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        En Route
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From: patti k (
Sent: Wed 11/03/10 11:38 AM
Subject: Physics...

Johnny was at the edge of consciousness. The gnarled tangle of steel
rods that had struck him was bearing him deeper and deeper under the
waves. He was near black out from holding his breath so long
when the sea water surrounding him sloshed downwards, suddenly
draining away, leaving him suspended in mid air at the end of his tied off
safety line.  He was jerked violently to a stop as gravity regained its hold.
Gage yelled as the mass of debris with which he had been sinking heavily
scraped his neck and chest as it was sucked down. It fell away from him
with the last of the water, to land noisily on the soggy, suddenly exposed
sea bottom six feet below him. ::The bay's receding again?!:: he thought
as his desperate, air hungry gasps filled his lungs with badly needed
breath. ::There's another tidal wave coming!:: he realized.

Coughing, he glanced up and saw that the hole in the shattered bridge's
roadway that he had fallen through was about fifteen feet over his head.

Johnny's foot struck something hard as he struggled to right himself on
the rope. He looked down. He was suspended directly over the top of the van,
left high and dry on the muck of the bay where suddenly stranded fish were
flopping.  He found purchase on the slippery metal and crouched down, using
his lifebelt's carabiner to give him more slack.   He pushed off the van and
swung into the open door, reaching the boy's uncle, who also had been
uncovered by the retreating water. "Hey! Can you hear me, mister? We've
got to get out of here!"

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The old man coughed, rolling over, spitting out a gout of water. Blood was
streaming down his face from his scalp from the blow he had taken when
the van had fallen into the bay. "What happened?" he asked, grabbing onto
Johnny's gloved hand.

"The van fell because all the water in the bay's being pulled out to sea.
There's another tsunami wave coming. I don't know how big! Grab onto
me! We've got to be away from this van before the water rushes back."

"Uh.." the man groggily shook his wounded head. "How?"

"I'll hitch you to my belt with yours. We've got to be secured to each other or
you'll get swept away. Come on! Hurry! Stand up so I can reach you." Gage
said. He quickly shot a glance over his shoulder towards the open ocean side
of the bay. The exposed shoals he could see way out had stopped growing
in height from sinking water levels. ::That's it. Grace period's over.:: he thought
as he frantically got his victim roped tightly to himself. "Wrap your legs around
me once we get back on top of the roof. Then brace yourself! After the water
hits, we're gonna be jerked sideways towards land. Kick as hard as you can,
we've got to hang onto the rope!"

"How are we gonna get back up to the bridge?" he asked, frightened,
but moving to help Johnny as quickly as he could with shock trembling fingers.

"We'll just float back up until we reach the edge of the hole we fell through.
I'll pull us in hand over hand. The only thing is we might be underwater for
the worst of it as it passes by us."

"I'm...ready." the old man nodded, scared.

"I'll tell you when to start holding your breath! I will not lose hold of you. Okay,
now start hyperventilating! It's almost here." Gage coughed, as a loud roaring
noise of motion boiling water began to build out of the darkness. He, too,
began to follow his own advice to save himself from drowning. "Breathe in and
out as fast as you can to build up the oxygen in your blood."

"But.." the old man began.

"Just do it!" Gage urged, sucking in and blowing out huge lungfuls of air
quickly. "I don't know how long we'll be under the tidal wave before I can get
us to the surface again."

The old man started to imitate Johnny, scared witless.

Johnny sat on the roof and wrapped his legs around the old man's
waist, locking his ankles together. "Hang on! Okay, hold it now!" Gage
screamed, sucking in one last breath desperately.

The thunderous barely seen monster of a wave struck both of them off
the van with a powerful force and velocity, driving both beneath creamy
brown froth as it surged inland as a cresting wedge of destruction. But
the rope held, biting painfully into both of their waists and ribs where it
was tied into harnesses. Johnny opened his eyes and waited for the
remorseless tug of the water to lessen enough for swimming.

He saw the old man was beginning to panic so he clamped his glove
down tightly over his nose and mouth to prevent him from inhaling too
soon. Then he started kicking back towards the sky through the fast
ripping current. His head broke the surface and he whirled the two of
them facing towards the land to win space enough for breathing as
the surge of water continued to well up over the back of their heads
in the rapids. "Breathe!" he coughed, letting go of the uncle's face.

The old man did, choking violently on the water that did get into his lungs
when the wave initially struck.

"You're doing fine. Just keep kicking." Gage said, tilting up his chin.
They were rising. The bottom of the bridge was rushing down to meet
them. Johnny quickly unclamped his legs from around the old man
and concentrated on taking up rope foot by foot to drag them closer
to the breach in the roadway deck above them. He didn't have
to try for long.

The power of the wave lifted them up easily and slapped them
back inside of the bridge through the hole like flotsam. Johnny snatched
for the steel bar his safety line was attached to and soon, they both were
out of the water and lying at the edge of the hole that led down into the bay's
new depths. The water was still welling higher from below, beginning to
cover up the flat surfaces of the shattered roadway fragment they were on.

