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   The Long Hot Summer
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Page Two

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From: patti keiper (
Sent: Sun 12/01/13 1:05 AM
Subject: The Other Kind Of Hot..

Captain Stanley peered out his window on the Ward and into the darkness. They moved
towards Staging as Mike Stoker turned off its sirens to keep listening ability intact for
responders already on scene. Through the star burst of Fire Boat 110's and a coast guard
cutter's search lights combing the area, he could see moderate smoke rising off a recently
wrecked pier near a naval ship. A protruding tail of a crashed navy jet was embedded
into the pier structure itself from a subterranean loading chamber underneath it.
Very little additional damage was visible.

"That other one's a fatality, Cap." his engineer reported, aiming a spotlight at a
rainbow smear of oil and jet fuel spreading on the surface of the ocean at the end of the pier.
Bits and pieces of a second plane, all smaller than suitcase size were getting tossed
about in the waves while the Coast Guard sent in two divers in bright orange to investigate.
Noticeable was a crushed and bloody flight helmet, trailing communication wires among the
floating, tumbling debris. There were no bubbles marring the stain's widening center visible
in the flashing red lights of other fire vehicles pulling up quickly alongside them.

"No air left." Hank muttered. "All right. Everybody out. Gear up with full scba and
torches. Then report to Accountability. No doubt we'll be getting our assignment orders
from there. Mike, keep her running hot. Let's start dragging out all our medical gear
and air bottles for whoever needs them in future."

Stoker nodded as he put the engine in park and turned off all lights except for proximity
flashers.  He jumped down to the ground and was jolted seconds later when Marco,
landing next to him, stumbled out of balance."You okay, Marco?" he asked, steadying
the Mexican firefighter.

"Yeah, just lost my balance for a second on a rock." he replied, bending over and picking
up what he had stepped on with a gloved hand.

Chet Kelly joined them in a similar leap, pulling on his air bottle harness. "Piece
of the pier. Must have been one h*ll of a crash for that second fighter pilot."

Captain Stanley sniffed the air. "I'm not smelling any fuel spilling over there. If the tanks
emptied out, there should be at least something coming upwind."

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"Nothing." reported Stoker as he read the glowing panel of a gas detector he had
retrieved to backup Hank's theory.

"Let's count our blessings, Cap." Lopez remarked, carefully placing the debris chunk
back where he found it for future investigators. "Maybe that fire around the crash site's
just a pile of burning crates."

"Black smoke." Mike observed. "More than just wood. Probably organics."

Chet's stomach felt sick at the possibility of any casualties who didn't make it. "We'll find
somebody to rescue." he spat, bolstering his resolve in the heat of the night that was stifling
with humidity because they were near the water. "Quit being such a downer, Stoker, you're
ruining my perfect night."

Hank moved a short distance away to prevent feedback squelch in all of their radios.  
Taking in a deep breath, he pulled up his HT antennae and hit his talk toggle. "L.A, Engine
51's on scene at Staging."

## Engine 51. Arrival at 23:06 hours.## replied San Lanier at Headquarters.


At Rampart Hospital, Joe Early and Dixie McCall had left Annabelle Tanaka in the
care of psychologists and the psychiatric doctors on the Psych floor.  She was
no longer in medical danger.

"I hope she gets over it." said Dixie to Joe as they arrived at the E.R. main desk.
McCall immediately reached over for the ever present coffee pot that was there, tucked
in behind the EKG receiving station. She poured mugs for two and offered him one.
"I'd hate to think this is the start of a tragic trend for someone so young."

"Hard to say." said Early. "She's in a tough spot. If her grandmother was for sure her last
surviving family member, things are going to be difficult to cope with for a long time yet."

"She's not that strong, Joe."  Dixie said, fingering the rim of her coffee cup. "I got that
impression very clearly. She picked up that picture of herself and her grandmother, and
wouldn't let it go, even during her lavage care."

Early pursed his lips as he eyed up the county radio that was chattering above where Kel
Brackett was standing as he wrote down notes on the latest alert bulletin broadcasting
from the fire department channels. "She was intelligent enough to know what she did was
really stupid, fresh out of unconsciousness, Dix. Nobody I know who's ever been genuinely
suicidal feels that way so fast." he shared, taking a savored sip of his coffee. "She'll
snap out of it, most likely, before she tries to harm herself again."

Dixie lofted her coffee mug. "To Annabelle." she sighed.

Joe matched her uncharacteristic toast soberly.

"Save some for the rest of us, guys. Looks like it's going to be a long night." grumbled Kel.
The dark haired doctor turned down the county radio a notch and held up a brand new triage
organization slate. "Getting hotter by the minute here. And I'm not talking about the weather."
he declared.

"What's happened?" Dixie asked. "I heard the administrators put us on Orange Alert over
the intercom."

Kel nodded. "A pair of navy jets pier crashed fifteen minutes ago. There are complications."

Joe puzzled. "Two pilots.." Then he snapped his fingers in an idea. "Ground casualities?"

"Some, they think." Dr. Brackett said. "But the fire department hasn't entered the hot zone yet
for some reason despite there being an active fire."

