From: patti k (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Fri 7/24/09 12:03 AM
Chief Joe Rorchek cocked an ear, but didn't pry when a very satisfied
Chris and Rags returned with an equally flushed and laughing Chet from
the radio room a few
"We got them good. They didn't know what hit em when Kelly boy here
Hallie Green crowed, interrupting as she held up a freshly baked
for all to behold. "WahhhHHHHooo! Dessert anyone? Let's
celebrate our latest victory in the war."
she said, looking up from
the noisy television set that she quickly turned off.
his head. "What war? Viet Nam?" he said, still clearing
everybody's lunch plates.
The practical joke war we've been suffering due to the control
tower guys putting one up on us all
the time." said Al Martelli, the Italian.
"No suffering any more. They've run permanently. I've
Chet said proudly.
Gage's ears perked up with horrified reluctance. "What'dya
Kelly merely pursed his lips and made a smug it's-a-trade-secret gesture
and all three
of his fellow Code Red conspirators zipped their mouths
shut, protectively bright, with very high
admiration for their jokester guest.
Johnny frowned unhappily, remembering his own days as Chet's
The chief cleared his throat derisively which was echoed by one of Hank's
that caused an instant halt in all jovial conversation. In his black
jacketed arms, Joe carried training
materials for Station 51's men and
deftly, he began passing them out to the California firemen.
"Once we've all eaten Hallie's sweet, you'll have just an hour to study
all the materials
in these packets. Then we'll give you a more detailed
station tour and get you all fitted with your
own specialized hazmat thermal
gear. As guest actives, you must be familiar with the entire airport
by 1500 hours. Sorry, the airport commissioner's orders." the senior, white
said, holding up his hands lightly as the others moaned their
dismay. "Settle down. I promise this
won't be boring. I've spruced up the
usual lecture with a new lights and sounds slideshow."
piped up Rags, the big African American firefighter. "Terrific."
Martelli smacked him for being
a smart aleck.
Joe smirked acidly, but in good humor as he began when the lights
after the equipment was ready. "Long Island Mac Arthur Airport
covers an area of 1,311 acres which
contains four runways and two helipads.
We use blue dyed Avgas 100LL and clear to straw colored JET-A
aircraft fuels exclusively."
He showed them file photos of the black and white stripe
marked Jet A fuel
tanks versus the clearly blue labelled and painted Avgas ones.
roamed the table as the others studied the images he quickly
projected onto a white brick wall near
their shared table using a cable wire
"Our Airport's FAA Identifier is the initials:
ISP. And our standard holding
pattern altitude is 1099 ft. MSL." he shared. "Probably not a fact
to memorize but handy to know nonetheless when listening in to
live approach and departure
radio traffic, don't you think?" Joe added
craftily in a hint. "Chris.. would you take over? I'll
dish out the pie. Only I
can do that fairly.."
"Hey, I protest.." said Hallie, pouting, hefting up a gooey serving knife.|
The others chuckled.
"Okay, it's true." she shrugged, plunking down into her seat politely
for the rest of the presentation.
Joe licked his fingers after doling out all twelve pieces of the pie.
The tall, dark haired
muscley older son of Joe, the fire chief, took up
the slack neatly. "In your folders, fellas, is a
list of our radio frequencies on a
laminated card. Please read them and then keep it with you at
We'll be using this information frequently during tomorrow's fuselage drill."
Main Airport Communications is CTAF: 119.3
LONG ISLAND GROUND: 135.3 [0600-2300]
ISLAND TOWER: 119.3, 335.5, 124.3, 239.3 [0600-2300]
NEW YORK APPROACH and DEPARTURE: 118.0
EMERG: 121.5 or 243.0
"Our airport's manager
is Theresa Ryder. She's in possession of a radio linked
to our station's first emergency frequency
listed on the card, at all times."
"I have a question for you. ISLIP's huge. How do you keep ahead
all the crime and medical transports when you get them?" asked Cap.
Chris grinned toothily,
pointing westward out a glass window to where
a wind sock was blowing in the cold, cloudy air. "The
Suffolk County Police
Aviation Section bases a Law Enforcement and MEDEVAC helicopter at the
The base is staffed 24 hours a day by Police Officer pilots as well
as a newly hired, experienced
Flight Paramedic employed by Stony Brook
University Hospital by the name of Steven Beck. The SCPD
the Town of Islip MacArthur Airport Police to provide law enforcement and
Gage piped up with active interest. "Police pilots? Would any of them be a
named Morgan Wainwright?"
