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   A Day In The Life
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Page Two

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From: patti keiper (
Sent: Fri 11/18/11 5:36 AM
Subject: Improvization

Gage kept on his barrage. "Chet, keep trying to breathe, but lightly.
If there's a hole in one of your lungs, we don't want it to--"

"Shut up, bandaid boy!" The wild haired Ice hissed.

Stu countered. "Ice, pipe down. You're spoiling the party. Let 'em chatter.
They're going to do it anyway.  No harm done. They're all sitting down
and doing what we want them to do nicely enough."

Slowly, the anxious, sweating, red haired convict got control of himself.
Then he smiled. "All except starting to play sous chef."

Stu redirected the muzzle of his gun at Marco. "You. Start cooking.
No tricks."

"All right." said Lopez. "I'm..... heading for the frig." he pointed, rising
to his feet and walking slowly into that direction without any sudden moves.

"Can he turn the oven on?" Roy asked.

"Why?" Ice countered as his eyes followed Marco warily.

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"It's for the baby. We have to get her warm somehow or she's going to die on us."
DeSoto said truthfully. "That's the safest way to stabilize her. Using heated water
might burn her."

"Then hop to. Go ahead and bake the baby." Stu said quickly, his expression
suddenly less amused, and more paternal. "Slowly now, medic man." he said
when Roy stood and carefully picked up the oxygen apparatus by his chair
with his free arm.

Even Ice changed his mood. "H-How's she doing? She's not hurt? I was
very careful, Stu." he said, fretting at his companion.

Stu held up an encouraging palm at his companion. "I'm sure you were.
I know you have kids of your own and know how to handle them." Then he
turned to the paramedics. "Answer my little buddy, firemen."

"She's breathing on her own, but she's still in trouble. She's unconscious."
Gage said, pointing to the endotrachael tube now attached to just some oxygen
through the resuscitator's demand valve. He had seen that Roy had changed it
to passive triggering to the tiny infant girl on inhalations.

Cap asked. "Is she strong enough to keep pulling in that O2 on her own?"

"Yes." Roy said. "The only thing keeping her down now is the cold."

"Then get her comfortable in some heat and leave her. Get to Kelly next."
Hank ordered.

"Ah, ah, ah, big man. Did I say?" taunted Stu, lifting his chin.

Cap's lips pressed into a thin line but he held his peace. "No."

"Annnddd what comes next?" Stu gestured with the gun.

"He begs." Ice sniggered, chewing his gum more rapidly as
he folded his arms together in high amusement.

Hank did not give in to pride or arrogance. "Please, can I get my fireman
treated?" he said evenly, calmly, his earlier anger long faded away at
the wisdom of Roy's own example of an easy demeanor with their captors.
"It's not fun seeing him like this."

"Oh, I'll bet." Stu scoffed mildly. "Do you think I care whether he lives or dies?"

Hank finally raised his eyes to Stu's. "That's entirely up to you."

"Good boy. That's the right answer. Okay, Black Eyes." the bald convict said,
glancing at anxiety ridden Johnny. "You and your partner. Grab your gear
and start doing your rescue stuff. I'm feeling generous this hour."

"He needs oxygen." Gage said, once he hurried over to Chet's side and
felt his carotid for a pulse rate as he lay gasping on the couch.

"Use the baby's." Ice taunted. "You've got enough."

"How?" Johnny asked, incredulously.

"Figure it out." Stu said, smiling, gesturing grandly.

DeSoto turned from where he had placed the towel wrapped
newborn baby girl into a turkey pan underneath the warming heating
coils of the broiler. "We can set him on the table, and prop his upper
body upright on couch cushions to ease that breathing."

"He's good." Stu admired. "Combat medic?"

DeSoto nodded at the convict reluctantly.

"Looks like it might be time for some meatball surgery later perhaps?" Stu
laughed, eyeing up Kelly appraisingly. "That I'd really like to see."

Gage shot off a dirty look.

Roy and Gage soon guided Chet between them onto the kitchen table. They
slid it against the counter nearest the oven where the baby lay so the oxygen
they had could be shared on an extra line. They got Kelly's shirt cut away and off
of him as they began their head to toe examination.

Kelly began coughing wetly as Gage listened to his chest with a
stethoscope. "No, don't do that. It'll only make it worse."

Chet grabbed at Gage's shirt. "Pneumo?" he rasped, short of breath
in spite of the high flow non-rebreather mask they had placed on him.

"Yes. It's a hemopneumothorax. Must have been a bleb that blew. Your ribs
aren't broken at all. Sounds like you're bleeding around and into your right lung."

Roy looked up from taking a fast set of vital signs.
"But your pressure's holding so far. 90/54."

Kelly grinned weakly. "No kidding. I'm not passed out yet." Then he
grimaced. "Why does it hurt so bad?"
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"An open bleb is still a wound, even though it ruptured on its own when you
were knocked down. Your family must be prone to them. Want something
for the pain?" Roy asked him.

Chet nodded. "My sister is going to freak out." His forehead furrowed.
"I can just imagine her face when I tell her I've got a popped lung zit."

DeSoto deftly gave him a measured shot of meperidine into a bicep and
marked down the time onto a second run sheet near the baby's.