"Come on.." Johnny urged to his victim. "We've got to get out of this
void. We don't have much time. It's gonna fill up with water, fast. Your
nephew's waiting up there in that tunnel. Crawl ahead of me!" he said,
pushing the old man out of the water. "We've got to get up higher. A lot

The uncle was in pain from his head but he obeyed with the desperation
of a man separated unwillingly from family. "Joshua! Stay with your aunt!
We're *cough* coming! It's too dangerous down here!"

Gage shouted. "Rosalie! Shine some light down to us! I can't see the
way up! A new wave's begun burying the bridge!"

Arnold heard Johnny's cry. She frantically dug around the scoop
stretcher's gear for torches but then remembered that Johnny had taken
both down with him into the tunnel leading to the van's victims.  She
grabbed out a cherry flare, pulled its ignition tab and tossed it down
after a warning. "Lit flare!" she shouted.

Gage peered up into the blackness above him as he half dragged
the groggy old man up with him and out of the water that was lapping
at and chasing their feet. He heard a bounce and saw a red glow to
his left. "I see it!"  Gasping, inch by inch, they escaped the rising seawater
by fleeing up the tunnel on their elbows and stomachs.

When Johnny was sure of his direction he tossed the flare back
over themselves to extinguish it safely in the water behind them.

Rosalie met them at the entrance to the hole. The uncle was swarmed
by Joshua and his aunt.

"Bernie! Are you okay?" she sobbed, hugging him, her eyes growing
big at the sight of the blood still dripping down his face.

"I'm fine." he gasped. "Still got my glasses in your zipper pocket?" he

"Thank you for saving my uncle." Joshua said tearfully to Gage.

"Any time, kid. *cough*" Johnny unbelted himself from the old
man and tumbled onto his back in utter exhaustion. "Rosalie..."
he began.

"Yeah, I know." Arnold replied. "Stop the bleeding and start him
on O2." she said about the uncle's start of care.

"How's Karen doing?" Gage asked next.

"She's sleeping. I gave her one mil more of M.S. Her respiratory
rate's shallow but adequate."

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"Her BP's holding at seventy systolic. I've kept her I.V. wide open.
Pulse rate is slowing down. It's 90."

"That's good. We're finally replacing her lost blood volume." Johnny said,
staring up into the dim nighttime sky he could see way up in the
top of the caisson's bridge tower. "The uncle was struck by
the van's frame when it fell underwater.  He was knocked out for
a minute or so. He may have ingested and inhaled some seawater
into both lungs."

"How about you? Your shirt's bloody." Rosalie said, introducing
the sitting, fast breathing old man to an oxygen mask.

"Huh?" Gage said, picking up his head from where he lay, soggy
and worn out. "Oh, that. Just a few scrapes. The bridge tried to
flatten me with a chunk of debris, but the new tidal wave changed
its mind. I was very happy with that turn of events."

"How bad is it out there?" Arnold asked as the noise of the third
tsunami wave slowly grew audible from the outside through
the stone.

"The wave's higher than we are right now." Gage admitted. "But
air pressure will keep the water from leaving that lower tunnel. It's
acting like a diving bell. We're safe enough inside of this tower
base. All the water will just flow around us. It won't be strong enough
to break down the walls in here. Everything's reinforced concrete."
He sat up and began to take stock of his injuries, with a groan.

He looked down when he felt a tug on his wet mud stained sleeve.
It was Joshua. "Mister, can you get us out of here? Rosalie said
that the other lady fell trying to get help."

"I'll find a way, Joshua. I promise. There are people I know outside
right now looking for all of us." Johnny said to the blanket wrapped boy.
He began shivering and inherited one of his own when Arnold recognized
symptoms of delayed shock.

"Mummify yourself." she said no nonsense as she began to take a blood
pressure on the uncle who was staring off into space. "I'll take a look
at you next as soon as I finish up here." she promised.

Gage looked up into the dawn brightening sky far above their heads and
wondered what was happening on the rest of the pile.
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From: patti k (
Sent: Thu 11/04/10 8:32 PM
Subject: Aftermath...

**Warning**- Descriptions of a Graphic Nature within.

Three whistle blasts followed by a pause made every head in USAR whip up towards
the horizon. Robert Cooper lifted his HT set to global broadcast. "Evacuate! Tidal
wave warning! Inbound in six minutes! Everybody off the site!" The triple emergency
signal and pauses continued, being blown by the Communications Officer who
was now standing on the cliffs in full alert to the rest of the team.

One USAR fireman swore, nervously rubber necking the skyline out to sea. "Why
didn't the search dogs start barking at this?"

