Johnny grinned crookedly, still coming down from being very relieved about|
Dixie's rapid recovery.
"I've got her on a Ringer's, wide open, to replenish that lost
blood volume. The coroner didn't object."
"Mine's on a D5/NormalSaline, as a precautionary." DeSoto said.
here." said Brice about Miss Burns. "Made sense, since everyone
who's a patient is either a minor
surgery candidate or suffering from nausea.
Food, for them, is out, so a little glucose is definitely
Right then, their HT crackled along with Vince's. ##905 on emergency police
Officer Howard.## came Les Taylor's voice.
Vince lifted his handy talkie. "Go ahead."
on the freeway headed for Mt. Sinai Hospital. There are four ambulances
there, off loading, according
to their E.R.'s head nurse. We'll let you know when
we've snagged one to come back with us to the
"I'll let them know." Howard promised.
Johnny held up his hand.
"Vince, we don't
actually need a Mayfair. We've got all the medical resources we
need right here. We brought them
with us. I'm sure those animal control officers
mean well, but my Rover'll work just fine getting
these guys to the hospital." Johnny
said. "The sooner the better. All we have to do is improvise
a couple of stretchers."
Marco Lopez and the engineer volunteered securing an escape route.
climb up to an upper story in the mall and take a look around out the window
to see if things to the
south are still safe."
"Here. Take my radio." Vince offered. "I'm not going anywhere. You people
"Thanks." said the engineer.
"I'll go with you." offered Brice.
"I could use the exercise to get warmer."
Donning their rain gear, the three firefighters left
the surgical bay slowly, carefully
feeling the way underfoot in the rising mud, step by step, to
Brice, Lopez and Stoker returned a short minute later, their faces paling at
they had seen out the windows.
The first thing they heard as they hurried back into their refuge,
Walters arguing with the room at large.
"What are we still doing inside of this
heavily damaged building? I thought that kind
of search and rescue option was seriously frowned upon
in official fire department
rules and regs." Sharon spat, angry at their lack of common sense.
Before Gage could explain the medical reason why, the floor beneath their feet
suddenly began shuddering,
its layer of thick mud quivering like shaking jello.
Brice decided that the best way to break
very bad news was to share it quickly.
"Feel that, Sharon? That's not your ordinary, garden variety,
every day earthquake.
Guys, we're in serious trouble. This whole hillside has decided to take the
and all of us, for a little ride down into the canyon." Brice told her. "We just found
that the whole block is moving on top of a giant river of mud."
"Well that sure solves
the ambulance or Rover debate. We sure as hell can't
go outside any more." Roy nodded empathetically.
"So glad I parked on top of the ridge." Johnny said in relief. "The surrounding parking
probably been smothered and ground underneath the foundation by now."
"Yep." said Marco. "We didn't
recognize anything familar out there. Everything with
"And so's the county
meat wagon." Sam said as he began to glare at Quincy.
"Oops. Sorry, Sam. I'm not a firefighter.
I can't plan ahead like they do. I've tried."
"So where's the safest place going to be?" Roy
asked. "All the main support beams
holding up each mall level are most likely going to fail eventually."
"Right here, gentlemen." Vince told them. "From what I remember, the vet hospital
of the original mall design. It was a separate building that was tacked on
at one end of it, as an
after thought, to upgrade the city plan in later years. There are
no sky lights or elevator shafts
to weaken our infrastructure. It's all solid concrete,
like a bunker."
"So we're lucky again."
said Quincy. "But trapped. Like fishermen on an ice floe."
"But gentlemen, my secretary's arm
can't wait. The swelling in that limb is
getting worse by the hour." Coolidge argued.
is a bad break." Quincy agreed. "One that will need surgery A.S.A.P. or she'll
lose the hand."
Medical frustration and a little fear started a verbal free for all.
"How about a chopper? Can't
they pick us up, one by one.. from a....a balcony
or something?" Sharon wondered.
all grounded." Stoker told him. "They can't fly in storm conditions like this."
"Maybe after the
storm's over." Sharon said, still off on her own line of thought.
"Maybe we can hike out somehow."
"We can't go on the roof now. Not without getting fried by all that lightning."
Craig was thoughtful and he agreed with DeSoto mentally. ::This is truly bad. This
might be an ARKstorm like the news said. I can't remember the last time I've ever
seen constant lightning
like this lasting more than twelve hours in the same day. ::
Brice pitched his voice a little
louder, more insistent. "Guys,... we have to think
long term. This rain is not going to end in an
hour or two. It's going to last more
like weeks. I just remembered some history." Brice shared. "In
January 1862, for
thirty days and thirty nights, rain fell in unending torrents. Rivers of water
ten feet deep
flowed through the streets of Sacramento, and 29.28 inches of rain had fallen on San
Francisco. The mining town of Sonora just east of here received 8.5 feet of rain over
period. The resulting floods inundated the Central Valley with a lake 300
miles long and 20 miles
wide. And part of the shoreline of that, was in the very same
canyon that's right below us."
"Precisely where we're heading.." Johnny groused, rubbing his face wearily. "Just
Marco piped up. "Listen guys, we're firemen, we fight fire. How the hell
are the five
of us going to fight a flood of mud a whole valley wide?"
"We don't." Roy answered.|
Johnny shot to his feet from the stool he had been sitting on.
It's time to add our S.O.S. to the big pile of others." Gage frowned, lifting up
one of the HTs lined
up along the table. "This sliding thing has up'd the ante, so I'm
going to pull out the a-brother-needs-help-now
Marco chuckled. "Neither Cap nor the chiefs are gonna yell at us for doing this. We're
officially off duty on medical leave, yeah, but this is a biblical sized natural disaster,
house fire. This could have happened to one of our own private homes anyway,
by a look of the size
Johnny switched from police to fire department frequencies. "Break. Break. Break. HT
## Go ahead, 51.## came Sam Lanier's voice. Its tone was curious, but calm.
a very welcome sound to hear. One that generated a feeling of hope in spades.