"Do I need an I.V.?" Kelly groaned. He had absolutely hated the moment
of the injection.

Roy looked to Cap, who was shaking his head.

"Not yet." DeSoto told Kelly. "You're not that bad."

Gage got busy patching Chet up to an EKG monitor once he had wrapped
the injured firefighter warmly into a shock sheet.

Cap spoke up. "Chet, I want to keep you mobile in case we have to....
work a little."

"And work you shall do." Ice celebrated. "First a fine dinner, then a trip about the
place closing a few window blinds and covering some windows.... Then I don't
know. We'll think of something else for all of yous to do."

"Beds. We're gonna need some beds. In here." Stu reminded.

"Yep. Near the baby so we two can enjoy hanging out with her." Ice agreed.

"Just let us know when and where." Hank said, not looking at them. His
eyes were on their two patients, his priorities.

"Sinus tach... 126. Fairly expected." Johnny said out loud, reading off
Chet's cardiac rhythm on the scope. "And no artifacts."

Chet rolled his eyes in irritation. "My pain isn't an M.I., Gage. Even I... know

"Better safe than sorry." Johnny told him tightly. "You've suffered trauma to
the chest. Now shut up and just breathe. Shallowly. Or we will be doing
that needle decompression you're constantly thinking about."

Kelly nodded nervously, his face paling as he obeyed.

Lopez quietly worked around them all, preparing enchiladas and
refried beans.
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From:  patti keiper (
Subject:  Tale of the Dead
Sent: Sat 11/26/11 7:30 PM

Dr. Quincy turned into the lab of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's Office
with a grim, all business stride. He rubbed an ample nose beneath a sandy mop
of short groomed hair quickly as he entered, going over his memory a minute ago
of a phone call with the head of Rampart's Emergency Department. ::Oh, this is bad.
Very bad if a hospital morgue overflows due to an event still in progress.:: he thought.

He caught the sight of his associate, Sam Fujiyama, bent dutiful over a forensic
microscope next to an ice cold cup of coffee. Quincy smiled at the sight and put on
his best game face as he took in a last deep breath to gather his very active thoughts.
He approached him quietly in the darkness, clearing his throat gently. He always
hated breaking the familiar but brilliant concentration of deep study in his young

"How's the Miller case coming?" Quince asked, wrapping thoughtful arms behind his
back around his tan tweed jacket as he leaned back on his heels in a sham of casualness.

Sam looked up and raised one bushy black eyebrow as he swept back his white
lab coat behind his elbows in mock humor. "You know you're not fooling anyone
with that intro." he grinned at the fifties something coroner. "Your body posture's
giving you away big time."

Quince lifted his head in affront. "Oh? How so? I thought I was hiding things pretty
well there for a second."

Sam chuckled and set aside the tissue slide he had been working on. "You look like
a kid in the candy store whenever really big business is brought to your
attention. Especially if it's entirely unexpected like whatever this is. So what's going
on, Quince? It can't be a bunch of earthquake fatalities because I haven't felt any
tremors today."

The fake light and little boy expression faded out of Quincy's eyes into serious sadness.
"It's a riot of epic proportions, sparked initially by a very large prison break where
state penitentiary inmates got out and actually managed to escape."

"Oh, no." Sam said, genuinely horrified. "Where is it?" he asked, his angelic features
twisting in sympathy.

Quincy dipped his head with a sigh.
"Suburban Carson. Rioting's growing in most of the neighborhoods around the
immediate vicinity of the prison. I think it's effecting an area the size of half a mile.
I've been watching the news. The reporters are saying local gangs also caught the window
of opportunity and are currently raising holy Cain on all the regular folks along with the
inmates." Quincy replied, toying unnecessarily with the neat stack of client files Sam had
out next to his work station. "I wouldn't be surprised if the governor calls out the National
Guard soon."

"There's nothing like unwarranted civil unrest, is there?" Sam mumbled sarcastically. He
rubbed a few sleepless, weary fingers through thick, black, wavy hair. "So, where are we

"Rampart Hospital. Dr. Brackett says their triage area's black tags are beginning to
outstrip their facility's capacity for cold storage. We're going to help preserve the
chain of evidence on all of the fresh homicides rolling in by reaffirming initial causes
of death and beginning the paperwork on them." Quincy answered.

"What about the boss? Won't he have something to say about us leaving?"

"Dr. Asten? He's been shanghai'd into active triage along with every other doctor Brackett
could lay his hands on." Quincy chuckled. "It'll do him good to slap on a few bandaids. He's
been getting a bit surly lately being cooped up here with us all of the time. Haven't you noticed?"

"Thankfully, no. I've been too busy."

"Well, we're about to get even busier, Sam. We won't have to worry about running into him.
For the entire duration, hopefully."

Both men startled when a sudden thudding against an exterior wall caught their attention.

"So it's here, too." Quincy commented, biting his lip mildly, unperturbed. "Huh. We'll just have to
put double locks on the doors as we go I guess."

"Is it safe to even travel out there with uncontrolled rioting going on?"
Fujiyama asked incredulously.

"Sam, I'm surprised at you.. When was the last time you've ever seen anybody come within
twenty five feet of a coroner's wagon with its red light on?" the older man replied with a snort.