"I'm afraid not." said Chris. "All the ones I know who work here are
guys." he replied.
"Oh. Too bad." Johnny said crestfallen. "I've got a date with that particular
girl later." he explained eagerly.
Roy leaned into Gage and nudged his shoulder. "Don't brag."
he stage whispered.
Nobody else noticed the exchange as Chris called up image after aerial image
of several planeview overheads looking down onto the airport.
"We have at any one time, 255 aircraft
on the field. One hundred fifty eight
private single engine aircraft, twenty six multi engine planes,
forty seven jet
airplanes, sixteen helicopters, private and commercial shipping, and eight military
aircraft." Rorchek explained.
"What are they doing here?" asked Hank curiously.
Rorchek, Joe's youngest son, spoke up, smiling with amusement. "Don't
know. Their missions are always
kept a secret."
"Maybe another war's gonna break out." mumbled Chet worriedly.
Marco complained to him about Viet Nam.
Chris began to lick his lips, thinking about the dessert
waiting for him
in the darkness. "Uh, Ted, you want to take over?"
"Sure." said his brother,
pushing away his empty pie plate.
The shorter, light, feather haired firefighter took away the
clicker from his sibling's open hand and continued on for their California
guests. "We average about 499 aircraft operations, landings,
takeoffs, passovers, or aborted approaches
per day, come rain, snow or
"Whew, and I thought LAX was busy." mumbled Marco.
"Mac Arthur is framed by four major roadways. Railroad Avenue N, |
Lincoln Avenue E, Lakeland Ave
SW, Smithtown Avenue W, Veterans
Memorial Highway 454 S. See the maps taped to the front of your
The gang did so, as Hallie turned on a small light on the stove so
could see better.
The youngest Rorchek smiled, indicating a new aerial image on the wall.
"We're much more than just runways and airport terminals. We're a fully
complex at MacArthur. We have aircraft hangers that
have welding and cutting operations, which hold
flammable liquids used in
paint stripping. We have a major fuel refinery with its extensive piping
two restaurants, a taxi and bus station, one hotel, a minor medical clinic, and a
height communications array which we share with a television
broadcasting station. We have a power
plant, and both bottled and bulk
oxygen storage tanks located in buildings adjacent to many active
and fuel sources."
Joe Rorchek piped up, speaking from the darkness where he sat, still
paying close attention. "To organize and navigate such a complex set up, we
operate all positional
references based on an alphanumeric azimuth grid system.
In the event of an emergency, copies of
this daily will be distributed to all control
tower personnel, emergency response vehicles and ambulances
in our service
area, between our own fire rescue teams and to any others with legal, legitimate
"You mean, like the press?" Kelly guessed unpleasantly.
"Like the press."
Joe agreed equally vehement emotionally. "They may not be
allowed to film any accident scene, but
they can talk about it all they like. Getting
facts straight about where and what things are called
on the news if anything bad
happens, is still very high on Theresa Ryder's list, for the public's
"I guess." sighed Chet and Martelli together.
Ted imparted more for the Station
51 gang's orientation lecture.
"As airport rescue and fire fighting personnel, we have to know color
systems for all aspects of aircraft fueling and their runways traffic markings.
you only need to know just the one when driving out there. This
yellow triple band/bar and line pattern
that you see here. When you see one
of these on the pavement anywhere, at any time, stop on less
than a dime
and immediately look both ways. For seeing one in front of your bumper
means an aircraft's
coming in front of you from a perpendicular direction,
from either the left or the right in less
than a minute and a half." he warned.
When he felt that their firefighter guests had effectively
learned the marking, he
clicked back to the asimuth grid map from earlier. "The runway names at ISLIP
are based on the degrees of a directional compass. Their names at each end
are the degree headings
the pilot must enter in order to follow that particular
runway's exact parallel from its two available
relative approach directions."
"Wow, so he's given a navigational clue long before he even sees
"That's right. Some of these newer pilots coming in need all the
help they can
get. We're very near several flight schools." Ted chuckled. Then he rapidly
through several sheets of typed instructions. "Don't sweat these slides I
just rushed through. You'll
be learning all of our flights routes and landing and
takeoff procedures tomorrow when we get a tour
of the control tower." the short
light haired firefighter said.