A Santa Rosa County sheriff, running across the debris with him for the path up, jump by
jump, replied. "Because they're trained to only bark when they find somebody.
Come on, Duke, we're heading for your crate. Heel to me!" he shouted. A big black
German Shepherd whined, but obeyed, returning to his handler who snapped on
a follow lead to the dog's collar. The search dog wasn't that eager to leave the
area he had been pointing out to the rescuers, in spite of other instincts screaming
at him about the tidal wave. "Sorry, ya crazy pooch. I'm not gonna let a little
obedience training kill ya." said the sheriff to his dog.

Robert Cooper was still coming over HT as the evacuation whistle signal continued
to sound. "Anybody gonna be later than two getting back to base?! Coast Guard
chopper is standing by for emergency pickups! Shoot up a flare if so, and he'll
come to pluck you off the bridge!" he bellowed, running for safety as he radioed.
The second the USAR Captain made safe ground, he planted his feet, urging on
those of his team who were still behind him with wide arm sweeps. "Let's move!
Rush your butts!"

Seconds later, the last USAR fireman flashed by him, quickly regaining the top
of the clifftops where they had established their base of operations.
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"Accountability!" Robert yelled, expecting an immediate reply. He got one.

"That's everyone, sir!" replied that fire rescue officer.

"Are you sure?" Cooper shouted, demanding absolute accuracy as the bay's
waters began to recede ominously below them right down to the debris
scattered substrate. They could see several military vehicles and a blue
civilian van sitting upright on the bay's exposed floor. The water retreated,
leaving behind the wet, glistening bodies of dead, limb broken National
Guardsmen and live, stranded fish.

"Doubly sure!" reported the man, holding up his slate full of red checks marking
each safe return.

Cooper nodded, grim. "Count those fatalities, fireman. This may be the only
chance we'll see them. USAR, take places overlooking the water! Eyeball every
inch for survivors when it hits and after it hits! Remember where they end up! Our
rescue plan dynamics are gonna change big time!"

The high white froth that had been building on the horizon far out to sea began to
rear into a hideous brown curl of destruction and a terrifying din of grinding rocks
and water began to roar in from the suddenly angry sea.

"Oh, my G*d. This one's higher than three storys." one USAR spotter estimated
as the wave ate a deep channel buoy and its forty foot light aerial out in the bay.
"Captain, are we still safe?" asked the man properly.

"We are." Robert replied. "Our elevation's 150 feet here. But I'm not so sure
about any poor soul who's still stuck down there. The rest of the bridge is
gonna fall." he said quietly as the giant third tsunami wave advanced inexorably.

Bob, Roy, Ponch and Jon all arrived to USAR's Base just in time to see the
ocean utterly consume what was left of the bridge's shattered and partially
debris buried roadway sections. All that was remaining standing were the
splintered bases of the hollow bridge foundation caisson towers jutting up
from the churning seawater.

Bellingham screeched Squad 51 to a halt next to the cliff's guard rail. He
managed to grab onto DeSoto before he did the unthinkable by trying to
head down to the already doomed beach. Roy shook his head in mute
denial even as he ignored his coworker. "Oh, no no no no no." he pleaded,
sickened. He immediately spied something in the water, way out. It
was orange, white and boxy, bobbing around in the creamy brown froth.

"What?" Bob asked, still not seeing anything specific yet in his own mind
blinding horror.

Then a nearby USAR fireman lookout pointed. "Look! There's the ambulance!
It's been uncovered! It's floating free!"

Nauseated to the core, DeSoto felt Bob sit him down onto the guard rail as they
both watched, unable to tear their eyes away from the sight of it. Tidal forces
began to violently roll and tumble the front crushed Mayfair over and over, in
and under the fast moving water on its way to the pounded shoreline already
choked with hazards.

Roy felt a firm glove tightly grip his shoulder in support over his turnout jacket.
When he looked up, he saw the same grim shock mirrored there in the face
of Captain Stanley. "Don't think it, Roy. Because it will never happen this way,
pal. Not like this."
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"This one's bad, they're saying!" Morton hollered out to Kel Brackett in Triage.

"Do we need to evacuate? The L.A. Riverbed's just over there." Kel pointed.

"I've been reassured by the Fire Department. Nothing's gonna reach us short
of a dam break."

Kel's face twitched at the analogy, remembering Dixie. "Okay. Let's keep
our ears open. Once the wave dies down our red tag count's gonna soar
back up again as new live ones are found by rescuers."

"The makeshift morgue in the colloseum's already packed, let's sure hope so."

"Are any of our yellow tags downgrading?" Brackett asked, grabbing for
another clean gown and pair of gloves at the end of a patient row.

"No. They're all stable or getting better. Mayfair's already started moving
them out." Morton replied, working steadily on an unconscious patient's exam.

Brackett felt the weight of command heavily on his shoulders. ::Dixie be glad
you're sitting out this round. I have absolutely no idea how we're managing to
cope with it all.:: he thought inwardly.

Near him, Joe Early was squatting on the ground, taking a short break
to reorganize his cases' priorities by drowning out the noise with both of
his hands held tightly over his ears. Brackett strode over to him and
tapped him on the shoulder. "Joe?" he asked. "Do you need more people?"