"They haven't? I wonder why?" asked Dr. Early.

"Who knows? Not my job to worry about it." Kel replied, grabbing up his own mug for coffee.

Joe kept on rubbing the many rings on his fingers as he considered the possibilities. He
ignored his hard won coffee.

Dixie just rolled her eyes and scoffed at him. "Don't waste energy by wondering. We're always
the last ones to get any kind of straight answers from County.  Drink up, or you'll regret it later."

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"We're here." said Gage when he spotted a dim rosy glow filling the roadway. "It's to
the left."

Roy let himself be guided by newly dropped cherry flares to the place in Staging set aside
for paramedic and ambulance units. "I don't see the Engine." he said. "It's too foggy with
all of this steam coming off of the water."

"Doesn't matter. We can hear them." Johnny said, hefting up their radio mike. "L.A., Squad 51
at scene."

##Squad 51. Arrival at 23:11 hours. Chief McConnikee relays an order. Report to R and R for
a pre-engagement assessment.##

"10-4, L.A.. Squad 51 copies R and R order." Johnny replied, neating hanging the mic back
onto its spigot. "Something tells me that this'll be the best thing going for us for days."

Roy deftly put the rescue truck in park and got out, following Johnny towards the tent they
could see erected by a pumper truck filling a wading pool from an open valve.
"We're not alone. Whatever told you that many hands won't make for a light load?"

"That did." Gage gestured to the sign-in table. "He's not smiling." Johnny said, pointing a
glove towards the Accountibility Officer seated there. "Last time that happened, we ended up
working a brush fire for forty eight hours straight."

"I remember. Let's hope you're wrong." DeSoto sighed.

The two paramedics took off their helmets and set them down onto the table, displaying
their number. Then they both handed over one of two metal tags that were attached to
their turnout jackets next to their small halligan tool.  "Johnny Gage."
"Roy DeSoto." they announced.

The young, tense faced lieutenant eyed up the green numbers on their helmet plates.
"Paramedics. Okay, thanks. That makes eight so far all total. Go on inside. There's a doc
waiting to speak to you." said the curly haired officer.

Johnny startled. "What about?"

"I'm not the one who can tell you. Next!" said the fireman, gesturing for another team of arriving
paramedics to hurry up into the growing line.

"Okay, yeah. You predicted the big brush off accurately enough." said Roy to Johnny.  DeSoto took
off his gloves and shoved them into a pocket. Then he unbuttoned his coat as they left the front of
the line. "Say, Johnny, are you giving away any of that paranoia? I think I'm getting in the mood." he

They entered the tent full of recuperation gear and cots after stripping down to their T shirts
and uniform pants.

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Roy blinked in surprise. "Dr. Welby? What are you doing here?"

Marcus eyed up his new arrivals. "Doing my job, young man. I'm not just family practice. I'm
volunteering my time for a new state run program I developed. Like it?"  he said, gesturing around
the tent.  "It's for unexpected environmental emergencies." he said significantly.

It was only then Roy and Johnny noticed that there were more things present around them
other than just ice chairs, water bottle cases, and blood pressure cuffs. He immediately
recognized a basket of pocket dosimeters and an isolation cubicle being hastily lined in brown
paper off to one side by volunteers.

DeSoto's face fell from one of greeting to one instantly sobered. "Oh, no. For that ship out there?"

"Yes." said the kindly balding doctor. "It's got a nuclear reactor on board that's in sudden alarm mode."

"How bad?" Gage frowned, taking a seat on a stool near a nurse who began taking his vital signs
they knew were necessary before deployment. Roy took a second stool by Johnny for a similar exam,
just listening quietly with tight focus.

Another doctor nearby replied. It was Doctor Steven Kiley, Dr. Welby's business practice partner.
"Nobody knows yet. They're checking it out from a distance with geiger counters. We've got
some time to kill." Steve told them. "There are a few navy officers on the ship who are relaying to
the fire department I.C. about what they have going on. Not much is known yet. But what we do
know is changing how we're going to tackle this. None of it's pretty. Here, clip these to your shirt
pockets." said the tall, dark eyed M.D, handing out a pair of chrome dosimeters. "About chest high.
Just in case."

Marcus angled his head. "Once we reaffirm that you're not already dehydrated or compromised by
all this heat in some other way, you'll be joining the first-in team in the yellow zone. Are you
prepared to accept the additional risks?"

Gage swallowed dryly. "I didn't sign on with the department with exceptions listed, Doc."

Roy equally acknowledged that he had been informed to the letter of the law. "I understand
the nature of this current incident. I'm still a go." he said seriously, trying not to think of his
wife and children.

The two nurses attending the paramedics both nodded at Dr. Welby as they took off their
stethoscopes, signaling that they had found no problems on either firefighter.

"Sign here." a new, stocky, blond haired nurse said pleasantly, holding out a slate of signatures
already signed on a form that had a radiation symbol stamped in yellow and black at the top. It
was Nurse Consuelo Lopez. "It's a consent form. We've just cleared you for work."
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From:   patti keiper (
Sent: Wed 2/12/14 2:39 PM
Subject: Sizzle And Bake

Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage left the staging medical clinic tent wearing new
red metal tags hooked to their jacket fronts off of buckles.