During the next pause, Mike
Stoker raised a questioning hand. Ted called on him,
Stoker asked. "I'm curious.
What kinds of apparatus and equipment do you have
here that we don't have back home in California?"
Ted lifted his chin, peering around the kitchen. "Rags, where are you? You're
better than me on
that subject. Want in?"
"You bet." boomed the big bass voiced chef turned fireman. The burly dark skinned
in eagerly, catching Stoker's interested eyes with his own.
"Our basic equipment is pretty much the
same as yours at home. We have only minor
differences in protective gear. We have higher temperature
and aluminized hazardous
chemical tolerance grades, Levels One through Four. But be clear that none
can withstand any direct fire contact. Tool differences are serrated axes for metal
and mobile water tender vehicles that we can deploy to be feeder
tanks for either foam or water attacks.
Our handline hose techniques are the same
as the ones you guys are already familiar with but we use
them just for interior aircraft
operations or enclosed building fires only. And we have industrial
strength large size
pneumatic air bags which we can utilize to lift large aircraft or debris. Easy
to use. The higher you need something lifted, the more bags you fill. Just back up
lifts with normal cribbing."
Joe Rorchek turned on the lights suddenly and he faced everybody
thoughtful hands behind his back. "For standard operating procedures here,...at no
during any actual emergency, will any guest firefighter personnel be out of their
breathing apparatuses." he ordered directly.
"Consider one a permanent feature on your body to go
along with a pair of thermal
gloves you'll be receiving in the morning. For you two paramedics especially,
my orders. If we all get a call and fire victims need ventilating, use a positive pressure
valve mask from a separate air or oxygen resuscitator instead of donating your own
air masks. Is
"Yes, sir.." said the whole gang. Even Hank.
"Harris, sorry for interrupting.
Go ahead." prompted the chief, flicking off the lights again.
Rags, clicked to another photo slide
showing images of an aircraft on fire.
"Once fire is burning actively at an airport, all the air visually
contaminated by smoke is
automatically toxic due to the amount of fuel and chemical hazards we already
present in the areas that may have been compromised. Planes don't burn cleanly
other structures do."
He showed everyone a closeup of a stock image of an impossibly bright burst
of plasma around a doomed mock fuselage during an exercise.
"An aircraft crash is also a location
of a lot of magnesium fires which burn far
hotter than regular fire by many magnitudes. A mag fire
is one that only certain
chemicals put out. Water reacts with magnesium, causing large explosions
spread of more magnesium ignition points as you know."
Eagerly, Engineer Martelli
broke in. "Recently, us ARFF have developed a powder
called G-1 that we can hand shovel onto mag
fires to knock them down."
"Wow, a mag suppressing dry chemical that isn't sand?" Cap asked, amazed.
"That's right." Al told him happily.
"How much is needed?" Hank wondered.
an inch at the minimum." Martelli told him. "I've seen it work really fast
on a test fire."
nodded, too, continuing.
"Guys, our firefighting vehicles are larger than most non-airport apparatus
you might have seen, we're fully armoured against thermal radiation, with high
on all sides, including under the chassis to prevent any
spreading fire from burning the under carriage.
They can also provide two different
extinguishing agents at the same time. We use either water/foam..
or Halon 1301."
"What's Halon 1301?" Mike Stoker asked. It was a new technology to him.
replied, as she cleaned up empty dessert plates from the table quietly.
"It's a clean agent that
leaves no corrosive residue inside electrical gear or
computers when used. It vaporizes quickly into
clouds that break the chain of
almost any combustible reaction in progress chemically and by actively
displacing physical oxygen still in the air."
"Uhhh, so we can't be in an enclosed space when its used?" asked Chet.|
"Not unless you want to
suffocate." Hank said from the corner of his mouth.
Harris didn't laugh, letting that dangerous
warning soak in.
"Our foams of choice are two kinds. Alcohol Type Concentrate and Aqueous Film
Foam, which can be used with either fresh, salt or brackish water. Both
float on fuel, spread fast
and both have a bleeding effect which cools down burning
materials continually as they get agitated
by the flames. Also, they self seal
when disturbed, like soap bubbles, locking out exposure to the
Joe Rorchek added another caution.