"L.A., myself and
nine other souls, including four other firefighters, are at the Five Points
Plaza in Realto. I'm reporting
that we are a physical danger risk. The whole mountainside
has given way to a mudslide and our entire
city block has been dislodged from
its bedrock and is moving downhill towards the canyon. We've four
all stable. We're safe for the moment but are in jeopardy and need immediate
Can you assist?"
##Stand by, 51. Referring your status to multiple incident commanders in your
Sharon was puzzled. "Well what does that mean?" she asked.
Brice started smiling,
really big. "That means that very soon, every firefighter known to man
is going to be sent or will
show up here on their own, even if they're wearing pajamas, to try
and save us."
It was Quincy's turn at a shift to monitor Dixie, when she awakened.
"So this is the latest
fashion in cadaver wear. Should have been a nice shade of yellow.
Cheerier." she gasped through her
"Guys." the coroner alerted. "She's conscious."
Getting to their feet, the
others quickly circled Dixie's table, offering encouragement.
Even Boot joined in, leaping onto a
counter top, so he could see her better.
"Hey.. " Roy celebrated. "How are you doing?"
almost earned a halo today, huh?" McCall whispered, about the CPR bruise she
on her chest with both hands.
"Not quite. All of us aren't through with you yet. Sharon said she
doesn't want to
take over and be head nurse at Rampart." Gage quipped.
"Liar." Walters joked,
taking Dixie's hand.
Dixie began to laugh but it soon turned into a very real and ugly grimace
"Am I paralyzed?" she asked. "I can't move my legs."
Horror washed through every
single one of them.
From: patti keiper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Wed 5/08/13 11:50 PM
Unzipping the body bag down to Dixie's thick
blankets, Roy uncovered
both legs. They were trembling and goose fleshed, as if the nurse was
DeSoto felt her skin. "Your skin's warm enough. Can you feel this?"
he asked, pulling out a pair
of bandage shears from a nearby kit. He ran the
tips of their blunt ends up the sole of one of her
feet from heel to toes.
Dixie let out the breath she was holding with carefully controlled
"No. Not even a little bit." she croaked. Then she
started looking around the room, still startled
and getting her bearings.
"W-What happened to me?"
"A mudslide threw you into a cabinet, we
think.." replied Quincy. "..right
before it buried you up to the ears. We had to work fast to get
of it for ventilating." he admitted. "Do you feel any pain at all
in your lower back?"
"None. Not even a little bit. Am I hurt anywhere else?" she asked, with the
frightened tears beginning to leak out of the corners of her eyes
from her growing sense of vulnerability.
"There's got to be a good reason
why I can't feel anything..*sniff* Even I know that."
heart monitor began to sound out a tachycardia threshold warning
with Dixie's rising anxiety level.
Johnny quickly slapped off the audible to end the distraction. "Shh, stay
calm, Dixie. Breathe
nice and slow. The oxygen's going to help."
"Oh, Dixie.." Sharon whispered. "Don't be afraid."
she said, her lip
quivering as she failed to hide her own fear. "We'll figure this out."
Fujiyama had a chin in his hand and a thoughtful finger over his
mouth as he thought hard about something.
"Miss McCall what exactly do
you remember happening before you woke up just now?"
and struggled to concentrate. "Uh..I remember the storm.
A ...loud clap of thunder.. uh.. Boot really
yelped and started scrambling
to hide. I think I started to crouch down to reassure him a bit when
Quincy's eyes suddenly lit up with energy. "Miss McCall, exactly
were you standing? This may be an important clue."
"I was ... uh,... over there by the--" she
said, pointing. "Oh, the window's
gone?!" she said with surprise, noticing all the structural damage
her for the first time.
"Half the mall, is, too." Johnny interrupted. "Look, Dixie.
Never mind about
that for now. Just try to focus on the question." he said, frustrated. "We have
to figure out how why your legs are numb here."
It was Mike Stoker who spotted it. "Hey, guys..
Look at the TV set. The screen's
glass has turned brown and its cabinet's been partially melted."
"We had a fire?" Marco asked, smelling the air. "I don't smell any smoke."
"No..no! Not a
fire." Quincy said, leaping to his feet. "Lightning!" he said in
excited discovery. "It all makes
sense now. Both her sudden cardiac arrest for
no apparent reason at all and her initial poor breathing
attempts. Now these
unexplained muscle tremors. Initially we thought her ongoing dypsnea was
she was getting crushed by all of that mud! But that wasn't the real
cause at all. It was because
her muscles were still seizing from left over,
Sam was still putting pieces together.
"Electrical shock which had come down
through the rain, through a mudslide shattering window, down
the antennae wire,
and out the boob tube."
"Right into Dixie."
Quincy snapped his fingers
with the diagnosis. "Keraunoparalysis. It's the only
thing that makes any sense here, fellas. That
mud's far too soft to have caused
any spinal damage, even if she was flung into it from across the
"If so, then there'd be spidering." Brice added.
"Yes." Quincy agreed.
a thought, Roy took out a gauze pad and soaked it with his water bottle. He
used it and began cleaning
off the large patch of dried blood around Dixie's
clamped off leg wound to expose the skin underneath.
Seconds later, he found
the telltale markings.
Thin, faintly red and feathery. Like a fern.
"There they are. Lichtenberg figures.
They've already mostly faded away." he said, tracing across
a few of them with
"So I was zapped both by G*d and a defibrillator today. Is my hair curly?" Dixie |
tried to joke. But
the others were too busy feeling relieved to notice. But she
was smiling big, under her O2 mask,
right along with the rest of them. ::I'm
only going to be crippled for a couple of hours until my
nerves sort themselves
out.:: she thought, suddenly very groggy. ::When I can wiggle my toes, I promise
I'll celebrate with a very large, hot, cup of c--.::
Sharon covered Dixie up again for comfort
and watched as her exhausted boss
fell quickly asleep. Slowly, the EKG monitor settled into a normal
On the other side of the room, still taking a ventilator shift on the ambu bag
the sedated secretary, Marco glanced up at Roy, as he bagged the
woman's oxygen in and out. "Is Dixie
going to be okay? I thought she was
awake for moment there."