"Don't I feel special?" Gage said, grasping his radiation assignment marker.
"Tell me again why we're doing this."

"Ask me tomorrow, Johnny. Maybe then I can come up with a real
good answer to that." Roy replied, licking equally dry lips.  He passed off
a couple of foiled wrapped water bottles to his partner from a knapsack
that Dr. Kiley had given them to take with them.

"What's this?" the dark haired paramedic asked.

"Iodine solution. Potable, I hope." Roy sighed.

"This stuff never is." Gage made a face, but immediately started guzzling.
"I hope it works."

"Your thyroid's going to be happy. Never fear." DeSoto quipped seriously
as he chugged down his own preventative measure.

"Well, at least there's a good reason for my nausea now besides the heat."
Gage tried to smile.

"It's okay to be scared. I definitely am." Roy said truthfully, gripping his
partner's shoulder in comfort and bonding.

Gage covered the grip with one of his own gratefully.
"We'll both stay sharp." Johnny promised under his breath as real fear began
to pour into his boots almost faster than his sweat was already doing.

The two paramedics didn't anse on gearing up into full scba. They soon
joined Engine 51 to face the assignment that Cap invariably had for them
already from the I.C.

"Cap?" DeSoto shouted through his air mask as they left Squad 51 behind,
carrying all of their medical gear.

Hank turned around wearing his own, steamed heavily from his breath. "The fire's
out. The only unknown danger now is instability. There's no one on the pier. That
smell was from charred food from the hotdog stand the jet hit when it crashed.
A Coast Guard helicopter spotter says that naval ship's hull has been torn
open towards the stern and that the plane is lying half inside and half out of it
on the beach beneath the pier. Go in and see if the pilot's alive. You have
exactly ten minutes. Then bug back out here to the yellow zone for decontamination.
If your handy talkies fail in the heat, use light signals with flashlights. Stoker's got
them ready."

"Right, Cap." Gage said, abandoning their paramedic gear at his feet.

"Good luck, guys." said Mike, clipping a torch and holster to each of their
air bottle harnesses.  He followed up with a pair of lifelines tied around
their waists. "It looks pretty smoky over there so feel your way in. Tug if you lose
sight of where to go and we'll reel you back in to try another access point."

"What's the second one?"

"Through the water." Chet told him, motioning like a fish.

"Oh, great." Gage said. "No wonder Fireboat 110's out there." he said,
eyeballing the crew anchored safely upwind of the pier.
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"Anything on the reader?" Roy asked Marco, who had out a USAR issued
Geiger counter.

"Slightly above background. Some might be leftovers from the brush
fire dust from last week." he mentioned hopefully, turning up the crackle sound
on the monitor so they could hear it. He showed the face of it to Johnny because
he knew Gage wanted to see it.  The needle was jumping to three times normal
whenever the wind gusted the fading smoke between them all and the trucks.

"So far so good." Johnny nodded at Lopez. "Rig up our supplies into a stokes onto
our navigation line. We'll take it once we find the pilot. Leave the biophone. It won't
work in this stuff." he said, waving a careless glove into the air about the rising
cloud of radiation.

"We'll figure out what kind this is in a few minutes." Cap promised. "We're
establishing a better connection with the sailors aboard that ship by phone. They'll
meet up with you on the inside with all their information about it. Let us know."

Roy nodded and together he and Johnny walked through the water curtain that
had been raised to keep the yellow zone protected from any potential harsh
fallout from the rapidly dissipating smoke at the crash point.

Haze made it difficult to see. All Gage was aware of was the red glow from
the sea of fire engines assigned to the incident and the soft give of the sooty
sand beneath his feet. The slowly growing drag from his lifeline was increasing
around his waist as his rope became soaked in seawater from the ocean rain
Fireboat 110 was providing for them from a water cannon as another layer
of protection from unleashed nuclear energy. He coughed, sucking in
another clean breath of canned air as he leaned forward to compensate.

A large shadow loomed suddenly over his head and made him stop in his tracks.
He grabbed for Roy's tank that was in front of him in the dim light to stop him
as well. "We're here. Watch your head!" he shouted. "Something sounds loose!"

A low creaking could just be heard over the sound of sirens and marine boats
responding to the rescue to their left. They edged away from it to the right,
still fog blind, with their arms held out in front of them, feeling for obstacles
that they knew were going to be there.

Roy's hands smacked into a barnacle encrusted pier leg. "I got the first one.
Stay behind me." he said, pulling out his flashlight to pierce the added darkness
that wooden pier debris had given the night. He aimed it above their heads.
"Everything's in one piece up there. Be careful, there's some magnesium in the
water the waves haven't washed away yet."

Johnny looked down and saw writhing white sparks of effervescent, exploding solid
chemical under the water that was swirling around his boot ankles.  A strong
hiss secondary to the ocean waves began to grow. "I sure hope that's cooling
metal I'm hearing and not something else."

Roy nodded with exaggeration so he could be seen in the murk. "It is. That's hull
sound, not a breached pipe. We're at the ship.  This way. I think I see something."