"A side note. Be very familiar with what refill
containers your training firefighter shows
you and their differences tomorrow. If you were to accidently
combine ATC and
AFFF in the same tank, a gel forms that clogs up a turret nozzle allowing only water
to escape. And that's the last thing we need on a fuel fire that's still near any of our
"Oh, telling point." breathed Marco in horror. "I saw a rookie flare up an oil
fire in Burbank
once with a water line. He almost singed his captain in the process."
The others cringed.
Mike sat up straighter at a slide shot of one of the airport fire station's trucks in action.
kind of nozzles do you use? I can't tell."
"Strictly nonaspirating. We've found they provide greater
water pressures and can
deliver their streams much farther out from the trucks." Al Martelli replied.
"Our first in vehicle of choice out of our two crash response trucks is the RIV or
vehicle. It has the ability to get to an incident site, three minutes
after receiving the initial
alarm call, to anywhere on the airport grounds. It's designed
to extinguish the fire before rescue
personnel enter the effected aircraft or structure."
Hallie looked up, gesturing at the well lit
garage bay shining through the window
at them from the top of the stairs. "We also have various smaller
rescue and medical
units we can deploy for strictly medical calls not involving heavy extrication
Green shared as she began to wash the dishes she had gathered quietly.
at Station 51's men one by one.
"Keep in mind that all of our trucks can lay ground sweeping foam
or perform roof
mounted turret attacks, so if we get a Code Red, hop into the first one nearest you.
It'll be good enough."
Chris, the tall brother answered the question that was in Roy's eyes, unspoken.|
"Also in any emergency,
we have a doctor on stand by who can fly out to us
on very short notice from a nearby county park's
hospital to oversee any
serious medical call that might need a paramedic."
Johnny lit up in
sudden recognition at an idea. "Would her name by any chance be
right." Chris replied, surprised. "Have you met?
"You can say that for sure. We're.." Gage smirked
cattily, opening his mouth.
"...well aquainted." broke in Cap. "We hunted the park before we came
did a few first aid assists in between." he explained, clearing out his throat before
embarrassed them all with another Don Juan story.
"Oh. She's nice." Chris agreed, suddenly dreamy.
Joe Rorchek stood up again, taking the slide show control from Martelli's
"I'll finish up here. This next bit's very important to get down right the first time."
ordered, not being offensive.
"Light signals. Learn these next five. In the event of a power out,
the control tower
will use the following signals using a naval light gun. Flashing green light- Clear
proceed down runway. Steady red light- Stop. Do not enter. Flashing red light
runway lights- Clear active runway or landing area immediately. Flashing
white lights- Return to
fire station or starting point. Alternating green/ red flashing
lights- That one is not so specific.
It's a general warning. Exercise extreme caution."
The chief ended the slide show visuals
and Rags got up to turn the main lights back
on full. "Our back up sister station is the Holbrook
Fire Department at 390 Terry
Boulevard. That's seven blocks directly east of our location from the
have three substations. Headquarters (Lighting Engine Company, Jupiter Truck
& Fire-Medic Company) housing 1 engine, 1 tower ladder, 1 heavy
rescue, 2 ambulances, 1 brush truck
& numerous first responder & support
vehicles. Sub-Station 1 (Sun-Vet Engine Company) is located
on Church St
west of Broadway Ave housing 2 engines & 1 mini-pumper & a van. Sub-Station 2
Engine Company) is located on Patchogue-Holbrook Rd & Greenbelt
Pkwy, houses 2 engines, 1 ambulance
& 1 mini-pumper. Josh Tyler is the top
chief. He's a good man. His call sign's on your cards."
Joe invited the gang to leave their dishes for Hallie and follow him down into
the cavernous vehicle
bay below them. He led them by each huge fire response
truck in turn as Al Martelli and the others
each took a truck and fired up their lights
and interior consoles for their guests, for show.
The chief added onto his talk.|
"Halbrook Headquarters is our secondary command center of choice if
one cannot be found at the airport during an actual incident."
Cap asked the question.
"Has one ever occurred here at ISLIP?"
"Yes. On April 4, 1955, a United Airlines test flight crashed
shortly after take off
at MacArthur. The flight killed everyone onboard which included three crew
members. The coast bound lost control soon after take off." Chris added.