"Yeah, she will be. And she was.
She just scared us for a moment with
secondary complications that're gonna be only temporary." DeSoto
"Speaking of which, are you noticing any on our patient here?"
"She's fine. She's not
popping around her ET or trying to gag. And her pulse's still
the same steady rate she had when you
guys first intubated her." he reported.
Then he leaned forward without missing a beat on the hand
deliveries to whisper confidentially in Roy's ear. "Was this really the best thing
do for her?" he asked, shrugged a shoulder down at Miss Burns.
"Yes, it was absolutely the
right decision, Marco." Roy told him as he double checked
the status of her breathing tube with a
stethoscope. "You see, she wasn't handling
the idea of being injured very well. Even with just that
broken arm. Some people can't
deal with blood or bumps and bruises on themselves without freaking
born high strung. What we call nervous types. She happens to be one of those. If we
hadn't have done anything, she would have eventually worked herself into a deeper
shock and into
life threatening trouble if we hadn't detached her mind from the rest
some dried mud off of his nose that had been itching him.
"I guess I'm not used to the finer points
of aggressive emergency treatment yet.
It didn't seem like her broken arm was enough to warrant full
life support like this."
Lopez shared, his face half worried, half thoughtful.
that Marco's empathy was a little on overdrive, a souvenir from
their nightmare hostage situation
from the day before. He kept his face gentle.
"Let me let you in on a little secret." Then it was
Roy's turn to lean in to Marco's ear.
"Everything a paramedic does is life support. It's just a matter
of how much and to what
degree until a doctor or a surgeon at a hospital can take over to permanently
fix all of
the problems." Then he looked at his watch and turned to inject another dose of
to the secretary's I.V. a few seconds early. "Hang tight. Stoker will be over
to relieve you at this
in five minutes." he said as he stood back up again. "Then
you'll be able to shake some of those
cramps out of your fingers. Try using both
hands bagging, it's easier for long term resuscitating."
"Okay." Marco said on auto pilot. He was still looking and feeling very responsible for
well being, so Roy gave him an encouraging pat on a shoulder before
he moved on to check up on the
Craig Brice sat down next to Johnny Gage at the radio table. "So. This
is new. " he
shrugged, about the mud jello quivering floor as they were carried inch by inch
by the massive mud river writhing beneath the foundation. "What do
you think our chances for survival
Johnny had the decency to be honest.
"I haven't a clue. Aren't you the usual walking
book of statistics and procedures?" he
teased with a grin, as he double checked the volume remaining
on the spare oxygen
tanks lying on the table in front of them.
Craig pulled a blanket around
himself to keep a little warmer. The circles under his
eyes were a little darker, but the vitality
he had was still unwavering. "I can't say I've ever
gone down a hill using a building as a sled.
So I can't even begin to guess on those odds."
"Ah, now that's the gist of this, Brice. That's
a paramedic skill you seriously need to work
"Oh? And exactly what skill am I lacking?"
he grinned, accepting the challenge by casually
lacing his fingers onto the table top. It felt good
reviving some friendly rivalry.
"Guessing on things. I've been trying to tell you that for years."
Craig rubbed his red eyes wearily with a few knuckles as he picked at some pack
"I've always thought that being accurate, using known facts, was more important
"Oh, they are. But just look at us. Here. Right now. Brice, we don't have any facts.
Just what we
can see and hear and feel with our five senses. It's kind of invigorating,
you know what I mean?"
he said, taking in a huge cleansing breath.
Brice squinted at him like he had sprung a third eyeball.
"You're still feeling the
effects of post traumatic stress disorder. Come on, Mr. Gage. Euphoria
the face of mortal danger? We might all die." he said empathetically. "And all of this
"Yeah, it does. It does. But in this case, we won't see it coming if death comes.
like having a loaded gun pointed at you. That's liberating." he said with fierce passion.
feeling quite alive and that may just be enough to save my butt, or my ability to save
else's, on some life or death snap decision later on." he pointed out, still
smiling. Then he noticed
Brice's face. "Don't worry about the logic of it, Brice. You'll
never figure it out until you've
lived through exactly the same thing we did." concluded
Johnny as he methodically grabbed out a peanut
from Craig's snack pouch to munch on.
Mike Stoker was busy improving a trio of stretchers made
from unassembled animal
crates and cages. "Hey, Doc." he called out.
"Yeah?" Barney Coolidge
replied, opening his eyes from the light doze he had
"Can I use your block and
tackle and the chains from your livestock Hoyer lift
to make a few stokes web slings? I think we could
use it to get out of here."
said the engineer.
"Be my guest. I really don't think I'll be saving
anything from the office once
Mother Nature gets through with it. I'll be happy enough with just my
you very much." the vet replied.
"Oh, and Boot's." he added, welcoming
the dog into his lap as the shaggy mutt
began to wash some blood flakes off of his face with a busy
tongue. "It's hard
to believe this dog's really not a bitch."
"A what?" Sharon Walters exclaimed
from her seat by Dixie's table.
"A female dog." Barney shrugged scientifically. "He treats people
as if they're
Roy started laughing. "Yep. You should see him as a tracker for
rescue calls. Cap's taken advantage of that female quality more than once."
of Cap..." said the engineer as he tinkered, "I wonder how he's
doing? I can't help thinking about
what he might do once he finds out about
our situation here."
Gage scoffed in non-surprise.
"Don't even think about it. We already know what
At Rampart, out in the hallway, Hank was pacing, and livid. "I can't even keep my
eyes off of them
for one G*d d*mned day." Cap fumed.
"Hush, Hank." Emily gestured, embarrassed for the scene her
husband was making.