Early blinked up at him, somber.
"I need Dixie. She's the only one who can hold fifty patients' data inside
of her head so easily. None of us can do that like she can." Dr. Early said,
standing up again.

"Use your notes." Kel grinned. "That's what I'm doing." he said, holding up
the chart tied to a hole he had punctured through a pocket of his white coat.

"I can't read fast enough to keep up." Joe shrugged. "I'm getting tired."

"I'm having the same problem. All three of us need more people." Kel pondered.
"But Logistics is having trouble finding me additional medical personnel. Everybody's
tied up."

"But where else are we going to find them? Shall we ask to recall Station 51
back to Triage?" Joe suggested.

"No. Try Station 10. I think they're still here, refueling. Captain Stanley and his
men are needed at the bridge site. They're gonna be pounded the worst, cilivian
casualty wise. Battalion just told me that whole bay's shorelines are some
of the lowest in Torrance."

"Station Ten will work. Stone used to be a paramedic before he was promoted.
That'll give us three ALS level workers if we also shanghai Squad Ten's pair." Joe

"Get them here, Joe." Brackett ordered. "Tell them why."

Morton shook his head ruefully. "If we're this busy with three doctors and
a fleet of Mayfair EMTs at our disposal, I wonder how Rampart's coping
with all of this mess." he commented, raising his eyebrows.

"Knowing Sharon.." said Brackett with a proud smile. "They're really going
to be all over it. Of that I have no doubt."
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At Rampart, Nurse Sharon Walters looked up at the next pair of Mayfair EMTs
to wheel a patient in on a gurney. "We're full. There are no available rooms.
Start lining them up in the hallways, out of the sun. We'll get people to them
as soon as we can." she told all of the new arriving crews.

"For now, I want you to spread this change throughout your company. Follow this order
yourselves. All EMTs are to start grabbing our surgical orderlies and have them stay,
one each per unconscious patient, from now on. We have a crash cart in place, every
ten gurneys, in every wing on all floors. And yes, we will be working resuscitations.
We're in the hospital for Pete's sake." she said, anticipating a question from one of the
newer EMTs waiting to enter from outside with a patient's gurney.

"We have the rest of our spare oxygen bottles clustered in racks in all of the nurse's
stations if you need refills for any your victims. Leave your patient's paperwork under
their pillows so we know where to find it. Oh, if anybody died on the way in, leave them
covered up on the tarps along the wall outside. M.E. volunteers will take them away from
the ambulance entrance to prevent the impediment of our casualty traffic flow. They're
walking in by the dozens. Keep them coming, guys, smooth now!" the interim head nurse
ordered. "Go! Go! Go!"

The last laden red triage tagged gurney disappeared into a freight elevator. Sharon
Walters sighed and sat down on the simple wheeled stool she had positioned in front of
the ambulance doors. She had a working scanner radio, a fire department HT and a red
emergency house phone all tucked neatly out of the way inside of the drinking fountain
within arms' reach. :: I wonder how long it'll be before I have to decide to put the whole
hospital in lockdown. Dixie never told me what our maximum capacity point is.:: she
thought. ::If it gets any worse crowd wise, riots are probably going to start to break
out from green and yellow tags panicking in here trying to reach red tagged family
or friends.::

She picked up a mic from a C.B. radio. "This is Rampart Base to CHiP Central.
Do you read?"

##Rampart Base, this is the Highway Patrol Dispatcher. What can we do for you?##

"Crowd control. I'm planning ahead. Our last official bed filled fifteen minutes ago.
Any suggestions?" Sharon asked.

##Hold on, Rampart. I'll get the Sarge. His name is Joseph Getrear.##

"10-4, I'll hold." replied Sharon, gripping the mic.

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Soon, the California Highway Patrol Sergeant was on the channel. ##Rampart
Hospital, understood about your security situation. We're under martial law
so do what it takes to protect your patients and staff from anyone without
a legitimate reason for being there. And that includes locking out just
family looking for family. We're under emergency protocols county wide in
all law enforcement, fire and medical facilities. I'll send three squad cars to
form a police barricade at your Emergency entrance. Chain all your other doors
shut, including the fire doors and start funneling people into that one direction so
you can start to regain some measure of control until we get there. Don't hesitate
to lock out everybody at the first sign of trouble. We'll be right there.## Getrear
promised. ##Watch for Barry Baricza, Artie Grossman and Bonnie Clark.## he

"Thank you, sergeant. I didn't know what else to do. Our own security's tied up
being first aiders and the police aren't answering their phones anymore." Walters
told him.

##That's because they're all outside handling situations in the field. You're doing
fine, ma'am. I've been listening to your transmissions. Getraer out.##

Sharon sighed and set the C.B. mic aside reluctantly. It had felt really good to
talk to someone who was in charge of managing personnel on the same level as
she. ::He sounded cool as cookies. Can I imitate that?:: she wondered. ::I've just
about run out of ideas here to cope with our casualty numbers.:: she thought to

But then there was no more time to think. She flagged over an orderly just leaving
the bathroom. "Before you return to your assigned duty, get on the intercom. We're
entering physical lockdown. All exterior doors and windows. All except right there."
she told him, stabbing a finger at the emergency entrance. "Make it happen."