Sam shrugged. "You've got a point. Let me go grab my lunch uh... er.. dinner." he
amended, looking at his watch. "I'll eat it on the way."

"I packed enough food for both." Quincy said, holding up a hand. "We need to go."
he said. "Our doctor friend sounded more harried than usual because he
had to contact our department away from the normal channels. That probably
means their local police are a bit overwhelmed. I don't think we'll be seeing any
of the boys in blue helping us out with all the corpses lying around town for quite
a while to come."

"Where does that leave Lt. Monahan?" Sam asked.

"Poor old Frank? For the moment, up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
For once, I'm not envious of his job."

"We might be regretting ours today." Fujiyama replied dubiously, peeling out of his lab
coat in trade for a black windbreaker.

"Never. Unlike Monahan, all of our answers are always going to be right in front of
us. All we have to do is dig a little." Quincy said soberly.

Sam held up a retrieved box of exam gloves in his grip, with emphasis.

The two medical examiners rushed out of the lab and the lab's large glass doors
shut behind them with a slam.

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Nurse Terri Stonelake looked up from the rows of triage patients set up in the
hospital's outdoor cafeteria as Quincy and Sam slowly picked their way around
hastily piled medical supplies and very crowded stretchers laid out upon the
ground out in the open. Her large eyes underneath a crisp short
bob were wet with unbidden tears at the sight of all the carnage surrounding her,
but her mouth was firm and her movements remained efficiently precise as she
performed her assigned duty.

Around her, doctors, nurses and fire department paramedics were visiting victims
as quickly as possible to either render care or declare a death that had occurred
en route to the hospital on each red tagged victim.

"Over here, doctor." she called out to the newly arrived M.E. pair. "I've been placed in
charge of disseminating these extra black tags." she indicated, waving a fresh set of
medical gloves over a row of sheet covered bodies lying beneath the shadow of the trees
in the courtyard. She eyed up their coroner's wagon skeptically. "What are you going to
do? Transport all of them downtown to your tables one at a time?" she asked tightly.

"If we have to." Quincy replied civily, recognizing the heavy stress of crisis in her eyes. He
took her arm into his hand with a soft compassionate grip and he squeeze it encouragingly.
"Hi. Miss Stonelake? I was told to look for you. I'm Dr. Quincy. And this is my lab assistant,
Sam Fujiyama. We're here to help you in any way we can." he smiled.

Terri sighed, and wiped away the worst of the dust on her face with an elbow. "I just wished we
could have done more to save them, but it was impossible. We just didn't have enough people."
she choked up.

"Hey.. They're not feeling any pain now." Quincy said, drawing her into a much needed hug.
"But we can give them the final dignity they deserve, so let's get started, huh? You're doing
fine, Terri."

Terri sniffled and finally let go of her tears silently. "I am. I know that. This is just the usual fallout."
she said, appreciating some comfort. "I could have used this hug a few hours ago. Thanks.
You're a really good friend, Quincy."

"I'm glad I'm here." he replied.

When they had separated, Sam offered Terri his coffee thermos. She thanked him and
drank a few sips. "Who's first, ma'am?" Fujiyama asked gently.

"Uh,... she is. She's the most recent. Unspecified fatal abdominal trauma." Terri said, pointing
down to a lone cloth stretcher on the ground nearest the parking lot. "She was found in a dumpster
by some good samaritans near the Arco refinery along Wilmington. They thought she was alive
because she was still bleeding from a large wound. They....didn't think to check for a pulse. They
just got her here." Stonelake said. "And yeah,...she was murdered. Most likely a knife did it."

"Okay, where can we take her?" Quincy asked, crouching down near the covered travois
to uncover the woman's face only long enough for an age determination.

"That tent over there. Dr. Brackett's overseeing its set up right now to make sure you have
everything you need." the freckled nurse replied.

"We won't take long. And then we'll help you organize and process all of these others
so you can take a break." Quincy promised. "Come on, Sam. Take her feet. Quickly now."

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Fujiyama did and soon Quincy and Sam had the shrouded woman inside of the impromptu
autopsy tent set aside for them.

Kel Brackett was in a pair of surgical scrubs. "Ah, Dr. Quincy. Mr. Fujiyama. You're here.
Sorry to drag you out into the heat but this was kind of urgent. You know how the press
gets about body counts. Especially unattended ones."

"Oh, yeah. They snoop around a little too much and take photographs." Sam agreed
with disgust.

"Which wouldn't be too good for the hospital's reputation, hence my phone call." Kel said,
crossing arms and elbows.

Quincy said. "I'd help with direct care, but I'm not a medical doctor. I'm just a PhD with a

Dr. Brackett smiled ironically. "You're a great diagnostician, but hospital policies prevent
me from allowing you to practice any first aid on people while you're on our property."

"No problem. I'll stick with the CPR I'm granted. Can't hurt those kinds of people. They're
already dead." he joked darkly.

Brackett smiled slightly bigger, and some of his tense, worried, and harried, stress fell away.

Quincy smiled his first genuine smile. ::How's that for a bandaid?:: he thought to himself,
pleased with his bedside psychology result.