"What was the cause?"
Joe sighed sadly, pointing to a photograph of the wreckage framed and hung
the brick wall near them. "The investigators finally decided it ten years later.
They ruled that
it was most likely a bird strike."
"Didn't the control tower notice flocks flying overhead that
day? You're so
near the ocean." Marco remarked, startled.
Chris shrugged morosely, remembering
his airport's history.
"We didn't have a decent radar back then to differentiate a flock from just
minor wind activity. If we had, we would have aborted that take off immediately,
mister. It was a
telling mistake. We finally got our specialized radar two year later
when the military moved in. It
was their official offer for some space to set up a base
of operations. They've been here ever since."
"Will they be deployed in the event of a mass casualty call?" Hank asked.
"Yes. They'll shuttle
supplies from the medical clinic to where we say
and fly patients and bodies out as needed to area
facilities." Joe answered.
"Bodies?" Chet gulped.
"I'm afraid so." Al Martelli told him.
Joe studied the ground and shuffled one well polished shoe.
"Crashes at airports have a high
risk of incurring fatalities, no matter how soft
an impact impaired planes might experience. They're
very fragile things."
"Hmm.." Kelly mumbled.
Marco leaned into him, whispering. "Think
about it. A jet airliner is essentially a
tin can on a rocket fuel tank surrounded by fresh oxygen
and an electrical power
"What a scary thought. No wonder I don't like flying." Chet
"We could always go back to snail slow hot air balloons and zephyrs." Marco
"That'll really be a boost for the sake of progress." Kelly said sarcastically.
fifty years." Mike Stoker piped up.
"Shh, I'm trying to listen.." said Gage, hanging on Joe's
On a different tack, the white haired Rorchek looked up.
"That's all for tonight,
boys." said the chief, sensing that he was losing
his audience. "Shower, hit the head, change into
your uniforms, and then Rags'll
drag out the medical gear so Roy and Johnny can familiarize themselves
what we use. We have a busy night in store for us. The terminal's at peak
capacity. It's the
usual crunch "holiday"." he remarked dryly, using local talk.
"Oh?" asked Cap. "Which?" Hank and
the gang didn't get the joke the other
ARFFers were groaning at.
"It's a Monday. Glad we all
got in a solid meal." Joe replied wearily, shrugging
as he headed for the radio room. "See you fellas
later for the 1800 hours staff
briefing back upstairs? It'd be nice if we got one in before the radios
jumping with mundane medical calls."
"You got it." Hank said for all of his men.
Subject: Storm Presence...
From: patti k (email@example.com)
Sent: Thu 7/30/09 9:33 PM
Roy and Johnny saundered into the kitchen area where another pot of
steaming soup had been placed on the table with ample hard rolls for
dipping along with decanters
of strong coffee. They helped themselves,
knowing the food was a buffer against some new weather
that was moving
into MacArthur Airport's immediate neighborhood.
They eyed up the windows
of the firehouse observation deck overlooking
all the runways with an appraising eye.
Rorchek noticed. "Snow for tomorrow morning. But that won't
be the ongoing issue for the tower boys
then. The ocean fog around three
a.m. will be the telling factor. We get an inversion layer this time
that obsures even our high intensity lights. Arrivals will be running on instruments
And when the ground's warm and the air's cold above, we usually get some
minor icing problems on
the smaller airplanes on approach. Their ailerons have
a tendency to get stiff and slow to respond.
Might make for a few sticky
situations for any new incoming pilots not yet familiar or comfortable
our runways' non-traditional layout. One or two newbies usually freak out and
flyby or two for a missed landing."
"What happens then, for us, staffing wise?" Roy asked.
"We might roll out for those calls as standbys, running dark so any passengers
won't see us waiting
in the wings."
"It'll be that bad, eh?" Kelly remarked.
"That's not bad at all. Just
the usual standard operating procedures cautions.
Pilots have to learn how to fly somewhere, don't
they?" Ted chuckled.
Joe bit into a bread roll with relish as he doled out his soup. "The control
gets a little nuts on the radio during the first hours of gray out and we're gonna leave
entirely alone for the duration, being the nice professional little airport
firefighters that we
are... Isn't that right, boys?" he hinted to Ted, Rags, Chris and
Chet in a warning to stave off
any future planned prank calls or security camera
tampering that they had currently percolating on
the back burner for their practical
joke rivals in the control tower.