Soon, they passed through a yawning hole and into a cargo bay on the listing

Gage's turnout seemed to stick to every pore while he slowly boiled inside of it. ::This
is H*ll. Worse than any fire.:: he thought. ::Is that because I can't see what's reaching
out for us?::   Johnny imagined the burn of radiation around the margins of his
snug air mask, swiping at it subconsciously.

"You're fine. Quit figetting." DeSoto said. "We're shielded now. This is a sealed off
room. That's the first thing the sailors would have done to keep out all of the water."

Johnny still shivered as he quickly drew out his own flashlight as they waded out
of the shallow water and headed updeck towards the tail of the jet they could
see outlined by the glowing night sky just ahead. Steam was still filling the
bay around the crumpled jet. "No wings left. But the fuselage's intact." Roy
reported. "There's hope for the pilot."  He dragged out his plastic wrapped HT.
"HT 51 to Engine 51. We're inside safely."

##10-4, HT 51. We'll keep an eye on the tide. It's just started to come in.##
said Hank. His voice was tighter than usual, locked down into one hundred
percent all business.

DeSoto decided to take comfort in it. "Noted. What's our time?"

##Six minutes, twenty two seconds gone. Exactly. ## Cap warned.

"Copy, three thirty eight to grab a victim status." DeSoto replied.
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Johnny was already out in front, one glove following the curve of the jet's
skin towards the cockpit. "Canopy's still attached." he said with surprise.

"Head for the underside. There's a hatch there." DeSoto said. "We might
be able to force it open and get in that way."

A loud bang made both of them duck as the sharp noise echoed around
the tilted chamber. It repeated itself.

The paramedics' HTs crackled into life, with a transmission heavily static filled.
##Change of plans. Stay onboard ship. Sailors are at your door! They will open
their hatch when you knock back!## came Hank's voice weakly.

Gage lifted his radio. "Understood. A rendevous. We're at the plane. Stand by!"
he shouted, hastening his pace to Roy's side to help pry open the release lever
to the jet's underbelly access port. They strained against the pneumatic handle
and then it gave way with a sucking sound and the hatch fell open at their touch.

Immediately, cooler air cleared away ambient steam from the extinguished fire.

Roy and Johnny immediately began shouting. "Hey! Can you hear me?"
"Los Angeles County Fire Department!" as they hastened forward on hands and

There was no reply from up ahead towards the cockpit. But then Roy saw
a running river of red on the floor between their feet. "He's still up there."

They shoved their upper bodies carefully into the cockpit space. Roy went for
the pilot's helmeted head that the man was still wearing with a high altitude
oxygen mask. Johnny went for the source of bleeding. "It's from his side.
Looks like a clean cut. Not arterial." he said, applying direct pressure.
"Is he awake?"

Roy shook his head, keeping a glove on the man's ribcage. "Not breathing
so hot here."

"Does that thing ventilate?"  Gage asked about the oxygen mask.

"It can." Roy replied, reaching around the pilot's face in a spine supportive move
to reach the manual toggle on the front of its mouthpiece. He hit a button and
sent in a bigger breath into the pilot's lungs, while holding the man's jaw forward
to get open a better airway.
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Instant coughing rewarded his efforts in a flutter of bloody gloved hands
that grappled with his own. DeSoto leaned forward to the helmeted pilot's ear.
"Easy.. you're okay. Suck this in. You've taken in too much old smoke. Don't
fight me."

A strangled groan bubbled out. Their patient's panicked struggling turned to
purposeful motions as the pilot fumbled with his sun visor and flipped it up
as he rode out a wild set of recovering gasps with Roy's aid. DeSoto was
surprised at the quick return of the pilot's composure.

Roy startled as he aimed his flashlight into a sweaty face. A familiar pair of round
spectacles in a tawny face greeted him. "Dr. Morton?!"

The flight suited intern grabbed Roy's collar with both hands. "Freeze. Don't move.
The emergency canopy release is right under your knees, boys. If that goes
off, it'll bounce off the ceiling and right back at us."

Gage locked into immobility. "Oh, sh*t. I forgot about that."

"So did I." mumbled Roy, glancing down.

Morton reached out with a shaky glove and flipped the protective dome cage back
over the emergency canopy release button. It clicked shut. "I didn't have time to

Johnny dropped his head over the wound he was tending and counted his

Morton used those seconds to gag a bit and cough out left over phlegm. Then
he hugged his oyxgen mask to his face like his life depended on it as he finally
felt his true air hunger.

"How are you lungs doing?" DeSoto said, carefully studying Mike's sallow

"They feel like leather." he croaked. "But they're both working."

"Then this isn't a pneumo." Johnny sighed in relief.

"What isn't? I'm injured?" Morton tried to crane a look down towards Johnny in
the tight space.

"Yeah, don't you feel it?" Gage asked.

Mike suddenly curled up in agony as his brain and nerves finally made the
usual connection, as Morton came out of shock. "AAhhh..hh.. Is it penetrating?"

"I can't tell yet." Johnny replied. "You've lost about six hundred cc's of blood."

"Probably why I'm hypoxic." he theorized.