"How many are being treated so far?" Sam asked Dr. Brackett.

"About forty. That's fifteen over our full in-house capacity. And those are in the process of being
stabilized to send to other facilities. Sadly, ten have died here already waiting for first treatment
or secondary transfers." Kel sighed unhappily.

"We saw them outside. There's only so much you can do if their injuries are bad with your resources
overwhelmed. What do you know about her?" Sam asked, pointing to their first client.

"Nothing much." Kel replied. "She seems very young.  I had hoped she would have been
found in time by some fire department personnel. But that didn't happen, gentlemen. The riots
have been so bad for scene safety, no fire goes out without police backup. I'm afraid all I did was
check for a lack of a carotid, confirm dilated pupils, a flat line on EKG, and evidence of total

"Okay, doc. Thanks for your time. We know you have to get back out to the land of the living."
Quincy said.

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Kel nodded and left quickly after handing the medical examiner pair their stack of necessary forms.

Quincy and Sam sighed once the tent flapped closed and soon, they had changed into provided
surgical overalls to protect their street clothes. Sam dragged over a nearby tool tray and
an autopsy kit and set it up.

"Let's see what we've got." Sam said, turning on a tape recorder for the coroner. "Recording."

Quincy began to talk, spilling out his findings on the stomach slashed woman, laying on
the table, whom they had retrieved from the courtyard. He nodded for Sam to pause the tape when
they got down to actually probing the gaping wound. "Oh, my god." Quince said, peering close
with a few retractors. "Sam, look. This woman was pregnant. And she was recently at
full term." he said, pointing out the large flaccid oversized uterus and skin splayed out like a
deflated balloon over the woman's upper thighs.

"How can you tell?" Sam asked, looking closer.

"She was lactating. Smell it?"

"Yeah. A bit like sour milk." Sam said, wiping away its traces from the woman's torso with a cotton gauze

"That's acidosis causing that change, caused by her death state. Is there a fetus with her in the bag

Sam looked. "No, just this." he said, pulling out a bloody note that had been hand written by her
would be rescuers with the location and street address nearest where she had been found.

Quincy took the card into his glove and read the address out loud. "Found in the alleyway of 2049 E 223rd
Street in Carson at 1641 hours. Huh... Now why is that address familiar to me?"

Sam peeled off his bloody gloves and grabbed a yellow pages near the phoneline that the hospital had
provided for them. He looked it up. "That's.. a fire station. Station 51."

"That's it. They're a regular client source. That's why they're so familiar. Don't they have paramedics
assigned at that one?" Quincy asked.

"Yes, they do. I've seen their squad in all of the emergency department lots in the past, on rounds.
And they're always busy." Sam answered. "That's probably why I remember them. Why do you ask?"

Quincy's eyes took on a haunted look. "Sam, you know how I feel about children and babies who
are our clients."

"Yeah, you usually can't approach the table until I cover them up first." Fujiyama replied.

"Well, this baby is missing. And he or she was near full term. Maybe the firemen in this
fire station know something about her murder. It was right down the block!"

Sam's eyes got suddenly firm. "Oh, no. We're not going to go off on some kind of wild
goose chase after an infant who may or may not be in the area. Let the police do that."

"Sam, they won't do anything. Not for just a missing person report. They're all too busy
handling the escaped convicts and the erupting riots. It won't hurt to do a quick search
of that alley way where she was found ourselves. Shouldn't be too hard to find the place.
There's been a lot of blood loss."

"Quincy, no. We were told we have work here and so... here... we.. stay!"

"That's an inhuman attitude right there, Sam! Just listen to yourself. What if this baby's still
alive? This woman's uterus is at least nine month's stretch. The mother's not even
in rigor or livor yet. She died very very recently. I wouldn't want to be you and try to
sleep nights if this day goes by and it's later found out that a newborn baby died of
exposure to the cold in a pile of garbage! Come on, that station's only five minutes from here!
We can be there and back before anybody even notices. It's not like our clients from
triage will suffer from such a short delay." he said, looking at the telephone book's map of

"Quincy! Y-You're crazy! You're..... " Sam sputtered in argument, but it died aborning.
"...absolutely right. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night."

"Great. I'll grab some flashlights." beamed the coroner. "Last one to the wagon's a rotten egg.
I'm driving." he said, covering up the dead mother nimbly with her body bag and sheet once more
for safe keeping until they got back.

Sam just sighed and grabbed a nearby medical kit and blanket as an afterthought.

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From: patti keiper (
Sent: Sun 11/27/11 12:58 AM
Subject: The Gift of Gab..

Dixie McCall had taken a center spot in the corridor of Rampart's main
emergency department five hours earlier when the Condition Orange
alert had first been declared. She was still there serving as the head
triage coordinator, directing gurney traffic, first into, and then out of the
hospital.::When is all of this going to end?:: She wondered. ::My G*d.
This is victim number 42 right now.:: she said as Squad 10 wheeled in
yet another mugging victim. "Conscious and stable?" she asked the medic.

He nodded. "Awake and very aware of how scared she was."

"Treatment Five with Dr. Asten." Dixie said, flashing a glare at him.