"You know, sometimes I think you're a mother to them more than I am to our own
children." she giggled, placing her hand on his chest to feel its vital warmth.
"Is that such
a bad thing?" he said affectionately, pulling her to him and into
a snug bear hug.
yelling about it truly makes you angry." she replied. "There is a difference."
"I? Yell?" he smiled,
fully knowing that he did so, quite frequently.
"Mmm hmm." she grinned up at him in their embrace.
"When you don't get your way,
when you want your way, when you can't solve a way..."
last one, Cap opened his mouth in mock amusement. "I do not."
"Sure you do. Just ask your family
of firemen." she teased.
Hank's face fell then, right into a very rare emotion for him, one of
"That's if I get a chance to see them again before something b--"
"Shhh, now that's
no kind of talk to come out of the premier fire captain of the line.
One of Station 51's few... The
proud... A- shift!" she mocked with amused heroism
and a mock muscle curl.
It was Hank's
turn to be embarrassed. "Shh. Are we loud? Yes, I think we're being
loud." he said, as he hustled
her into Chet's room that they had been standing in
front of while they talked.
"Cap, I--" Chet simpered.
"Can it! What I think doesn't matter. It's what you
do that counts in every way possible
if we're going to bail out their idiotic butts. The twits.."
he growled. Hank snatched up
the ham radio from a shelf that was not in the very center of Chet's
stand where it should have been and turned it back on to full volume so he could
everything that was transpiring on the Citizen's band. "I'm just as mad as
you are that I can't use
fire department radio traffic channels, but that's not going
to stop us one iota."
did a double take. "It's not?" he blurted out before he could stop himself.
"Nope. Get your clothes
on. You're sneaking out of here to our car in five minutes."
"What?! Uh, I mean, yes, sir, Cap.
Glad to. A wild herd of horses couldn't keep me
"As if we didn't have enough already."
Hank mumbled, about rules and regulations
and mandatory medical leave stipulations following crisis
Chet's sister was grinning from ear to ear. "Oh, sir. Thank you for letting him be
the juvenile delinquent he always is. You won't regret it."
"Huh? Oh. It's just part of a firemen's
creed. I'd take a nut from the nuthouse
if it meant more hands and manpower on this job."
doctors and nurses here might call in the security guard." Chet warned.
"They can hang it!" Cap
said, slapping down an early discharge risk waiver.
"Scribble away. Then finish getting your clothes
on. Oh, and steal a few patient
gowns. We may be needing those."
"Perish the thought." Emily
chided him, wide eyed.
"It's for disguise, Em. I can use Chet's bruises to get through restricted
Chet. From the beginning. What have I been missing and what do you know so far?"
ordered. "Ah, ah, ah. Don't stop. Keep changing." Then he turned to Chet's
sister. "And you, keep
packing." And back to Chet. "Then tell me on the way. We're
headed out to the I.C. covering them."
Chet Kelly hurried even more. "What snapped you out of your funk, Cap? It's like
you're a different man this morning."
"It's the idea of getting back to work, Kelly. That's always
been the only thing that can
heal us when we're down. A certain baby we both know reminded me of that
when I had nearly forgotten the obvious, following a nasty dream."
Emily was curious.
"A moral to the story?"
"Yes, and from now on, I think I'll avoid BBQs, love." Cap said about
"Don't we always?" Chet misunderstood, thinking of what firefighters make
top goal to do while fighting fires. "Come on, let's get going, Cap. I
can't stand being kept separated
from them any more."
From: patti keiper (email@example.com)
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing..
Sent: Thu 5/09/13 9:23 AM
Dr. Brackett burst into the doctor's
lounge, mildly surprising Dr. Morton as
he grabbed the rare break in spite of the heightened disaster
that was making Rampart Hospital hustle. "Mike, there you are! I've been
looking all over
"There is such a thing called an intercom page. Are you afraid of the operator's
mood this morning? If so, I understand your reluctance. She nearly bit my
head off over the phone
a while ago when I-"
"There more emergency patients to see." Brackett told him.
get right on it." And he started to rise in his seat, still chewing the single bite
of his sandwich
that he had managed so far. "And by the way, have you heard
about Dixie? They found her injured at
the vet's. She's stable now. But she's still
inaccessible and trapped on a--"
Wait a minute." Kel said, his face suddenly filled with concern.
He reached out and grabbed touch
his arm in support. "Are you feeling okay?
You know, t-they were right, you do look kind of peaked.
You look like you have a
fever. One that's pretty high." he emphasized, reaching out a back of his
to feel Morton's forehead. "I think you should get out of here and go home
before you get
any of our patients sick." Kel said, snatching up Mike's white coat
that he had taken off and hung
up so he could go shower after lunch. "I'll
just keep hold of this until you get back."
Kel, I'm fine. Are you off your rocker? Did you hear anything I said to you
just now?!" he asked
"I .... know I agree that you're not in any condition to work at the hospital
this morning because you're in no condition to be here." he emphasized significantly
with a very
leading subtle, head tilt that meant he was hinting something he couldn't
Morton's turn to tilt his own head in puzzlement at his boss. Then the
light dawned and his face
grew dead pan serious. Then he flipped his back to
the security lens in the ceiling so his face couldn't
be seen. "Do you mean to say
that you managed not to authorize one of us to go out in the field to
in a triage around the hospital administrators?"
Kel Brackett blinked once,
without changing his feigned professional look of
medical concern for the security camera's benefit.
"You're sick. I just noticed.
You're my attending resident, aren't you? You have to do everything
Especially when I tell you that Chet Kelly is out there waiting for you to give
ride to your destination safely so you can get some time to re-cov-er."
he hinted again, strongly,
about whom he actually wanted recovered A.S.A.P.
"Right." Mike almost grinned gratefully, but
quickly he faked a cough and put
on a green looking face in practice for the tapes that an administrator
be reviewing later for Brackett's disciplinary meeting. "See me out, staggering to
parking lot?" he said, heading for the door.