"We have to get out of here, Dr. Morton." Roy said, keeping steadying hands
on the intern. "You've crashed onto a nuclear navy ship."

"No, no no no.. That's bad in so many ways. D*mn. Let's move me out then." he
said, trying to get up. Pain immediately slammed him back down into his flight

Roy pinned him still by the shoulders.
"Easy. Not so fast. We haven't done a neural on you." DeSoto said, unfastening
the six way safety belt Morton was wearing. "We're still okay. The radiation's
been negligible so far."

"How long have I been in it?" Morton moaned, blinking away perspiration.

"About an hour. For us, about ten minutes." Roy told him.

"What kind is it?"

"We don't know yet." Gage replied, stuffing anything he found that could act as
a dressing against Morton's wound. "We'll know soon. There are sailors waiting
for us behind a hatch."

"Good, they'll know what's going on for sure nuke wi---"
Morton's head suddenly sagged into a light black out.

Roy caught his head gently, leaned it back again, and gave him more assisted
oxygen on positive pressure timed with his breathing. "He's starting that overdue nap."

"Stubborn! He'd still be awake for us if he hadn't tried to move. This is wrapped
tight enough. The bleeding's stopped. I'll go find something to use as a backboard."
Gage grumbled.
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From:  patti keiper (  
Subject: Amidships...
Sent:  Sun 5/11/14 2:01 PM

It had been a few minutes since Dr. Morton had passed out.

They had made progress, cutting off his flight suit down to his skin enough to
examine him further for other injuries while they strapped him securely to a torn off
jet wing flap, using parachute material as both body space packing and straps, to
keep his neck and spine in non-moving alignment.

The shocky doctor was tolerating the short oral airway that DeSoto had slipped
in to keep his tongue from blocking off strengthening efforts as Mike tried
to breathe on his own.  

"I think this'll float for us." Gage commented, re-checking respirations on their patient
with a glove. He blinked away the copious sweat running into his eyes behind his
face mask. It stung, sharply, but he didn't dare shove a finger inside to wipe any
of it away. ::Damn radiation. It's worse than any chemical fumes.:: he thought.

Roy glanced up quickly. "The tide's coming in already?"

"It's over knee deep down there." Johnny reported, looking down into the tail of the jet
angling down from the pilot's cockpit.

DeSoto shook his head like a dog to cast away the perspiration building around his eyes as
he took the head of Morton's improvised stretcher into his grip. "What about electrocution
risks? These lights are still on." he gasped in the heat, tossing his glance at the flight controls
surrounding them.

Gage didn't hesitate. He reached up and stared yanking out fuses from every access panel
he could find until the few sparking wires left over from crash damage had dissipated.
"They're not on any more. Let's go. *cough*" he grimaced, grabbing onto the aileron
stretcher's other end.  

A warning klaxon started to sound on Roy's scba tank. "I've got one minute of air left."

"I'll hurry my end." Johnny promised, breathing hard at his own regulator.

Fighting the slippery deck of the plane for balance, the two paramedics slid their
burden along the deck, and lowered Mike carefully down to the water. Soon Morton
was bobbing neatly up and down between them, on the jet wing raft.

Then Gage's air tank started its low air alarm to mirror Roy's.

"Sh*t!" Johnny swore in the steamy murky surrounding them, flipping
on a flashlight attached to his jacket, to light their way.  A glint of light on
metal guided him instantly towards the right way, through the darkness.
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Ducking out of the plane's cargo hold, they rapidly sloshed over to the sealed hatch
the sailors had indicated earlier with their loud banging. With both gloves full carrying
Morton's stretcher, Gage ducked his head and slammed the top of his helmet against
the metal of the door a few times to get their attention.

The wheel on the hatch quickly rotated from the efforts of many hands on the other
side. With a loud snick, the seal was released and the door was flung open with eagerness.

Roy and Johnny saw eight hazmat suited and air bottled sailors standing with a charged hose,
waiting for them in the airlock inside.  Two of them took over carrying Morton's stretcher while
three others began the work of removing the rest of the doctor's clothing with medical shears.

A nearby sailor nodded his head at them. "Strip everything off. Toss your radioes into this
bag." he ordered. "My name's Lieutenant Commander Cole Stanger. My captain wants a
thorough decon done first before letting you all aboard." he said as he watched Gage and
DeSoto put their plastic bagged HTs into the mesh sack he held open in front of them.

"How's the air in here?" Roy coughed as the water swirling around their feet was swiftly
pumped away.

"It's clear enough." reported one of the geared up sailors holding out a geiger counter at
the ready. "I've only got eight times background radiation coming off the three of you."

With relief, Roy and Johnny ripped off and shed their scba gear, kicking it away to one side.

They both took in huge gasping breaths, leaning over with their hands on their knees, working
through sudden rescuer exhaustion.

An over eager navyman prompted them. "Sirs.. We're ready to work."

"J- Just give us a minute to catch our breaths. Our air supply almost ran out." Gage told him,
gagging slightly on the sour smell of rotting blood filling the ship compartment from the heat.

The officer in charge waved at his man to ease off. "Take your time."

Soon, partially recovered, Roy and Johnny finished undressing.