"We're angels, chief."
Harris promised. "See our halos?"
"They're glowing." the elder Rorchek quipped. "Keep them shiny."
DeSoto had a question. "If Johnny and I have to use any controlled medications,
where do we resupply?
At Stony Brook Hospital?"
Joe shook his head.
"We have a pharmaceuticals cabinet downstairs,
locked. Here's the combination."
he offered, writing down the number sequence onto a piece of paper
pocket notebook. "It's located next to the squad's diesel pump, west side wall. It's
You'll also find our medical oxygen cylinders stored on a rack there adjacent.
The paramedic med
use forms are in every truck and on a slateboard hanging by
that cabinet. If you need a doctor or
more paramedic backup, just use your handheld
radios and ask for them. They'll respond in person to
you usually within four minutes."
"How come?" Gage asked, surprised.
Hallie Green spoke
"We've no hospital base station set up at Brook for us per se. Our administrators
order on scene interaction when it's needed since we have several necessary radio
black out regions
in the terminal so the control tower can operate freely without radar
interference. A biophone would
screw up the works or just get entirely masked
"I hadn't considered that." Johnny said
Joe snapped his fingers, remembering something else. "Oh, another thing. Any
or chopper crew you summon, will find you automatically. Security always
escorts them in to the medical
or fire site."
"Thanks." Roy smiled, taking the slip and putting it in his pocket. "Your gear's
standard from what we saw. With a few unexpected extras."
Gage laughed. "Yeah, like those
instant heating pads. Didn't even know they made
em that big."
"Our service area gets a lot
of low body temperature incidents. Even on just injured
employee calls. Most folks who work out here
are running around in the weather for
their whole eight hour shift and some regular "offenders" never
ever seem to find
proper time enough to eat for refueling when we get our busier periods." Chris
"Boy did we learn that this weekend with a couple of kayakers." Hank said. "Felt
strain ourselves a few times."
Gage cleared his throat uncomfortably, remembering his
river diving experience.
Cap didn't look at him nor did he clarify that point to spare Johnny
some still fresh
"Hence the soup." Harris rumbled, pointing to their meal source. "It's a permanent |
fixture on the
kitchen table every fall and winter." Rags said, stirring the big pot
lovingly. "I keep it full and
steaming, twenty four/seven. At my expense."
"Wow, thanks." said Marco.
"No problem. Just
keep yourselves warm and healthy, and I'll be happy." he nodded
seriously. "Some of the runway crew
are starting to take me up on my open invitation.
You might see a couple of shivering strangers coming
in here every once in a while
to chow down. Let them."
"Can we throw a blanket or two at them
while they're here?" Roy smirked.
"Feel free." Rags said. "That's what Hallie does. They never
yell at her. She's a girl."
"Who says?" Green protested. "I get a lot of trucker mouth attitude
on a lot of days."
"Yeah, but then they hush up fast when you throw only a smile at them." Al
Hallie preened. "Huh." she smirked happily."Guess it's my Southern charms.
a lesson from me."
"No thanks. I covet my tough New York City exterior." said the curly
engineer. "It makes people listen. They all just get out of my way whenever
in my trucks."
"They get out of the way because our fire trucks are monsters, Al." Ted teased.
"Whatever.." Martelli scoffed, slurping his soup noisily, mock offended.
into the Station 51 gang. "He's really a softie." she whispered.
"Only wants to be tough."
you mean like Stoker here?" Johnny quipped, pointing across the table to
where their own engineer
was peppering his minestrone.
The phone on the wall rang. Al and Chris had
a race to see who answered it first.
Chris won. "ISLIP Fire and Rescue.." His eyes glazed over as
connected him. Then his expression dawned in understanding. "Oh, ok. The dark
one who's naturally tan? Yeah, he's right here. I'll put him on." Then he
cradled the receiver in
his hand. "John Gage? This is for you."
"Me?" Johnny puzzled. Then his whole face lit up. "Maybe
that's Morgan!" He
said brightly. He clapped his hands together in celebration with a hoot.
sweetheart. Are you keep your rotors hot? I miss you so much I'm aching."
he said, taking the phone
from the tallest Rorchek, who scoffed laughed as he
walked away when he overheard that remark. Johnny
frowned at him, not
getting the joke.