"Yes, ma'am." he said, hurrying away.

Soon, Sharon heard the reassuring announcement of an action being taken to
actually fix a problem before it began. ::Now what else can I do?:: she
wondered. Then the lights flickered in the hospital just once, causing patients
and already arrived visitors to exclaim in dismay. "Thank you. That was it. I need
H-Vac to check on the secondary portable generators in case of a power out."
she muttered. "And all elective surgeries need to be cancelled in favor of
emergency ones from the outside."

Walters reached for the red phone in the water fountain's niche and began
to dial the departments she needed to contact.

While she was doing that, a dull roar began to grow in the parking lot.

::Is that the third wave?:: she wondered, dropping the phone back onto
its receiver.

Sharon ran for the door. The sound wasn't ocean water rushing up
the freeway like it had been before. It was a mob of frantic people.

Walters grabbed a passing supply gopher by the arm. "Chain those
doors! Now! There's a riot coming from the outside!" she ordered him.

Together, they punched the automatic doors shut by their trigger button
and disabled the motion detectors and started getting ready to chain
and padlock the outer ones firmly after shooing in a pair of fleeing medical
personnel who were trying to make it back inside.

"Hurry!" Sharon told them. The big double paned glass doors on their
velvet ropes swung shut just in the nick of time. Slightly hurt or
not so hurt people in the crowd began to pound on or get shoved
into the glass windows by others who were rushing the building.
"Looters." she realized.  She turned to the supplyman. "Go get
me some big orderlies with muscles. They're gonna have to
hold onto these doors so the chains won't break until the
CHiPs get here!" Walters exclaimed.

A perceptive nurse manning Sharon's usual desk, already had it
covered. "Doctor Black to the Ambulance Entrance. Doctor
Black. Stat. I repeat, Doctor Black stat to the E.R. Doors. ## came
her voice over the intercom.

Two burly security officers charged down a stairwell, one of them
peeling off the bloody gloves that he had been wearing while caring
for a child on an upper floor. They took Sharon's place holding
the doors and doubly secured the door bars with their handcuffs.
The glass windows were being rattled in their frames by the crush of
unregulated people outside. Sharon backed away, flinching, and
tripped over her wheeled stool. Her fall made her sit down on it, hard.

"Oh, my goodness." she gasped, when mud and blood covered
handprints began appearing on the windows.

"How are we going to get Mayfair arriving patients in now?" asked the
gopher when he suddenly returned with three helpers.

"We're gonna have to get creative, mister." Walters said, glancing up
at the ceiling. ::Choppers to the roof? It's the only way.:: she realized.
She snatched up the fire department HT again and started a new hail
on the emergency channel, hailing for CA-2, to share the news that
Rampart was entering a complete ground level lockdown.
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The third wave was big, but it was also slow. Five minutes after it
had arrived, the surge that had pushed onto the land and up river
channels and into bays was already retreating back the way it
had come.

The beach at the bridge site, had a new layer of destroyed city
and marina on its now gray clay stained sands. Captain Cooper was
issuing orders to his men. "Do not enter the new red zone until
a thorough hazmat check is performed on all levels. There
are ruptured gas pipes down there this time!" he yelled over a
bullhorn towards all the USAR and assigned fire units.

It was true. Burning cars and flaming holes in the ground were
springing up through the earth and bubbling in the newly raw,
draining oceanwater paths.

It was all DeSoto could do to not anse at the barricade the
Safety Officer was guarding until Hazmat determined where
the new hazards were located using sniffers and careful observations.

The luckless Mayfair ambulance had been carried and perched on
top of the remains of a crushed lifeguard tower lying collapsed on
the sand. "Captain. What about over there? Looks safe enough.
It's nowhere near those ruptured lines."

Robert scrutinized the line of sight from their position over to
the Mayfair. "Okay. I agree. Go at a creeping crawl!" he warned,
waving Bob, Roy and two USAR men under the safety barrier tape
he was holding in a glove. "Get your answers fast and then get back
here." he told them. "Wear full protective gear."

Swallowing dryness, Roy forced himself to just walk towards the Mayfair
in a scba mask and air bottle with Bellingham. Hank urged them on,
tossing them a prybar from his place next to Cooper. "Careful. Just
one look. And pretend the oxygen cylinders in there are gonna blow,
because they probably will." Stanley groused, worried. "They've been
knocked around hard enough."

Roy took the front. Bob took the back. "There are search markings
on the back!" he reported eagerly through his air mask. "J.G., R.A.
and.. one dead."

DeSoto closed his eyes in relief even as he jammed his pry bar into
the passenger door of the Mayfair. "Johnny Gage and Rosalie Arnold.
They're still alive!"  He wrenched the door open and a body fell out.