"We'll nuke neutralize your clothes, helmets, and turnouts and give them back to you after
treatment and laundering." said another sailor, picking them up with gripper tongs to set into
a metal crate recessed into the floor. "When you're done, stand in front of that wall by the
drain for a scrub and hose down."

The two gore reeking paramedics glanced around and spied the indicated place in the large,
brightly lit, gray room surrounding them.

Cole Stanger asked another question as he checked off items on a status board.
"Where's your man hurt? We don't want to aggravate any open wounds with the hose any
more than necessary." asked Stanger.

"Right side, mid rib level, might be penetrating." Johnny reported, peeling off the rest of
his layers painfully.

"We'll be careful." said the hoseman.

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Dr. Morton was the first to get scrubbed down with soap and washed off. Then he was carefully
transferred to a clean bare metal stokes already resting on standby on a bench in the airlock.

A medically trained sailor who identified himself as Bron Reese took over his airway care with
oxygen equipment that he had brought to the airlock. The med officer redirected others to
re-secure the doctor's neck and spine once he was completely dried off.  Fresh dressings
were placed over the gaping wound on Morton's side and direct pressure reapplied to
control the bleeding that had begun anew.

"You can meet us in sickbay once the L.C.'s through with you." Bron said as he and his
assistants bore Morton away through an interior door.  He tossed away the oral airway
Roy had used on Morton that he had exchanged out with a clean one of his own.  It landed
on the floor and was quickly bagged up as a contaminated object.

That startled the two paramedics very quickly. They exchanged looks that shared the fear they
both felt about the risks they had taken rescuing Dr. Morton.

"Washing..!" called out the team's leader in warning as the decomtamination process began
once more with the civilian rescuers in their midst.

Roy nodded an acknowledgement to Bron. Through the harsh hose water stream that started
scouring him clean from top to bottom, Roy tried to joke. "I've never been so happy to be cold,
guys. Having the ability to glow in the dark's been a little too much for the two of us."

Nobody Navy laughed.

Gage stood, arms and legs spread out, as two sailors scrubbed him down aggressively with
bristled brushes on long handles with particle absorbant soap. "Enjoy it while it lasts, Roy."
he chuckled, gritting his teeth against the rough handling his skin was receiving. "We're doing
better than Marco now in the refrigeration department."

"More like a deep f-f-freeze." DeSoto confided, feeling the prickle of cold risen goose bumps.

"Switch!' barked out the leader of the decontamination team.

DeSoto and Gage dutifully traded places, trying to contain their severe shivering resulting from
the ice water cascading over the two of them.

Another medically trained sailor noticed. "You'll have hot beverages and food in your hands

The man holding the geiger counter probe frowned when its crackling grew louder as he swept
the probe up and over Roy and Johnny's heads.  "Hair." he ordered crisply. Two clean brushes
began working once more in earnest where he had indicated.

"Will we need to shave our heads after this?" Gage asked, discomforted, sputtering
through soap and water as it ran down his face in thick rivers.

"Nope." replied the man. "We'll get it all off, sirs." he promised. "We're good at this, sad to say."

"Nothing like progress." Roy agreed about a nuclear power source having been added to a
perfectly good ship.

"Amen." said the geigerman.

"Shush, mister." grinned Stanger at his underling. "We run a tight ship with a perfect safety record."

"Sir, yes, sir!" The man saluted using his geiger counter probe instead of a hand.
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"..until today..." he amended under his breath so only Roy and Johnny could hear him.

Roy DeSoto was still thinking about Morton. "Mr. Stanger, we'd like to attend our patient first
before doing anything else."

Johnny added more. "We'd like to call our captain, too, if you don't m-mind."

"Please. Call me Cole. That'll be arranged, of course." Cole promised. "Anything for guests of
the Navy."  Then he eyed up Roy thoughtfully. "You used to be in the service, am I correct?"

"Yeah. Not too long ago. What gave me away?" he said, wiping soap out of his eyes.

"Your calm demeanor around us. Mr. Gage here's still jumpier than a bug on a frying pan."

"Hey, that's because I just left one." Johnny grinned in mock protest.

Right then, the airlock's intercom piped up. ##Bridge to Stanger. This is Masterson. I've
a report to share.##

Cole glanced up through his hazmat suit's plastic window. "Ah, speak of the devil. There's mine
calling." He leaned over and pushed the talk button on the wall. "Stanger here."

##Would you please inform our guests that their patient is showing signs of regaining

"He still needs an I.V." DeSoto ansed under his brush team's ministrations.

##Understood. Our man with yours is paramedic level trained. He's already taken care
of it.## Captain Masterson replied.

Gage formed a surprised face at the open mic. "Thank you, Cap. We appreciate everything
you're doing for him."

"And for us." added Roy.

##Any time. Have Mr. Stanger bring you to the Bridge once you're satisfied with how your
patient's faring. And that's after you both've rested up and've been fed. Is that clear?##

"Orders received." snapped the medical man, who saluted anyway in his hazmat suit.

##Bridge out.## said Masterson.

"Aye." Stanger took his glove off of the intercom control with satisfaction.