"This way, doctor." Dr. Brackett said, taking
his arm as part of the act. "Here, let me
help you walk." The door swung shut behind the two doctors
in cahoots. Snick!
Chet Kelly felt a strong tug as something strong ripped away the package of
patient gowns that
he had been concealing under his arm as he started to
get into Cap's family car out in the pickup
"You are so busted, young man." said Dr. Morton, holding the bundle of hospital
to his chest.
"No he's not." countered Cap, rising out of the driver's seat into which he had
half way seated. "He's out legally."
"Here are the carbons." Emily insisted, holding them
"Relax, guys. I'm on your side." Morton grinned. "Kelly, these'll work far better for a
disguise if I'm part of the accessories, don't you think?" he said, pushing the gowns
back into Chet's
arms. "Welcome to my emergency hospital evacuation vehicle.
Here, Mr. Stanley. Put this permit on
your dash. It'll move mountains for us."
"Ooo, please. Not that analogy." Hank grimaced.
Chet opened the rear door and said. "Move over, sis. This man's coming with us."
Joe Early and Kel Brackett were already deep into the care of a triage patient in
"Did he get sprung?" Joe asked, keeping his voice low.
Brackett admired his handywork without
looking at Early as he put in a few more
stitches to a chest wound. "A bit under the table, but yes."
"Ouch. That D.A.'s gonna hurt." Joe said, holding one of the stitches down with
a sterile gloved
finger so Kel could tie a knot in it with his suture holder and needle.
"Oh, well. Such is life.
She's more important to me than any untarnished career
record than I can ever hope for. Thanks for
covering for me so I could get to
Mike." Brackett sighed, unrepentant.
"What are friends for?
Somebody's got to snip through the red tape around
here." he said, cutting off Brackett's thread
neatly with a pair of sterile scissors.
"All of us are in enough of a strangle hold as it is with
this ARKstorm thing going
on. I just hope the hit you're going to take pays dividends."
it will. Mike's quite the bull dog. He'll get to her." Kel breathed with confidence.
Dr. Morton's naval lieutenant days were paying off at the emergency cordon along
the service road
leading to Realto's mall area. "Listen to me, officer. I deviated
off my route because this man needs
care now. It can't wait. All our ambulances
are tied up. He's got a lung wound that's barely sealed.
I just noticed it's bleeding
again and we don't have time to make it to our new hospital. Do you
want to be
responsible if he dies because we were held up at a yellow zone check point?!"
emphasize that point, Cap slapped an H.T. radio he had with him, that Emily had
stuck in her purse,
across his chest with its police band volume turned up loudly.
"They're waiting for us. The surgery
tent in triage's all set." he said.
"Thanks for the update, Hank. Well, what's it going to be,
mister?" barked Dr.
Morton in his best irritated tone, completely devoid of bedside manner.
chose that moment to moan and dribble a little bit of left over bloody spit
from where he was slumped,
head bend backwards.
"Please! He's dying!" Chet's sister wailed.
The officer made a disgusted
face, backed away, and waved to his men to
move the striped barriers so Cap's car could get by and
through to the official
disaster area and triage.
"Let's move out!" Mike shouted, pretending
to hold Chet's head in a secure
airway move, with a hand under his chin.
Hank peeled rubber
and the car shot past the barricade. Soon, it was deep under
the cover of the rain.
from view, the five began laughing uncontrollably as they
parked in with other cars and stand by emergency
"G*d, I can't believe that worked." Morton chuckled. Then he turned to Chet,
him a kleenix with which to wipe his mouth. "How the h*ll did you manage
to cough up blood? I thought
Kel said you were pulmonary fit."
"I am. I bit my cheek to get that. Ow.." Kelly grimaced, feeling
it with his tongue.
"Here's an ice pack." Mike said as he rummaged around Cap's first aid satchel.
"So who first, captain? The head of triage or the head of incident command?"
"We already know
Dixie hasn't been rescued yet so the triage stop is out. You're
going to see the man in white himself
since I can't. He's the one who will have the
most updated information about Five Points and its
victim statuses. I'll fill you
in on the lingo and what to say and ask so he'll take you for being
enough to waste his valuable time." Cap promised.
"What can we do in the meantime?"
said Emily for herself, Chet, and his sister.
"Roam around the green area of Triage. See if you
can get other details about
what's happening, find out how and when a rescue on the mall is going
Firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics are your best choices with whom to talk."
"Stay clear of any fire captains. Especially you, Chet. You're bound
to be recognized as still being
on the injured list and unauthorized on scene." Cap
"Well what about you?" Chet asked.
"They know you directly."
"Me? Oh, I'm just the guy hanging around the communications tent with
radio geek H.T. in hand. See? Don't I make a handsome enough resident fire
buff?" he said, quickly
tying a red bandana around his head.
"You're quite the hippy." Emily said, kissing his cheek.
"Okay, everybody out!" Cap replied. "Meet back at the car in half an hour with
Dixie woke up, choking, unable to breathe.
The feeling of suffocation had returned mercilessly.
She moaned, trying
to gasp in air, but she couldn't.
"Johnny? You guys. Come over, here. Quickly!
Something's changed." Sharon
warned the others. "And it's bad." She said, tipping Dixie's head back
her open her throat.
"...ugh..ugh...." McCall snored ineffectively, her breath only
hissing out of her
Roy, Quincy and Gage rushed over to her side.
around her voice box with his hands while Roy listened to her
chest with a stethoscope. "It's not
an obstruction, there's no tension here."
"No, it's not." DeSoto replied. "She's wide open. She's
just not breathing."
Johnny snatched off Dixie's oxygen mask and replaced it with a working
bag. "Dixie. Don't fight it. I'm giving you oxygen manually."
Dixie felt the cool breath go into
her twitching lungs and her hands stopped
crawling on the table. But she blacked out at the next
The cardiac monitor began to show artifact even though the rhythm hadn't
The coroner felt a little lower down to her abdomen. "Spasming. It's her
over from the lightning?" Sharon squeaked in fear.