Nearby, one of the crated search dogs began to bark at the odor
that exploded from it.

It hit the ground with a soggy splat, its trauma ravaged shell already
cleared of entrails by the water. DeSoto was critical. "This is the National
Guardsman. He's still in his uniform." he said quickly into his radio. He
jogged back to help Bob where he was struggling to force open the rear
doors. Together, they strained on the door crack with the prybar's wedge
point until one door banged open to slap the side of the Mayfair as it
swung off broken hinges.

The interior was completely empty. Not even a gurney remained.

Roy let out the breath he was holding. "They're not in here. And they
couldn't have been washed out. The doors were locked." he said, eyeing
up the mess the spilled soggy supplies had made. "And most of the medical
gear's missing." he smiled in crazy hope.

"And I'm seeing food wrappers." Bob said, pointing at MRE foil floating
around in the skin of gray water inside. "Let's get back to the green zone."
Bellingham said. He looked over his shoulder at Hank and Robert standing
fifty yards away and signalled zero casualties with his gloves and arms.

Roy nodded and together, they started heading carefully back to
safety, retracing exactly, their first footsteps' path they had used,
coming in.

Stanley dropped his head in relief and set his gloves onto his hips.

Robert glanced at him."If your two people got out, where did they go?"

Hank said. "Knowing Johnny, they went off to help somebody else who
was stuck out there in that mess with them." he replied, ferally pleased
on the lack of a known person body count.

Robert's eyes glittered, unreadable."There's no mess left, Captain Stanley.
The bridge's completely gone." he said. "See? The fog's lifting."

Hank glanced out to sea and saw that it was entirely true. Only smooth
open water greeted his eyes where the smashed Vincent Thomas Toll
Bridge had been. "Oh, Gage." he whispered, tears filling his eyes
as light from a morning sun began to rise over a debris choked sea.
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From: patti k (
Sent: Sun 11/07/10 11:44 AM
Subject: Reconnoiter...

"We're not done yet." encouraged Robert Cooper to Station 51's men. He
lifted his radio to his mouth. "USAR-1 to any available chopper with
surveillance capability. We need a fly by of the toll bridge's post wave footprint
as soon as this fog starts burning away in the daylight." he requested.

##Coast Guard One copies. Do you want GPS coordinate telemetry on
potential survivable submerged areas?## asked its pilot.

Robert toggled back a reply. "That's affirmative. Anything that our divers can
definitely reach safely by boat or descent cable."

##Coast Guard One to USAR-1. We expect full functional visability in half an
hour via our infrared.##

"10-4." Robert acknowledged. He bobbed his head at the engine crew
and three paramedics surrounding Captain Stanley from Station 51 and
shrugged to ease some of their stress. "So we're going aquatic from now on.
Doesn't change anything. We're still gonna try to find the people out there."

Hank sighed gratefully. "I appreciate every effort made, Captain."

Craig Brice had joined the scene surveying USAR firemen as they reassessed
the beaches and the newly altered collapsed tollway access points on
the bay. He spoke even as he glassed the waterline. "How about Station 110,
sir? Our fireboat was out to sea when all of this began. She might be able to
get another set of eyes combing where the bridge went down."

"Good idea." Captain Stanley said. "I'll pass that along to CA-2 at Incident

Bob Bellingham was antsy. "Is anybody else feeling like we're hovering?
Hundreds, no.. thousands of people all around us are in jeopardy and
here we are--"

DeSoto was no nonsense. "We're not neglecting duty. This is how we were
assigned. This is where they wanted us to be. It's only by random good fortune
that it lines up with what we want emotionally, Bob, so don't let yourself feel
guilty. Not by a long shot."

Chet Kelly was spy glassing the water with an intensity unmatched by any
other firefighter. He had overheard the conversations going on around him.
"Cap, let's just put two and two together, all right? First, critical gear from
the Mayfair was hauled off to somewhere else. That says "Gage" written
all over it. Second, he's got an EMT with him who's at least well enough
to accompany him in helping to look for an escape out of any danger, and
we all know that two sets of eyes are always better than one. And lastly,
that third wave was the biggest, but it was really slowed down by all
the obstacles and debris already dumped off by the first two tsunami waves.
I can't see it doing that much more damage. Temporary submersion, maybe,
but more catastrophic deadly destruction?" Kelly shook his head in negation.

Stoker agreed."Everything that could collapse or be washed away, has
already done so."

Marco looked up from the line of HT radios set up on the hood of
Squad 51 that he was monitoring that were set to their various different
emergency channels. "Yeah. So if they're in a safe pocket, it's still gonna
be safe for them."