"Wow, and I thought our Cap was overboard in the charisma department." Johnny mumbled
as the hose team finally turned their water off, trading it out for a stack of hot, dry towels
freely offered for the firefighters.

"Just wait until you meet Ty in person." Stanger promised.
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From:  patti keiper (
Subject:  Bubble
Sent:  Fri 5/23/14 4:28 PM

It was two thirty a.m.  

Engine 51 had been pulled back into the green zone up wind of the pier
site to conserve the need to use scba and their portable air bottles. They
remained assigned as stand by for their paramedics in case they needed
a quick escape from the radiation danger developing on the naval ship. Mike
Stoker already had his equipment laid out that would be able to crack any of the
hatchways that they could see still exposed as easily accessible on the beach.  
With them, were Dr. Welby and Dr. Kiley, making the rounds collecting radiation
check data from all who were deployed inside the hot zone. It made Cap's skin
itch with unhappiness the longer two certain names near and dear to his heart
remained in the red section of his slate board. But then, it happened.

##HT 51 to Engine 51.## came Johnny Gage's voice over Hank Stanley's handy
talkie. Even Stoker blinked when Cap almost knocked it off of Squad 51's hood
while making a fast grab for it.

"Engine 51 to HT 51, go ahead." he replied in irritation after recovering his fumble.

##We're in a ship's safe zone. Notify Rampart that our patient is in stable condition
and that we'll be contacting them via ship's landline in twenty minutes with our
report.## Gage shared.

Cap's face betrayed his eagerness for the next bit of news as he walked all over
Gage's last transmitted word. "Uh, 10-4, 51. Will do. Both the I.C. and the Triage
M.D.'s want to know your current dosimeter readings a.s.a.p." he said quickly.
::And so do I.:: came his unbidden thought in a wave of worry for his men.

##We're both at 15 mSv....##

Marcus Welby nodded his head once to Cap in friendly reassurance. The younger
doctor also set his fingers into a satisfied unspoken okay gesture as Johnny
continued his update.

##...and we've both decontaminated. We're both showing as back down to normal
ranges on a geiger counter.##

Steven Kiley turned his equal height gaze to Cap. "Ask them if they are noticing
any odd symptoms other than business as usual." he requested.

Hank relayed the same question to Roy and Johnny over the radio he had reset to
speaker mode to share with the rest of the gang gathered closely around them.

##Does burning from head to toe in the heat count? Been going on for a solid month
now.## Gage quipped.

Dr. Kiley smiled and ran amused fingers through his bear greased, slicked back, black
hair. "Very funny. Yeah, it's been a scorcher so far this summer. Everyone here agrees
with that assessment Mr. Gage. All right. Putting down 'Still normal baseline.' on my notes."
he said loud enough for the two paramedics to hear via radio.

"Nice joke, fellas. We're smiling." shared Marcus Welby. Then he added more on a
more serious vein. "Any difficulties with your rescued pilot?"

##Syncope from a little hypovolemia. He needed support ventilation for a few minutes.
Circulation wise, he's compensating okay.## replied DeSoto.

"Copy that. I gave the ship's paramedic orders to push colloid fluids." said Dr. Welby.

##Being carried out. Thanks, doc.## said Roy. ##He's regained consciousness.##

"Could you keep us posted on your victim's exposure readings as well?" the silver
haired doctor asked.

##Just as soon as we can.## DeSoto answered.

Appreciate it, gentlemen. Keep in touch." said Marcus as he and his associate headed
away for their next fire crew.

##Squad 51, out.## transmitted Johnny. Their frequency snicked shut.

Hank let out a huge sigh of relief as he sat back down on the running board of
the engine alongside Marco, Mike and Chet. "One hurdle down...."

"....a billion to go." Chet echoed soberly.

"Isn't that always the case?" Lopez said with a chuckle.

The others did not laugh along like they wanted to do for the looming presence
of the unknown energy storm rising on the ship was almost palpable.

"Now all we need to know is what kind of radiation's getting out of its containment."
he sighed, thinking ahead.

"What if it's a proven heavy, Cap?" Chet asked, scratching an itch under the rear
band of his helmet.

Hank's face weighed down in fatigue. "Then we put as many walls, hillsides, and
travel time between us and that ship as we can. We turn it over to the Feds
and the special task forces they'll send in from all of the nuclear facilities we have
in the area."

"But.. they're not firefighters." Chet frowned.

"Now you see a captain's biggest nightmare, Kelly. Feel free to get your knickers
in a knot along with the I.C., myself, and everyone else wearing a pair of these."
he said, pointing to the silver double trumpets on his collar. "You're absolutely right.
That's not a pretty thing to think about at all."
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Dixie, Joe and Brackett were in close conference by the county all call scanner,
winnowing out critical information about the jet crash incident, when the base station
light and buzzer suddenly snapped on.

"I'll get it." said McCall, still writing down notes they needed for their hospital wide
disaster response operation, already set in motion around them.

"I'll join you." said Brackett, nodding to Joe, who continued taking calls from the red
phone from the fire and police departments who were reporting in their findings about
the pier incident in great detail.