"Yes." Quincy said. "A muscle relaxant's needed."
"Diazepam?" Roy offered.
"Ten mil. Make it I.V. push instead of I.M. It'll take
effect more rapidly that
way." the coroner agreed. Then he turned to Johnny. "How does she feel lung
"Tight. But both lungs are still inflating okay." Gage replied, gingerly squeezing
"That's a false sign. Watch her color for your perfusion determination. Bronchial
spasming will prevent oxygen from reaching her blood until the medication
starts to take effect.
If she goes cyanotic, hyperventilate." he shared. "If she
keeps on occluding like this, we'll try
a bronchiodilator through a nebulizer."
"Right." Roy acknowledged. He began to set up Albuterol,
Brice tapped one of Dixie's eyelids to make sure she was still out before he
oral airway over her tongue. Then he assisted Johnny and provided
suction when it was needed in between
Soon, both medications were in. But the tension remained.
"Now? We wait." Quincy replied. "And we begin to hope and pray the
work before she suffers fatal cardiovascular collapse."
From: patti keiper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Fri 5/10/13 12:28 AM
Sharon Walters wilted onto a box that was still
above the level of the mud and
finally gave into tears. The men in the room gave her some privacy
not to notice what she was doing. She sobbed silently until a warm weight on
lap made her look down. It was Boot. Whining in distress, he curled about
himself in her lap and
quickly into a miserable little ball as he laid his head down
on top of her mud encrusted hands.
He was breathing harshly in his anxiety about
the hurt people surrounding him who didn't seem to
be getting any better.
"Oh, Boot." she whispered. "This has been one h*ll of a day, hasn't it?
with you. I just can't take it anymore." she sniffed, falling to pieces helplessly as
stroked his limp tail.
Johnny Gage wasn't one to ignore someone else's pain. He passed off Dixie's
breathing care onto Vince and joined Sharon on her private box. He noodled in
behind her skillfully
and wrapped his dirty arms around both her stomach and Boot
without saying a word. Then he kissed
her once on top of her head and leaning
his chin there protectively with closed eyes, he let them
Slam! went the last of Cap's car doors as the five of them met secretly under cover.
to compare notes. Can anybody trump my finding out that all U.S.A.R.
personnel are unavailable to
assist with the Five Points incident?" Hank began.
"I can." said Emily. "A paramedic said he spoke
to a pair of animal control officers
who had been in the vet hospital before it was torn off the mountain.
They had the
unit call sign, 905 Wild. Does that ring a bell?"
"Oh, yes. It sure does. These
two first met Johnny and Roy when they snuck a goat
into Rampart for a little open heart surgery.
I had to run interference for the chiefs
once the hospital administrators caught wind of that little
stunt the next day. Believe
me, I wasn't happy." Hank recalled.
"Where are they now?" Dr. Morton
asked. "Maybe we can pick their brains in reverse
and get the I.C.'s mindset on all of this and save
ourselves a whole lot of trouble."
"In the canteen." Chet replied. "They figured that telling
Command what they
already knew and experienced might help bring about a decent rescue plan.
sure weren't pleased to hear that there was no way back for them. I didn't
stay long because I didn't
want to get found out."
"Don't worry. I'll be your shield." Mike promised. "Let's go."
the five of them had grabbed food trays and nonchalantly took places surrounding
Les and Dave, who
were so tired where they sat dozing on chins and elbows, that it
took a fairly loud throat clearing
cough from Hank, to get their attention.
"Hiya fellas. You don't know me, but you were with my
men at the vet's. I'd sure appreciate
it if you could share a few things about how they're doing.
I've been worried sick."
Cap said honestly.
Dave didn't even blink at the shocking red bandana
tied around Cap's head. "Hello,
Mr. Stanley. No need to hide. Everybody knows you guys are here. And
they don't care."
Then he pointed to the news camera crew aimed in their direction who was also beaming
a signal onto a TV set that the publicity officer had up and running. Below the live feed
was a caption,
'Captain of the famous Station 51 Hostage Crisis At Five Points I.C.' "
The five of them gaped
in shock and immediate embarrassment. Only Emily saw the
humor in it and her laughter soon rang out.
Cap reached up to pull off his disguise.
Les started chuckling. "Oh, no. Sir, please. Leave it
on. It's amusing all the laid up
first responders. The I.C. here said it was helping immensely with
the entire county, watching you slink around, trying to hide, while going after tidbits."
"I hate technology." Cap murmured.
"No, you don't." Kelly countered. "Tell the truth now.
Engine 51 is true posh."
Dave grinned. "Ah, there's nothing like the speed of the press for sharing
You should have gone to them first to get all of your information."
Cap glowered and
waved an impatient hand. "Can you tell us what we want to know?"
"Dixie suffered cardiac arrest
but was converted successfully." Les reported.
"What was the cause of it?" Morton asked, his mouth
"We don't know. We left for help before they had it figured out." Taylor replied.
did have a fairly bad cut on her leg. Mr. DeSoto said that she had lost
a lot of blood. And some kind
of surgical tool was being used to stop the bleeding."
"Those kinds of arrests are easy to turn
around once you replace a little fluid
volume." Morton shared, letting in some relief and confidence
into his tone of voice.
"I sure hope so. She didn't look good at all even after she regained a
and breathing." Les said. "Her eyes still looked kind of empty."
That shut Morton
up into silence as he shouldered the burden of the news that he
would have to tell Kel Brackett. ::Brain
damage?:: he wondered to himself.
But the others didn't catch that observation. They were talking
options and possibilities when it came to a game plan to get the Five Points trapped
victims to safety.
Mike Morton excused himself to go to the communications tent to make his first
initial radio report to Dr. Brackett through the county fire department dispatcher.
Hospital. This is Dr. Brackett.## came Kel's voice through a radio
that an emergency crew had lent
out to him.
"Kel, I'm afraid it may not be good news." he reported about Miss McCall.