Dixie McCall pulled the phone away from her ear on the
other end of the line
to save an eardrum or two. ## I guess I miss you, too, Honey Buns." she guffawed.
Gage immediately colored. "Oh! Geez. I'm SO sorry, Dix. I thought you were--"
##..somebody else. I can just imagine.## she drolled in smokey amusement. |
"So, how's it going out
there in Winter Wonderland? You boys having fun yet?"
"Just getting started." Johnny said, suddenly
switching on the speaker phone so
everybody else could hear the conversation. "We had a couple of
first aid assists
with some of the rangers at the park, but nothing big. And get this. Chet bagged
first deer! Smile! You're on speaker."
##He did? I am? Well congratulations, Chet! I think
I'll bum a steak or two off you
when you get back.## Dixie's warm voice said, filling the kitchen.
Kelly chuckled. "You got it. How's tricks?"
## Not cooking. Rampart's been slow. Dr. Brackett's
doing his usual manic thing
climbing the walls in the ER, harrassing all the nursing students again.
break. And Dr. Morton's busy with the second call of the evening. A kid with a bean
in his ear.##
"Rivetting." Gage quipped. "We're just eating and getting all aquainted over here."
"Like a fish to water." Cap amended.
Gage sniggered. "Yeah, practical jokes and everything.
Boy, was this phone call a
surprise. We're sure glad you called just to check up on little ol' us."
##My pleasure. I was bored and, the whole place just isn't the same without you fellas
up some business, so hurry back.##
"Don't rush us. We've a whole, brand new occupation to learn."
Cap laughed, cupping
his hand over his mouth so his voice carried.
##So learn fast!## Dixie
fired back over the intercom. ## Then don't use it in real life or
I'll start to fret if I hear about
it on the news. And that's the last thing I need. I've already
had too much coffee.##
always Narcan." Roy teased her.
##Funny man. Joanne says hi. I just spoke to her. She was bored,
too, with both the
kids off to camp.##
"That was planned." said Roy.
##Yeah, but you're
not together.## McCall chided lightly.
"We have the rest of our lives to do that once the kids
graduate college and move out.
There's no rush." DeSoto told her, amused. "I could say the same thing
about you and
Kel, if I wanted to be real nosy."
##Probe away. And I have an answer for you,
Roy. I don't think Admin would like it too
much if a doctor and his nurse were to act like an item
while we're still on duty.##
Chet jumped on the bandwagon. "Yeah, but you guys get off duty. Same
as we do."
##Not this month.## Dixie snorted. ##Upstairs so far, has scheduled us completely
opposite, the evil witch.##
"Dixie!" Johnny chided, surprised at the comment.
must be true. Just the other day, she called down asking if I was happy just
for the sake of argument.##
"Oh, yeah? What did you tell her?" Stoker wondered, biting his lip in amusement.
her that if she was looking for a place to sharpen her pencils, her brand new
office was plenty good
enough, without getting overly defensive.##
"That's pretty neutral." Hank agreed, smiling.
##D*med straight. And she got the message, too. Hopefully Kel and I can start having
by the beginning of next week. Well, got to go. Looks like a baby
with the sniffles just walked in.##
"See you later, Dix. Bye bye." Gage said, and he hung up the phone.
"Formidable woman." Ted
pursed his lip.
"That's our head nurse back at home. She trained both Johnny and I in as paramedics."
Roy shared. "We all love her as better than a good friend."
"I can tell. Wish our nursing
staff at the hospital were as friendly." Hallie said.
"Ours seems to have a thing against paramedics.
They say it should be outlawed that
there are people outside of the hospital setting, who are practicing
"That's insane. We save a h*ll of a lot of lives." Gage gaped.
we keep telling them." Chris said. "But they won't listen."
Johnny was suddenly rapt and very
"They will. They did back at home enough to start us out." Gage insisted. "Maybe it'll
something big with EMS and Fire all working in action together, out here,
for them to start changing
"I hope that's not the only way to prove our worth." Joe mused. "I simply refuse
believe that there isn't one person in town at the hospital who doesn't have an open
And I've always been a strong advocate for paramedics in the firehouse."
"Here. Here." said Cap.