Dr. Brackett picked up the red phone inside the glass room that was flashing its red
beacon prompt on the ready light panel above it while Dixie turned on the landline

"Unit calling in, this is Rampart. Go ahead." Kel said.

The line was heavy with white noise and peppered with ominous crackles. Dixie
and Kel exchanged a charged look of worry, recognizing the sound of radiation
interference on the wire.  ##Rampart, this is Squad 51 via ship's communications.
Informing you that we are sequestered until further notice in the middle of the hot
zone in a pocket of safety along with one victim.## reported DeSoto's voice, ragged
with static. ##Radiation exposure type still unknown.##

"I read you, 51. Noted. Continue on your report." Kel ordered.

##Be advised, our patient is Dr...M...*crackle*..ton.##

"What?! How d-did h-?!" Brackett sputtered in surprise.

"Hush, Kel." Dixie admonished. "He IS an active pilot in the Navy. We all thought you
knew that. He was recertifying tonight in an exercise. When Mike didn't show up for
our disaster priority, we all had a feeling he might be the one who's trapped out there."

For several stunned seconds, Kel Brackett gaped like a fish. Then his cool authority
kicked in once again. "10-4. What's his condition? To the tiniest detail!"

The head E.R. nurse and doctor heard Roy DeSoto take in a huge breath in
concentration. ##He's conscious. Vital signs are: Pulse 136 and weak, BP 90 over 54,
Respirations were six initially, unassisted, after some smoke inhalation, now freely
breathing on 15 liters, clear in all fields, on his own. Pupils that were dilated as a result
of hypoxia, are resolved. Blood loss from a right side non-pleural cavity penetrated
puncture, was around 1000 cc's. He has multiple minor contusions about the face,
neck and mouth. One large bruise is centered left upper chest from a safety harness.
Negative on head injuries. He is C-spine immobilized and a landside M.D. has already
authorized Ringer's wide open. He's reporting some tingling and numbness in his
thumbs on both sides, but only fluctuating grip weaknesses in his hands.##

"Sounds like minor C-5 or C-6 involvement or herniation, 51. Can he lift his arms?"

##That's affirmative, Rampart.##
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Kel glanced at Dixie after burying the phone into his shoulder. "D*mn. Getting a
neural piecemeal is so---"  He minced in frustrated anger. "I wish their phone cord
could have reached him."

"It can't. I've toured some those ships, they have a sort of table like a telephone
operator's console. The caller has to be seated." McCall shared.

"Why didn't they try a speaker phone?" Brackett thought out loud.

"They're probably not in the same room. Sickbay's usually central below the water
line for extra protection. All communications are conducted on a bridge or from an
upper deck from a room with portholes for reception."

Brackett picked up the receiver he had shouldered to muffle their conversation.
"51, What does his EKG show?"

##He's in a tachyarrhythmia. Some minor QRS complexes with electrical alternans
in a 2:1 ratio.## DeSoto offered.

"Cardiac?! Is it fluidic or hemorrhagic?" Dixie fretted.

Kel sighed. "Doesn't matter which. I'm hoping any tamponading this long after the
crash is just inflammation from the bruise. Dixie, I really want to get lucky on him."  
He returned the phone to his ear. "51, keep an eye out for signs of the Beck triad,
pulsus paradoxus, or Kussmaul's sign. If his jugular veins start to rise with inspirations,
be prepared to be walked through the process for pericardiocentesis."

There was a long pause with only radiation sizzling over the red phone.

"51, do you copy?!" barked Brackett.

## **Static. Static.** ## Then the line went suddenly dead after a very loud noise
that even Dixie could hear.

Kel slammed the phone back onto its receiver on the wall. "Now what was that?!
With my luck, it's probably an explosion or a fire, or--"

Dixie sighed, moving close, putting a soft finger to his lips to quiet him."..a dropped
line due to phone call flooding. Happens all of the time during disasters." she
quipped with a smile. "Kel, that's a wall phone. Not a radio channel given top priority
by L.A. County dispatch. They'll call back if anything changes. Would you just
relax? They'll do what you taught them to do. And they'll do it just fine. You were
a good teacher."

"Hmmm." Kel said, calming down, finally accepting her friendly embrace, delivering a
light peck to her own lips in a kiss. Then he broke away to steal her notes on
Morton's condition. Studying the pencilled in page with fierce intensity, Brackett sighed.
"Thanks, hon. You know only too well how I hate our limited technology somedays. But
I don't know if I feel any better finding out that it's Mike.  Our best paramedics are with
him, yeah, but so many things can go sour in a pico in this case. He's a high impact
injury patient. Can they handle him on their own? Roy just told us that they can't leave
that ship."

Dixie grinned. "You're forgetting already."

"What?! ....Dixie, I don't have time for you to get vague on me." Brackett snapped getting
annoyed with her instant amusement.

"They already have a doctor with them. And he's awake." she winked, leaving the room
to go rejoin the chaos reigning in the E.R.

Her meaning totally escaped him as he followed Dixie out of the base station alcove to
update Dr. Early on their primary disaster victim who now had a very familiar name.
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Please Click Roy and Johnny
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   The Long Hot Summer
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