I thought they had her taken care of. What have you heard about
a confirmed thousand yards stare, pallor." the resident admitted.
##That could be just shock. Not mortal or dire signs.##|
Morton didn't say anything. But then
he rekindled the hope Kel had for Dixie's
outcome. "The person who was there was a layman. What does
##That's the spirit. I'll be right here in the E.R., Mike. Contact me anytime.
if it's during emergency surgery. I want regular reports from you. ##
"You'll get them. I promise.
Listen, Kel. I've got to go. I'm getting the cut throat
sign from the communications officer. He's
got other calls piling up."
##Remember what I said, Mike. When you see her, tell Dixie I love
Rampart, out.## Kel replied.
Feeling ambivalent, Mike returned to the others.
did it go?" Emily asked him.
"For Kel, he was the raging optimist. I'm afraid I wasn't." Dr. Morton
"Not hard to understand, doc." said Chet. "Everyone knows your reputation."
sister whacked him one.
Chet reconsidered. "Oh. Sorry." then he turned back to fiddling with their
"The truth never hurts me, Kelly." Morton said on deaf ears.
even tracking the Dixie talk. He was deep into plying Dave Gordon
about the chief's thinking and future
Gordon was a wealth of information on that. "He was pretty steamed that all of his
department birds were grounded. So he's made some phone calls out of state to
get additional help."
"Do you know to whom he called?" Cap wondered.
"Not a clue. He used the term, "Other agency."
"Well, that doesn't help any. That's a general term used in report writing that
could mean anything. EMS, Fire, Police, The Army, The National Guard.." Cap
listed off on his fingers
"ABC.." Chet added.
"What?" Hank blinked.
Kelly just smiled.
"We can always make a trade with that television journalist film
crew. Say, exclusive interviews
with us for an illegal covert eye-reporter mission
to the vet hosp-"
"No." Cap glared. "We
will not endanger the public. We will not take advantage
"Just a thought." Kelly
"It's highly attractive, I know, but...." Cap's eyes drifted off. "...no." he said
"Bummer." said Chet's sister. "They just might have pulled it off, too."
made a face at her for tempting him greatly.
It was almost noon, and Patty Burns had long since been extubated.
Barney Coolidge was there
with Brice when she calmly woke up from
her medicated stupor. Barney held out his hands protectively
to her when
she automatically tried to sit up. "Whoa.. whoa whoa. No need to answer
We're closed." he joked.
Craig Brice studied his patient's face closely as he took a pulse at
"How are you feeling?"
"B-Better." she croaked. "So my arm's really broken?" she
at it sticking out of its splint and sling.
"Does that bother you still?" Brice
"Not really. I still feel kind of ....far away."
"That's okay for now. And I suspect
you're thinking that, too, Miss Burns."
She nodded yes. Then she started slowly looking around.
Barney replied cheerfully. "Mudslide, my dear. California's brand
Nature at her best. Looks like we get to pick out some new curtains for a
clinic somewhere else next month."
"Oh, that's nice." Patty said vaguely.
Brice smiled, sharing an amused look with Barney. "She can be alone now.|
We'll keep that O2 on for
just a bit longer until she's all there."
The vet nodded his head.
Roy DeSoto was helping
Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez find a stable way
out through an exterior wall that overlooked their moving
ended up being a shattered bay window to the right of where the main
the vet hospital used to be.
"Will those stokes fit through there?" DeSoto asked the engineer,
"Yeah, I think so. We can use that support beam for a pulley point." he
on it with a broken pipe to test its strength of attachment
to the rest of the building.
began to use a mop bucket as a battering ram to smash away
remnants of the glass still around the
window to get rid of any remaining
splinters and shards.
He started to step out onto the
apparent sidewalk when Roy pulled him
back in. He pointed down. Marco looked and saw mud oozing up
through the cracks in the walkway like lava.
"That only looks solid. It could give way."
"You're right. Thanks, Roy." Marco said, looking pale.
The three firemen headed
back inside to go tell the others about the egress.
It was Sam's turn to be Dixie's lungs for
the hour. Her color had improved to
fair but her consciousness level was diminishing into what they
all feared was
a growing coma. Her gag reflex was completely absent and her pupils were
to become sluggish to light.
"Isn't that the medication?" Vince asked Johnny when he checked her
once again for signs of awareness.
"It could be, but it's also very unlikely. Valium
metabolized is burned off pretty
fast. Her condition is probably all neurological deficit now."
"I'm sorry." Howard apologized.
Gage sighed tiredly. "We're not giving up hope yet. Lightning
usually make a rapid recovery if they survive the first 24 hours. Dixie's only
in the fifth
hour since getting struck. Arc shocking takes a while to dissipate.
There are metabolic changes that
have to be countered, burns still have
to come out, along with cardiac irregularities like the one
that made her arrest
"Quincy called it a PVC." the police officer remembered.
"Yeah. That's the heart getting mad. Mad enough to quit as we paramedics like
didn't throw many."
"Let's hope those are over. Her next hurdle will be the reaction of her heart
itself to getting jolted by electricity. For that's like a crush injury. There's a....
shows up in the blood whenever the heart suffers oxygen deprivation.
This Bywaters' syndrome can
shut down your kidneys in a couple of hours once
it begins if it doesn't get treated with dialysis
right away." Gage shared tiredly.
"That could be why she's in a comatose sink now."
suddenly looked up, his face looking drawn and thoughtful.
"You know, I don't think I want to hear
any more about complications. I'm going
to try to get a radio signal out again. It looks like the
rain's starting to let up a bit."
Howard said, leaving his chair.
Sharon Walters had fallen
asleep on top of her box refuge and so had Boot,
who was now nestled in her arms inside of a warm
blanket. In their dreams,
they had managed to find escape from reality.
But then reality began
to bite down. Hard.
The gentle shuddering and flowing they all were growing used to suddenly
turned into tremendous jolts as the concrete and wood flooring beneath
their feet began to strike
submerged cars passing underneath it from the
parking lot. It was the ugly sound of stone on steel.