"Who's Dr. Asten?" asked Mitch from 10's, raising surprised eyebrows.
"And I thought I knew them all after working here seven years."

Dixie leaned into his ear as he strode past while helping the Mayfair attendants push
his patient along on their stretcher. "He's the attending from the County
Examiner's Office. And don't you dare tell her." she emphasized, keeping her
comment confidential as she cast eyes onto the woman sucking in oxygen
hysterically in front of them.

Mitch's eyes got really worried. "Is he legit? Dixie, that place is the county mor--"
Dixie smothered his last word, fast, with a hand over his mouth.

"To answer your question. Yep. I've seen him and Joe in surgery together. He's
a really good part time general practictioner, but when he's scheduled over there,
he's mostly an administrator for the county coroners."

Mitch met her eyes dubiously.

Dixie followed behind them, defending the M.E. physician deftly. "He gives shots.
Handles employee occupational exams and minor emergencies like a pro. And he
has the highest resuscitation success rate of any doctor I've never met. He runs
into a lot of them during court cases and public autopsies I'll have you know."
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"Wow." said the paramedic, finally convinced of Dr. Asten's credentials. "Can I
meet him?"

Dixie grinned dryly. "You will in about four seconds." she announced as he nearly
crashed into the door on the way into the treatment room. McCall caught and shoved
the door open before Mitch could embarrass himself with a stumble around
his still emotionally panicked patient. She was already eyeing him warily. "Behave.."
Dixie growled low in her throat at 10's medic for her benefit.

"I'm a perfect gentleman." Mitch said, lifting his head smugly.

"Yeah, but not a perfect paramedic. Quite yet." Dixie chuckled at him as it started
shutting between them. "Mitch, that gossiping while on duty tendency's got to go."

"It takes two to tango." Mitch grinned hugely.

Dixie made a face and stuck her tongue out at him. "Shush. Go introduce
yourself to Bob without making an even bigger fool of yourself."

"Yes, ma'am. But won't he--"

"Don't worry. Unlike Dr. Brackett, he doesn't bite if you interrupt a first exam."

Mitch opened his mouth to ask another question about Bob Asten, but the door
snicked shut between them neatly.

Dixie let out a huge sigh as she watched Mitch's head finally sink slowly out of sight
through the window as he turned to give a verbal patient report to his attending. It
suddenly popped up again long enough for him to quickly wink an eye at her
while he was doing so. Dixie did a double take. "Oh, you..." she sputtered. "Mitch,
you did that on purpose, didn't you? Just to make me lighten up a little." She leaned
on the wood with amusement. Then she started to laugh. "Huh.. Maybe it SHOULD
be nurse heal thyself after five hours on."

Dixie eventually flagged down Carol Evans to temporarily take her place and went
seeking coffee.


Joe Early had his hands full in triage. He gratefully noticed that Dr. Morton had finally
arrived from his day off sailing in response to the all call hospital emergency.  The
African American doctor was already making rounds even though he still wore a navy
striped nautical shirt and red bandana tied around his neck. This Mike soon stripped
away to mop off his sweat streaming face. "Joe, just how bad is it out there? There
must be at least fifty people out here waiting to see us." Mike wondered.

"We haven't seen a single police officer standing since all of this began. The ones
here are all patients. What do you think?" Early tossed right back at him.

"I think I'd better keep my eyes open." Morton grumbled, glancing up at their perimeter
towards the parking lot. "Has security spotted anything amiss around the hospital grounds?"

"Not yet. Maybe the inmates are more interested in gaining some luxuries for themselves
by force rather than in seeking out medical care with a hospital." he said. "Only some
of them ended up here. And two of them, are dead."

"Stabbings?" Morton asked, as he deftly checked a tourniquet someone had applied
to an unconscious man's leg near him.

"No. Gunshot wounds." Early answered. "Police issued."

"Sh*t. That's the last thing we need." Morton hissed, grabbing for a pen to mark
down a loosening constriction time on the wounded man's triage tag. "A bunch of armed
lunatics running around."

"That's armed, very focused, lunatics running around." Joe amended.

"That sounds like a fair description of us, fellas." Kel grumbled ironically as he joined
them in performing primary assessments on the group of new victim arrivals. "I've
got the M.E. and his man all set up. Now if the press aims a camera our way, all
they're going to see is calm, cool and collected, efficient processing going on. With
nobody being ignored. Including the dead." he gruffed. Then he grinned sarcastically.
"Hi, Mike. Glad you could join in on all the fun. How's he doing?" he asked of
the hemorrhaging man being swiftly checked head to toe once more by Morton's
gloved hands.

"He's bleeding." Morton snapped. "Duhhh."

Brackett just smiled. "Glad to hear it. Try a hemostat on that femoral artery. The leg's
going to be a total loss. See the contractures in that foot and ankle? No blood's been
making it down into his lower limb for hours. The tissue's necrotizing already."
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Mike frowned reluctantly, but then he quickly sacrificed the leg's dubious circulation
completely to save the man's life. "Clamping." Then he shouted out an order to a
passing intern. "I want this man hooked up to EKG telemetry on the double!"

A paramedic volunteered. "I'm closer. I'll do it. Twelve lead, doc?"