"I know, you guys." said Hank to all of them. "That's what Captain Cooper
thinks, too. Or he never would have tied up a critical coastline assigned
chopper like that for the few minutes it'll take to map the bridge site."
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Right then, the HT set to the California Highway Patrol came to life.
Swinging his head around, Lopez knew who the callers were because
they were no longer at USAR's Base of Operation. ##Seven Mary Four
to Seven Mary Three, are you with the lifeguards?##

Jon Baker replied to Frank Poncherello. ##That affirmative. And they've
assured me their boats are ready to rock. They want us both on
two of them.##

##On my way.## Ponch said.

The Los Angeles County firefighters had overheard the exchange.

Robert's lips formed an oh of surprise and appreciation. "I forgot about
the consolidating departments option. Nobody knows more about the water
in the bay than they do."

"Who?" asked Bob Bellingham.

Cooper replied with a happy grin.
"The Baywatch lifeguards. They can't work their home beaches yet, but
they can work the bridge. This bay's not in direct line of sight of the open
ocean and so it isn't under the active keep away tidal wave warning

"That's at least four more boats coming in. I like it." said Stoker happily, still
glassing the sea.

"I guess we should never under estimate the ingenuity of law enforcement
divisions." Hank chuckled, still listening in to the handy talkie tuned to CHiPs
dispatcher. A few seconds later, Ponch's voice came over the speaker.

##Seven Mary Four to Engine 51. Do you copy?## hailed Frank.

Cap picked up the radio and replied. "This is Engine 51."

##Had your ears on the last minute or so, Captain? We're bringing in
reinforcements!## Ponch said happily.

"We heard. We'll be ready. Land just below us in between the orange buoys.
USAR's determined that area of beach is free of danger." Hank told the CHiPs
officer as he watched one of USAR's scouting firefighters toss the safety marker
floats into the water from the cliff tops far above.

##Will do. Get your paramedics set to join us!## he shouted over the noise
of a motorboat's revving engine.

"We'll be ready." Cap promised. "Brice, Roy, Bob.. Grab out everything. We'll
handle gathering rescue ropes and harnesses, and all of the stokes."


Ponch turned back to a pair of beach lifeguards standing on the sand
in the ravaged parking lot of a beach city park. "Do you have any casualties
needing medical attention and evacuation? We've gear."

One of the guards answered. "Not anymore. What live ones we found we
treated and turned over to some fire companies. All the others on our
beach are dead and marked."

"How many?" asked Jon Baker, helping a man named Manny steady a newly
arrived yellow lifeguard boat in the water. He noticed a few plastic tarps covering
bodies hanging out of piles of building and pier debris near the lifeguard's wall
elevated Headquarters.

"Seventy four. All of them refused to leave the beach even when we broadcast
the tidal wave warning announcement." the lifeguard replied.
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"Who actually listened to ya?" Baker asked, angry at the news.

"The ones old enough to remember Crescent City as adults." he replied. "They
got their families to safety in time."

Jon nodded his head at the memory. He had been just a boy of twelve when
he heard the story of the infamous tele-tsunami from Alaska that had destroyed
the port's marina in 1964 from his parents and the newspapers. "The first known
California tsunami..." he recalled.

"Yes." said Manny. "And now we have three more on our hands that have hit a
much, much larger coastline population size. I'm beginning to wonder if we
can actually do anything for anybody. The devastation is just too--"

"Less chatter! Let's get to work!" said a lifeguard supervisor, waving in three more
lifeguard rescue boats that had ridden out the giant waves far out to sea with his
signal flag.

The CHiP officers and Manny snapped into action.


Sharon Walters saw three CHiPs cruisers screech to a halt at the edge of
the mob milling about outside. She picked up her C.B. radio mic and waited.
##Rampart this is Seven Mary David, Baricza. Give us a minute to sort out
the crowd for actual injuries. They just need calming down. Most of what
we're seeing is superficial cuts and abrasions.##

"This is Rampart Base, 10-4. We're standing by with gurneys if they're needed."
she transmitted, looking through the chained doors' glass windows over the
heads of the crowd. "Careful. They were rioting a minute ago."

##Understood.## said CHiP Officer Barry.

Sharon grinned when a familiar black uniformed officer strode towards her
through the throng of tsunami victims who parted like the Red Sea around him.
::Vince.:: she smiled in relief.  He gave her the high sign to unchain the doors.

Howard actually smiled at her.
"It's safe now. They just needed some reassurance. We're the first emergency
responders they've seen all day. A few of them thought the end of the world
was upon them and were being stupid by spreading panic." said Howard.

Walters swept an appraising eye over him, noticing mud and blood on his
uniform. "Need to take a break? We've still got power and running water. Food's
sitting out in the lobby for anyone rescue who needs it." she said cracking open
only one door to let the city officer in before she rechained it.

"I'll grab a bite. Then I need to get back out there to keep the hospital's
perimeter controlled against other misunderstanding restless folk, with the
CHiP cars. If we find anyone needing serious medical attention, we'll get them
to you right here, under escort."

"Sounds fair enough. But I have to keep the E.R. doors secured except to
let in the wounded you send us. It's policy." Walters explained. "Only an
administrator can rescind what I've set in place."