Boom! Boom!... Thudddd. *Squuuuuueaakkk kk kk*
"Everybody hang tight!" Stoker yelled.
And then the roof came down.
From: patti keiper (email@example.com)
Over The Waves
Sent: Fri 5/10/13 11:31 AM
In the canteen tent, Chet finally heard a voice
that he had been seeking
by scanning different bands on the H.T.
##...fficer Vince Howard.
Can anybody hear me?##
He almost dropped the radio. "Cap! It's Vince! Listen..."
...collapsed roof. I can't find the oth-- *static*---##
"Give it here. That's on police band?"
Kelly nodded, passing off the handy talkie to Cap.
Cap spoke. "Vince, Hank Stanley.
Whatever you do, keep transmitting.
We'll be able to triangulate your position that way!" he shot
to his feet
and all but ran to the Communications tent with the others close behind.
rushed up to the radio operator in charge. "I got them on Police
band. Can you boost this signal?"
he said, slapping the radio into
the man's hand.
"This is police band?" asked the head radio
"Yes!" Chet said.
The man read the dial Kelly had chosen and then picked up
intercom microphone. "Break. Break. Break. Victim contact. All responders
bricks to Police 2 to assist their repeater positioning. I repeat switch
to Police 2 to aid our finding
their coordinates. Maintain radio silence."
Soon, the hum of matched channels filled the area
with a low squelching
whine that soon faded away as adjustments were made.
Vince's voice was
magnified throughout Incident Command and bounced
eerily around the tents and emergency vehicles on
## ..rain has stopped. *crackle*... in critical condition. The building foundation
rafting into the canyon at about a foot every thirty seconds...##
Then the fire department Incident
Commander's voice broke in on top of his.
##This is I.C.1 to Deputy Howard. We copy you and have obtained
Your current situation is understood. Can you respond victim numbers?##
news crew's excited chatter prompted a bunch of firefighters to hiss at
them so everyone could hear.
##.. Copy th-- Ten... and a dog... *Bark!*..##
The whole tent erupted in cheers. Even before
all the fervor died away,
truly effective rescue work was already underway.
Gage awoke to almost pure darkness. He rolled off of his back
on the muddy floor and sat up. Then
full awareness returned. "Oh, no. Dixie!"
he shouted. "Dixie?" His hand struck the edge of the homemade
Mike had made for her with a painful bang. He swiftly felt up her body to
and chest area and stopped.
She was breathing.
::Oh, thank G*d.:: he thought, sagging
over her in relief.
Johnny made sure her oral airway was still in place, before he began shouting
for the others. He was dimly aware that above his head, the false ceiling that
had given way
had tented bizarrely into a upside down V around the surgical bay
room, filling the space with thick
plaster dust. "Everybody! *cough* Sound off!"
Soon, one by one, the others replied and finally Brice. "I'm here. And Miss Burns."|
added more. "But Boot's missing."
"So's Vince." said Stoker. "I think he was outside with the
"Okay, uh.. We'll worry about them later." Johnny said, dragging Dixie's stokes behind
him as they all gathered into a circle small enough so all of their flashlights lit
their faces. Everybody
was the same color. Shiny mud brown.
"How's Dixie?" Roy asked, pulling an oxygen cylinder and
the demand valve into their
midst so they could take turns taking in clean breaths off of it.
"Alive. Her respirations are back." Johnny replied, keep a hand on her carotid pulse.
He took his
turn to suck in some oxygen as the tank was passed around.
"About time." Sam Fujiyama coughed.
His planted flashlight lit up his face eerily.
"I'm positive that I pumped in all the air of California
into her. That's enough."
he said, showing them his badly cramp twisted fingers.
painfully as he finished wrapping a bandage around his own arm.
"Oo, that smarts." he muttered.
"Quincy?" Sam startled when he noticed.
"It's nothing. An ugly abrasion. So what's next, fellas?"
the coroner asked.
"We get out of here. All this dust can't be good for us." Roy replied. "Come
It's this way. Somebody help Patty and Barney into their stokes. They're coming
"Are you okay? For a while there you weren't answering us." DeSoto asked.
"I was disoriented for a few seconds. But I feel fine. Nothing hurts." he gasped.
"I'm just a
little filthier, that's all." he said, climbing on his hands and knees
through the glop.
others commiserated with coughs and nods of sympathy.
They finally climbed out through the open
window and into thick fog that covered
them like a net. They set their three stokes down onto the
thicker porch concrete
slab where Vince was standing with his radio.
Boot greeted them happily,
visiting each of the injured in turn with nose
nudges and tail wags.
The cloud light was gray
and almost impenetrable. And blessedly rainless.
Vince smiled. "I got through. They're coming."
he reported. "Is everybody
all right? I figured things were fine when I heard folks taking a fast
"Everybody's still here." said Brice.
Sharon Walters was the last to leave
the shattered vet hospital. She squinted in the
cool, diffuse light, then sat cross legged on top
of the collapsed roof's shingles
next to Dixie to place her back on an oxygen mask. She wasn't saying
Gage joined her to make sure Dixie was still maintaining. "I know how you feel,
Shell shocked, a little numb, a little mad at the world. Because that's
how I felt yesterday when
that pitch black gun muzzle was aiming at my face
for six hours straight. We'll get through this.
We're not dead yet. But now it's time
for me to hold you up." he said softly, taking her into a gentle
hug of comfort.
Sharon's tears were dried up, but not her brand new fountain of fear. Not yet.
accepted his embrace with detached, pain dulled, eyes.
Then the coroner spotted something coming
out of the charcoal sky.
Pendulous, reverse tear dropped figures were drifting downwards in formation.
"Well I'll be damned." Quincy said, chuckling.
"They sent in smoke jumpers." marveled Roy.
"Why not? Planes fly even through hurricanes." Brice smiled.
Then he stood and started waving their
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