"No, put him on Lead II. We've got to save our supplies. Run a strip and watch him
for hyperkalemia. If you see any signs of increasing bradycardia or arrythmia, come
get me!" Morton said, peeling off his rubber gloves to don a new pair for the next victim.

"Right." the fireman medic answered, starting to patch him in.


Boot the dog woke up under the engine and moaned. Waves and waves of pain greeted him
as he threw up in reaction to the shock his body was taking from being shot through
his shoulder. Instincts made him want to hide even further away from the acrid smelling men
that were now mingling their angry scent with the comforting scents of his familiar ones.

As the scruffy, bloody dog scrambled painfully to his feet, his rump bumped into the live handy
talkie that Chet had lost when he was knocked to the floor, from where it had landed partially
propped against an engine tire. It tipped over and landed right on top of its push to talk button.


At L.A. Headquarters, dispatcher Sam Lanier saw an amber light go on. It was a live
on-the-air H.T. frequency. Turning up its volume, Sam heard the sound of something
high pitched issuing, then very soon after, a scraping of something blunt on concrete
came rasping through.

Quickly, he double checked who was working a fire or rescue scene in the area, but no fire
station was at the moment. Most were all still en route to their destinations. He soon relaxed
a bit when the weird noises did not repeat themselves.

Sighing, he hit the transmit button to all the HTs active on the network. "L.A. to all
personnel on HT frequency bands. We have an open mike that's transmitting. Check
your radios."  ::That should clear it up. Somebody's probably sitting on one after bumping
it on or something.:: he guessed.

An odd, piercing, wheezy whine and a sound of faint, laborious struggling became apparent.

::Is that a dog? Sounding all echoey? What the heck?:: he wondered, pulling his chair
even closer to the speaker.  Sam looked at the transmitting signature in detail. Then he
figured it out.

"Ohhhh." he chortled. "So that's it."
Grinning, he turned to his other coworkers working their communications panel. "Hey
guys, looks like Boot's stolen one of 51's handy talkies out of one of their trucks or
their office charger again. Boy, are they going to be mad when they find out."

The rest of the dispatchers laughed.

Lanier turned back to his main monitoring panel, still chuckling with amusement as
he flipped the amber light off so it wouldn't distract him any more. ::In a few hours, that
radio's battery will die out and it'll stop broadcasting.:: he hoped. "What a crazy
mutt. He must be bored out of his mind because the guys are all sleeping or something."
he said out loud to the others.

A minute later, more communications activity on the city of Carson's current emergency
began and he forgot all about the open HT band on speaker behind him.

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From:  patti keiper (
Sent: Sun 12/18/11 12:23 AM
Subject: Divergence

Ice, the convict, belched loudly in Cap's arm chair.
"Muchas buenos, señor." he smiled at Marco. "That
was probably the best grub I've had since I was sentenced
to life in the can."

"Oh, yeah?" said Gage, taking another blood pressure on
the dozing Chet, still stretched out and propped head up
on top of the kitchen table. "How long ago was that?"

"Nine years, Black Eyes."

"Nah, it's only been eight!" said Stu, the bigger con with the gun.
"See? I've been marking it down." he said, pulling back
a sleeve and displaying a ream of scars healed jaggedly
on the skin of an inside forearm.

"Stu, your cut math's wrong. You forget I was at San Quentin
for a year before I met ya." Ice grinned, tossing the bald headed
Stu his hunter's knife, that had killed the mother and birthed the baby.

"Oh, yeah, that's right. I forgot. I'll fix it right now." he smiled
gleefully, his eyes glaring with an evil glint. Swiftly, he drew
the blood encrusted blade in a new hatch mark across his
arm in a shallow slash. He closed his blood shot eyes and
took in a deep cleansing breath against the pain.  "Ooo,..
payback's a b*tch. But a code's a code. There you go, Ice.
Number nine. The proof's in the pudding." he said, brandishing
his oozing arm up into the air for his cell mate to see.
Then he tossed the knife back to him, flipping it end over end.

Ice snatched it out of the air effortlessly.
"Thanks, buddy. I still appreciate the solidarity."

"Anytime, mate." Stu saluted him with a tiny, amused gesture,
watching his cut bleed and drip onto his overalls.

Roy finally spoke up, mostly out of conscience. "Gonna dress that?
It could infect on you."

"Nah, I got it, medic man." Stu began sucking on his self inflicted
wound, like a hungry wolf, to clean it.

Cap and the others looked away, feeling nauseated.
Lopez shoved aside his plate of untouched enchiladas.

Chet turned his eyes up to Johnny's. "If I puke, roll me his way
so I can nail him." he mumbled through his oxygen mask.

Gage shushed him quickly in alarm, but the two convicts failed to
hear the comment. He spoke aloud to cover it. "Uh,.. it's 86 over 54,
Roy. About the same." he said, clearing his throat nervously. "H-How's
your chest doing now, Chet?"

"Still... feels like I'm... drowning." Kelly answered, sweating.

"Doesn't sound like it, though." Johnny shared. "It's probably
referred sensation on the blood that's already starting to clot inside
your lung. You're doing just fine."

"Pink and perfusing, eh?" Kelly grinned slightly.

"Something like that." Roy nodded, his stress still veiled well.