"That's okay. We can work with it." he replied. "Better safe than sorry."
he said wearily.

Sharon noticed a cut on Vince's arm and quickly bound it up with a
bandage wrap. "Just a nick here. Had your tentanus lately?"

"Huh?" Howard said, barely looking up from the plate he was filling
with sandwiches and fruit. "Uhh..." he sighed, trying to remember through
his fatigue.

"You're going to get another one." Walters said, flagging down a nurse
with a waiting laceration treatment tray. "He needs a DPT/DTaP I.M." she
told the staff member. "He's got a fresh cut."

"Right away, Nurse Walters." she replied.

"Oh, boy. I hate shots." Howard said, pausing in his chewing with some fear.

Sharon just gave him a wry smile. "Bite down on a bullet. I know you've
got those handy." she joked. "If you need to lie down for it I can accomodate

"Not a fainter, just a phobia." he frowned unhappily.

"Then don't watch. Turn your head now." she said as the nurse began to
prep Vince's arm.

"Ouch!" he said at the quick jab.

"Done." Sharon said. "Enjoy your coffee." she concluded, passing off a steaming
one chock full of sugar that she had prepared for him. "I've got to get
back to work. Thanks for the assist." she said about the ex-mob outside as
she hurried away from him.

"Anytime." Vince said, rubbing his now doubly sore arm.

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Dixie McCall jerked awake on her blanket. She was roasting. And the sun
was high overhead. She looked at her watch and finally saw the reassuring
noon time on its face. Looking behind her, she saw that the Mayfair that
had been sheltering her from the wind, was gone.  She popped up onto
her feet. "Right. It's time I got back into the thick of it, too." she muttered,
snatching up her duty jacket and her abandoned chart. She took off the top
page that was not current on its information anymore and folded it up
and shoved the information it contained into a pocket for later reference.
"My six hours are over." She said, gathering up the blanket and the thermos
that Brice had given her to bring back to Supplies.

She happily ripped up the green tag with her name on it. "In a pig's eye,
Kel. I'm declaring myself back on duty." she spat. Dixie cast its tattered
pieces into the wind with a gleeful relish and quickly jogged back to Triage.

Dr. Brackett was washing his hands between patients at a gallon jug of
water the National Guard had laid out near some rubbing alcohol bottle cases.
He wordlessly passed off a hot coffee thermos to her that he had kept ready.
"Feeling better?"

"Emotionally? Yes. Physically? No... I won't feel better about anything until
this whole disaster's been declared over." she groused, accepting the new
coffee. She tossed the cold thermos she had carried by a shoulder strap to
the ground, under the table, with disgust.

"It's gotten worse, Dix. There's been a third wave. And the casualities keep
pouring in."

"Any news on Johnny?" McCall asked, washing up with pure alcohol beside

"They found the ambulance." Then Brackett's face twitched. "It had a body
in it."

"Oh, that's bad." she sighed, her face growing stony.

"Maybe not. USAR and Station 51 at the bridge site remain hopeful. They've
got some good intel on where to begin searching for the rest of them."

"New information?" McCall asked, confused.

"The wrecked bridge is now completely underwater except for the very
bottoms of twelve of its snapped off caisson towers. They're searching those
now one by one with rappellers and divers."

"Caissons are hollow, aren't they?" Dixie recalled.

"Yes. There are spaces at the bottom for maintenance workers that
are triply re-enforced. But those lie under the water line." Kel said.
"If there's been any kind of structural damage to the outer walls.."
he didn't finish his statement.

Dixie's professional mask was back in place. "I like to think that Fireman
Gage is very lucky. Winged frequently, but always lucky."

"Can I join you on that mindset?" Dr. Brackett said quickly.

"Feel free. It works." she snorted. "Now, about the new victims. Where would
you like me to go first?" she asked the Head of Triage who was also
her soul mate.

"Row A. There's two more red tags waiting to move out. They each need
another vitals set taken. Oh, and Rampart's out of the transportation circuit.
They're under a lockdown." Brackett shared.

"How long ago did Sharon declare that?" Dixie asked, shocked.

"At dawn. Things are for the most part under control. But they're max'ed
out and are accepting no more patients. Any new ones are being routed
to Cedars-Sinai." Kel told her.

Joe Early came jogging over on his way to the yellow tags tent. "Good to
have you back, Dixie." he said, briefly squeezing her shoulder as he
grabbed up a new box of rubber gloves.

"It's good to be back!" she shouted into his direction as he ran away

Out on the triage field, Dixie could see Dr. Morton giving her an enthusiastic
thumbs up once he saw that he had made eye contact with her. He offered
her a little victory dance move.

Inside, Dixie felt greatly heartened by his support and finally felt mentally
rejoined back with her team. She accepted the Mayfair HT Brackett
handed out to her and toggled the talk button. "Mayfair One to all
Mayfair Units. I'm back in Operations. Relay all transmissions to me
at will." she broadcast to her EMTs.

She could almost hear the cheers from them rising across town.
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