"Took me a while myself, but now I love em."
Just then, Steven Beck walked in, the flight paramedic
from the medical center.
His parka was wet with icy sleet and he was soaked to the skin. "Ah, the
crew. Just the men I wanted to see." Then he turned to Joe. "Chief, I think we
a situation developing."
"Oh?" Rorchek entoned, suddenly standing. Both men headed for the radio room.|
"Steven, has the CT
issued an alert for your choppers?"
"No. We've just been grounded by the weather."
go." Joe gestured to the others. "Whatever's going on is sure to involve all
abandoned their soup bowls and followed.
In the control tower, things were far from peaceful as full night fell over the airfield.
Skidwell, the supervisor on duty, grabbed another microphone from the
counter. "CN6541, do you copy?
Tune to audio and listen for one of the four
"OLD FIELD POINT LIGHT
at 189/10.9 316 13W OP." And he played its
signature over the airwaves in Morse Code. " --- .--."
" BABYLON at 074/14.9 275 14W BBN " -... -... -."
"CLERA at 193/35.2 362 14W JWE
" .--- .-- . "
"or BRIDGE at 081/38.1 414 12W OGY " --- --. -.-- " " he shared calmly.
Mike Porter, the air traffic controller who had alerted his boss a few minutes earlier,
Gene in. "Steven Beck radioed that he had seen an aircraft off course
over the ocean while he was
landing. It's gotta be them." he said, fingering their
current target's trajectory on the radar scope
underneath his fingertips.
"Any voice reply back at all?"
"No. But their transponder's working
just fine and so's his altimeter. It looks like he's
just a little side stepped." Skidwell gathered.
He toggled the master switch again.
"CN6541, do you read? This is ISP CT on CTAF: 119.3. Respond
to our directive.
You are off course."
There only came static.
Skidwell ran his fingers
through his suddenly sweaty, thinning, gray hair.
"All right. Communications fault or not. This is
oddness personified." Gene
made a decision. "Roll the fire station. Code Red, all equipment." He
in stress trying to relieve it. "We're all but blind here." Then he bit his lip,
his quick thinking, but delaying anse. "I know, we can put the military on
alert to intercept for
Mike startled, and his shock of brown wavy hair was sent rippling.
never used them that way before. Not in the whole history of-"
Porter minced, indecisive because a
normal flying plane, was remaining silent.
"Just do it!" Skidwell spat. "And tell them I don't
know what runway yet."
Mike Porter scrambled to carry out his orders.
hit another button on their console that sent an active
emergency alert out to all incoming aircraft.
He backed up its automated
signal with a vocal message. "All incoming flights to ISP. Holding pattern.
I repeat. Holding pattern. We have an inflight emergency. Switch to 121.5
EMERG for further
information. All pending departures: Halt. Come to a
complete stop off all runways. Then wait for
further instructions. All flights
in range, clear the airwaves. This is ISP CT issuing Emergency
The red phone
on Airport Manager Theresa Ryder's desk rang just once
before she picked it up. "Ryder here." she
said tersely, sitting up a little
straighter as her eyes automatically flew to the window facing the
airfield. "Gene? How bad is it?"
##As bad as hypothetically possible. A small inbound with twelve
an electrical problem and is offcourse fifteen nautical miles out over the ocean.
aren't responding to any hail but neither are they losing altitude.## Skidwell
informed her. ##I've
cleared the skies and stopped ground taxis to free up the
"Have you rolled the equipment?"
##Yes, a minute ago to stand by. But... I want to take this a step further.##
## Let's get a recon jet in the air to find and guide them in visually. ##
nervously roaming fingers, trying to light a cigarette, dropped both.
"Can we even do that?" She said,
grabbing her short black hair.
There was a pregnant pause on the phone. ##We can always ask. Beacon
aren't getting through according to our instruments. We think.....they may have
systems fire on board.##
"Well why haven't any of their instrumentation panels picked that up
demanded, finally shaking off her too tight business suit jacket for more breathing
## You know how some of these smaller corporate jets are run. Big on luxury, short
"...maintenance repairs. Yes I know. The bane of my existence. But they generate
All right. I'll call the white hotline to the military base and explain the
situation. Oh, Gene,
before you go..." she said before he hung up.
"Start praying. We need all the
help we can get."
Click the blowing leaves |
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