Chet started coughing weakly at the itching. Gage helped him sit
up higher during it to ease his discomfort.

Mike Stoker fixed Chet's oxygen tubing unnecessarily. "Should I add
a humidifier?" he asked Johnny, checking the O2 flow's remaining
volume on Chet and the baby's tank.

"No. The drier the O2, the better. Even if he gets a little thirsty in the
mouth." Gage replied. "That lung hole's tiny. It's not collapsing anything

"It probably won't." Roy agreed. "Not as long as he doesn't move around
a whole lot for the next few hours while a scab forms."

"Maybe we should make him get up and dance." Ice chuckled.

Hank's glare that he shot the red haired convict was barely controlled.
Cap gave into frustration. "You're the one in the clown suit. Why don't you?!"

Ice didn't take offense, he held up two hands in mild surrender. "Hey, whoa.
I was just joshing, fireman. Stu offered your man some mercy. So it stays.
You really think I can't honor that?" he stated, half dismayed that he wasn't

The newborn girl in the warm oven began to awaken and gurgle and flail her
tiny limbs under the kitchen towel. That hushed all conversation instantly.

DeSoto hurried over to her side to check her consciousness level as
she continued to pop around her airway tube. "She no longer needs
this." he said, deftly extubating and suctioning her carefully with the
resuscitator's equipment. "Pulse's fast, but still strong."

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"Ooo, can I hold her?" Ice said, setting aside the knife on top of the pay
phone shelf. "I'm good with kids." and he shot to his feet from the chair
he had been sitting on.

Marco and Mike began to bar Ice but Cap held up his hands subtlely
to halt their move.

Stu just watched the proceedings calmly, polishing his gun barrel
on the bottom hem of his bloody orange tunic.

Roy didn't stop him as the tiny wild haired con took the wrapped baby
gingerly into his heavily tattooed arms.

Mike Stoker clenched his fists but he didn't move from where he was
sitting in a chair next to the oven and Chet. He watched everything
with close intensity.

Ice smiled down at the tiny infant's oxygen masked face, who began to cry.
"Hey, little one. Happy Birthday..." he crooned, eyeballing the firefighters
one by one. Then he glanced down and gave into his more fatherly instincts.
"I think I'm falling in love, Stu.. She's adorable."

"She looks like a piece of wrinkled meat, Ice." replied his companion.
"Eeeow. I like 'em when they can actually start to talk and run and play with
ya right back. At this age, they just poop all the time and spit up onto your
shoulder after they eat."

"Yeah, but they don't smell bad at this age. That's why I like 'em." Ice said,
grasping the baby's tiny hand into two of his fingers. Then he frowned.
"Oh, she's cold. I just felt a shiver." he said anxiously.

"Here." said Roy, taking the baby back to her place in the oven warmed
turkey pot. "She's just chilled from being away from the heat."

"Is she hungry?" Ice asked, all eyes on the baby, fussing worriedly.

DeSoto frowned. "Not yet. She's in shock." he admitted.

Stu just sighed. "There's no way to feed her. You off'd the mother, Ice. That
wasn't very smart."

"Yeah?" said Ice defensively. "Mama screamed too much. I didn't want
her to give us away to anybody passing by in the alley."

"Ever heard of using a gag?" Stu asked, matter of factly.

"What? A gag? Is that a cloth in the mouth?" asked the confused redheaded

Stu nodded patiently.

"Well, I..I didn't think right then, I just reacted." Ice sputtered.

"I know." Stu said, rolling his eyes. "That's where you always get into trouble."
he said ironically.

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Cap saw an opportunity. He met Stu's eyes firmly with his own sad ones.
"You can end all this. Right now. Just leave the fire station. I'll order my men
to keep their mouths shut about having experienced this little visit of yours until
after the two of you are well away from here."

Ice shot to his feet and began pacing with the butcher knife still in hand.
"And where are we supposed to go, huh? There IS no shelter for a runaway
criminal.  Everybody knows that, Stu. We come first. Like I said before. Don't listen
to him."

Stu just smiled and scratched his bald head. "I don't plan to. I'm tired of doing
time. This is our last stand, Ice. Fitting in a way. My dad was a firefighter before
he died."

Cap lifted his head at that. "Where was that?"

"San Dimas. Fire Station #64."

"Headquarters?" Marco blurted out.

"Yeah. He had a stroke while working. But the fire boys from somewhere
couldn't save him because paramedics didn't exist in those days." Stu snarled.
"Poor me. I was nine at the time. So that's why I'm here. Fire stations are..." he
took in a deep breath.. "..still very comfortable places for me to be in. I have a lot
of nice memories of growing up around 64's."

Cap studied Stu's face more closely, angling his head. "Stuart? Are you
Stuart Allen? Steven Allen's son?"

Stu shifted on the lounge chair and uncrossed his legs, subtlely no longer at
ease with the situation. "Maybe once a long time ago. But I'm a different
man now. Beaten down by the system and cast aside, fireman. Do you
like what you see?" he said, aiming his gun right at Cap and cocking its
safety off.

