortho to look at
these x-rays." Kel replied.

He had Dixie call the surgeon to meet them upstairs.

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From: "patti keiper" <>
Date: Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:53 pm
Subject: All for the sake of money...

Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage got back from the hospital as soon as they could.
They tried not to think about Dr. Morton's injury.  The plane crash had been serious,
and both of them knew the outcome didn't look good for the future.

"Hey, Roy."  whispered Johnny, as he concentrated on wiping down the chrome of the
rescue squad.  "What you think his chances of developing paralysis are?"

"I don't know. I guess that all depends on what they find in the x-rays."  Roy shrugged.

"I guess you're right."  said Johnny.  "I just wish I could've been there before he
went into surgery.  I wanted to tell them a few things more. And to, you know, offer him a
word of encouragement or two." said Gage as he rubbed both of his red eyes
and sighed deeply.

Desoto looked up and watched the cars whiz by down the avenue through the
open garage door. He kept imagining that there was something that they could
have handled better during the rescue, but each time, Dr. Brackett's
reassurances that he still remembered, refuted any blame for that.
Captain Stanley came out of his office with some paperwork and looked
at both of them. "I know you guys are still down about this, but dinner's almost ready."

Gage startled, whirling on his feet. "Oh, okay. We'll be right in." Johnny put his
hands in his rear pockets and slowly headed for the kitchen.  "Uh,...Roy, did
you hear that?"

DeSoto still scrubbed the top rack chrome with a vengeance bordering on
frustration.  He didn't look up.

"Roy, chow's on."  Johnny said again, rapping on the side of the squad a little

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DeSoto blinked a few times.  "Lunch already?"  Still numb, DeSoto slowly
followed in his partner's footsteps.:: Why can't I get this rescue out of my
mind?:: he thought.:: It's not like Mike was dying or anything.:: he reasoned.  
Then another part of himself gave the answer.:: It's because you know him,

The rest of the gang set the table quietly. Most of them had already showered
off the sea salt itching their skin.  Marco saw the expression on the paramedics'
faces and pushed the plate of chicken in front of them first.  "Dig in, fellas. I made
plenty."  he said with a forced cheerfulness.

Both Roy and Johnny nodded, and took their share reluctantly.

Captain Stanley slammed down his fork, with a bang. "Well, is he going to get
better, or isn't he?"

Both Johnny and Roy flinched.  "Dr. Brackett seems to think that he's going to
be okay."  Johnny replied. "W-We know that he's in surgery, and that his vital signs
were stable when we left him."

"Well then, why the long faces?"  Chet Kelly asked.  

Gage picked at his food.  "It's just really hard, you know, when you know your

"That's exactly it."  Roy emphasized as he played restlessly with his napkin on
the table.

Marco Lopez tried to lighten their moods by throwing a piece of chicken at Henry.  
"Here you go, boy." When the brown and white hound dog caught it, he celebrated.  
"Hey, hey!"  He looked up with a smile but found that he hadn't cheered up anybody,
including himself.

Mike Stoker took a long swallow of his milk, and then he took a big breath.  "I don't
know about any of you but as soon as soon as we're done eating, I'm going to
give Dixie a call right back."

Hank Stanley jumped on the suggestion. "Now that sounds like a plan of action,
the best one I've heard all day."

"I guess so." whispered Johnny, slowly buttering the potatoes on his plate with
a knife.

Over on the couch, Henry the dog whined.  He didn't know what was going on,
but something wasn't right with his human gang, and he wasn't about to be
quiet about it. Yawning nervously, he jumped down and made a beeline for
Roy and Johnny's legs. Snuffling loudly, he began to rub his snout back and
forth across both their pairs of shoes.

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It finally worked. A smile cracked out of both of them. The two paramedics
began to relax. Johnny managed to snatch up a chicken leg, and he bit
into it with an appetite.  

Stoker smiled.  "Guess you did all right with my recipe, Marco. It's not going to
waste." he quipped.

Roy finally had to laugh at that, and he almost choked.  Johnny Gage shot up
out of his chair.

"I'm fine!  I'm fine!"  Roy told him, coughing up some food.  "Henry just bumped

"Are you sure?"  Gage asked, still not believing him.

Roy nodded, still sputtering.

Captain Stanley eyeballed them both with a close look.  "Do I have to tell you
pipe down?"

"No,.." chuckled Chet.  "He needs to pipe up."

The joke was lost on Cap. He just kept shoveling in his dinner like there was no

"Yeah, well, anyways, there I was with my arms full of this guy's stretcher, right?"
Chet Kelly said eagerly. "And the waves kept coming, and coming.  I thought
we were never gonna get out of there. But you guys did a swell job and
everybody was okay, and that's the important thing, so quit moping. Right, Henry?"

Henry barked once with emphasis, as if agreeing with him.

Captain Stanley swallowed his last mouthful and quickly got up and left the table.
He rushed over to the TV set and turned on the news. Rampart Hospital was the
subject matter.  And that took the entire gang by surprise.

Gage almost spit out the meat in his mouth.  "What's going on over there now?"
he cried indignantly.  "Another brushfire?"

Cap was actually stunned.  "I haven't the foggiest clue. But I promise you I'll
find out in seconds."

The gang was riveted by the scene showing on the TV set. A milling crowd
surrounded the emergency entrance, with picketing signs.  They could just
make out some chanting.  ## No more work! Too little pay! No more work!  
Too little pay!## The sight brought Roy and Johnny to their feet.

"Just what the h@ll is going on?!" Gage demanded chipmunk cheeked.

Roy's mouth flopped open.  "Looks like a surgeon's strike or--"

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Johnny Gage barged ahead of all of them as they clustered around the TV
set.  As they got closer, it was clear that the uniforms people were wearing,
were surgical blue, and not nursing white.

The phone on the wall started to ring urgently and Roy DeSoto was the closest
one to pick it up. It was Dixie. ##Roy, have you heard yet? They're
med-evacuating everybody who's scheduled for an operation today to
other hospitals. It looks like their AMA union negotiations fell through.##

"My G@d. Is that happening to Mike Morton?"

##Yes. He was one of the first ones to go.  He's on the way to Mercy right now.##

Desoto frowned.  "Is there anything we can do?"

Dixie sighed angrily in his ear.  ##Don't I wish you could! But even Dr.
Brackett's hands are tied. The orthopedic surgeon he had all set for Mike, was
forced to stop scrubbing up by an angry mob.##

"Um, okay, geez, this is awful. Could you keep us posted with how he's
doing?" DeSoto asked.

##I sure will, Roy. Gotta go. Bye.##

"Goodbye." Roy hung up the phone in total shock.  He rejoined the others
and sat down in his chair numbly.

"What was that all about?" Kelly asked.

"I'm afraid it isn't good news."  DeSoto told them.

Gage sat up a little straighter from where he was slumped.  "Is it Dr. Morton?"

"No.  I mean, yeah. Uh, sort of. You see, his surgeon's debunked. Apparently,
there's a doctor's strike going on that's just begun. That was Dixie just now,
filling us in on all the nitty-gritty." Roy sighed in frustration.

"Let's just hope we can-" Gage began.

The tones went off. It was a call for the entire Station 51. Disturbed beyond
words once again, the gang made for the trucks. L.A. County Dispatch
sounded out a big one.

A minute later, they were ready, and on the move with lights and sirens blaring.

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  The Long Hours
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