Hank turned his face away, holding up a hand. "Sorry.. I'm.. Chief McConnikee
still has a picture of you and your dad in his office. That's how I know. A firefighter
photo is hard to forget when any kids are in them along with their dads." he said,
keeping his eyes to the floor. " You.... looked really happy then."

Stu's face became unreadable for long seconds. Then he lowered the gun. "I was,
captain. But all of that changed and I changed. It's an old sad story. Mom got into
drugs because she couldn't cope with her grief and I got into the gangs to try and
put food on our table. I was succeeding until one day I met up with someone just
a bit bigger and stronger than I was."

"What happened?" DeSoto asked.

"I killed a man in a bar fight. I just didn't know that he was an off
duty cop at the time who had a growing alcohol problem. Before I came along, he'd
been able to keep it successfully hidden." Stu admitted. "His fellow police buddies
threw the book at me once they found out that he had been a chronic drinker from the
coroner's. Probably went all out on me out of hate because the booze had made one
of their own slow enough for one of the bad guys to get him. So tell me this. Who looked
better in court at the trial in front of an impartial jury? A dead cop who had been innocently
trying to unwind in a tavern or the live gang member with a years long history of petty
crimes to his name with the scars and tattoos to match?"

Marco clenched his jaw. "You were eighteen at the time?"

Ice defended his cellmate. "Yeah, stupid. He was. Only adults can get life time raps."

"It was self defense." Stu murmured to Lopez. "I haven't killed since. I do have a sense of

Ice turned back to Stu with a look of confused incomprehension. "Why are you telling
them all this? It'll just give them ammunition."

"Confession is good for the soul, Ice." Stu told him. "But you'll never understand that as
long as you keep the view that other people are worth less than you. That's why I took
you on as a cell mate. I thought maybe I could try and get you to change your line
of thinking."

"I'm nobody's personal reclamation project!" Ice frothed. "Not even yours!"

Stu just shrugged and played with the gun.
"I know. That's not why I took you along with me when we escaped. But this," he said,
tossing his gun muzzle toward the oven and the distressed baby. " going
too far. They were both innocent, Ice!" Stu told him.

"Stu. I like you. But I'm also warning you. Shut up about that. Just ---"

A tones call went out. And it was for Station 51.
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##*Eee... Ohhh.. OOoooooo.* Station 51. People injured at the mall. 8500 Beverly
Boulevard. 8500 Beverly Boulevard. Cross street, La Cienega. Time out: 17:09.##

"Is that for us?" Stu startled, glaring at Cap.

"Yes." replied Hank softly.

"Oh, sh*t." Ice fretted. "Stu, what are we gonna do now?"

"Just shush... I can't remember." said the big bald convict, chewing on his
hand. "I think they have steps to follow if nobody answers after two minutes..
Is that right?" he asked, gesturing his gun at Cap.

"Yeah, that's right." Hank said quietly, keeping still.  "They'll think something's
wrong. And then, Headquarters will deal with it."

Ice paced over to Cap and whipped the knife to his throat, forcing his head
back in a fierce arm grip. "So make them stop."

"I can't." grunted Cap breathlessly, blinking rapidly at the knife he could feel
stinging his jawline. "It's standard operating procedures."

Stu got to his feet and glared at Ice. "Don't hurt him. They're our guests. They
cooked for us. Is this how we repay them? We both knew it was only a matter
of time before we got discovered. Just ride with it. We're not done yet. Not by
a long shot."

Frustrated, Ice let Hank go with a rough twist.

Cap coughed hard, both hands flying to his throat as he sucked in a breath
desperately at the release of pressure.

"Easy. You're not cut." Gage whispered to him at his ear. "That was the back of
the blade." he said, gripping Cap's shoulder reassuringly in a brief squeeze.
Then Johnny turned back quickly to re-face their assailants.

DeSoto moved his hands neutrally in front of himself and away from the
medical gear. "Stu. We are not resisting you. Cap was just stating the facts."

"Noted." Stu nodded easily. He dragged Ice back over to his side by the arm.
"This is not the way to do it." he hissed at his companion. "No more force!"

The overhead speaker came to life once more with Sam Lanier's voice.
##Station 51, please respond to our last traffic.##


In dispatch, Sam toggled his microphone once more. "Station 51, do
you copy?"

He was met with silence over the airwaves.

Grunting in puzzlement, he toggled another station's call button
and toned them out to the call he had tried to assign to 51's.

Then he got on the phone to his supervisor. "Hello, Ron? 51 is offline.
Any seismic acvitity from USGS going on right now?"

Supervisor Dane replied. ##Nope. Try their tower on backup.##

Sam hit a test tone to the repeater in Battalion One's district. The light
came back green. "I get an echo. It's working." he reported. "Hmm. Weird.
Say listen. We have high Santa Anas today. Maybe 51's aerial antenna got
knocked out of whack or something."

##Did you try them by landline?## asked Sam's boss.

"Not yet. Hang on." Sam dialed Station 51 and got only a busy signal.
"There's nothing." Sam confirmed over the phone.

## Okay. So it's a local communications glitch on their end somehow.
Go ahead and send out a maintenance truck their way to see what's up.##

"Will do." replied Sam. "I'm taking 51 off the grid for now."

##Sounds good. Keep me posted.##
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   A Day In The Life
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